We are certainly living in interesting times. The faithful church now finds itself in the midst of a revolution of ideas — one that is transforming the entire moral structure of meaning and life in our society. These challenges would be vexing enough for any generation. But the contours of our current challenge have to be understood over against the affecting reality for virtually everything on the American landscape, and furthermore in the West. This revolution, like all revolutions, takes few prisoners. In other words, it demands total acceptance of its revolutionary claims and the affirmation of its aims. This is the problem now faced by Christians who are committed to uncompromising faithfulness to the Bible as the Word of God and to the gospel as the only message of salvation.
In the wake of the sexual revolution, several conflicts over religious liberty continue to play out across our nation. Consider the recent legal dispute between the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Obama administration. Likewise, in Georgia we find businesses putting economic pressure on the governor to oppose recent legislation that protects religious liberties.
International headlines reveal even more troubling news. One need only think of the recent images from Brussels where the Islamic State carried out yet another deadly attack, this time with at least three bombings that have killed over 30 people. The Islamic State, however, is not just content with random acts of violence. The ultimate aim is to bring Western civilization to its knees. We are reminded yet again that ideas have consequences.
These situations pose enormous challenges for the Christian church. But this is not a time for Christians to live in fear or lose confidence in the gospel. God by his gracious providence has placed us in this time to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). As I began in my recent book, We Must Not Be Silent, we must follow the advice of Flannery O’Connor and “push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.” This is not a time for Christians to remain silent with the message of the gospel. We are called to be the people of the truth, even when the truth is not popular and even when the truth is denied by the culture around us. I hope this issue of Southern Seminary Magazine encourages you to continue in faithfulness and in the spread of the gospel in your own community.