In my daily reading I “happened” across a delightful piece by Carl Trueman entitled “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Yet it wasn’t the whole article that brought about this blog today, but rather two paragraphs that caught my attention the most, for they echoed with much of what my current sermon series from Acts is all about — the unhindered nature of God’s church! So while I would recommend the entire article (here’s the link), let me make available these sections, as they pertain especially to the subject we’ve been dealing with most recently in Acts: persecution.
Third, we need to remember that hatred from the world is what we are to expect. The West has enjoyed a happy confluence of the broad ethical values of wider society and of the Bible on things such as sexual morality for many centuries. That is changing rapidly. It will lead to persecution, whether in the mild form of name-calling or more severe forms such as the use of legal penalties against those who hold fast to the faith. What does the Bible have to say to this? ‘Do not be surprised….’ 1 Pet. 4:12. This is the expected norm; what we have thus far enjoyed for many centuries now is actually the exception – a delightful blessing for which we should be grateful, but the exception nonetheless.
Finally, remember Matt. 16:18. No media campaign, no election result, no ruling of the Supreme Court, no attack from the most violent enemy can negate that promise. Yes, the church’s enemies come; but they always eventually go. The church remains and will always do so, guaranteed by the grace of a faithful, covenant keeping God. That should be a cause for rejoicing, whatever the outward cultural circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Incidentally, I heard Carl at T4G last year, and I’d highly recommend watching his short video take on celebrity-ism in the church (part of a panel). Once you hear him or read him, you’ll know why his book, “Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread,” is referred to as contrarian.
Watch out Carl — you’re about to become the celebrity you warn us about!