The West is becoming increasingly post-Christian. Many of the more progressive nations are not merely overlooking or ignoring their Judeo-Christian heritage, but actively destroying it. They are making their way through their laws and constitutions, their definitions and traditions, to divest it all of any remnants of the biblical principles and assumptions upon which these nations were built. There is nothing that is sacred, nothing that can’t or won’t be touched in this great scouring.
Those of us who live in these nations are having to operate with some new assumptions. Some of these pertain to the way churches operate: We have always assumed that when we give money to churches and ministries we will receive a tax receipt, but those days may soon be over for organizations that will not bow before one of society’s sacred cows. Some of these pertain to family: We have always assumed that as parents we have the right to educate our children as we see fit, but it’s not hard to foresee a future in which that is no longer the case. Some of these pertain to marriage: We have always assumed that marriage is between one man and one woman, but now marriage has been extended to same-sex couples and many assume polygamous relationships cannot be far behind. It extends through education, business, politics, and everything else. Because Judeo-Christian values are so deeply embedded in the warp and woof of our nations, there is really no area that can’t or won’t be changed.
As so many nations revoke their heritage, Christians will need to learn how to live in a post-Christian world. We will need to learn to live in a world where the laws inhibit our ability to worship freely rather than assist it, where traditions oppose the Bible instead of complement it, where the assumption is no longer that Christian people and their churches are a help but a hindrance to a thriving, prosperous society.
It may be an intimidating time, but we won’t be alone in it. There will be help for us if some of our brothers and sisters are willing to offer it and if we are willing to receive it. Though the West is becoming post-Christian, much of the rest of the world is either pre-Christian or a-Christian. Much of the rest of the world is either just beginning to embed Christian values in their laws or constitutions, or never has. And the believers in these nations already have a lot of knowledge and a lot of wisdom about how to live the Christian life in contexts where that is far more difficult than it has traditionally been in the West. They have never enjoyed many of the privileges we take for granted—respect, tax receipts, the Ten Commandments on the walls of our courthouses, national anthems that proclaim the name of God, the option to educate at home or in Christian schools. They have had to address issues that have not been pertinent to us—infanticide, polygamy, shame-respect culture, forbidden assemblies, and generosity that provides no tax benefit. In many ways, they have been where we are going. They’ve got knowledge where we’ve got questions. They can instruct where we are ignorant. They’ve explored and applied biblical truth we haven’t yet been forced to grapple with.
So I suppose this is a call for those of us in the West to take comfort and confidence in this: there are Christians who can assist us. There are believers elsewhere who can guide us into this territory that is foreign to us but familiar to them. And it’s a call for those of you outside the West to be willing to help. Where you have wisdom and experience, please share it. We will be looking to you for comfort, for wisdom, and for guidance.