Given the events of the last five years or so, born again Christians in Scotland could be forgiven for feeling that their faith and way of life is under attack. Assailed on all sides by a variety of aggressive, unholy forces, 21st century Scotland has become a hostile environment for true believers.
On the one hand there is a seemingly unstoppable rising tide of humanism, secularism and militant atheism. These ‘politically savvy’ forces are supported by a mass media with an agenda that is determined to ridicule, satirise and relegate Bible-believing Christians to the margins of society.
On the other hand Christians, particularly evangelicals have done themselves no favours. Decades of inept, self absorbed leadership simply ignored the far reaching changes taking place in society. Recent frantic activity by those who have wakened up to what was happening was ‘too little too late’ to prevent same-sex marriage becoming enshrined in law. The failure of Christians to prevent this measure reaching the statute book has simply opened the way to future discrimination against those who take a stand for Christ in the workplace and in other settings. Already branded as irrational, bigoted, practisers of a faith that is out of date and out of step with contemporary Scotland, mature true believers are now under no illusion of the magnitude and intensity of the spiritual battle that they are now in.
Tragically many of those who are part of Scotland’s varied evangelical community have no idea that they are even in a spiritual battle. Weak and selective Bible teaching designed to appeal to the ‘felt needs’ of the unbeliever has undermined the authority of the scriptures. In some of our ‘happy-clappy’ evangelical churches the realities of sin, confession, repentance and holiness have been consigned to the back burner. Many Christians rarely read their Bibles, preferring the books of ‘pseudo-Christian’ psychologists and dream interpreters which on close examination are ‘more Harry Potter’ than Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul knew a thing or two about standing for Christ in a hostile environment, ultimately laying down his life. In his letter to the believers in the city of Ephesus he said: “Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
If the world was perfect, we wouldn’t need any armour, but Paul wrote about being a Christian in a hostile, non-Christian world. Like it or not, we can’t live our whole lives surrounded by Christians.
The next series of posts will consider in detail how true believers can take practical steps to arm themselves for the battle. In the meantime we can take heart from the Apostle’s uplifting and motivating words to these early believers:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”