Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Increasing Opposition to Christianity

There certainly hasn't been any shortage of anti-Christian intellectuals throughout history. Especially since the ill-named 'Enlightenment', a very sharp turn in philosophical agendas has breezed through history into the 20th century where it culminated in the 'God is Dead' movement in the 1960's. From there, there was a lull.

But now, Oxford professor John Lennox warns that there will be increasing opposition to Christianity:

"History has come full circle and Christianity is seen once more simply as one among a plethora of competing alternatives, all of which are regarded by an increasing number of influential intellectuals as dangerous," stated Oxford professor Dr John Lennox at this year's Keswick Convention.
So while the past fourty years have seen a bit of a down-turn in the attacks against Christianity, a new storm gathers on the horizon. This time however, Lennox suggests, the attacks won't only be from anti-Christian intellectuals but also from Christians themselves.

"We are called upon to defend the Gospel. It is on trial, faith is under fire, and it is not only its contents, it is the messengers, and we will increasingly find we have not only to defend the Gospel to the world but we have to defend it to believers as well."

Christians fighting amongst themselves about issues of faith is nothing new. The concern this time, however, is that there is a renewed interest in attacking the unity of Scripture. In particular, says Lennox, “what Paul has to say about the cross and the death of Christ for sin.”

Lennox continued by saying,

"The attack is under full sway and the intensity is increasing and we need to understand and remind ourselves that Paul, the apostles and Jesus Christ stand or fall together.

"We shall have to count the cost of what it means to defend historical Christianity."

This isn't something that a lot of Christians are happy to do, however. The idea of having to defend historic Christianity and all its orthodox doctrines is a big challenge. Anyone not prepared to make a committment to learning, and diligent study will find themselves left behind some of the more difficult challenges posed by celebrity atheists like Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, or Christopher Hitchens.

Since some of these limelight philosophers, and anti-religious advocates draw a lot of attention, there will be a need for apologists ready to take up the challenge they pose, and give an answer to the faith that Christians hold in common (1 Peter 3:15-16). But Lennox adds that he notes a lack of confidence amongst Christians, not so much in their readiness to fight, but in their view of the authority of Scripture.

"A danger that I see is all around ... is a loss of confidence in God's word and its authority. We have to decide what side we are on and whether we are going to stand with Paul and the apostles and have confidence in the word and maintain the faith for which many of our forefathers stood."

So the question now becomes for the Christian reader, “what side will I stand on: the side of Paul and the apostles? Or will I be on the side that idles on in silence?”

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Great points! Really, the question could be posed: Do I want to be a real Christian or not? (There is no such thing as "lukewarm" in God's eyes.)