During the first three centuries of the church, Christians were a persecuted minority in the Roman Empire. Most early believers faced the risk of persecution. They had to stand strong in their faith. That dark cloud lifted at last in AD 313 when Roman Emperor Constantine issued an Edict of Toleration which permanently outlawed the persecution of Christians. For more than 1,500 years after that edict, a biblical worldview prevailed in the West, framing how people viewed themselves and their world. However, many Americans have a sense this has changed in our lifetime. We’ve seen a dramatic drop in the number of people who have a biblical worldview (e.g., God created the world, Christ died for sin, He is coming again, etc.). A recent survey by George Barna revealed that during just the 20-year interval from 2000 to 2020 the number of Americans who hold a biblical worldview dropped below 10% (per Tracy Munsil on April 7, 2020, in American Worldview Inventory, CRC). And the percentage is still dropping. America is now a post-Christian culture. Like the early church, Christians today are in the minority.

What does this mean for our walk of faith? For one thing, we need to be prepared to face pain and persecution for our faith. It should no longer come as a shock. Like the early Christians, we will need to accept this as a part of our calling. The blessing of this is that we have the support of each other, and we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through His power, like 1st-century believers, we are being called to bear witness to an unbelieving world (see John 15:27). And we don’t have to travel far for that. In our post-Christian culture, more than 90% of people living in our local community lack a real understanding of the Bible.

What may the future hold? For one thing, it will bring plenty of opportunities for us to serve as witnesses of God’s love to the lost souls around us. A big part of our witness may come through how others see our response to pain and persecution. So let us stand strong in our faith. Speaking to the disciples, Jesus told them regarding persecution, “I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you” John 16:4 (ESV).

May your witness shine brightly through the Spirit of Christ as spiritual darkness encroaches more and more in our world. Pray that your faith will grow in whatever circumstances God may allow. He who called us is faithful.

Pastor Dave Korinek

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