Published July 31, 2008
Francis Schaeffer, Christian theologian and philosopher and founder of the L’Abri community, once wrote, “Most Christian leaders try to plead with people to maintain the conservative position without realizing that the conservative position means the majority position or the generally accepted position, and Christians no longer hold the majority position. We who hold to historic Christianity are now an absolute minority.”
If that was true when Schaeffer said it over thirty years ago, it is more true than ever today. Yet, most Christians, particularly those of us who remember what the United States was like 45-50 years ago, go on as if we were still in the majority, as if the status quo belonged to us. It does not!
True Christianity is not conservative. It is Revolutionary!
So, we do our people an injustice when we challenge them to be conservative, because to be conservative is to stand in the flow of the status quo … and the status quo does not belong to us. Therefore, pastors need to teach their followers to become revolutionaries.
The Christians of the first century were considered revolutionaries. In Acts 17:8 they were called troublemakers. In Acts 17:6 the early Christians were charged with “turning the world upside down.” It certainly doesn’t sound like they embraced the status quo. They were change agents.
I have noticed three things about revolutionary Christians. First, they are different. They stand out in stark contrast to the culture in which they live. The first century Christians were non-conformists. Their lives had been transformed by the power of Christ. They were in the world, but not of the world.
The same is true of revolutionary Christians today. They are not chameleons or lizards that change their color to fit the environment. They are distinctive. They bear a striking resemblance to their Father in heaven and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A revolutionary Christian is also dedicated. The earliest Christians risked their very lives for the sake of the gospel. In Acts 4 Peter and John were imprisoned for proclaiming the resurrection of Christ. When at last they were released they were “commanded not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”
However, Peter and John said, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God judge ye, for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” They were dedicated to fulfill their commitment to Christ even in the face of great risk.
On Sept. 11, 2001 nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners en route to California from Logan International, Dulles International, and Newark airports. The hijackers flew two of the airliners into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center.
Another group of hijackers flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon. A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in Pennsylvania due to the brave intervention of Todd Beamer and other passengers like him. The terrorists on the United Flight had hoped to target the United States Capitol building.
Those nineteen terrorists were inextricably dedicated to their Muslim religion to the point of death, and scarcely anyone can argue that those few men turned our world upside down.
If Christians were as dedicated to the cause of redemption as those Muslims were to the cause of destruction we could begin a revolution of love that would turn the world right side up.
A revolutionary Christian is not only different and dedicated, but also daring. I love the story of Caleb, because at age 85 he was willing to take on the most formidable foe in the land of Canaan. He wanted to be the one to overthrow the Anakim (giants) and their fortified cities.
I also admire Elijah, a daring prophet, who boldly walked into the court of Ahab and declared that God was alive and well. Ahab and Jezebel had just instituted in Israel the worship of Baal and to proclaim that Jehovah God alone was worthy of worship was an act of incredible bravery on the part of Elijah.
Then there was Daniel, who threw caution to the wind when he defied the King’s decree and continued to pray to his God. Daniel proved that he would rather face a den of lions than compromise his prayer life.
More recently, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore demonstrated great courage when he refused to remove the Ten Commandments from the state courthouse despite contrary orders from a federal judge. His daring stand cost him his post as Chief Justice, but won him the admiration of multitudes of Christians.
Michael Reagan recently wrote an article entitled “Christians Persecuted by Muslims.” The article stated, “Two Christian preachers were stopped from handing out Bibles by police officers because they were in a Muslim neighborhood in England. The preachers were told by a Muslim community support police officer that attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity is a hate crime.
“They were warned that if they came back and were beaten up, it would be their fault, not that of the thugs who beat them.”
Reagan continued, “The more you see the Muslim influence coming into the United States the more you are going to see Muslims demanding and getting laws defining the promotion of Christianity to Islamists as hate crimes that will get you tossed in the slammer.”
We can cower in fear at the thought of such things happening or we can ask for the boldness of Caleb, Elijah, Daniel, and the Christians of the early church. When those first century believers were threatened with persecution they did not pray for the persecution to stop, but prayed, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto the servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” They did not pray for the threatenings to stop, but for the boldness to increase.
Revolutionary Christians are different, dedicated, and daring. Are you just a conservative Christian or are you a revolutionary Christian?
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