For a long time, America’s stand on religious freedom was a vanguard that allowed Christianity a more full expression than it has been allowed in other countries. It was only in my generation that public prayer was removed from schools (1962) and after that the slow but steadily increasing attacks of public expression of Christianity became common in the masses. I was born in 1960 so I have witnessed the movement of a tipping point from entrenched Christianity in all aspects of public and private life, to one of mocking and marginalization in the extreme. It’s amazing how fast Christianity has become hated in this most ‘Christian’ of nations.
Mocking and marginalization, of course, is not persecution. I am reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and what American Christians are experiencing is nothing like Christians have endured since the time of the Apostles up until now in other countries. But we are seeing a rapid decline in tolerance for Christianity, and Christians in general, and this will quickly lead to the prophesied persecution that will come upon the whole world. (Revelation 12:17, Revelation 13:7, Revelation 20:4).
I think Americans have been insulated from the very real fact of the verse which speaks to this. In 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
If you have been a Christian for very long, I know that you have heard a non-Christian either directly tell you or indirectly say that you’re a moron for believing in Christ. That is because it is written that they will say that. The verse above, where is says the cross is ‘foolishness’, comes from a Greek word meaning moron. Here is how Strong’s defines the word moros:
“dull, flat (“without an edge”); mentally inert, dull in understanding; nonsensical (“moronic”), lacking a grip on reality, acting as though “brainless”.
And that is exactly what the non-Christian thinks of us.
I noted on twitter that I believe bible prophecy. That was all I said. The response was this:
“You like most believers have clearly not read the bible. Scrolled to the bottom & clicked I agree like a software agreement.”
It is the usual charge: the non-saved (perishing) world thinks Christians are brainwashed into a kind of opiate-laden stupidity, not sheep, but dull cows, munching mindlessly on cud that pastors force feed us.
The simmering intolerance of Christians is a slow boil that is going to erupt into a fury when the rapture comes. The Restrainer (Holy Spirit who restrains sin) is going to allow sin to have its full measure. What satan has been quietly building in the hearts of the depraved is going to erupt in an indignant, latent ferocious rage that will shock the left-behind fence-sitters who convert early. Non-saved people already think we are too stupid to live. In the Tribulation, they will kill us. What we see in the news reporter is a live reaction to what Paul says is the stumbling block of Christ. (1 Corinthians 18:23).
In the following clip from Newsbusters, originally airing on MSNBC (a very liberal channel) you see an interviewer asking two young ladies of their reactions to once again being on dry land. The two were on the aborted Carnival cruise where the ship had a fire and went powerless for days in the Gulf. The news reporter’s reaction the moment the girl brought up the Lord and the bible is a classic, living example of the Corinthians verse. And, the verse she was trying to get out is above. This blog essay opened with it. Now, isn’t that a comfort and a nice thing to say? Yet the non-saved newscaster was too afraid to even listen to a word of comfort, benign as it was. Below is the transcript, in case you can’t watch a video, and the clip is after that. I have titled the clip:
“As stranded Carnival Cruise passengers began finally disembarking in Mobile, Alabama, late Thursday evening, MSNBC had NBC News correspondent Mark Potter on the scene to speak with them. One young lady during her over three minute interview tried to cite a Bible verse that helped her get through the ordeal, but Potter pulled his microphone away and quickly ended the discussion (video follows with transcript and commentary):”
MARK POTTER, MSNBC REPORTER: It sounded like you guys handled it pretty well. Were there some passengers who seemed to have a really rough time on board?
BRITTANY FERGUSON, RETURNING STRANDED CARNIVAL CRUISE PASSENGER: Oh, absolutely.
POTTER: Tell me about that.
FERGUSON: Well there, it was just really frustrating. There’s rumors going around because we’re completely disconnected. We had no idea if like, “Oh my gosh, do people even miss us? Do people even know about this?”
KENDALL JENKINS, RETURNING STRANDED CARNIVAL CRUISE PASSENGER: They’d be running “extended vacation.” I’d be saying, “Absolutely not.”
FERGUSON: Yeah, not an extended vacation.
POTTER: And would you do this again? Would you take another cruise, or is this it?
JENKINS: No. We’re thinking about teaming up and sell ours. So if anyone is looking for a discounted cruise, we got one.
POTTER: You’re not about to go back?
JENKINS: No, but one thing I do want to say that really made a huge difference in my time versus some other people’s time is we knew where hope was. We knew the Lord was in complete control of the situation. Our verse for the trip was Joshua 1:9 which is…
POTTER: [Takes microphone away] Okay, well thank you both very much. Enjoy your trip home to Houston and enjoy that first warm shower and that warm meal. Thank you very much. Thanks for talking with us.
JENKINS: [Before walking away] Joshua 1:9, look that up.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)