If you’re a Christian who is culturally aware, you will notice that our nation has entered what is called a post-Christian era. This means that, over the course of recent generations, there has been an observed decline in the Church’s influence over society. What we’re seeing is a secularist worldview under which more and more people are viewing religious faith and morality as not only optional and outdated but even disagreeable.

We live in a time where your opinion about a particular topic may be deemed “hate speech” if you find yourself on the outside of the trend of popular public views. We need only to look back a few years when Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, gave a couple of interviews attributing his strong business model to strong family values as defined by the Bible. That sparked outrage across the nation. In this post-Christian era, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Does this mean we should be silent about what we believe? No! But understand that it will take courage to not only stand for Truth, but to proclaim Truth in the public square. Some will receive our message; some will mock our message; some will become outraged; and some will discard it, but it won’t make the message any less powerful. We dare not be afraid or ashamed to proclaim what we know to be Truth because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power that God uses to bring about salvation to them that believe. [Rom 1:16]

Let’s remember that when Jesus and His disciples walked the earth, they were in a pre-Christian era. People in that era faced many challenges. Statements that Jesus made in the public square were regularly challenged and opposed by religious leaders. Some sought to take Jesus’ life for being outspoken. Let’s also recall that there was this man named Saul of Tarsus whose job it was to persecute Christians. He was actively involved in arresting and flogging [and worse] people who had opposing views of religion because he considered it blasphemy.

Today we can say that we haven’t faced anything like the pre-Christian era in this country so far and yet, the Truth was spread throughout a multitude of nations by a few who were committed to the cause of Jesus Christ. In this post-Christian era we’ve entered, only God knows what we may have to face. Therefore, we will need to pray for courage and boldness as we move forward.

There are at least three distinctive cultural approaches from Christians in response to this new era: “forcing” the culture, “condemning” the culture, and “assuming” the culture. Those in the “forcing the culture” camp fear that if they do not make compromises and form necessary [questionable] alliances to push what they believe is the Christian agenda, the church cannot thrive or even survive. Those in the “condemning the culture” camp withdraw from the world fearing that the world will corrupt them, which in turn will make the church sick. Those in the “assuming the culture” camp fear that if the church maintains it current stance, it will become unacceptable and irrelevant to those who are steeped in post-Christian culture. While there may be some good intentions at the heart of any of these approaches, they all involve fear and compromise which is not how the Kingdom of God should operate.

What we need more than anything at this juncture is a culture of courage. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul as he recounted his experience in Philippi: “You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi… yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition.” [1 Thessalonians 2:2] He went on to declare that his purpose was to please God and not people.

May we share that same purpose in this new era.