Cancelling Christianity (Part 1)
 
Cancelling Christianity (Part 1)
Written By Rev. Thorin Anderson   |   10.07.23
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Immigrants have long swarmed America’s shores because of the opportunities afforded to all who arrive here.

Historically, a person could start a business with all the potential risks and rewards involved or take the safer route of being employed by someone else. Employment and educational opportunities have been virtually unlimited, and the choice was yours to make.

If you didn’t like your job, you were free to change; if you didn’t like where you lived, you could pick up and move.

No one was running your life! These and many other reasons explain why America has been the primary destination of weary immigrants worldwide for a long time!

Most people considered America’s success to be due to the liberties and opportunities rooted in its Christian heritage and offered to anyone willing to invest their energy and creativity.

However, there has been a radical shift in recent years, with cultural leaders turning against the nation and Christianity. One of their tactics has been to intimidate and silence their opponents by seeking to “cancel” them or destroy them economically, which is potentially life-threatening!

Cancel culture’s primary targets have been Christians and the principles of Christianity. Jesus commented about people like them, noting that

“men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20, NKJV).

They appear to have been quite successful in intimidating multitudes of people into turning their backs on Christianity, but true believers are not so easily frightened.

However, regardless of all that has happened over the last fifty years, and despite reports that the percentage of Americans attending church is at the lowest level ever, Christians of one type or another still comprise the single largest religious bloc of American citizens; approximately 71% according to Wikipedia.

If we were militant, vindictive, and arrogant, as the Left routinely claims we are, we could make those who attack us “pay” for their actions. But the enemies of Christianity know that as badly as we have represented Christ, the substance of His nature permeates Christianity so that no one needs to fear retaliation from real Christians.

There are some who, in the name of Christianity, have done horrific deeds, but Christ Himself made it clear that HIS disciples were to be

“as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

History is filled with examples of evil people putting on a façade of Christianity for self-serving purposes. What better way to trick a potential victim than to appear to be one of those people known for their honesty, kindness, and generosity? Honest students of history and Christianity understand that those who did such evil did violence to the tenets of Christianity.

I, for one, will not accede that those calling themselves “Christian” while persecuting and killing others were genuinely Christian. Rather, those who were “silent” before their tormentors (as Christ was before His) were more likely to be the Christians in the equation.

Some denominations of Christianity have been quite public with their pacifism, and Christians were often mocked as cowardly, weak, or “wimpy” because they would not protect themselves.

This characteristic of not striking back is still present among American Christians and is the reason God-haters feel safe in their attacks. The true character of the Left is manifested in their attempts to tie genuine Christians to despicable groups, such as the few but radical white supremacists, for example, who, in some cases have claimed to be Christian while manifesting traits opposite the Spirit.

It is ironic that with its reputation for being “wimpy,” Christianity is suddenly considered the most dangerous of all groups.

This does not mean that true Christians will do nothing in the face of assaults and persecution. Most Christians believe that while we should not retaliate against persecutors of our faith, we have rights as American citizens that we can and should defend.

But such things are not my subject today. Rather, I will address the marginalizing of Christianity from another perspective. At this moment, there are very loud and powerful voices seeking to minimize or eliminate God and Christianity from American culture. Since Christ is not physically present, we Christians receive the brunt of their hatred.

Instead of striking back tit for tat, I will respond to their hate by suggesting the reader consider the consequences of the Left achieving its objective. I remind you of the popular saying,

“Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it,”

and the song lyrics,

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone?”

While Christianity has, on occasion, been exploited to bad ends, benefits from genuine Christianity to America and the world vastly outweigh the harm done by pretenders. As it would be foolish to excoriate all teachers because some are child abusers, so it would be wrong to blame all Christians for the evils of imposters.

To detail the good brought to America and the world by Christianity would require a library of books, so I will only touch on a few high points. My desire is that Americans would think long and hard about cooperating with those who seek to expunge Christianity from America’s culture.

As I mentioned earlier, Christians are slow to respond to attacks because we are called to love as Christ loved. God’s love is characterized by humility, sacrifice, and bearing with even personal, offensive attacks.

Love does not demand its own way and is willing to suffer for others’ sake (characteristics America seems to lack at the moment!).

Scripture notes that

“he who does not love does not know God, for God is love,” (1 John 4:8, NKJV). And “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends,” (John 15:13, NKJV).

Thus, one benefit of Christianity is its call to love, not the faux “love” of the world, which is narcissism masquerading as love, but that people look out for one another, give generously to those in need, and be patient with each other.

An example of this, for those who live in the central part of the country, is known as, “Midwest Nice,” which used to refer to, among other things, the way drivers graciously yielded to one another in traffic. Sadly, this grace seems to be evaporating as road rage and reckless driving have escalated exponentially.

Another Christian virtue that is wearing thin as Christianity is marginalized is honesty, or more broadly, integrity. It was certainly the case when I was a lad that “a man’s word was his bond.” There was no lower scoundrel than a liar, but of late lying has been normalized to the point we have little expectation of truth from people.

In fact, we often assume as a matter of course that the words we hear from politicians and salesmen are lies. This is an affront to God and Christianity. Lying is despicable for anyone who would please Jesus Christ!

The Apostle Paul commanded his readers to “speak the truth one to another” and we ought to do so because God is TRUTH! A corollary of this is the principle of keeping one’s word. In other words, if you say you will do something, do it! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could again trust people and companies to do what they say they will do?

The COVID trauma that hit the world exposed another Christian virtue that is under assault, that of valuing life. Without considering why it took the course it took, or where the blame should be laid for the virus, it is common knowledge that multitudes, especially the elderly, died unnecessarily due to the pandemic, and few seem to care!

Life is being radically devalued before our eyes!

Compassion is a Christian virtue and has been from the beginning. A February 7, 2020 article for “Bible Mesh” by Matt Crawford references the Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate (Mid Fourth Century). In the article, Crawford notes that Christians took better care of the poor non-Christians than the pagans did. He wrote that Christians

“support not only their poor, but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”

It is not insignificant that many hospitals bear the name of Christ or historic Christians. In fact, the hospital movement was largely Christian. It would be dishonest and immoral to understate the impact of Christianity’s compassion on the West.

Ironically, it is from a former atheist that we get some of the strongest testimony of the powerful and wonderful impact of Christianity on Western culture.

In an essay by Gerald Hiestand published in the January 25, 2022, edition of “Theopolis” we meet the former atheist, Tom Holland, an Oxford-trained historian who specializes in ancient history. His favorite interests are the superpowers of the past: Rome, Greece, and others who were the “apex predators” of their day.

He was fascinated by the brutality they exercised and wondered over their total lack of compassion. It is so foreign to the modern mind! He was moved by their callousness which allowed them to prey upon the weak. He saw that women and children existed for the pleasure of the powerful.

In his essay, Hiestand noted Holland’s dismay over

“the eugenics of the Spartans, the slavery of the Romans, the routine slaughter of the gladiatorial games, the exposure of the unwanted infants, (most especially girls), the rapacious subjection of women, the public crucifixions and torture of criminals-like a horror movie–all of it was unsettling and terrifying…”

To his chagrin, Holland came to understand that what changed it all was the cross of Christ!

In contrast to his former opinion on the subject, Holland

“had come to see Christianity as the font of all that is good and laudable in the Western world–the sanctity of the individual life, respect for women, racial equality, fairness, care of the poor, and–most significantly–protection for the victims of oppression. What many secular historians naively granted to the enlightenment, Holland had come to see as the true gifts of Christianity.”

Hiestand writes,

“Holland has now come to see Christianity as the story of power willingly spent on behalf of the vulnerable; strength deployed to protect the weak.”

Come back next week to read part two of “Cancelling Christianity.”


Rev. Thorin Anderson
Rev. Thorin Anderson is a member of the Advisory Council to Illinois Family Institute and the former pastor of Parkwood Baptist Church on the south side of Chicago. Pastor Anderson has faithfully pastored at Parkwood Baptist Church since September, 2000 until 2022. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Central Seminary. He and his wife Toni have seven children and 19 grandchildren. Pastor Anderson also serves on the board of directors for Men for Christ, an association that organizes annual weekend men’s rallies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois on a rotating basis. For more information on these...
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