The Growing Crisis

The Growing Crisis

In the first three verses of Psalm 2, David speaks of the nations raging against God and His anointed, who is Jesus. He describes leaders from around the world, who will be working together to remove the influence of God’s Word from society (2:3). They see God’s Word as “bonds and cords” that hold them back, keeping them in “bondage” to biblical values that they see as totally outdated.

Despite the fact that many of these leaders will possibly come from Christian heritages, they will believe that God’s Word is irrelevant and restrictive in light of their more “advanced” way of the thinking. David even mentions that this coalition of leaders will enforce laws in direct opposition to God’s ways.

Does this not sound eerily similar to what we see today?

Across the world, there has been a rapid acceleration of the hostility toward God’s ways and those who follow them. I was born in 1955 and can remember well the upheaval in the 1960s—the sexual counterculture and the civil rights movement.

When Time magazine famously asked, “Is God Dead?” on its cover in 1966, the general public was shocked and critical of the magazine for insinuating God’s demise in a nation rooted in Christianity. Yet the changes that era brought seem small compared to what has happened in recent years, where popular culture—particularly in America—has gone from being opposed to God’s Word to outright loathing it. I have never seen the cultural climate shift as quickly as it has in the last five to 10 years.

Christians in the Crossfire

As a result of this remarkable shift, Christians are getting caught more in the cultural crossfire. What used to be the exception—believers being maligned for standing on God’s Word—is in the early stages of becoming the norm. Consider some of these well-known U.S. cases in the long and growing list of believers ridiculed in recent months for their public stances on biblical values:

  • Kentucky clerk Kim Davis spent five days in jail after defying a federal court order to issue same-sex marriage licenses in Rowan County. Amid an intense national debate, major media outlets and everyday bloggers alike lambasted Davis for her Christian faith, particularly when her emails went public and revealed that she called herself a “soldier for Christ” and, amid the increasing backlash from her stance, said “God is still alive and on the Throne.”
  • Christian bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein closed their Oregon business following ongoing threats, protests and harassment from the LGBT community. After refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013, the Kleins were ordered by the state to pay $135,000 in damages and slapped with a gag order that prevents them from speaking about their decision.
  • The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice revoked chaplain David Wells’s credentials as an ordained minister—along with those of several other volunteer chaplains from churches in Warren County—after they refused to sign a state-mandated document ensuring that they would never call homosexuality a sin in their work with young inmates.

I mention only a few cases in America; I could mention many more. And throughout Europe, where Christianity has long been on the decline, the situation is decidedly more severe because of laws passed in the name of securing human rights (including religious freedom) that in fact stigmatize Christians.

For example:

  • A hospital in Eksjö, Sweden, fired nurse Ellinor Grimmark after she said she would not perform abortions due to her Christian beliefs.
  • Christian pediatrician David Drew, who had an unblemished 37-year record as a clinical director at Walsall Manor Hospital in England, was fired according to a review panel for trying to motivate his coworkers by sending out a 16th-century prayer of Saint Ignatius Loyola.
  • In Cornwall, England, Christians Peter and Hazelmary Bull opened their home as a bed and breakfast but were fined, harassed and eventually forced to sell the property after refusing to let a gay couple share a double room, because they believed “in the importance of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Friendly Fire in the Church

These situations—and hundreds of others like them—prove that we are experiencing a dramatic change in the cultural climate, both in the United States and around the world. The temperature is rising, as is the heat against Christians in particular.

As believers, we would be foolish to expect sympathy from the secular world. Jesus tells us, “You will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).

Indeed, the United States and many “post-Christian” nations have a long way to go before their level of Christian persecution can compare to places such as North Korea, Somalia, Iraq or Syria. Though I pray that level never increases, the point remains
for those of us in America: The cases listed above—and countless others—are still reminders that our country is rapidly shifting even farther away from its Christian roots. And within the last decade, the acceleration of decidedly anti-Christian activity is startling.

If Christians do not wake up to see what is happening—both overtly and behind the scenes—we will end up accelerating our own persecution.

That is not God’s desire for those who follow Him. He has given us His Holy Spirit, who lives within us and can help us to understand these times. I believe that same Holy Spirit is calling the American church—and believers all around the world—to recognize the growing crisis and respond according to His will, as shown in Psalm 2.

This is an extract from Mike Bickle’s newest book from Charisma House—God’s Answer to the Growing Crisis, released today.

Question: How have you had to stand firm your beliefs in your workplace, school, family, etc.?