3. The cost of conviction.
When it comes to churches and denominations, we will soon see who is truly tethered to the authority of God’s Word no matter what way the wind is blowing, and who is conforming to the pattern of this world. Churches that embrace the new definition of marriage will show themselves to be in step with contemporary society and radically out of step with the Christian church for 2,000 years.
The bad news: Being a convictional Christian, especially in matters related to sexuality, morality and marriage, likely will mean the loss of cultural clout and respectability. We will pay a personal and social cost for our beliefs, and we need to be prepared.
The good news: Sociologist Rodney Stark has shown that one of the most powerful engines of early church growth was the fact that membership cost something. Why?
For one, paying a social cost tends to screen out those who would feign religiosity in order to receive respect from society. Also, knowing you are the minority and may be ostracized for your views increases the level of commitment and participation of those who follow Christ.
The evangelical witness may be leaner in numbers in coming years, but the upside is that the witness may be even more potent. The gospel of God’s love in Christ is no less powerful in 21st-century America than in first-century Rome.
So, let’s love God, love our neighbors (even those with whom we respectfully disagree), and remember the good news that in God’s law court, all who repent and believe in Christ have the verdict of “justified” pronounced over them. And there’s no court on earth that can overturn that.