Christians in 21st Century America receive little respect from the world at large. As time progresses, what little respect we receive now will diminish because genuine believers refuse to interpret God’s Word through the lens of political correctness. Of course, our unwillingness to compromise His Word causes the world to regard us as “backward” and “uneducated.”
The apostle Paul, who himself enjoyed both Hebrew and classical Greek educations, noted that the 1st Century world also held Christians in low esteem. Yet he maintained that our wisdom, which often contradicts worldly wisdom, is far superior to all the sophistication of worldly philosophies can offer.
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~~1 Corinthians 1:20-31 (ESV)
Right now, most of our country celebrates the “enlightened” views of political and religious liberals, dismissing conservative beliefs as antiquated at best. They accuse us of oppression, largely because we hold to Biblical teachings on Christ’s authority and how He commands us to live. Because the world rejects Christ and His teachings, it holds Christians in contempt (see John 15:18-25).
The animosity that the world holds toward believers will erupt in persecution. I believe seeker sensitive and emergent churches will avoid persecution because of their readiness to accommodate contemporary culture by downplaying doctrine. But those of us who continue to stand on the truth of Scripture, especially when doing so opposes the accepted wisdom of American culture, must expect various levels of pressure to compromise our allegiance to the Lord.
Those of us who adhere to Scripture already appear foolish to the world. This perception of us will only intensify with the passage of time. We can, however, rejoice that God’s wisdom will ultimately trump the supposed enlightenment of worldly sages. When Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom, all of His detractors will see their folly in opposing Him. At the same time, those who remain faithful to Him will joyfully boast in His wonderful faithfulness to prove the superiority of His wisdom.