This isn’t the kind of thing that I usually post. It may or may not be a real letter. Regardless, I think it makes a few good points.
Here it is without any further comment.
A church is in the news because of a church discipline case. They have the audacity to insist that their members hold to the beliefs and practices that the church — not only this one but the universal Church — has always held.
But that’s not all. I did some digging on their website, and discovered that this church discipline case is just scratching the surface. They also believe some things that are, quite frankly, hard to swallow these days.
They believe that the Bible is divinely inspired; that man is totally depraved; that Jesus was born to a virgin; he gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins; that he rose again, and that he will visibly and actually come back one day. I could go on.
Churches: it will be hard to keep this kind of thing secret much longer. Some of you may have traded your pulpits for music stands, your pews for theatre seating, and your organs for guitars. But it’s clear you have not yet traded in the faith once delivered to the saints for something a little more fashionable, and this fact is getting noticed.
My guess: churches won’t be able to keep it secret much longer, at least in some places like Canada. Some of the privileges the church has enjoyed may get taken away. As society moves farther away from its Judeo-Christian past, expect to feel the tension. As Wyatt Graham writes:
Secular culture as Charles Taylor has described it has been around for some time (at least in Canada).
Now we are dealing with the illegality of religious garb in public service (Quebec), the denial of convictional Christian education (Trinity Western), the denial of Christian charitable funding (Canadian Summer Jobs), the shaming of Christian morals (e.g., for using church discipline, etc.), the denial of Christian adoption (as recently happened to a Christian couple in Orillia), and the denial of certain charitable uses of church buildings. Quebec has (at least in one case) cracked down on charitable use of church buildings such that it’s entirely possible that Christian churches will lose some or all of their charitable benefits in the coming decades.
It’s not just a “secular age,” it’s an aggressive age.
So here’s my question to churches. Do you realize that the age of being accepted by secular culture is over? Do you know that, no matter how hip you try to be, it will be impossible to hide the fact that you believe some things that don’t line up with what our culture believes? Are you prepared to pay the cost for holding to what the church has always believed?
I’m just asking. Because if you haven’t answered this question yet, you will have to at some point. Don’t think that minor tweaks will be enough. The era of cultural respectability has ended, and you will now have to face a choice between the world’s respect and what you believe. Choose carefully, because a lot rides on your decision.