Disney boycotts. Christian marches. Keeping prayer in school. What happened to the “Moral Majority”? During the 1980s, Christians fought the culture wars by using politics as the primary means to maintain the Christian West.
But Christendom is no more. Recently, the leader of one of Canada’s federal political parties announced that those who are pro-life and hold to a traditional view of marriage need not apply to run: “We check on a number of issues: How do you feel about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, how do you feel about same-sex marriage, how do you feel about pro-choice, where are you on that?” he said.
At one time, Christians had a prominent place in Canadian life. It was advantageous to be Christian. But now, Christians find themselves in the margins of society. While some may lament this change, we must be a prophetic minority – a position Christians have normally held in society. When Peter wrote to the Christians of his day, he not only called them “elect exiles” (1 Pe. 1:1) but also reminded them that their brothers and sisters in Christ were the chosen ones in Babylon (1 Pe. 5:13). Peter had never ministered in Babylon, and the city that once bore its name now lay in ruins. Babylon had become synonymous with those who are opposed to God (see Isa. 13-14, 46-47, and Rev. 17-18).
If living in Babylon is the new norm, how then shall we live? In the 7th century B.C., Israel was exiled to Babylon. Some said that revival was coming with glory days ahead. But through Jeremiah, God told his people to settle in Babylon: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters, take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage…multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jer. 29:5-7).
We’re not likely going back to Christendom. The Babylonian captivity has begun. We must ask ourselves: will we lament loss of cultural influence and power, or will we live as a prophetic minority in a Babylonian world? Will we pine to be raptured back into Christendom, or will we establish a presence in our communities? Will we shrink into our holy huddle, or will we be fruitful and multiply as God had commanded Adam and promised Abraham? Will we avoid our cultural contamination, or will we seek the peace of our cities?
Let’s pray that God would make us a prophetic minority in a world that needs the good news – there is a welfare (literally “a peace”) that comes from God alone in Christ.
Missional Action Prayer: Sovereign Lord, stretch out your hand. Make us bold. Add to your numbers those who are saved, for the sake of Jesus your servant. (Acts 4:24-31)