“These all died in faith… having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
(Hebrews 11:13 ESV)
Some of you may remember singing this as a child:
This world is not my home,
I’m just a-passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
For generations and generations of Christians, in the West, this world has felt like home, and our treasures were stored in this present age: things we could taste, touch, feel, hear, and see. We, and our forefathers, lived in a world where being a Christian meant, not only laying up treasure in heaven, but also enjoying earthly treasures: treasures of the many social benefits of being a Christian. Now we are living in a Post-Christian era where there is a social cost to being a Christian. No longer is Post-Modernity and Post-Christian thought limited to the academia and cultural elites as it has been for a generation or more. Now it’s becoming mainstream. From one degree to another our culture is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith: e.g., belief in the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, belief in sin, belief in absolute truth, belief in heaven and hell, even belief in natural law where it was taken for granted that marriage was between men and women, that there are only two God given genders, etc.—these are being eclipsed by neo-pagan beliefs and worldviews that are not only incommensurable and incomprehensible to one another, but also our culture is producing people for whom Christianity is offensive, where our beliefs are bigoted, and our Scriptures are full of hate-speech.
As Alasdair Begg asks in his recent book Brave by Faith: God-Sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World, “What does it look like to live as a Christian in a society that does not like what Christians believe, what we say, and how we live? How are you going to live in this new normal?” This is a great question, one that the Bible has an answer. Over the few months I’ll be providing the answers both from Begg’s study of Daniel and gleanings from my own study of 1 Peter.