Retreat or Engage

Retreat or Engage

We’re living at a time when with increasing measure, as Christians, we are going to have to decide to do one of the following; retreat or engage. I know plenty of sincere and committed Christians who don’t want to pick a culture war with anyone. They’re not looking to rumble over religion. But they also don’t want to potentially face losing their job over refusing to attend the office party thrown for their coworker, to celebrate his recent marriage to his same-sex partner.

As Denny Burk said, in his article titled What the Future Holds, Christians are beginning to realize that their place in American life is now being adjudicated in the court of public opinion. And it is not at all clear whether this will end well for the Christian church.

Some Christians believe that we should retreat and disengagement from the culture. Others say that we need to engage the culture war and fight for what’s right, based on what the Bible teaches.

So which is it, fight or flight, retreat or engage?

Let’s look the words of Jesus’ prayer just before He was handed over to be crucified. His prayer focused not only on his disciples, but also on all those who would come to saving faith through His death and resurrection. So the beauty of this prayer is that Jesus was praying for us.

Jesus prayed, I don’t ask that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. Score one for engage.

Jesus is quick to clarify that we are not OF the world. World in this case is not referring to planet earth, but a term describing humanity in its fallen state and rebellion against God. Jesus then gives the secret to making our engagement with the world successful, and it is this; God’s sanctifying truth. He says, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

And there you have it. Our personal sanctification, that is, the power of God’s Holy Spirit reshaping our will to His, and conforming us to the image of Christ, even as we live in an amoral and increasingly Godless culture, will ultimately win the day. People will not be able to escape the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. But we must be friends with unsaved people in order for them experience the difference in our lives. Otherwise, aren’t we just talking to ourselves?

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6