In the past, I always thought the greatest threat to Christianity were the non/false religions of this world.
With my new understanding of implicit faith etc. these views no longer seem valid.
But I still wonder what then we are to consider the enemy of Christianity.
My thoughts are that Jesus' reference to the world is a key issue. But what is this world?
My opinion is that the first world and the west, by and large, cannot facilitate every element of Jesus' teachings. At some point the western church spiritualizes Jesus' words because they cannot live it out practically without seriously challenging the western life paradigm. Not that Jesus was speaking specifically about the west or first world, but every manifestation since the first cities of Cain have been manifestations of the kingdom of Darkness. The Kingdom of God is antithetical to the kingdoms of this world, but most Christians think we can live comfortable in the world and still be Christians. It just doesn't seem biblically possible to me.
What are your thoughts?
Much love in the Lord Jesus
Good topic Jacques. Christianity is not threatened because its centre is Christ but there are all types of people, institutions, religions who feel threatened by the existence of Christianity. As you said above the kingdom of God is antithetical to the way of the world. The opposing force of Christ has tremendous power over the world. These forces have even infiltrated in the organized religion of Christianity. Our enemy is Satan. Since his power is overwhelming in the world the way of Christ is in direct opposition to the way of the world. Therefore it is crucial to fast from the way of the world. To fast from the world, one lives simply, pulling out of what most people consider to be the mainstream. One can still hold a job and participate in life, but with the recognition of what is in alignment with the way of Christ. It is not possible to sustain the Christ presence within one's consciousness while living a worldly life. So the following three things are important to hold the presence of Christ. 1) Fasting from the world 2) Regularly set aside time for prayer and meditation 3) Be content with what we have.
Thanks for the reply Grace,
I completely agree that in reality nothing can threaten Christianity as the Gates of Hades will not prevail against it. And nothing can seperate the true believer in Christ from God. But even in the Bible we read of the threat of the Judaizers who were corrupting the gospel. And in the Apocalypse Jesus warns the 7 churches about a number of issues that were threatening the churches position in Christ. It is this kind of threat that I am refering too.
Grace you also say:
Yes Indeed!! And this is why I look at the west/first world as pillars of "the world". I often feel like my only option is to go the way of Jim Arraj www.innerexplorations.com moving to the Forest. It just seems that the glue that maintains society in the west is produced by the kingdom of darkness. I often feel trapped by the world into which I was born as I feel I am not free to live all that Christ intended for me. Primarily because it oppresses others. i.e. Without class, without rich and poor, without a pyramid structure the west isn't really able to function. I mean Rich Business men are not going to spend 8 hours a day cleaning streets and yet street cleaners stuggle to make ends meet and the rich don't know the first thing about need. remove those who clean streets and society stops working as well. (This is of course just one small example, but inequality and oppresive systems are par for the course in the western world). As Christians we need to ask what part we play in keeping the oppresive systems together and whether this action or inaction on our part is addressed by the gospel.
Christians can be Christianity's worst enemy.
Can Christians ever be deceived by Satan (who deceives the whole world - Rev. 12:9)?
If the answer is yes, then the enemy can be working from within -- wolves in sheeps clothing (Matt. 7:15).
A very sinister scenario.
I think one of the biggest threats to Christianity is aggressive secularism, and persecution by militant fundamentalist forms of Islam. I believe that while Islam itself is not an evil or intrinsically violent religion, but in its jihadist and Wahabist forms, is a severe danger, especially in Islamic countries where Christians are a minority.
Aggressive secularism comes in many forms, but the aim of these various forms of secularism is to abolish religion from society. An older version is Marxism, while in more recent times, atheists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and others are arguing science (along with other things) disproves the existence of God and religion is a form of delusion which needs to be purged from society. Some of these atheists can be very convincing to many people, especially when they use advanced philosophical arguments combined with clever anti-religious rhetoric along with the latest discoveries in science.
Other examples of persecution of Christians exists, especially in China, which seems determined to control the 'house church' movement. But I still think Islamic extremism is the biggest threat, primarily because it considers the entire Christian world as its primary foe to be defeated and destroyed by any means at its disposal.
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