Yesterday I wrote about the reality that the Church will never be the darling of the world. In fact, if she is praised and beloved by the world, then she is not faithfully being the Church, proclaiming sin and salvation as her Lord has instructed. Today's New Testament reading, from Acts 4, reinforces this reality and shows that the declaration of the Good News has met stiff resistance from the very beginning.
In Acts 4, Peter and John are arrested and thrown into prison by the Jews. Why? Because of their faithfulness to Christ--"they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead." Very unpopular stuff it seems, right from the start. The Apostles weren't concerned with making the Gospel relevant, palatable, or unoffensive to a spiritually dead world. Instead, they were concerned with proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sins. Somewhere along the way, as I pointed out yesterday, the Church in America decided that being liked by the world and (worse) trying to look and act like the world was more important. Woe to us for selling out our Savior.
I wonder what will happen when, even in America, the church is forbidden from preaching the Good News--whether that prohibition come from an overt government decree or implicitly through continually-escalating societal pressure to conform our message to that of the world. Sadly, I don't think I will have to wait too much longer to find out. Will we continue to cave? Will we continue to re-make ourselves in the image of a fallen world instead of in the image of Christ? Or will we, like Peter and John, boldly declare to our culture, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4.19-20 CSB).