“The culture war is over – and we lost," says Dr. J. Paul Nyquist, President of Moody Bible Institute, in his latest book, Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture (Moody Publishers).
But make no mistake. This is neither an alarmist rallying cry nor a white-flag opus; rather this is a prophetic call for American Christians to prepare to live righteously in the face of persecution, not pining for the "good old days."
For nearly 250 years, Christians in America were able to live in relative freedom from persecution — the societal marginalization of believers with a view to eliminating their voice and influence, notes Dr. Nyquist.
"We've enjoyed freedom and respect from broader society for our entire lives. With those privileges rapidly disappearing, we don't know how to respond," he explains.
American believers expect their lives to be marked by general prosperity and societal acceptance; persecution is strange. But biblically, it's reversed, Dr. Nyquist continues.
"The American church has missed a vital element of discipleship. Important spiritual formation cannot be realized without experiencing suffering," he says.
With America's cultural shift, Dr. Nyquist says the Church has an opportunity to revisit the New Testament and learn how to apply the many passages on persecution in new ways.
"Persecution gives us the chance to demonstrate to a watching and hostile world what true discipleship looks like,” he proclaims. “Persecution supplies the life-shaping tools God skillfully uses to mold us into Christ's image. It's the next chapter in our stories. Now's the time to prepare."
With America wracked by cultural change, once-protected freedoms evaporating, and the persecution of believers looming, depression may seem inevitable. However, as Dr. Nyquist points out, we, as Christians, have reason to hope.
"Since before America's founding, this land has been the scene of gracious visits from God through revival," the author notes.
"If God graciously visits this land in a powerful way, the current cultural trends will be immediately arrested, biblical values will return, and the threat of persecution will disappear. And you won't need this book. May we each fervently pray to that end," he concludes.
Published last month, Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture has been endorsed by, among others, Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family; Janet Parshall, Radio Host of In the Market with Janet Parshall; and Kay Arthur, Co-Founder of Precept Ministries International.
By NRB Staff
Published: March 19, 2015