How should Christians respond when being canceled by the culture?
Nathan Jones: In the last few weeks, the world has witnessed to its utter dismay social media silencing presidents, shutting up Conservatives, and canceling Christians. And, the list of those being canceled continues to expand. Whistleblowers sitting in on secret Big Tech meetings have revealed that these monopolies plan on broadening their restrictions and shutting down a lot more people. We now live in a time period defined as the Cancel Culture.
Tim Moore: Before we look at the answer to that question, we must point out that there has long been a precedent for Christians being “canceled” by the culture.
Lessons from the New Testament
Nathan Jones: We can look back to the beginnings of the Church in the first century. We read in Acts 4 how just after Pentecost the Apostles went out into Jerusalem preaching about Jesus Christ crucified and having resurrected from the dead. In a panicked response, the elite religious leaders of that day — the Pharisees — dragged the Apostles before the Sanhedrin.
Verse 18 tells the story, “So they [the Sanhedrin] called them [the Apostles] and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” And verses 19-20 reveal how they responded: “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.'” The Apostles strongly believed they must continue to speak because God’s authority was higher than man’s authority.
Tim Moore: The ruling elite of that time were making an effort to cancel the followers of Christ. As a matter of fact, in the very next chapter, in Acts chapter 5, somebody saw that the Apostles were still out and about preaching, so the Sanhedrin called their captain and ordered him to bring the Apostles before the magistrates and the chief priest yet again. They chastised them in verse 28, “We gave you strict orders not to continue this teaching in this Name, and yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us!”
Yet again, Peter and the other Apostles reiterated their stance in verse 29, “We must obey God rather than men.” Enraged, the religious elite made their ultimate intent to cancel the Apostles known in verse 33, “When they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.”
This story demonstrates that there have been people all the way back since the beginning of the Church Age who have wanted to silence Christians, even to the point of killing them if necessary in order to shut them up.
Lessons from Church History
Nathan Jones: We can look at the Christians suffering in the Roman Empire up until Emperor Constantine. For nearly 300 years of Church history, the persecution of Christians went from bad to worse. Christians were used as torches lighting up the Caesars’ gardens. They were thrown to the hungry lions in the arenas. These represent the extreme cases of living in a cancel culture.
For the general Christian populace, they were cast out of the mainstream society economically. In some areas, the Romans were told they couldn’t buy from Christians, which is rather reminiscent of the treatment of the Jews during Nazi Germany. You don’t buy from Christians or risk becoming an outcast as well. Christians were also shut out of the political arena.
Society for the last 2,000 years throughout much of the world has been trying to cancel Christians and so end Christianity. Only during the last few hundred years have we in the West been living in this kind of pocket where Judeo-Christian values have allowed Christianity to flourish without challenge. But, for the rest of the world, and throughout much of history, the Church has been canceled everywhere it has reached.
Tim Moore: Christians escaping being persecuted by society has been a fairly recent phenomenon in Western culture. Even during the early years of the Reformation, if you dared to own a Bible, or for heaven’s sakes, print a Bible in a language that could be read by the masses, you would be put to death by being burned at the stake by, again, the religious elites. Christians for many centuries have endured great persecution. Long have Christians suffered under the attempts by the culture-controlling elites to cancel Christians and silence the Gospel message.
What has been the result of all of this persecution? The churches have thrived! Christianity is thriving today in places like Communist China, which has been trying hard for decades to stamp out Christianity. Despite harsh persecution, the Lord is bringing into His own those who belong to Him.
Now here we stand in the United States and we are feeling this rising fear that the cultural elites in our country have begun to cancel us. They’ve started by kicking Christians off of social media platforms, such as eliminating Twitter feeds. But, ask yourself, “What kind of threat is that really?”
Nathan Jones: In truth, it is really no threat at all. Such an attack on our religious freedom and freedom of speech may seem scary at first, but Church history has also taught us that every time society has tried to cancel Christianity, it makes Christians look like the victims. And, what do people like? They end up rooting for the underdog.
The world watches closely to the way that Christians behave. For instance, before abortion became medically accessible, the Romans were notorious for taking their unwanted babies and throwing them into the fields to let them die. But, the Christians would go around and collect the babies and create orphanages and take care of the discarded children. Society looked at that odd behavior and took notice that there was something different about these people. Christians actually loved other people! In pagan societies, the people could care less about other people. They witnessed the love of Christ being demonstrated. That love drew the lost straight to the Gospel.
We all know from history that the Roman Empire inevitably collapsed, not only due to their own rampant immorality, but because of the rise of Christianity. And so, wherever there is the persecution of Christians in the land, Christianity grows.
Let’s also look at China as a modern-day example. Back in the 1800s, missionaries traveled to China and planted little Gospel seeds, that is, until the missionaries were pushed out by the government. Today, there are millions upon millions of Christians living in China. The more they are persecuted, the more other people are attracted to the Gospel, and the bigger the Church grows. And, as it grows, the more Christianity looks like a threat to the ruling elites, and so the more the ruling elite ramp up the pressure. So, it is interesting how God uses persecution to grow His Church.
Endure for the Cause
Tim Moore: I think back to what the writer of Hebrews had to say in 12:1-2. “Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with the endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Who for the joy was set before Him, enduring the cross, despising the shame, and then sat down at the right hand of God.”
Then the author goes on in verse 4 to pose this observation, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” He’s not talking about reacting to the Cancel Culture by running out and shedding other people’s blood and so bring about our own persecution. Rather, how many of us in this country right now have been persecuted to the point of being imprisoned, beaten, and enduring violence so that our own blood is shed?
Surely, I believe the open, violent persecution of Christians will inevitably happen in this country. Already there have been some Christians fined and jailed for their faith, and there will be many more coming in the days ahead. But firstly, attempts will grow to ostracize, silence, rob Christians of their livelihood, and shut down our churches.
The questions I would pose then is, “Are we prepared to endure any fate for the cause of Christ?” As a soldier in the Air Force, I took an oath to give my life in service for the cause of patriotism and loyalty to the United States. But, I ask myself, “What am I willing to endure, or to be subjected to, for the cause of Christ?” As a Christian, I believe the same level of loyalty is deserving to Jesus Christ as it was serving in the military or in any other kind of profession.
Nathan Jones: Absolutely! We’ve got to remember that as Christians we were bought, we were paid for a price, by Jesus Christ who shed His own blood so that we might be saved. Therefore, we are His. Our lives aren’t our lives to give, rather they are Jesus’ lives to give. And, He uses those lives to bring other people to know Him as Savior. So, from the eternal perspective, millions upon millions of people will come to know Jesus as their Savior by God’s work through believers’ lives demonstrating His love and long-suffering. This little bit of suffering we endure today is nothing compared to the eternity of joy that we have lying ahead of us in Heaven.
Tim Moore: We may soon endure much more persecution as believers in this country. Actually, I’m sure we will. So, the question left us is, “What are you prepared to endure for the cause of Christ?” I hope we all think about that. I hope we all will prayerfully weigh in. And, I hope you will be prepared in your heart for whatever the Lord has in store for you so that His name may be proclaimed and that He may be glorified.
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Inspiring article! Liberty Counsel is now fighting a number of cancel culture edicts — one is banning all church services in California and another is an attempt by Lori Lightfoot to shut down a Romanian pastor of a Pentecostal church in Chicago.
Originally the majority of people coming to America were fleeing Europe because they were being prosecuted for their Christian beliefs. Were they wrong to flee?
The American Revolution was because of tyranny. Normally officers were Christian pastors, and the men under them came from their congregations. Were they wrong to take up arms and revolt against tyranny?
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” – Romans 13:1
The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:13-17 also told us to: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”
Likewise, the Apostle Paul told us in Titus 3:1 to, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.” I believe his council would also imply praying for our leaders and nations, for God has allowed them to be in power and it would be according to His will, which is what we’re asked to pray for in the Lord’s Prayer. Therefore, no matter what, we’re praying for the Lord’s will to be done and for people to repent and be saved.
Christians should always be the Lord’s examples by showing respect for our leaders and caring about their souls needing salvation. But, we are also told to be “salt and light” to the world (Matt. 5:13), standing up for what’s right so that people know what is evil. And, when a government fails in its biblical duty and is no longer just and moral, as America’s Founders believed, then it was the citizens’ duty to replace and set up a just government.
For a detailed answer about a Christian’s involvement in government, check out https://christinprophecyblog.org/2010/07/litmus-test-for-governments/. How can Christians reclaim the culture for Christ? Find out what the Bible reveals, find out at https://youtu.be/hPlW6n_we4E.
Very interesting, encouraging, and inspiring. Thank you, Norma
I do believe that this inevitability has been presented to my wife and I since we became Christians in the middle/late 1970s. Wherever we have gone we have encountered those who have compromised. We have constantly wondered what was wrong with us?
We have faced continuous difficulties in a whole variety of fellowships. It is only in these very last day of days that we have begun to realise that those whom we were amongst have consistently compromised the Word of God.
The hardest example of this was when were were in the same fellowship as our son and I had coffee with the leader and said to him that we were about to visit the most important city in the world. He asked where is that? I said Jerusalem asnd he replied ”I do not think that is so we shall have to talk about that” – We never did! He was into Replacement Theology.
I am far from perfect! However we have constantly faced this challenge, now I see that this is the day that all of our preceding struggles have prepared us for. We see the Day of our Lord drawing ever so much closer – we have only the Lord Jesus Christ opf Nazareth to rely upon. ”As for me and my household we shall serve the Lord!! Joshua 24 v15.
We face the unknown here on earth yet we know what awaits us in heaven. Maranatha, come quickly, Lord Jesus of Nazareth.
Beloved be ready for He is coming quickly!!!!
It is a spiritual battle going on now………..our God is strong and powerful. Let us not forget that He is in control.
I was in the Air Force for 10 years. I was ready to give my life for this country. Whenever I hear of this, I remember hearing in the news about a 12 year old Christian boy that was crucified in the Muddle East. He was in his father’s arms. With his last breath, he said to his father, “I forgive them”! Then he died in his father’s arms. That young man gave his life rather than renounce God! I pray that I have that kind of courage if and when I need it!
Nathan Jones and Tim Moore, thank you for an eye opening article. I never thought about the early church. And then looking at some of the other comments regarding the church as time progressed, I didn’t realize how much the church is prosecuted in the world in this day and age.
I’m a German born 83 year old evangelist and came to America in 1963. I was raised as a catholic, but did not even know God. I live in the State of Washington. It took me 14 years to be born again. God recruited me to be an evangelist. I ministered 3X in Ghana, West Africa, 2X in Israel and 2X in Egypt. I seen many healings and deliverances. I wrote 6 Christian books. I been deprived of my royalty payments and need to contact an attorney also for infringement on my copy rights. I contacted Jay Sekulow in October, but he was or still is involved with President Trump. I need to start my own publishing company because I physically watched on my computer screen as many – one line after another were deleted from our ongoing communication, but I had copied them already and have proof. Do you have any connection with Jay Sekulow? I need help being able to write what the Holy Spirit reveals to me which extends all the way to the White House. Can you contact me for a deeper conversation. Please remove some or not publish any of this information. Being a foreigner I don’t know all these legalities. You can also call me. 253-279- 8520 which is my cell phone. Thank you very much. God bless you for your commitment to serve the body of Christ which I’m experiencing for 35 years. I expose Pastor Mark Biltz in my revised book which I need to publish with someone else. Help!!!
Why is the church not fighting the cancel moguls with class action lawsuits?
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In spite of it, let’s keep sharing the Good News concerning Christ, who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day. Any and all who place their faith and trust in Him alone, apart from their good works, will be saved. One of these days all whom the Father has given to the Son will have come to Him and the Body of Christ, the true Church, will be complete. Then Christ will return for His Bride. Perhaps Today! Those who love His imminent return and live in the light of it will receive the Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). Those who have a part in leading the lost to Christ for salvation will receive the Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20).
I like to reply to Robert’s question. First of all many or possibly most churches are only playing church. There is no debt to it. It is not the peoples fault, they have not been taught! Therefore the Holy Spirits power is missing in their life. Many are waiting to go to heaven now that they are saved but have no spiritual growth afterward. Yet, Jesus gave His life on the cross for our sins so that our slate is clean. He was crucified and buried, but He also resurrected and ascended to the Father to make intersession for us. Many believe that the Holy spirit went away with the disciples. 1Cor.12 describes the 9 gifts we are able to be empowered with if we are spirit filled and receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Pastors have no courage, backing and spiritual power, they see our morals drift away. Will women go topless is two years? Our country is very corrupt, I have proof through heart braking personal experiences. Money controls. You can be bought by some of these rich people. When we talk about thousands, they mention their millions, billions and trillions. We are ripe for revival to bring many down to their knees which I will ne a part of. Read my books.
Great article and I wish more churches would be brave and have these discussions. For me personally, Twitter ruined it for themselves… the day they shut a President of The United States 🇺🇸 off was the the day I de-activated my account with them. I’ll never stop talking about Jesus, HE is all that matters and even more now than ever before, especially during this censorship season we are in… I’m Keeping an Eternal Perspective. Businesses such as retail stores censoring as in the case of Mike Lindell removing his pillow sales or sports team members such as NFL making a point to not honor our godly anthem on the field will lose my purchases and interest. I don’t need them, they need me and I only need Jesus Christ.