The Dangerous Business of Proclaiming Christ
True Christians in the West are by default becoming more and more distinct from the surrounding culture. As the culture quickly slips into neo-paganism, proclaiming Christ is becoming more and more dangerous and offensive. This can have a devastating effect on our relationships, our reputations, and even our jobs.
As a production designer in Los Angeles, I’ve seen this in action. A few years ago, I was working on a fashion shoot at one of the most prestigious photo studios in town. In another studio in the same building, a high-end fashion shoot was in full swing. When the photographer, a gay man, discovered that one of the male models was a Christian, he promptly had him fired. He made it clear that Christians were not welcome on his set. Being a Christian cost this model his job!
Claiming the name of Christ is sometimes a dangerous business. And holding to God’s revealed truth in his Word concerning homosexuality is even more dangerous. If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, you are immediately labeled a bigot or homophobic. It’s not even okay anymore to just agree to disagree. How did this happen? How did the hostility become so fiery? Somewhere in the last decade, “I disagree with you” came to mean “I hate you.” Tolerance used to mean something along the lines of, “I disagree with your view, but I’m willing to tolerate it,” because it wouldn’t be tolerance otherwise. Now, however, tolerance has been redefined as, “If you don’t affirm everything I do, then you are intolerant!” What a stunning reversal. But that’s exactly what the culture is telling us today. We’d better get with the program, or we’ll be shamed one way or another: financially, socially, even legally.
Time magazine recently published an article titled, “Regular Christians Are No Longer Welcome in American Culture.” In it reads, “when some American citizens are fearful of expressing their religious views, something new has snaked its way into the village square: an insidious intolerance for religion that has no place in a country founded on religious freedom.” The more the LGBT community comes out of the closet, the more Christians are expected to go into the closet. The irony is too absurd to fathom. Although we are not forced to bow down to a golden image, we are pressured to bow down to the great god of Public Opinion.
Over the last several years, I’ve seen many Christians cave to culture. As the legendary London preacher, Dick Lucas, once keenly observed, we are either giving in to the pressure of the world or giving in to the pressure of the Word. As Christians, we are never simply in neutral; we are either being swept downstream by the world or swimming upstream in holiness. There is no state of stasis for a Christian. You are either loving “the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22: 37), or you are loving something or someone else. You are either walking “in the counsel of the wicked” or delighting “in the law of the LORD” (Ps. 1: 1–2). You are either being “conformed to this world” or being “transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12: 2). As it is written in Scripture: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
That’s why Paul correlates the Christian life to that of a soldier in battle and exhorts us to “put on the whole armor of God” every day so we can “stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6: 11). We are engaged in a battle, whether we like it or not. Satan wants nothing more than for us to give in on the issue of homosexuality because then he can keep more and more people in darkness. He’s thrilled that so many Christians have already caved to the pressures of society regarding this issue. The most dangerous part of this is that if homosexuality were no longer regarded as a sin, then why would anyone need to repent of it? And if there is no repentance, of course, there is no salvation: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3: 19). How can someone be forgiven if they don’t repent? It seems unloving to say that homosexuality is a sin, but when we fail to tell someone who is engaging in homosexual behavior the truth that it is sin, we are acting as accomplices to murder.
This may sound extreme, but if you aren’t truthful, you are knowingly aiding and abetting them down the path of destruction. This is truly the most unloving thing you could do. It has eternal consequences. As Christians, we must be willing to go into the fiery furnace rather than compromise God’s Word on the issue of homosexuality. We must be willing to go into the furnace of ridicule from family, friends, and society; the furnace of unpopularity and rejection; the furnace of consternation from colleagues and risk of job loss; and even the furnace of jail, like Andrew Brunson, who was recently released from prison in Turkey after spending two years for the crime of preaching the gospel.
It is easy to follow the world but difficult to follow Christ: “Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?’” (Matt. 16: 24–26). We are often warned by the world to be on the right side of history. But I’m interested in being on the right side of God’s history.
Becket Cook is the author of A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption. He recently received his master’s degree from Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and spends much of his time in ministry, speaking on the issue of homosexuality at churches, universities, and conferences.
Editor's Note: Taken from A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption by Becket Cook. Copyright © 2019 by Becket Cook. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.
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