NICHOLS: For some people, the decision might very well be made for them, and that may be sooner than later. I’ve interacted with a lot of people who have faced this, even some in leadership positions in corporations where, in the last two years, they have seen a radical shift in the corporate culture and have felt the pressure. This is something that’s probably going to continue to increase rather than diminish.
It is incumbent on the individual to work through his own context and what is best for him and his family, and that person is responsible for his conscience before God. This is what we all enjoy about the Westminster Divines and the liberty of conscience as a key piece to what they were about. The reality is, in some corporations, that decision might be made for you to force your hand to condone or endorse something that is not aligned with your convictions.
In the American church context, we have enjoyed a relationship with our culture that has been one of friendliness, such that it has, perhaps, even been in our favor to be Christian. We need to recognize the cultural shift, and we may very well find ourselves experiencing persecution. If you go back into the pages of the New Testament, it wasn’t just physical persecution they suffered, it was also economic persecution because of their convictions and how out of step the early Christians were with their Roman counterparts and the Roman culture. That may be where we are headed.
PARSONS: I think we as the church in the United States are beginning to see for the first time in a sweeping way just how much the world does hate us, and it’s a surprise for a lot of people. Michael Reeves has been living with this for most of his life in the UK. Most of the Christians throughout the continent of Europe have been living like this for a long time. Now, it has come to our shores, and we are going to find ourselves persecuted.
We are going to be accused of hate speech for speaking the truth in love. We are going to be accused of being obstinate and intolerant simply because we’re striving to proclaim the gospel of Christ and the exclusivity of Christ. We will be considered bigoted. We will be considered difficult to get along with. We’re beginning to face what many Christians faced even in the early centuries of the church. So, persecution shouldn’t be a surprise to us, yet that doesn’t mean we cease to shine as a light to the world.