In recent years it has been interesting to see how the concerns of the church have intersected with the concerns of non-Christians. This has particularly been the case in relation to freedom of speech. So called shock jock Alan Jones has been very vocal in support of Israel Folau and the right for Folau to express his beliefs. English journalist Douglas Murry who is openly homosexual, not only speaks out for the church’s right to freedom of speech he believes the Gospel has had a positive impact on society. In his opinion the world is a better place through Christian influence and people today should listen to what the church has to say on a wide range of issues. These are two of many examples.
How are Christians to look upon this?
A. God works through unbelievers. All kinds of people from different backgrounds make useful contributions to society. The suffragettes did much to achieve better rights for women. Trade unionists have laboured to improve wages and conditions for workers. While not every method undertaken by such people has been pleasing to the Lord, many positive outcomes have been achieved. If the church benefits from the concerns of non-Christians – let them be heard!
B. The church is not at war with unbelievers. The current situation generates a lot of heat and it is easy for Christians to lose a sense of perspective. While freedom of speech is important and we want it to be maintained, we are not fighting left-wing politicians or the media. As the apostle Paul states, ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ The battle for Christian freedoms won’t be won on the floor of parliament and on talk show panels, but in the prayer closet.
C. All unbelievers need to be converted. In one sense we may think of sympathetic atheists as allies. In reality they are in the same spiritual condition as those who want to silence the church. Douglas Murray is an interesting and articulate individual, yet for all of his support he faces a Christless eternity. He likes the fact that Christianity produces well-ordered societies yet finds no place for personal faith and repentance. We should be more concerned that he embraces the Gospel than standing up for the right to preach it.
We need to remember that democratic freedoms while desirable are not the goal. The church has often flourished without them; conversely, the church can enjoy many liberties and yet fall into spiritual apathy.