I have heard it said (correctly) that the early Christians faced a moral world that in either the same depravity, or worse than what we see now.
Well, farther back than that.
If the Hebrew people had not lived surrounded by idolators and other evils, they would not have fallen in WITH them. So the evidence is that their world saw evil, as ours does.
The Jews just before Christ had forcibly dispersed, and some had returned; and the evil that they saw was as evil as today.
I think (purely subjective) that today seems more difficult for us because it appears so new to us. And (objectively) we do see things that we have NEVER seen before.
Was immorality rampant in 1st Century Rome? Absolutely. Was it worse than today? I don’t know. Some say yes, others say no.
I think that we feel it more because Western Christians have long enjoyed “majority rule,” thus staying safely wrapped in the insulation of tunnel vision.
The phrase “total depravity” best describes the world, and always has. We expect it.
We grieve – yes, for that depravity, but we grieve having to stand by, seemingly helpless, watching the DECLINE of our country and culture, at a breakneck speed.
Homosexuality is the best example.
Only a couple of decades ago, we (collectively) viewed same-sex-sex as abnormal. We knew gay people, we loved them as friends and family, but we loved them, not their chosen lifestyle.
Gay people sometimes (perhaps often) faced bullies and that should never have happened. People should never see bullying as acceptable.
In (culturally speaking) a very short amount of time, we see a decline.
- Traditional family unit (dad, mom, kids) and the gay community as outliers.
- A move away from the traditional family unit with the introduction of “consequence free sex” and “no-fault-divorce” (note: we do find good and Biblical reasons for divorce, and I don’t find “nobody’s fault” on the list.)
- With the traditional family unit undermined, open acceptance of the homosexual becomes tolerated by the culture
- As single motherhood becomes more acceptable, homosexuality becomes not only tolerated, but acceptable as a viable option.
- Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes more popular, as does public spending for single motherhood.
- Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes the demand that the culture view those relationships as identical to heterosexual relationships.
- The demand to see homosexual relationships as identical becomes the demand for culture (via “we the people”) to sanction these relationships.
- the demand for sanction becomes the demand for approval
- the demand for approval becomes the demand for celebration by all people.
- the demand for celebration becomes the demand for participation, regardless of sincerely held religious convictions.
As Christians today look around and see our spiritual siblings SUED and FORCED to provide services to ceremonies found morally offensive, I find myself able to identify with Christians in other times and places, who steep in total depravity through no fault of their own.
We, who enjoyed cultural insulation for centuries, may find this a difficult transition. No, we WILL find this a difficult transition. From power to weakness, from majority to minority, from peace to persecution.
Is the “remnant” ready? I want to be part of the remnant – and I know I’m not ready. If the “steps of grieving” can be applied to this – I’m still in the “denial stage” but we need to get ready.
We need to be in the world, but not of the word. Persecution awaits, Jesus promised. Whether we will be found worthy of the persecution that HE endured, is yet to be seen.