Courageous by Faith
There is no doubt how the times are changing, no doubt that Western society is going through a great transformation in which those who hold to the Christian faith, or those who even respect it, are becoming the bare minority. Countries like the UK, Quotes, and Canada already are quite far along in this process plus, while the US continues to be insulated for a little bit longer, it is now clearly heading in the same direction. Secularism and modern forms of paganism are quickly rising as the expected and respected alternatives to Christianity. And while Christians are notorious for predicting that persecution is just around the corner, it is not irrational to anticipate increasing challenges and increasing difficulties visiting those who faithfully reside and worship because Christians.
Alistair Begg’s new book, Brave by Trust: God-Sized Confidence inside a Post-Christian World, is really a call for Christians to live with courage and boldness in this brand new culture. “In truth, for us in the English-speaking West, ” he admits that, “this world provides tended to feel very much like home, and our treasures happen to be right before our eye. But now we are lastly facing the fact that this particular broken, sinful planet in which we live is not actually our own home—that what the Bible says concerning believers in this world is really correct: that we really are aliens and that we really are strangers. ” Even though this has always been the situation, it has been obscured by the size of the church, the power of the church, and the legal protections afforded to it.
But today’s secularism is pushing back hard and starting to erode many of those “advantages. ” Even in the West, built on the values of classical liberalism with its freedom of mind and freedom of religion, it may quickly be impossible to keep the respect associated with society while furthermore maintaining a Christian conscience. In that framework, what are Christians to complete?
Begg suggests we turn to the book of Daniel to learn how to reside in a society that is directly opposed to us. This book tells about Daniel and a number of his fellow Jews who lived in exile in Babylon. It tells how they were able to live since functioning and often respectable members of that society, while still keeping themselves separate from its pagan values. This tells how they had been willing to face the outcomes when society demanded from them what The almighty had forbidden. It tells how The almighty cared for them plus protected them, keeping them from slipping into error, give up, or denial. Of course the hero plus main character of the book is not Daniel or his friends, but God. “The overarching message is just this: God is powerful, and God is sovereign, as well as the face of conditions that appear to be prevailing against his people, we may trust your pet entirely. The battle may seem to be tilting against the church, yet God still dominates supreme. ”
In 7 fairly brief chapters, Begg provides an exposition of the first 7 chapters of Daniel, using the text specifically to the challenges of living in the modern West. Within the first chapter he encourages Christians to find out their lines, to think about where society can demand we bargain and to know where we stand on those issues. Within the second chapter he or she encourages them to maintain their confidence, to keep in mind that God will be sovereign and that history unfolds only below his control. As he continues, he calls Christians to follow God despite tough and unjust consequences, to speak away with the good news from the gospel, to see through the glitter of society’s idolatries, and to function well and stand firm in life that seem very ordinary. He concludes with a reminder that God has promised he will win eventually and that, truly, Christ has already conquered.
Though Brave by Faith is only a brief book, it packages a punch. It calls Christians to live in a distinctly Alfredia way in a distinctly unChristian culture. It offers us the intelligence we need and the self-confidence we may lack to handle the challenge of a culture that is turning not only away from us, yet is even switching against us. Designed for, as we learn, others have faced this particular challenge in the past and honored God via it.