I can hear you say, “Christianise your Church… what? That does not even make sense; Church is, by definition, Christian.” I hear your protest and, believe me, I sympathise. However, give me a few minutes of your time and all will become clear.
Upfront, let us be clear about what the Church is. Scripture describes the Church as the body of Christ on earth; a people set apart as a holy nation and a royal priesthood. The Church is further described as a community that gathers in the name of Christ and seeks to live as His disciples, under His banner, fighting against sin, the world, and the devil. The Church is united by two sacraments in particular: (though many Christians count more, we all have these two in common) 1) the sacrament of the Eucharist, and 2) the sacrament of Baptism.
Let us also be clear about what the Church is not. It is not an institution or organisation. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Churches organising themselves; we have, we do, and will continue to do so. Yet, in western Christianity, many of our institutions and organisations have been stricken with rot; no longer serving the Church but the agendas of Liberal progressives and cultural Christians. Sadly, many of these organisations have been mistakenly identified as ‘the Church.’ How we got into this mess will have to be unpacked in another article entirely.
The rot of Liberalism and the deadwood it produces has infected the Church, mainly due to the following: 1) Poor gatekeeping and a lax screening process that fails to take into account how someone’s politics may affect their theology. 2) Poor discipleship that fails to teach Christianity as a complete identity that talks about the Christian peoples as exactly that, a people with a history, values, doctrines, traditions, customs, a vision for civilisation, and pride in who we are, and 3) Poor discipline that fails to tackle those in positions of influence or authority who seek to serve a wider cultural agenda born of man-made philosophies, rather than serve the servants of Christ by building up their discipleship and working to organise the Church to defend and move forward that agenda.
Consequently, what we have now are entire institutions and fellowships of the Church that are following the agenda and concerns of the Liberal Progressive culture, rather than seeking to conquer the world for Christ. To all this, we raise three closed fingers and say DEUS VULT!
In my weekly apologetics class, a sister from the other side of the world spoke about how all of her local churches have fully bought into Liberalism. Contemplating travelling far and wide to attend a church that was not so liberal, she asked me what she should do. I proposed to her that, if she found herself in a Liberal Progressive, cultural-Christian, soy boy fellowship, perhaps GOD had put her on a mission.
For those who believe in muscular Christianity, the following is a tactical outline to help re-Christianise our institutions and fellowships.
Be clear about your own goals on this matter. You are not going to be able to change everything yourself, or all at once, for that matter. So, be patient! Choose your battles, change what you can, your little bit of the picture, and of course, that obviously means changing yourself. Do you need to man up and embody a fuller Christian identity in your own life? The best witness is a life lived in the full richness of Christian truth. So, take steps to make yourself a fuller, deeper, wider Christian as to how you see the world, yourself, and your place in history.
Remember to be incremental with others. Don’t expect to make a Liberal, soy boy Christian muscular in the first conversation. A conflict-averse coward, who doubts his own identity and worth as a Christian, is not emotionally, physically, or psychologically prepared to embrace a muscular vision of the faith and the Church as triumphant over all her enemies and in every sphere of society. Hence, take it in steps. Simply get them to the first horizon on the journey, and then the panorama of what comes next will be obvious to them. Then, encourage them to take the next step. I am going to approach this plan from the idea of laymen, but if you are a leader of any kind in the Church, you might be able to adapt some of the ideas to help you in the same struggle, from your own perspective.
Unify with the Persecuted Christians
Get the liberal Christian to buy into the idea of standing in solidarity with persecuted Christians in a way that is more than just a belief, but in actions. Increase its value and importance in their eyes over and over again. This could take up to a year before they see solidarity with the persecuted Church (not just anybody persecuted) as one of their most important values. Encourage them to stand against those persecuting the Church, and to see such people for what they truly are – the enemy of themselves and the brothers and sisters they love.
Cultivate a Love for the Church
Cultivate a sense of love and solidarity with the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the house of faith (look up those terms in your Bible studies; they will help you marshal your case theologically). Take real actions in this direction, both inside but especially outside of the walls of your buildings, and the comforts of your circles. Let this generate its own culture and go with it.
Elevate truth as a value worth standing on. As you foster this sentiment, point out the competing and contradictory worldviews that oppose the Christian truth. Getting involved in evangelism and apologetics is a really great place to do this, so commit to learning both.
Elevate Evangelism and Apologetics
Elevate evangelism and apologetics within the life of your fellowship. Get involved in street evangelism; and by this, I do NOT mean street preaching. Rather, I mean going in teams, with well-publicised pamphlets, talking to people and doing the follow-up. After you have finished, go for a coffee or a meal, and have a debrief where you share and listen to one another’s stories. Use those conversations to cultivate your joint commitment to the truths of the Christian faith and the need to evangelise. This creates a ‘virtuous circle.’ (see below)
Create Virtuous Circles
A virtuous circle (become familiar with this term – it’s a good one for everything in life) is a complex chains of events that reinforce themselves through a feedback loop. It is when what you do – that is good, builds character in you, but then feeds into the next thing you do, which builds more character in you, and then takes you back to the start, resetting the cycle again. We need to trap the poor, wayward Liberal Progressives, deprived of virtue, into virtuous circles. Also, do not be shy of working with other Christians who think the same. Target the weaker, more malleable, Liberal to bring them onside. Eventually, you might find yourself in the position of being able to crowd out the militant Liberal Progressives.
Cultivate the Theology of Martyrdom
Along with solidarity with the persecuted Christians, cultivate the theology of martyrdom. Do you know about ‘red and white martyrdom’? Go and look it up! Cultivate a love for the martyrs; celebrate them for the heroes they are, across the whole body of Christ in every denomination. When we esteem the martyrs, we naturally think less of the ideologies that killed them. So build up your love for the martyrs in yourselves and in your fellowship. Use them to challenge your fellowship not to compromise on its identity. Your going to need to start learning how to communicate history for some of this – so I hope you bear that in mind.
Pursue Positions of Authority within the Church
Take the internal politics of your ‘church’ fellowship seriously. Get involved, get on its board of governors, its PCC, its ruling council, its high offices. If you find yourself in positions of authority, do what you can to nudge the wider body of your group in the directions being outlined in this article. Also, do what you can to stop the militant progressives from gaining influence over others. If possible, deny them any positions of rank or influence. Do not make it obvious that this is your intention.
Limit Your Opposition to the Militants
When speaking about the opponents of the Church, be clear to distinguish between the ideas we oppose and the people who hold them. Among the people who hold them, there are those who are ideologically committed to seeing those ideas lived out, and those who just might be going along with them nominally. Limit your opposition to the militants only. To be clear, oppose militants whose ideologies are opposed to Christianity.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
Arm yourself with knowledge, but use it like a surgeon. The truth is, most of the haphazard Liberals in the Church are pretty clueless. This gives us the advantage, as long as we speak precisely and deal with facts, rather than idiotic conspiracies. So, engage your Liberal Progressive brothers and sisters in a spirit of comradery and fellowship. When you have a clear sense of where our identity should be and how you’re going to get there, use this knowledge to break down arguments and capture ideas, thoughts, perceptions, and sentiments. Don’t be a control freak! Navigate your conversation organically, rather than robotically. The history of the Church (the people of GOD, not the institutions) is going to be your friend. Also, look outside your own history. Draw out the common challenges faced by the global body, common achievements, common practices. Emphasise unity with other Christians only, and qualify unity with all other groups to those things that advance the agenda of the Church only.
Learn to Defend Yourself
Get as many of the men in your church to take up martial arts and/or fitness classes. It helps to cultivate discipline, a competitive spirit, and a much-needed boost of testosterone. Besides, the time has arrived when Christians need to be able to defend themselves.
Cultivate Christian Solidity
Cultivate pride in our Christian identity; our doctrines, our values, our customs, and traditions (this is actually where knowledge of your fellowship/denomination could come in handy), and the history of the Church. Nothing is as toxic to Liberal Progressive thought as pride in one’s own identity. Do not be shy about it in yourself or in cultivating it in others. What I mean by pride is not hubris or vanity, but a determined solidity of the soul to live truly as a Christian man or woman in the full richness of this identity, allowing it to flavour and colour all areas of your life. We are, after all, building a civilisation here and which begins in every house.
Maintain a Muscular Christianity that is Neither ‘Left’ nor ‘Right’
Watch out for the pitfall of equating this journey of muscular Christianity with an easy pass to all things ‘conservative’ or right-wing. A muscular Christianity has its own beliefs and its own fights to pick with the right-wing of politics. Being able to stand against the right-wing from a strong Christian perspective is crucial to help the soy boy Christian make the leap to spiritual, emotional, and physical maturity. The ‘right’ and the Church are in conflict on national pride and purpose, the care for the poor, the place of the refugee and the immigrant, care for the planet, and all forms of ethnonationalism. However, these I will have to unpack on another day, as some of these differences are about nuance and angle.
Eventually, your Liberal brothers and sisters will stop sounding like a soy boy Liberal. They will begin to sound like committed Christians and even start to sound like muscular Christians. When they do, introduce the idea of rejecting Liberal Progressive thoughts and aberrations consciously. You will know when the time has come by the things they say in your apologetics classes, when talking about the persecuted Church, how they talk about evangelism, the truth, the way they feel about martyrs, and when they have the ‘them and us’ mentality of Christ. Start to move in the direction of consciously identifying as a Christian that is opposed to Liberal Progressive thought and its militants in the body of Christ, within our fellowships, and outside the body of Christ.
So, are you a Christian surrounded by Liberals? Is your church suffering the rot of Liberalism that is killing the branches of your part of the tree? Consider this tactical outline as a wider strategy of re-Christianising and re-disciplining our institutions. Try it, but think in terms of years, although some people will move much quicker. If you try it and see that it is working – please remember to share this article with others along with your testimony about its effectiveness. May we once again see a strong Church fighting valiantly under the banner of Christ, against sin, the world, and the devil. DEUS VULT!