“Americans Will Now Lose Social Capital If They Hang Around Evangelicals”
The above was a recent headline from TheChristianPost.com. It was based on interviews with various Reformed theologians including R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President, Al Mohler.
They were asked how they believed mainstream American culture was compelling the “mushy middle” of out the church.
In the United States, Mohler says there is now a cost for being associated with Christians and evangelical churches.
“Decades back, people gained ‘social capital’ by going to church. But in the present day, they have to ‘pay social capital’ to go to church,” Mohler said during a question and answer segment held at the Ligonier National Conference last week.
In the past, Mohler said that many people went to church to “add credibility” to their public profile or business or community standing.
“You can gain a bit of social capital by coming to join with us, Mohler responded, explaining how many churches used to talk to seekers. “Join with us. If you just come and be with us, we’ll add meaning and spirituality to your life in a non-threatening way.”
Today that’s not true, if it ever was true.
“In the hardening secularization that we are now experiencing, people are going to pay social capital to hang around with anyone who believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They’re going to forfeit social capital. They’re going to run a risk for being members of our churches,” Mohler noted.
In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, David Benham of the Benham Brothers explained that “it may cost us” to stand for biblical Christianity.
In recent years we’ve witnessed the national vilification of those who would dare to uphold the name of Jesus, advocate traditional marriage, or condemn homosexual behavior.
I am reminded to Jesus’ admonition to “count the cost” (Lk. 14:28), if you’re going to be a follower of His. Discipleship takes priority over family. Friends. Or finances. Yes, even our very life. As Bonhoeffer once wrote, “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”
The reason for being a Christian is because we believe in Jesus, love Him and desire to obey His Word (John 14:6,15). Becoming a Christian, or being a part of a local church because it offers “social capital” is a misguided motive in the first place.
However, I think Mohler and his colleagues are correct that espousing Christian values may now come with a cost either socially or economically. Yet, that should not matter to the committed Christian.
Jehovah is God whether society accepts Him or not.
Jesus is the one Lord, regardless of the false claims of “lords” by corrupt religious groups.
The Bible is still the Word of God, even if our political leaders and the social elite reject it.
God has called us to faithfulness in spite of the pressures to conform to this world or compromise our values.
What we are experiencing today may only be the “tip of the iceberg.” Greater challenges and more serious decisions could soon be forthcoming. Yet, whatever the cost of serving Christ, the reward will be more than worth it. True followers of Christ are not concerned about gaining or losing “social capital.”
The Spirit’s call through the beloved John is an important reminder. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman