15 principles to live by as a Christian in an increasingly hostile world

Last Friday, I posted about a recent court case that really centered on the perceived conflict between modern society’s requirements and the beliefs of two private individuals. Today, I want to move away from the specifics of that case and outline some general principles that should help us as people of faith to consider similar issues.

  1. We must beware of generalizing. It is easy and intellectually lazy to assume that all Christians, or all evangelicals, or even all Muslims think in a certain way and will therefore act in a certain way. This is patently not true.
  2. Each individual of faith has their own conscience. This will of course be influenced by the interpretations of their leaders and other church members, but ultimately we all stand or fall before our own Master (Romans 14:4). We must understand and accept that people of genuine faith may arrive at very different conclusions to us on certain issues.
  3. We must never compel others to act against their consciences—whatever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
  4. One critical thing that Christians must work out is the distinction between being supportive of others and participating in another’s sin. This is not always as clear as you might initially think.
  5. To use a couple of examples, if you are convinced that sprinkling children is wrong, are you sinning by attending a family member’s christening? Most would probably feel not. But, most would agree that if you did not believe in adult baptism for someone who had been christened it would be wrong to get baptized yourself just so you could fit into a church.
  6. We must learn how to be winsome and how to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) when we disagree with other Christians or with unbelievers.
  7. It is not reasonable for us to expect those who do not know Jesus to follow biblical moral codes.
  8. We must not become known more for what we are against than for what we stand for and for being a loving people.
  9. Jesus was known as a friend of sinners and had no problem eating with tax collectors.
  10. We must learn how to be in the world but not of it.
  11. If we are going to be a society that truly values diversity, one of the diverse sets of opinions we must learn to value as a society is that of those who take their Scriptures seriously. I say that carefully, because Christians are not the only ones facing such a problem in the 21st century.
  12. We must carefully understand what the state commands and demands of us and in almost all cases obey it. We are to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar (Mark 12:17).
  13. There will be times when something the state asks us to do is in direct conflict with something that God commands and demands of us. In those circumstances, we must obey God and not man (Acts 4:19). We are to render to God what belongs to God (Mark 12:17).
  14. There are times when we must learn to be an Esther, God’s secret agent in a world that hates us, building up a deposit of trust and honor, but (as commanded by Mordecai) not saying who we really are. (Esther 2:10)
  15. There are times when we have to speak up. One of those times is when we are asked directly about something. We are not to lie. We are not to deny him. We must be bold, but gentle, when called upon to take a stand for our God and his glorious gospel. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he seves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso.

Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway.

Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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