Moody Bible Pres.: Prepare for Persecution

Dr. J. Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute, has a new book out in which he tells his fellow Christians that they have lost the culture wars and now is the time to prepare to stand bravely in the face of (non-existent) persecution. The press release for the book says:

“The culture war is over—and we lost.” So says Dr. J. Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute, in his latest book, Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture (Moody Publishers).

However, this is not an alarmist rallying cry nor a white-flag opus, but rather a prophetic call for American Christians to prepare to live righteously in the face of persecution, not pining for the “good old days.”

For nearly 250 years, Christians in America were able to live in relative freedom from persecution—the societal marginalization of believers with a view to eliminating their voice and influence. “We’ve enjoyed freedom and respect from broader society for our entire lives. With those privileges rapidly disappearing, we don’t know how to respond,” the author explains.

American believers expect their lives to be marked by general prosperity and societal acceptance … persecution is strange. But biblically, it’s reversed.

“The American church has missed a vital element of discipleship. Important spiritual formation cannot be realized without experiencing suffering,” Dr. Nyquist says.

With America’s cultural shift, the church has an opportunity to revisit the New Testament and learn how to apply the many passages on persecution in new ways, he adds: “Persecution gives us the chance to demonstrate to a watching and hostile world what true discipleship looks like. Persecution supplies the life-shaping tools God skillfully uses to mold us into Christ’s image. It’s the next chapter in our stories. Now’s the time to prepare.”

All this is nonsense, of course. Yes, they’ve largely lost the culture wars, though border skirmishes remain to be fought. But that does not mean they’re going to be persecuted. As has been the case in every previous civil rights battle, they are losing is their ability to persecute others. And in all those other battles, they absurdly claim that if they are not allowed to oppress others, they are themselves being oppressed. It’s not much of a basis for such a claim, but what else do they have?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.atomiccitizen.net/ EricJohansson

    At least it’s refreshing to hear him admit that Christians once had privileges (but still do of course). Someone tell Bill O Reilly

  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    Given how much they’re rolling up access to abortion, how popular the Duggars’ show is, how well-entrenched they are in political circles, law enforcement, the military, and the like, I’m not prepared to say that Christianists have lost the culture wars in the US. Not by a long shot.

  • abb3w

    The lines on the abortion front seem to remain in nigh-stalemate, and show no indications of shifting any time soon.

  • Michael Heath

    composer99 writes:

    Given how much they’re rolling up access to abortion, how popular the Duggars’ show is, how well-entrenched they are in political circles, law enforcement, the military, and the like, I’m not prepared to say that Christianists have lost the culture wars in the US. Not by a long shot.

    I agree though conservative Christians are losing on some fronts; e.g., gay marriage, increasing number of “Nones”. What I instead observe is that the opportunity to leverage the persecution meme appears to be increasingly marketable.

  • Michael Heath

    abb3w writes:

    The lines on the abortion front seem to remain in nigh-stalemate, and show no indications of shifting any time soon.

    While polling surveys might be stable, since Jan-2011 the GOP has been incredibly successful in decreasing access to abortion in many states. I’m really surprised we haven’t observed a bigger outcry.

  • Alverant

    As has been the case in every previous civil rights battle, they are losing is their ability to persecute others. And in all those other battles, they absurdly claim that if they are not allowed to oppress others, they are themselves being oppressed.

    That is the essence of privilege and exceptionalism.

  • Sastra

    Nyquist’s strategy works fine I think for small, marginalized groups which stick closely together and try to isolate or seclude themselves from the larger culture. I don’t think it will work for a group which is deeply enmeshed within the world and used to dominating and imagining that they were universally admired and envied. I see more “hey, that’s not what we believe” excuses in their future than “yes, persecute us so that we Presbyterians may accept that we are a peculiar folk.” The Amish they are not…. nor do they really want to be.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    @ composer99,

    Didn’t you know that when they have to see two women walking down the street holding hands or — horrors! — kissing in public it’s persecution? Especially if they have kids to whom they have to acknowledge that such people exist.

    And we all know that recognizing that something exists is the same thing as encouraging people to do it. That’s why every girl who has received the HPV vaccine has gone out and slept with every male they encounter.

  • http://rationalrant.blogspot.com/ sbh

    Noah Webster’s dictionary, so much beloved by Christian home-schoolers, defines persecute this way: to pursue in a manner to injure, vex, or afflict; to harass with unjust punishment or penalties for supposed offenses; to inflict pain from hatred or malignity. Nyquist appears to define it like this: to marginalize believers in society with a view to eliminating their voice and influence. So redefining persecution is okay, but not redefining marriage?

  • jimmiraybob

    The real persecution started when public opinion turned away from torture and the Autu-de-fé/burning at the stake, as well as other forms of murder and mayhem, as means to enforce obedience and fidelity to religious ideas. Been downhill ever since for the totalitarian secular-religious state alliance. Thanks a lot American founding fathers for institutionalizing religious persecution and giving us a democratic republican constitutional government where the people have a chance against religious-ideological hegemony. Damn Epicuro-Stoic radical Spinozists. Oh yeah, fuckin’ Obama. USA! Jesus! USA!

    Sigh. Every once in a while it’s nice to rant.

  • theguy

    “Christians in America were able to live in relative freedom from persecution—the societal marginalization of believers with a view to eliminating their voice and influence.”

    No. Persecution is the governmental “marginalization of believers” and nobody is “eliminating their voice and influence” they’re merely receiving pushback from people with other views. Religion shouldn’t have influence over the government anyway.

    “We’ve enjoyed freedom and respect from broader society for our entire lives”

    If the church has lost respect, it’s their own fault, not because they’re being persecuted.

  • eric

    “We’ve enjoyed freedom and respect from broader society for our entire lives. With those privileges rapidly disappearing, we don’t know how to respond,” the author explains.

    I disagree with Ed that he is entirely wrong. While their freedom isn’t disappearing, the rest of Nyquist’s comment is spot on. Christians used to get a privileged respect, they are losing it, and they don’t know how to respond. Obviously I disagree with Nyquist about this being a bad thing, but in terms of factuality, I agree that religiously-based Christian social values are not being given the deference today they used to be given.

  • raven

    “We’ve enjoyed freedom and respect from broader society for our entire lives. With those privileges rapidly disappearing, we don’t know how to respond,” the author explains.

    It’s basically gibberish but Nyquist accidently got one thing right.

    They aren’t going to lose their freedom whatever that means. It’s guaranteed under the US constitution and no one gives a rat’s ass about them as long as they leave us alone. Not to mention that the US President and 92% of the US legislatue are…Xians!!! You have to be a delusional moron to think that their freedoms are going.

    Whatever respect they had is rapidly diminishing though. They did that all by themselves!!! They earned it by hard work.

    Their New Dark Age isn’t selling so well. The nonstop fundie Xian hate and lies isn’t either. They really are just baggage being dragged along behind our society and holding it back.

    Too bad the Moody Bible Institute doesn’t have like, you know, a bible or two laying around somewhere. It says in the NT, “As you sow, so shall you reap”. They are getting what they deserve.

  • raven

    Nyquist just repeats the usual fundie Xian lies.

    He is pretending his fundie perversion of xianity is US xianity.

    It’s not. They aren’t even close to a majority and never have been. Fundies make up 26% of the US population, Mainline Protestants and Catholics roughly twice that.

    And…a lot of xians don’t much care for the fundies either, according to polling data. A lot of his imaginary persecution is coming from…the real majority of US xians.

  • felidae

    250 years? I guess this dickhead hasn’t heard about the history of religious persecution in Colonial America and the early part of the 19th century

  • wpjoe

    “We’ve enjoyed freedom and respect from broader society for our entire lives. With those privileges rapidly disappearing, we don’t know how to respond,” the author explains.

    Thomas Carlyle said “No man whatever believes, or can believe, exactly what his grandfather believed.” This is what always happens, the new generation has new ideas about the life and the universe. I think this process is greatly accelerated by the internet. You can know people in many different cultures and religions and realize they are not the evil that the church said they were. You can realize that no one has the one truth. These xians’ view of the world will not be replicated in the next generation.

  • kantalope

    The Puritans were all upset that the next generation didn’t see things their way too.

  • D. C. Sessions

    And…a lot of xians don’t much care for the fundies either, according to polling data. A lot of his imaginary persecution is coming from…the real majority of US xians.

    Those so-called “real majority of US xians” are not Real Christians® and come The Revolution, they’ll be the first to to go — they are, after all, heretics and consort with The Enemy.

  • shadowwalkyr

    It’s really very simple. Fundies are being required to follow the rules they set up for everybody else.

    Or, phrased differently, they’re pants-pissingly afraid that the rest of us are going to treat them the way they treat us.

  • thebookofdave

    With those privileges rapidly disappearing, we don’t know how to respond

    Forty years wandering the wilderness on a soul-searching mission seems like an appropriate way of allowing the rest of us to get on with our lives.

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