The way this country is trending, unless the Lord intervenes, it may not be long before the USA is a post-Christian nation. Only 4% of adults currently have a Biblical worldview as the basis of their decision-making. We are potentially only a generation away from being like many countries in Europe where the church is effectively irrelevant.
I've lived in a country that is post Christian. When we lived in the UK, active Christians made up about 2% of the population. In the very poor area of London where we lived, less than 0.5% were in church on any given Sunday.
Recently, I've met with one of our medical school friends who has become a Christian (he describes himself as "the happy-clappy variety") since leaving medical school. One of his first comments to me was, "Do you remember how all the rest of us used to ridicule and persecute the Christians?"
Persecution of Christians wasn't physical, but it was social/emotional. In the media, Christians are portrayed as weak-minded wimps. They are laughed at in institutes of higher learning. There is a definite cost to discipleship.
But this has some positive effects:
- People take a discipleship lifestyle much more seriously. Admitting to being a Christian is not a step to be taken lightly.
- Light shines brighter in the darkness. The contrast between believers and non-believers is greater.
- There's a sense of deeper community. You have less in common with the world and stronger relationships with those of God's family.
- It's exciting to meet someone else who's a believer–something to discuss over the dinner table.
- Christians and churches tend to work together more cooperatively. There's much less separation along denominational or theological lines.