We had a fantastic social evening of pasties, puddings and games on Saturday evening. Well done to everyone who made it happen, and we must do it again some time!
One game we played particularly fascinated me. It was a game called “Majority Report”. It was like a quiz except the points awarded were based on the number of teams who had the same answer. So if there were seven teams and six teams had the same answer, all those teams would score six points, and the other team with a different answer would score one.
In the beginning each team was concerned more about giving the right answer. But as the purpose of the quiz became clear each team became more concerned to give the same answer as everyone else in order to score more points. So the answers became less a matter of right and wrong, than following popular opinion.
Of course it was only a game. But is there a massive temptation for us as Christians to abandon what we think is wrong and right, and follow the crowd instead? We might, for example, want to hold on to the traditional view of sexual ethics outlined by the Bible and articulated by Jesus, but when we find ourselves at odds with our neighbours, then the temptation to go along with the flow can be overwhelming.
In my experience most believers do not wake up one day and decide to turn their backs on Scripture. Rather, they find the values and teaching of Scripture at odds with those of the culture around them. Gradually they begin to conform to the world’s way of thinking (Romans 12:1) and they will seek to reinterpret Scripture to justify their point of view. The trouble is, when faith is adapted in this way over one issue, then faith overall subtly starts to become a matter of personal preference and interpretation.
It seems to me that in the West the church is confronted with a stark choice at the moment. We can have a comfortable faith which is acceptable to our neighbours but has no power to transform lives, or we can the faith of the cross which comes with a cost, and takes seriously the challenge to take up our cross and follow Jesus, wherever He leads. If we take the latter view, we will not be winners in the world’s eyes. But we will be seen to be different, to be salt and light, and in the end it is only Christians who dare to be different who can truly be effective in sharing the good news.