The Church In Exile
In an article entitled Stage II Exile: Are You Ready for It?, Steve McAlpine describes a time in the life of the church where we find ourselves exiled from the mainstream culture and public square. But it isn't the type of exile that we experienced 20 years ago, which he calls "Exile Stage One," where mainstream culture is simply ignoring the church. This is a new form of exile, "Exile Stage Two," in which the mainstream culture wants to bring the church into the conversation, into the public square, but in order to undress and expose it before the masses. So churches with specific convictions are portrayed as bigoted, sexist, homophobic, and hateful. Many Christians may be reeling after the SCOTUS decision today, wondering what (if anything) they should say. One thing is certain, this decision is further proof that the church's voice isn't as loud in our culture as it has been in the past. McAlpine concludes his article this way:
The letter of Jude is true, unadulterated exile language. It’s unadulterated precisely because his readers had never experienced the mild uninterest of Exile Stage One brought about by the eclipse of Christendom. They were hated right from the moment Jesus was nailed to a tree, but got on with contending for the faith, godly living in their communities, and loving God and others nonetheless.
That is what we must recover. Second Stage exiles do not place their hope in a city here, be it Athens or Babylon, but seek a city that is to come (Hebrews 13). Second Stage Exiles do not need the approval of the culture, neither do they need to provoke the culture in order to feel good about themselves. No, true exiles can live out their time in exile with confidence, love and hope because they trust in him “who is able to keep [them] from stumbling and to present [them] before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” (Jude 1:24).
Christian, Second Stage Exile is coming. Are you ready for it?
Originally posted at stephenmcalpine.com. You can read the whole article there.
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