What is the greatest threat to Christian faith in the modern world? For a time, I was convinced that it was the dogged atheism of public figures like Richard Dawkins. And for a few years, maybe it was. Their attacks were sound and fury signifying very little, and not surprisingly public interest has passed them by (despite an abundance of filthy-mouthed, basement-dwelling acolytes still loitering on discussion forums, YouTube comments, and other seedy underbellies of the Internet.)
But Christians have responded to this attack. Though some churches did great damage by responding to Evangelical Atheists by simply telling their congregations Don’t Ask Questions, many others offered apologetics-based resources, as did many fine writers defending the Christian faith. And there has always been a wealth of information on the Internet responding to such adversaries. The bigger problem is actually much more pervasive and potentially far more destructive than any atheist attack. It is an enemy that the church has rarely recognized or attempted to confront (though I will do so here.) It is apathy.
People in the West (young people, in particular) are simply not interested in matters of faith. They think that religion is nearly irrelevant; in my series What Is The Gospel, I made the argument that, far from irrelevant, the Christian faith actually provides answers the issues of Sin and Death, the two most vital threats to human happiness and well-being. But there is another objection to the Christian faith, a gut-level grumble that is less intellectual than saying Christianity Is False or Not Relevant.
It is: Christianity Is Boring.
But this objection is wrong; completely, utterly, irresponsibly wrong, despite seeming somewhat reasonable on a surface level. Christianity Is Boring is a lie by the Father Of Lies; a Lie that attempts to convince that the faith does not even need to be investigated for truth or relevance because it’s not interesting enough to merit your time. It is a Lie particularly well-tailored to a generation led by the nose via the screens of Electronic Drugs. The Lie says that Christianity isn’t worth taking time away from cat videos or Buzzfeed lists to even consider; you have more important and interesting and fun things to do than give thought to something as boring as some old religion.
Readers, Christianity is many things, but “boring” is not one of them. I invite you to consider the plight of Iraqi Christians: Driven from their homes, fleeing for their lives from brutal barbarians who roar Praise Allah or Die from behind their machine guns. Would they, if you asked them, say that their faith is boring? Belief in something, anything, really, that is likely to cost one’s life and livelihood cannot be said to be boring. Proclaiming Christ to the barbarian is likely to get you beheaded, stoned to death, or shot – and those are among the better fates. Torture in a Chinese prison, boiling in a vat of oil, being skinned alive, and public immolation for the amusement of a mad dictator are grim fates, but certainly not boring.
To follow Christ is not boring; rather, it is the greatest adventure imaginable. It is the call to devote your mind, body, and heart to the Cause above all other Causes: greater than any political movement, any business endeavor, any creative ambition. It is a call to invest one’s time and resources not for an earthly profit, which is uncertain and never guaranteed, but an immutable inheritance “more valuable than gold” (1 Peter 1.7) in the resurrected Earth To Come.
If Christianity, if following Christ, seems boring, it is only because we have been content with too little, with the belief that it revolves around us and not our King. What is boring is the lie: that we need to be Good to please God and to go to a fluffy, cloudy heaven when we die. That we need to escape and flee from the world, rather than confront the Enemy that helms its twisted machinery. That we need to retreat to steeple-topped citadels and pursue vanity and elitist piety like the Pharisee. That we need to flee from art and beauty and pleasure and joy, rather than create it. To believe that Christ is boring is to believe a lie. I will tell you the truth that vanquishes the lie:
To follow Christ is to become a soldier and march under the banner of the New King whose rule is unstoppable, whose government is just, and whose cause is true and incorruptible. To follow Christ is to defy and confront the wicked forces of darkness, depravity, and evil, whose corrupt delight is hate, perversion, rage, and slavery; ancient forces that rule from black bastions invisible to human eyes, but inescapable in influence. These forces are baleful followers of the Father Of Lies, and they rattle with the echo of the hell-forged chains through which they ensnare Mankind, to keep him from the Father’s grasp.
To follow Christ is to join the invisible armies of Heaven and penetrate the Enemy’s blood-soaked castles and keeps, to raid his dungeons and steal away with the prisoners, to render his forces flaccid and impotent by dismembering them of their weapons. Unlike all other conflicts, this is not a battle we fight with sword, spear, rifle, or missile launcher: the Christian soldier’s weapons are the truth that vanquishes lies, the love that erases hate, the freedom that pierces the Enemy’s shackles like white-hot fire, the faith that rescues minds from ennui and imbues hearts with true purpose.
To follow Christ is to see the enemy, glowering in his domains held firm for hundreds or thousands of years, recoil in terror as the One True Kingdom invades its territory, upheaves its government, and reclaims souls from its clutch. But the Enemy is an old adversary, and will not easily give up. He will storm and rage, pulling the strings of his earthly ambassadors to silence Christ’s soldiers through physical and psychological persecution. He will succeed in demoralizing some, by distracting them from their purpose to make them ineffective. He will kill others, his costly last resort that makes new Soldiers for every one that is slain. But his losses will be greater: Christ’s soldiers shall feed the hungry, extend love to the unloved, build homes for the homeless. They will rejoice and boast in their weaknesses, so that through the cracks in their armor the Spirit shines through.
They shall bring ruin to the enemy’s oldest and strongest weapons: Slavery that binds the flesh and mind. The Enemy will retreat, further and further, as the one Truth exposes his Lies: as the captives are freed from addiction, from drugs and drunkenness, from pornography and perversion. The Enemy will be robbed of his riches and bankrupted by the invading saints, who plunder his storehouses of those ancient allies Greed and Materialism, which he has so often used to bribe and buy off the forces of the Church. And the saints will spread those riches like seeds, so that Life sprouts from the dead earth of the dark lords’ realm.
The Enemy’s temples and tabernacles to Idolatry will be desecrated by the sign of the Cross, as Christ’s saints expose the rotting wood behind the gilded walls of those alluring edifices: and the deceived worshipers who sublimated to the wicked ones shall be freed of Pride, as they boast no longer in themselves, but in the King of Heaven. The saints will topple the Enemy’s idols and dash them to pieces, and the liberated souls will cease their worship of those clothed with Fame, Riches, Success, or False Sexuality, but they shall turn their worship to Jesus Christ the King of Heaven, who is draped in the robe dyed in his own blood, the very blood that won the freedom of Christ’s soldiers from the ledgers of the dark lords of this world.
To follow Christ is to hear the sound of the archangel’s trumpet thundering through the heavens and earth and descend with the armies of God as they scream through blood-red skies in the last battle against the desperate lords of darkness. To follow Christ is to see the still-living saints meet Christ in the air as he descends to earth with the heavenly armies and follow the King as he storms the last redoubts and citadels of the dark lords and slays their rulers once and for all. To follow Christ is to see the Devil himself, the oldest of all Mankind’s enemies, castrated of all power and pride and condemned to eternal torment and shame.
To follow Christ is to see Eden restored and unfurled across all creation, to stand barefoot atop warm grass, the trees and mountains and cities bursting with radiant beauty, more real than any reality previously known, the light of the sun eclipsed by the radiance of King, whose Throne and City now reside amidst Man, with all traces of the Enemy and his Weapons eradicated, and his servants Sin and Death abolished eternally. To follow Christ is to praise the one who is ultimately worthy of worship, who will be worshiped for eternity as the saints labor and travel and explore and learn and love and sing to the Father of all creation and his son, the King who forever bears the scars on his body of the great price he paid, as do all the slain saints who died in service of their King.
No, to follow Christ is not boring.