Mar 31, 2017 by Will Maule

'American Christians Should NEVER Compromise On The Bible In Public Life'

There is a debate raging over whether American Christians should start adopting a benedictine approach to living out their faith in modern America. That is, refusing to compromise on certain aspects on their faith, be it in politics, education or any other sphere of public life. But critics of this view see it as isolationist and think that we should be careful not to retreat from the world's problems. 

"Whenever I talk about the Benedict Option, my strategy for conservative Christians to live faithfully in our post-Christian nation, inevitably someone will ask, "Are you saying that Christians should head for the hills?"" writes Benedict Option advocate, Rod Dreher at Dallas News. 

"No. For most of us, that would be neither feasible nor desirable. Monks are called to the monastery. Lay Christians are called to the world. But given the definitive shift away from Christian belief and norms in public life, the laity are going to have to start living more monastically in the world - or we are going to lose the faith entirely."

Dreher argues that in admist the 'religious decline' engulfing the US, we need to start thinking about how to respond. "We in the West have been in a place like this before. When the Roman Empire fell in the in the fifth century, its collapse was a catastrophic blow to its people, who had never known any other order," he points out. "Out of the ruins came Benedict of Nursia, a Christian who sought a way to live faithfully amid the rubble of a once-great civilization. He started a monastic order and wrote a rule for them to live by."

"Over the next few centuries, Benedictine monks spread across Western Europe, establishing a steady, evangelizing presence amid the darkness and chaos of the barbarian era. They helped lay the groundwork for the rebirth of civilization."

Now, argues Dreher, it could be time for Christians to ensure history repeats itself. "There are a number of lessons, but they all depend on a conviction that believers have to understand themselves as exiles and change their lives to live accordingly. That means separating in limited, targeted ways from the secularizing mainstream, and embracing truly countercultural discipleship," her writes. 

"This can include changes as big as withdrawing from public schools (or Christian-in-name-only religious schools), or as seemingly small as refusing to let our kids be a part of immersive smartphone culture."

This still sounds a bit isolationist, doesn't it? "Does this mean running to the bunker with a Bible in hand, and watching the world go to hell with our fellow pious preppers? Not at all," argues Dreher. "But if we are to remain faithful under increasingly adverse cultural conditions and bear authentic witness to post-Christian America, we are going to have to spend a lot more time within our Christian community in rigorous spiritual training."

Now is not a time to compromise on the central tenets of our faith, argues Dreher. "Christians can best serve the common good by serving God first, and coming to the public square as Christians in full, not as conformists or compromisers," he writes. 

"If we are refused admission because our faith offends, so let it be. It is far more important to be a faithful Christian than to be a good American. Time was that there was no conflict between the two goals. Those days are over."

"No matter which tradition you worship in, the future of Christianity in America will be a lot more Benedictine in spirit and practice - or it won't be at all."

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