15 principles to live by as a Christian in an increasingly hostile world

by Adrian Warnock

Shahbaz Bhatti assassination
Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti’s car; post assassination in Pakistan

Last Friday, I posted about a recent court case that really centered on the perceived conflict between modern society’s requirements and the beliefs of two private individuals. Today, I want to move away from the specifics of that case and outline some general principles that should help us as people of faith to consider similar issues.

  1. We must beware of generalizing. It is easy and intellectually lazy to assume that all Christians, or all evangelicals, or even all Muslims think in a certain way and will therefore act in a certain way. This is patently not true.
  2. Each individual of faith has their own conscience. This will of course be influenced by the interpretations of their leaders and other church members, but ultimately we all stand or fall before our own Master (Romans 14:4). We must understand and accept that people of genuine faith may arrive at very different conclusions to us on certain issues.
  3. We must never compel others to act against their consciences—whatever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
  4. One critical thing that Christians must work out is the distinction between being supportive of others and participating in another’s sin. This is not always as clear as you might initially think.
  5. To use a couple of examples, if you are convinced that sprinkling children is wrong, are you sinning by attending a family member’s christening? Most would probably feel not. But, most would agree that if you did not believe in adult baptism for someone who had been christened it would be wrong to get baptized yourself just so you could fit into a church.
  6. We must learn how to be winsome and how to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) when we disagree with other Christians or with unbelievers.
  7. It is not reasonable for us to expect those who do not know Jesus to follow biblical moral codes.
  8. We must not become known more for what we are against than for what we stand for and for being a loving people…

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15 principles to live by as a Christian in an increasingly hostile world

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