It is evident that the increase in permissiveness, the abandonment of sexual ethics and the celebration of sin is being championed by Sin, Satan and the World. The American church is in decline and Christianity is largely unacceptable in the West.
So why is this a good thing? What grace can come from the rapid moral decline we've seen recently?
I have to confess, I was thinking about all this in light of Romans 8:28 (We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.) during the largely uninteresting Iron Man 3. And I really think there are great goods.
What good can come from the marginalization of Christianity and the systematic infringement on religious liberty?
1. It forces Christians to actually consider our sexual ethics. What is the purpose of marriage? Of sex? Of romance? Of procreation? Why does God put such limitations on human sexuality? Are these limits morals repressive, or protective and freeing? How does God view divorce? Over the last sixty years the church has, in general, done a poor job of celebrating healthy sexuality and navigating people through sexual sin. The current climate helps us to consider all these issues.
2. It gets rid of wolves (masquerading as sheep). Individuals who come into the church with an agenda, looking for power, and trying to grab power will be greatly minimized. There is little cultural power to be had among a group of despised and marginalized individuals. Certainly, wolves will still run around in the churches . . . but there will be far less of them.
3. It forces the Church to focus on evangelism and discipleship. Let's face it, far too often the church and her members focus on things that don't really matter too much. We spend money on sound systems and furniture far in excess to what we expend on bringing the good news to those who need it.
4. It eliminates toxic churches. This one is really harsh. But there are some really awful churches out there teaching either false doctrine or false practices (or both)! As Christianity's influence declines, these churches will not be able to survive as their members and finances dry up.
5. It helps the Church rediscover grace. When sin is kept to a minimum because of Christianity's influence on the culture, it is far too easy for believers to lapse into legalism (and condemnation). Now that we are surrounded by so much open sin, believers are faced with a decision. We can summarily damn the vast majority of people we interact with, or we can be like Jesus and meet people wherever they're at . . . and love them like Jesus loves us.
6. It makes stronger believers. By and large believers are going to rise up to the challenge they face, rely on the strength of the Holy Spirit and become stronger followers of Jesus Christ.
What other good things might come from moral decline? How else does God work in the midst of darkness?