There is no doubt that the times are changing, no doubt that Western society is undergoing a great transformation in which those who hold to the Christian faith, or those who even respect it, are becoming a bare minority.
Secularism and modern forms of paganism are quickly rising as the expected and respected alternatives to Christianity.
And while Christians are notorious for predicting that persecution is just around the corner, it is not irrational to foresee increasing challenges and increasing difficulties coming to those who faithfully live and worship as Christians.
Alistair Begg’s new book, Brave by Faith: God-Sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World, is a call for Christians to live with courage and boldness in this new culture.
“In reality, for us in the English-speaking West,” he says,
“this world has tended to feel very much like home, and our treasures have been right before our eyes. But now we are finally facing the fact that this broken, sinful world in which we live is not actually our home—that what the Bible says concerning believers in this world is really true: that we really are aliens and that we really are strangers.”
And while this has always been the case, it has been obscured by the size of the church, the power of the church, and the legal protections afforded to it.
In 7 relatively brief chapters, Begg provides an exposition of the first 7 chapters of Daniel, applying the text specifically to the challenges of living in the modern West.
In the first chapter he encourages Christians to know their lines, to consider where society will demand we compromise and to know where we stand on those issues.
In the second chapter he encourages them to keep their confidence, to remember that God is sovereign and that history unfolds only under his control.
As he continues, he calls Christians to obey God despite difficult and unjust consequences, to speak out with the good news of the gospel, to see through the glitter of society’s idolatries, and to serve well and stand firm in lives that seem very ordinary. He concludes with a reminder that God has promised he will win in the end and that, truly, Christ has already conquered.
Though Brave by Faith is only a short book, it packs a punch. It calls Christians to live in a distinctly Christian way in a distinctly unChristian culture.
It gives us the wisdom we need and the confidence we may lack to face the challenge of a society that is turning not only away from us, but is even turning against us. For, as we learn, others have faced this challenge in the past and honored God through it.