“What are you prepared to do?” That’s the question asked in one of my favorite movies from the 80’s. The movie is “The Untouchables”, and it stars Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia and Sean Connery. The movie tells the true story of Elliot Ness and his group of “Untouchables” as they try and stop the flow of illegal liquor in Chicago during the prohibition era. Though illegal, liquor is still popular. No one is interested in helping Ness. In fact, everyone it seems is actively trying to stop him and help Al Capone.
And THEN What Are You Prepared To Do?
In an early scene in the movie Ness, portrayed by Kevin Costner, is trying to convince Jimmy Malone to join his team. Malone, played by Sean Connery, initially turns him down. But later he seeks out Ness and wants to talk. Convinced that the offices they occupy are not safe to talk in, Malone takes Ness to, of all places, a church. After expressing his desire to “Get Al Capone”, Ness again asks for Malone’s help. The two then exchange the following dialogue:
Malone: “You said you wanted to know how to get Capone. Do you really want to get him? You see what I’m saying? What are you prepared to do?”
Ness: “Everything within the law”.
Malone: “And THEN what are you prepared to do? If you open the ball on these people Mr. Ness you better be prepared to go all the way. Because they won’t give up the fight until one of you is dead.”
While the story takes many liberties with the facts, it remains entertaining. Connery won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Jimmy Malone.
What Are You As A Christian Prepared To Do?
So my question to all of you is, as Christians, what are you prepared to do? We are in a similar battle as the Untouchables. We are fighting a cultural battle most do not want us to win. The odds are stacked against us. We can no longer rely on the media to give us fair shake. Politicians are actively trying to force Christians and Christianity underground. And as with the Untouchables, sometimes we even get attacked from within our own buildings.
We need to come to terms with the fact that the culture is no longer with us. In the past, Christianity was the norm. It was easy to be a Christian. It didn’t cost you anything. That’s not the case anymore. Consistently holding a Christian worldview on sex, abortion, morality and the exclusivity of Christ will cost you something. At the very least, you will be attacked online. In more extreme cases, holding to your beliefs will cost you your job or career. Take these recent cases for example:
Jack Phillips: He refused to make a cake for a same sex wedding. Mr. Phillips had refused to make cakes for other events in the past that conflicted with his Christian beliefs. He refused to make Halloween cakes, divorce cakes and many others. Never was he challenged on these decisions. But after refusing to do the same sex wedding cake, he was hauled before the Colorado civil rights board and threatened with fines. He was told he and his staff would have to undergo “Re-education” to make him more tolerant. Jack ultimately prevailed before the Supreme Court. He still experiences threats and boycotts to this day. Would you be prepared to do this?
Kelvin Cochran: The Atlanta fire chief was fired for holding a Christian view of marriage. Cochran’s self-published 162-page book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?: Overcoming the Stronghold of Condemnation,” included Bible verses addresses sexuality and homosexuality. It was the latter topic that sparked a controversy and an investigation and eventually, his termination. He wrote the book on non-work time. No specific instance of Cochran discriminating against anyone was ever produced. Yet he was terminated because some of his co-workers were “offended”. Would you be prepared to do this?
Jannique Stewart: A pro life speaker was disinvited from participating in a debate at Cornell University after “Disturbing” facts about her past were discovered. What were the facts? That she held to a Biblical view of marriage. The university, in the name of tolerance (it’s always in the name of tolerance that they display their intolerance) disinvited her from speaking. They felt their students would be too distraught at her views on marriage to be able to concentrate on her arguments in the debate.
These are but a select few examples of recent attacks on Christians. So what are you prepared to do? Please understand, I am NOT calling for some sort of violent revolt. I am NOT suggesting we give up either. I AM asking that we get real about the world we live in and make adjustments accordingly. What does that look like?
Are We Being Honest With Our Young People?
We need to be honest with our young people. They will not have an easy life as a Christian. Those days are past. If they are going to take a stand for Christ in the culture today, it will cost them something. We shouldn’t sugar coat that.
Now, I think we can we can offer good reasons why they SHOULD follow Christ over the culture. But we can’t simply tell Bible stories, fill them full of pizza and pray they make out ok. That isn’t going to work. The numbers show it hasn’t worked for quite a while. It’s a recipe for disaster. We are losing our young people, and we need to get serious about keeping them. As Jim Wallace says, “We need to stop teaching and start training our youth”.
Are We Preparing Ourselves?
We need to prepare ourselves for the world we live in. Simple things like putting up a cross, praying in public, evangelizing and participation in events to promote Jesus or Christianity could very well put you in the cross hairs of society. Understand that the other side will open up on you with all they have. And as Connery’s character said, they won’t stop. We had better be prepared for the battle to come.
Is There Any Good News?
In some ways, this is all good. We’ve had it easy here in the USA. We’ve grown reliant on the culture to make our case for us. Christians have assumed that most people will default to Christianity and it’s caused us to be lazy in our study and preparation. As things get more difficult, the cultural Christians will slip away. The church will be smaller, but more invigorated. We will have a more dedicated and determined group. They will have to be. If you don’t believe Christianity is true, if you believe it’s just one of many paths, you won’t have the moral courage to make a stand for it. Like the early disciples, you will need to be prepared and willing to suffer. It may not be physical suffering such as the Disciples faced. But it will still cost you something. So what are you prepared to do?
Have I depressed you yet? That certainly wasn’t my intention. My intention was to sound a warning. If you don’t know what you believe, or why you believe it, you best get to studying. The other side isn’t going to give up the fight until one of us loses. I intend to take a stand. It may be a losing battle. But we know Who will ultimately win the war. I will fight the battle before me. That’s what I’m prepared to do.