By Jared Ratcliff | September 7, 2019
Since Christianity began at the cross of Christ until now, it has faced opposition. It started small. Jesus had twelve disciples and several thousand followers, until the cross, when everything changed. Realizing that He would never be the king they sought to deliver them from the Romans, most of His followers and one of His disciples deserted Him. But once the disciples came back onto the scene less than two months later proclaiming a risen Savior and a King to deliver us from not the Romans, but the world—Christianity grew like a wildfire. The new religion’s followers faced extreme opposition, including torture and death—but it took Israel and the rest of the known world by force.
Now, almost two thousand years later, the world is dominated by a country built on principles of religious freedom. Christianity has become accepted, and its growth has all but stopped. Today, only two mainstream Protestant denominations are growing: the Mormons, and the Seventh-day Adventists. All others are in decline. Our church is growing slightly faster than the Mormon church, at 1.5—2.5% per year. We are barely keeping up with the country’s growth rate. Our church makes up only 0.33% of the population of the country, or 1 in 300, and a high percentage of our members don’t even attend church regularly. In a country where the number of atheists is at an all-time high, we have a problem.
What changed? Outside of North America, Christianity—and our church—is growing far more quickly than here. Those same parts of the world have much less religious freedom than we do, just like in Jesus’ time. Could it be, that in acceptance, we have grown complacent? That we do not value our relationship with our Father as we used to?
Dave was born into what we may not consider a very good family. History seems to suggest that he may not have been born to a married couple, as he was mostly excluded from the family. His one comfort in life was his relationship with God, which he valued above all other relationships in His life. While still young, Dave was called into service to his king. He was the court singer for several years and his fame greatly increased. He also became known as a great warrior, and became the general of all the country’s armies. Life was great until the king asked for his allegiance; he wanted to adopt him as a son. But David, the Lord’s anointed one, could not pledge his allegiance to Saul, forsaken by God. Saul became angry with David and jealous of his popularity, and he set out to kill him. And for several years, David lived as a fugitive in the wilderness of Israel, constantly fleeing capture, but staying true to God and not bowing to the king.
When pressured to give up his faith at the risk of death, David stayed faithful, and dedicated his entire life to serving God. In hardship, rather than giving in, he stubbornly stuck with his faith and his Father. It has been said that it is the nature of humankind to be stubborn. When faced with threats of punishment, we tend to stand firm to our beliefs rather than giving in. Conversely, when we have freedom, it is easy to lose sight of the value of our faith.
Jesus is coming—the One who loves us more than any other. 99.67% of America is outside our doors. Let’s stand firm and share Him.
Jared Ratcliff is a young adult currently attending Wenatchee Valley College, pursuing a career in healthcare. Jared enjoys outdoor recreation, including hiking, camping, and kayaking. He enjoys photography and design work, and is the Cashmere SDA web developer. He also enjoys writing, and works as an English tutor for the college he attends.