How do Christians “win”?

In our current presidential election cycle, it has become abundantly clear that Christians need to be reminded of what defines a “win” for the Christian and of how that “win” is gained.  So, here are a few quotes from some authors who have helped my thinking on this subject.  I hope you find it helpful too.

Dr. Gregory Stevenson, A Slaughtered Lamb: Revelation and the Apocalyptic Response to Evil and Suffering 

“That each of the seven letters [in Revelation] ends with an eschatological promise of victory places their faithful witness in the context of a spiritual battle with eternal significance.  Victory in this context is not violent bloodshed or violent resistance to political power.  It is faithful witness that embraces the same pattern as Christ’s faithful witness – witness that endures even through suffering and death.  Christian victory is not victory over one’s own enemies but victory over the enemy of God.  Christ conquered through active witness, suffering, and death and it is through that same active witness that his followers conquer the enemy of God.”

“The responsibility of the church in a world beset by suffering, evil, and opposition to the will of God is not violent resistance, nor triumphalistic desires for revenge, nor defeatist surrender due to an inability to reconcile injustice and evil with belief in a benevolent and all-powerful God.  The responsibility of the church in a world beset by evil, suffering, and opposition to the will of God is to witness as Christ witnessed because that is where God is active.  That is where the benevolence, the power, and the goodness of God find its most profound expression.  It is through the cross and the subsequent embodiment of that pattern in the lives of those who have been called to take up their own cross that God challenges the power structures and values of the world.”

Dr. James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

“The body of Christ should be a testimony to the kingdom that is coming, bearing witness to how the world will be otherwise.  Our work and our practice should be foretastes of that coming new city and thus should include protest and critique.  Our engagement with God’s world is not about running the show or winning a culture war.  We are called to be witnesses, not necessarily winners.  We are called to what James Davison Hunter has aptly described as ‘faithful presence.’  Faithful presence is how we occupy creation.”

Dr. N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

“People who believe in the resurrection, in God making a whole new world in which everything will be set right at last, are unstoppably motivated to work for that new world in the present.”

So, instead of thinking “win” Christians should be thinking “witness.”

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