Published by Good Book Company on February 1, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
How to live confidently for Jesus in a culture that sees Christians as the bad guys.
The church used to be recognized as a force for good, but this is changing rapidly. Christians are now often seen as the bad guys, losing both respect and influence.
In our post-Christian culture, how do we offer the gospel to those around us who view it as not only wrong but possibly dangerous? And how do we ensure that the secular worldview does not entice us away with its constant barrage, online and elsewhere, of messages about self-determinism?
Author Stephen McAlpine offers an analysis of how our culture ended up this way and explains key points of tension between biblical Christianity and secular culture. He encourages Christians not to be ashamed of the gospel as it is more liberating, fulfilling and joyful than anything the world has to offer. He also offers strategies for coping in this world, with its opposing values, and for reaching out to others wisely with the truth.
In Being the Bad Guys, pastor and author Stephen McAlpine explains how Western culture came to view Christianity as repressive and dangerous, rather than simply one option among many others in a pluralistic society. He shows how progressive causes have co-opted Christian concepts such as freedom, equality, and dignity, while removing them from their original context, and explains the basis for believing in biblical sexual ethics. He says that even though Christians are often accused of being obsessed with sex, it is vital to discuss these issues, because sexuality is a major preoccupation for Western culture. However, instead of simply emphasizing what is wrong with postmodern society, he also challenges Christians to consider what is wrong with their own behavior.
Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World That Says You Shouldn’t understands that Christians who hold to biblical sexual ethics will face contempt, pressure, and potential loss of jobs and influence, but McAlpine also addresses some of the ways that Christians have been the bad guys throughout history. Because he writes from an Australian context, he does not address issues of Christian nationalism in the United States, but he speaks to how Christians have historically used power to silence others. He points out that because the tables have now turned, Christians often believe that they are oppressed and try to gain status by claiming to be a victimized group. He challenges Christians to understand what true persecution is and recognize how their side once treated people with limited social power.
Although people who disagree with McAlpine’s views will not be interested in this book, it is a solid resource for Christians who are navigating how to hold to traditional biblical views without being hostile or defensive. The last chapters focus on how Christians can maintain healthy church involvement, reach out to people who feel lost, isolated, and purposeless in the postmodern world, and deal with ideological challenges in the workplace. McAlpine’s tone is consistently realistic and hopeful, and he encourages his readers to accept their new status as “bad guys” without capitulating to pressure or falsely claiming persecution as they move to the fringes of what is accepted and popular in Western society.