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The Church is Losing Its Power to Oppress, But That's Okay

There's an interesting fear in the Evangelical community that they are being oppressed in some way. I have a bunch of Facebook friends in the Evangelical community and they often post about how they are being oppressed for their views on homosexuality, abortion, spanking etc. For a while some of them were championing the cause of 'Religious Freedom', as though they were being stopped from practicing their beliefs. Many of their posts were filled with fear. But where is this fear coming from?

The reality is just that the Church is losing the hegemonic power and control it used to have. It can no longer oppress and suppress alternative viewpoints. In our postmodern world you must now compete with alternative claims of truth, and this can be frightening if you're used to being in the driving seat.

But what's interesting is that the Bible itself doesn't seek to silence alternative viewpoints, but is exactly how the Bible is made up. It's a collection of varying viewpoints and understandings, and the editors of the Bible didn't seek to harmonise the theology or the contradictions that exist. In fact the rough edges and alternative views are what gives the Bible its depth and unique character.

The history of the Church also gives us an insight into why the Church losing its hegemonic status is not a bad thing. The early Christians were not part of the powerful, elite that many Christians are today. They were oppressed outcasts that were welcomed into a new hope where all would be equal. It's only when Christianity becomes the religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine that it becomes the religion of the powerful.

So perhaps when Christians feel threatened by alternative viewpoints of 'the other', they could remember that Christianity is a religion for 'the other' who has been oppressed by the powerful.
The desire to silence the 'other' is so prevalent in the Evangelical Church of today, but perhaps Jesus is showing us another way.

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