Owen Strachan on Sacrificial Witness

The latest issue of The City, published by Houston Baptist University, opens with a helpful article from Owen Strachan entitled “A Time for Sacrificial Witness: Our Role in the City.” Strachan was recently named Executive Director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

This article calls younger Christians to follow in the steps of our forefathers who gave their lives to advance the gospel. The author draws on church history, identifying martyrs like a slave girl from Lyon named Blandina who was tortured by wild beasts, an unknown hero named Telemachus whose gentle opposition to gladiatorial violence brought an end to the games, and William Wilberforce who gave his life to end the slave trade in Britain. As saints of old sacrificed their lives to advance Christ’s kingdom, so too is our call.

It is true that many younger Christians desire societal acceptance instead of sacrificial witness. Strachan cites a few examples as proof. But he argues that there is “a second movement afoot. . . . This movement see that love in its essence is not shorn of conviction. It is instead a summons to joyful transformation” (9). In a most inspiring section, Strachan writes that this movement

dares to be the most hopeful movement of any on the earth, for it has tasted the possibility of forgiveness, newness of life, and change. It cannot, therefore, demonize those who disagree with it, but rather must reach out to them in truth and grace. Though diverse and far-reaching, this movement does not buy into doctrinal vagueness. It strives in humility to learn from a wide range of figures even as it promotes the great discovery of the Protestant reformers, the saving of sinners by grace alone, as the article by which the church, and we ourselves, stand or fall (10).

As for those who argue that Christianity is a blight on human society, the author throws down this challenge:

Though Christians have never been perfect, they have in monumental ways affected the world for good, whether through the outlawing of the gladiatorial games, the abolition of the global slave trade, the building of countless hospitals and mercy ministries, the triumph of the civil rights movement, and the defense of the unborn. Believers should not be shy about these victories; neither are they aware of similar humanitarian efforts on the parts of, say, the Enlightenment philosophers, or the New Atheists. They should never be afraid to call the bluff of these groups, who excoriate the church for its role in the world while refusing to own the consequences of their own statism, cynicism, and upwardly mobile nihilism (11).

Unfortunately the article is not available online, at least not yet. You can subscribe to The City, or call them and request the Winter 2013 issue. You probably won’t agree with everything Strachan says, but this a strong call by a younger evangelical to his generation to lay our lives on the line for the gospel, kingdom, and fame of our Christ.

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