Well this idea of a cancel culture has caught my attention because I really didn’t understand what was meant by this terminology. In researching the text book definition it occurred to me that this is nothing new at all and given the history of Christianity it should be considered somewhat normative for the follower of Jesus.
First the definition: Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be “cancelled”. Merriam-Webster notes that to “cancel”, as used in this context, means “to stop giving support to that person”while Dictionary.com, in its pop-culture dictionary, defines cancel culture as “withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.”
While I understand that this terminology may be considered new, the idea of ostracizing the followers of Jesus is as old as the beginning of our Savior’s ministry. Jesus was painfully clear when He told the disciples to expect not to have a place to lay your head because following Him would not be easy. Who can forget Jesus telling us in John 15:18,1918 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
In the early church this hatred was demonstrated by violence and persecution unto death and when it wasn’t at that extreme level it manifested itself by family members or members of society ostracizing the follower of this Jesus.
Peter would even warn that your friends who you used to go out on the town with would question you when you stopped sinning with them leading them to, yes, ostracize you. That means that you may be set aside and treated with contempt and disdain for simply obeying God’s Word.
Make no mistake about it sooner or later the cancel culture will come for those in the Church. This will cause some who are nominal in their faith to abandon the faith. For those who refuse to bow to this ostracizing they will feel societies wrath in areas such as employment and education and virtually every other area of society. Does this sound familiar? It should.
For the Christian we must brace for this wave of the cancel culture which is sure to descend on us sooner than later. One article pointed out that: “For those at the receiving end of cancel culture, the consequences can lead to loss of reputation and income, from which it can be hard to recover.”
While we may anticipate difficulties for the believer in the days ahead we must remember that the environment the American Church has been blessed to be a part of these past 200 plus years is not normal for the Christian. America has provided us with liberties that have not existed over the centuries for other believers around the world. We have been blessed by the Lord for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here. However even though that’s all we have known it is not normative. So we are wise to look around and back in time to other believers who struggled to make Christ known or to obey the Word of God and see that in all of that Christians maintained their faith and Christ’s Church prospered and even thrived. If that was the case for them it may well be the case for us as well. So don’t give up hope when we find the world bearing down on us. There is truly nothing new here, and our Savior is well aware of what is happening.