Christians Were Never a Moral Majority

As one reads the Gospel according to Matthew, and encounter’s Christ’s warning in chapter 7 to avoid the wide gate leading to destruction, it becomes clear that genuine believers have always been a minority. Yet, in the political discourse, a perpetual effort continues among culture warriors to portray believers as a “silent” or “moral majority.”

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and author of Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel, adapts a portion of that book in a recent commentary for The Christian Post. He argues, among other things, that Christians should not delude themselves into believing they are a majority in any culture. He writes:

One of the reasons I say that it is good for American Christianity to no longer think of itself as a “moral majority” is that such a mentality obscures the strangeness of the gospel. When a vision of Christian political engagement hinges on building a politically viable network of ideologically united voters, Christ and him crucified will tend to be a stumbling block, not a rallying point.

… Even some sectors of religious activism chafe at the honest accounting of apostolic Christianity as a minority viewpoint in Western culture. Minorities do not exert influence, they will contend, on the culture or the systems around it. The temptation is to pretend to be a majority, even if one is not.

But this is a profoundly Darwinian way of viewing the world, like a frightened animal puffing out its chest in order to seem larger and fiercer, in the hopes of scaring off predators. Such is not the way of Christ. The church of Jesus Christ is never a majority, in any fallen culture, even if we happen to outnumber every[one] else around us.

The impulse Moore highlights, to regard one’s cause as emblematic of a majority even when not, is not confined to Christianity. It’s fair to say everyone tends to think of themselves as “the silent majority.” However, Christian retain a unique reason to reject majority thinking. We’re explicitly told that we will be few, and that the world will be against us. Our hope lays not in some coming political revolution.