It is not fashionable to be a Christian. In fact, for some it is unacceptable. We live in the age of a double standard, where “my beliefs (or lack of them) are as legitimate as yours, but your Christian beliefs are no longer acceptable.” Political, academic, and media elites bend over backwards to cater to the vocal minority. Freedom of religion is now defined as freedom from religion.
It is a lie that religion is always oppressive. The Church has had its failures, and many of them, but none of those abuses were ever sanctioned by God. Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against her. If Jesus returned today, He would still recognize His Church. The foundation is not shaken, even though the Church’s influence is diminishing.
In Mike Aquilina and James Papandrea’s new book Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again, they show how our world is increasingly looking much like the Roman Empire in early Christian days. Post-Christian secularism looks a lot like pre-Christian paganism, and both were anti-Christian. Their premise is that much of what is good in the world – love of neighbor, human rights, quality of life, stewardship, and freedom are products of the presence of Christianity. Without a religion of love, people will be greedy for power over one another, treating those without power as expendable or exploitable.
The authors show the seven revolutions – seven gifts – that the Church gave the world, changing it for the better, including the definition of personhood, dignity of human labor, and caring for the poor and sick regardless of their religion. We need to affirm the seven revolutions, and perhaps even start new ones. Early Christianity changed the world precisely because so many were willing to be removed from it than conform to it.
Whatever the Church is going to do, it can do it only if you step up and participate in it. While you are part of something bigger than yourself – Christianity, which encompasses Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and Coptic Christians, at the same time, you are not insignificant. The last chapter is a call to action with many practical ideas of how to put the concepts in this book to practice.
This is not a book that mourns the changing times, nor does it idealize times past. It broadens understanding in the view of history over the last two thousand years, showing that this is not a new road, and that we can learn from the past to change the future.
I may not have agreed with every single point in this book (such as that the American forefathers were not Deists but good Christians who sounded like Deists because of their respect for other faiths; or the action of demanding respect from others), but I found much of which to agree and a broadened view of my place in history. This book inspired me to not be ashamed to claim being a follower of Jesus, even when He has been misrepresented by many who claim to follow Him.
For more information, read about the authors and the book here.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Image Publishing in exchange for my honest review.