Christendom is Not the Gospel: Thoughts on Christian Privilege


Great reflections from my friend Carson Clark on Christian privilege:


Are you truly concerned with defending religious freedom or is your concern, in fact, merely maintaining Christian privilege? Here’s a one question quiz that answers:

Would you be cool with a public high school teacher hosting meetings in his classroom after school hours where he’s sharing his faith, teaching students how to pray, and studying the sacred text?

Now for the kicker:

If your answer depends on whether he’s sharing the Christian faith, teaching Christian prayer, and teaching the Bible OR he’s sharing his Islamic faith, teaching Muslim prayers, and teaching the Quran, then your concern is not religious freedom. Your concern is Christian privilege.

So, what is Christian privilege? These days “privilege” is often presumed to be a pejorative term. The way I’m using it, however, is in its most plain and factual sense. Since the onset of Christendom in the 4th century, Christians in the West have come to expect a certain degree of perks, advantages, preferential treatment, favorable laws, economic benefit, cultural influence, and the like. That’s the quintessential description of privilege.

The thing is, Christendom is not the Gospel. To channel Mark Noll for a moment, for far too long now Christians in the West have been inclined toward emphasizing Christ’s crown to the neglect of emphasis on Christ’s cross. They want the power and the honor, not the servanthood and the humility. That’s why we need to stop conflating religious freedom and Christian privilege. One of these things is a betrayal of the Gospel.

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