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How To Be A Christian Dissident in an Increasingly Authoritarian Age


Today’s persecution might not look like what Solzhenitsyn, Bonhoeffer, and Wurmbrand faced, but it is here and growing, and Christians must be prepared to stand as beacons of light guiding their communities through the murky waters of misinformation — armed with the sword of the Spirit and motivated by a love that seeks the truth.

In an era saturated with fake news, false narratives, and rampant misinformation — and a growing surveillance state supporting new forms of authoritarianism and totalitarianism — the role of a Christian dissident becomes increasingly crucial for those grounded in conservative evangelical beliefs.

The term “dissident” traditionally evokes images of political rebels challenging oppressive regimes, but in the context of our contemporary information landscape, Christian dissidents emerge as defenders of truth and guardians of moral integrity.

We all know and admire the stand taken and the suffering endured by historic Christian dissidents like Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Richard Wurmbrand against the tyranny of hard totalitarianism, but we also need to familiarize ourselves with those today who are speaking truth to power and paying a price in this “soft” era of lawfare and two-tiered justice. These include Christians who refuse to compromise their faith like baker Jack Phillips, florist Barronelle Stutzman, teachers Tanner Cross and Peter Vlaming, street preachers like Damon Atkins (seen in the image above being arrested for sharing the Gospel at a pride event in Reading, Pennsylvania), and the many pro-life activists who have been assaulted and even sent to prison for peacefully protesting abortion.

And one need only look to Europe to see that the persecution will likely increase in both numbers and method. According to a report by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians (OIDAC), attacks on Christians across Europe have jumped 44 percent in the last year, including arson, vandalism, physical assault, and arrests for citing Bible verses and praying silently.

To understand the essence of being a Christian dissident, one must first grasp the concept itself. Definitionally, a dissident is “a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.” In the broader sense, it is an individual who opposes official policies, challenges societal norms, or deviates from the accepted mainstream narrative.

In the Christian context, dissent takes the form of questioning prevailing cultural ideologies, challenging secular worldviews, and standing firm in the face of moral relativism. As Christians live through an era of increasing social hostility for our beliefs, combined with an “official policy” of the radical, biology-denying LGBTQIA+ religion, embracing the role of a dissident will be an important exercise and mindset.

Christian dissidents play a crucial role in combating the pervasive influence of fake news and misinformation. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Colo., recently commented on X about some of the lies we were fed during just the COVID era, including that Anthony Fauci didn’t fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab in China; school shutdowns are good for children; economic shutdowns can stop the virus; and just two weeks are needed to slow the spread.

Lee noted, “Christians who questioned these false narratives were labeled ‘Grandma killers’ and ‘conspiracy theorists.’ We dissented from the official narrative. We were eventually proven right.”

The Bible, as the foundation of our beliefs, provides a solid framework for discerning truth from falsehood. Proverbs 12:22 reminds believers that “the Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”

In a world where truth is often distorted or manipulated for various agendas, Christian dissidents are called to be unwavering guardians of the truth, reflecting the divine commitment to honesty and integrity.

We are reminded that one of the key battlegrounds for Christian dissidents is the realm of media and information dissemination. In the digital age, where information spreads rapidly through various platforms, discerning truth becomes an even more challenging task. Christian dissidents, therefore, must engage with media critically, applying the principles of discernment outlined in the Bible.

Proverbs 14:15 advises, “The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.” This wisdom should serve as a guide to Christian dissidents as they navigate the complex landscape of information, striving to separate fact from fiction.

Courage lies at the heart of Christian dissent. To stand against the prevailing narratives and challenge the status quo demands a steadfast commitment to biblical principles. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Christians are reminded that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” This courage is not rooted in mere obstinacy but in the unwavering belief that a higher truth, grounded in the teachings of the Bible, must prevail over the deceptive narratives of the world.

The conviction of a Christian dissident also stems from a deep faith in the infallibility of God’s Word. In a society increasingly prone to relativism, where truth is perceived as subjective and malleable, Christian dissidents uphold the notion of absolute truth rooted in the teachings of Scripture. This conviction is not a rejection of intellectual inquiry or critical thinking but a resolute commitment to a moral compass that transcends the ever-shifting sands of cultural relativism.

The responsibility of a Christian dissident extends beyond the personal sphere to the broader community of believers. Ephesians 4:15 emphasizes the importance of speaking the truth in love, a principle that should guide the interactions of Christian dissidents within their communities. It is not enough to stand against falsehood; the manner in which dissent is expressed also matters. Love and respect must characterize the discourse, even as one challenges prevailing narratives.

Moreover, Christian dissidents are called to foster a sense of unity among believers. In a world divided by conflicting ideologies, the dissident’s role is not to sow discord but to encourage fellow believers to stand firm in the face of falsehood. The Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:27 urges believers to “stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” Christian dissidents, therefore, work towards preserving the unity of the faith even as they challenge prevailing falsehoods.

In conclusion, being a Christian dissident in an age of fake news, false narratives, and misinformation is both a calling and a responsibility. It requires courage, rooted in the belief that God has not given His people a spirit of fear but of power and love. It demands conviction that is anchored in the unwavering belief that the Bible is the ultimate source of truth in a world prone to moral relativism. Christian dissidents stand as beacons of light guiding their communities through the murky waters of misinformation, armed with the sword of the Spirit and motivated by a love that seeks the truth — for the truth will set us free.

The Church must be involved in public discourse and influence. That’s why we write — so our readers can be equipped to understand and pursue righteous change in the world. For more timely, informative, and faith-based content, subscribe to the Standing for Freedom Center newsletter.

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