We all want a safe place where we know we are accepted, where we will not be persecuted for our beliefs, where we can be who we believe we shoul be, and where we can act on our beliefs and are welcome to do so. It is not a bad desire. There are times when we must venture out among people who might reject us and our beliefs, especially if we take the Great Commission seriously, but if we spend all of our time in hostile territory letting all the bombs and bullets hit us, it can be terribly unhealthy- you can get overwhelmed and actually succumb to the enemy.
In a hostile culture dominated by intolerant worldlings who really do look for any way they can to demean and delegitimize Believers it becomes necessary to create safe-havens where the non-Believer cannot legally go and start bossing you around. For instance, your home is not a place where non-believers ought to be able to come in and start ordering you around. What you do there is none of their business.
But, I propose, in the current culture, which is only going to get worse, Christians need bigger safe havens than individual houses. Let me be clear, today Christians live mostly alone in their separate homes and they do not witness the Gospel to their neighbors. The argument against what I am proposing, the creation of Estates that house multiple families as an extended household of faith, would somehow isolate Christians from non-believers seems to ignore that Christians are not only isolated from non-believers, but from each other, each living on an island that the enemy finds to be easy pickings.
Take this recent (April 1, 2015) story about a Christian pizza shop owner who has never ever been asked to cater to a gay wedding, and who does not cater anyway, who was then asked by a weasely reporter if she would cater a gay wedding if asked. She was an easy mark, and the news station, ABC57, knew exactly what it was doing as their reporter breathlessly revealed that this business “refused to serve gays”, which, actually, was a lie.
Being isolated and by itself, the enemy went after her and her family, not caring about the firestorm that woul be created. She simply stated her opinion and now the family are facing death threats by the thousands, all because a local journalist decided to bait them and ask them a question they knew these Christians would not answer in the “approved” godless manner.
Back in 1982 when I saw the future, I saw a future of promise, should the Lord tarry, but a promise that was on the other side of great turmoil, and much of the signs of that turmoil have occured already. In the Western world especially, Christians will have to band together for mutual support and care, some may be able to live openly and legally in intentional communities, others will have to go underground. The hatred of the godless leaders of America for Christ, and because of this, for His People, is extreme and deadly. We will needx safe havens, some in the open right in the midst of the godless as missionary communities, some underground, that are big enough to be self-supportive and small enough to avoid needing too much central authority and to be able to move about if necessary.
I am not talking about becoming monks, I envision 10-15 family Estates acting as missionary communities with as many as 30 total families attached to their “household of faith” for mutual care and support. This is the core unit of the stateless nation of people I saw forming, with these households of faith spread all over the world, bringing the Gospel into unreached places even.
Through what I envision as a global Fraternal Christian Missionary and Refugee Society many hundreds of thousands of these households and their Estates can be connected to act as one when any single member or household is facing some hardship. Christians will no doubt not simply join this Society but they will utilize this concept to form similar housholds of faith, and for the same reasons, albeit with a different culltural focus for each group. They will find that having a larger safe haven then a single family home where they know that godly Christians standards, norms, and values are practiced by all empowers them to go out as a witness for Jesus to the lost. They will not be dependent on the worldlings for survival, but they will also not forget or give up the mandate to preach the Gospel.
Some will not heed this. They will object and quibble as every day the worldlings squeeze harder and harder to turn every public space into an anti-Christian battleground. They will see the danger coming and refuse to hide themselves, and they will suffer: some will turn their back on God.
For those who heed this early, there is hope and a chance of making it to a better day, a day when the core ideals of a Christian civilization rise above the decadent and corrupt fallen civilization to become the guiding light for many hundreds of millions of people. This is not going to be brought about by force, and it will not involve Christians compelling non-Christians to live and believe as we do- it will be powered by God and it will be by free association only.
Forming safe havens is about forming covenant associations with others of sufficient number for self-sufficiency and yet of such a small number as to allow for daily face to face contact. Safe havens are people and relationships and mutual committments: any space set aside is for a time, but that can always change. The most important thing is the mutuality between people. It is having these relationships based on love, respect, and Christian beliefs and values that shields you from constant bombardment by the world while empowering you to be a witness for Jesus to that world!
When you read about Estates, understand that the concept of Christian mutuality and fraternity is what is important. We need a bigger safe haven than the individual home. That is what all this bad news about worldlings coming after Christians to force them to violate their conscience should be teaching us.