C.S. Lewis was always good at making pithy statements. This is most certainly one of the better ones. Proponents of “black theology” back in the 1960’s and 1970’s were most certainly correct when they stated that Christianity had been reduced to a religion that was meant to silence the people. As many things as Karl Marx got wrong, his remark about religion being the opiate of the people was all too often true in the 19th century. When Karl Marx looked at the “Christian” colonial nations of the 19th century, religion was indeed used as a form of tranquilizing the people.
But then came people like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Then came events like World War I and World War II. After World War I came the Bolshevik Revolution. And all of a sudden, religion as the opiate of the people was seen for the cheap imitation of Christianity that it was. Then God raised up people like Saint Tikhon of Moscow, and, yes, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and many others in both East and West who rose up to say that Christianity is not about being comfortable. In the West a new missionary movement got started, with people like the founders of New Tribes Mission and the Wycliffe Bible Translators, etc. In the East, God raised up the confessors of Russia, and even before the Bolsheviks, saints such as Saint Seraphim of Sarov. And guess what?
The number of Christian deaths started rising. Then the number of those who named the name of Christ started rising in both the East and the West. This is not the least bit surprising. As long as Christianity is a comfortable religion, there is no reason for Christians to be killed. It is only when Christianity calls you to deification, to service, to worship, to fasting, to prayer, and to suffering (if necessary) that Christianity becomes dangerous. And Christianity began to become dangerous in both the East and the West. And the blood of the martyrs again became the seed of the Church.
Wait, you will say, but I thought that Orthodoxy is the Church. Yes, Orthodoxy is the Church. But, make no mistake, where the name of Christ is named, there will God try to call people to Truth. And where the name of Christ is named, there will also the devil try to silence the mouths that speak that name. There are some exceptions, of course. The demons are quite happy to allow the cults to grow unmolested until they lead them into a fiery destruction. But, otherwise there is nothing that the Evil One dislikes so much as people who begin to take the name of Christ seriously. And there is nothing to which God will respond as quickly as hearts that are humble, willing to serve him, and willing to become most uncomfortable in his service. For those of you who are Orthodox, let me remind you that when the disciples complained about those who were not with Jesus but preached using his name that Jesus replied that those who are not against him are for him (Mark 9:40).
So, let us pray that God will raise up Christians who are willing to be uncomfortable for his sake. For my part, I hope that they will all be or become Orthodox. But, even if not, may God raise up many who are willing to be made uncomfortable for his sake.