The thesis is that if and when Christians individually and as a community assert the kingship of Jesus Christ in the world (this present evil world, alienated from God, the Father), the world will not merely oppose such a confession but will hate those who make this confession and will persecute them in various ways. Naturally, I am not saying that an inoffensive, parlor-Christianity proclaiming a social welfare program and, in the end, the salvation of all, is going to be hated. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, and the world recognizes its own.
But the true children of God, because they condemned the works of the world, have been hated and persecuted from the time of Abel and Daniel until now. Hatred does not always express itself in outright murder, in the lions’ den, or the clenched fist of the Nazis and their concentration camps. There is a more subtle, and perhaps, in the end a more destructive form of hatred which is expressed by ignoring the disciple of Christ.
Modern culture does not take the Christian claim into account; the Christian receives a pitying glance at best. This is refined, cultured hatred, and it is devilish. The silent hatred of the world against the Christ of God, which comes to expression in the neutrality concept as applied in the field of education, art, labor relations, journalism, etc., is the most destructive of all and the hardest to combat, since the opposition shrugs its shoulders and claims neutrality as its asylum of tolerance. And many believers still succumb to the blandishments of the enemy, when he puts up the camouflage of neutrality. For it sounds so fair to give every man a chance on an equal basis; it seems to many a true sign of tolerance if one does not start from a religious bias.
And why prejudice the case? Why make enemies unnecessarily? Who am I that I should think myself to have a “corner” on the truth! What insufferable, Pharisaic pride is this! And with more such satanic sophistry, the disciple of Christ is finally silenced and withdraws in to his citadel of the salvation of the soul, leaving the entire domain of culture to “the world.” But, when the believer accepts and lives by the neutrality concept, he has committed treason to the cause of Christ.
Scripture allows no neutrality with respect to the claims of God and of his Christ. For the affirmation of neutrality assumes that the subject is independent of God to the point that he can safely, with impunity, disregard the claims of the Lord. This the Bible will not allow. No man has the right to ignore God; in fact, God is the ever-present, inescapable Presence that no man can ignore.
Therefore, the neutrality concept of the world is a form of denial; it says in effect, “God, stay away from my door; I can get along well enough on my own.” This is the philosophy of Esau, a profane person. Neutrality is profanity, it is godlessness, it constitutes the secular mind, which tries to make religion a thing apart from life. But this is blasphemy!
—Henry R. Van Til
The Calvinistic Concept of Culture
Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI ©1959