Christians occasionally daydream about winning the culture over for Christ. But this would mean that belief in Christ would be policed and encouraged in the same way that our current cultural beliefs are: by manipulation of the levers of power to control spoils, intimidate dissent, and coin new taboo words and thoughtcrimes that can immediately condemn without argument and persuade without reason. Any teacher is impressed by the degree to which cultural doctrines are thoroughly and universally believed and flawlessly applied in all particular situations; and they are not merely mouthed by children who, though really skeptical of what they are saying, mouth the words anyway. They really believe all that stuff – they even see it as self-evident. Is that how I want someone to believe in Christ? Would I feel better if I could just silence dissent with a taboo word or the confidence that the thoughtcriminal would lose his job?
Objection: Someone has to control the levers of power, and so if we see something as true, don’t we want it to rule the culture? Response: The closest idea of “culture” in Christ is “the world”, which persuades not by reason and freedom but taboo, intimidation, usurping parental education, control over the principles of discourse, etc. Seen from this angle, the bright side of the persecution that a Christian can expect in this life is that his doctrine, though it will always continue to exist, nevertheless will never be enforced by the levers of worldly power. This might even be the greatest testimony to its divine origin – how can Christ always be present in the world without being parasitic on it? (and note that even revolutionary doctrines are parasitic on the states they rebel against)
Perhaps the church had its run of control over the world, but it’s better off now that its lines of evangelization are characterized by freedom, reason, and legitimate parental authority. As the last of those cultural supports fall, it’s not impossible to see it as providential.