Umpteen times I have come across comments and posts by people proclaiming their disdain and sheer irritation with Christianity. I have also read and heard remarks by Christians siding with the Non-Christians, stating that they too are fed up with radical fundamentalism, the kind who run around preaching hell, fire and brimstone at every person who just happens to make the mistake of looking them straight in their squinty little eyes.
However, these Christian’s tend to go on to say that they like to keep their beliefs to themselves and aren’t really concerned with the fact that those around them don’t believe in the same thing as they do. Their “humble” philosophy in life is “judge not, lest you be judged”, however they are seriously misinformed and make a grave mistake by adapting this approach. Why? Because they fail to understand the nature of critical judgementalism versus evangelism.
What then is my argument? My argument is that I totally understand the contempt that non-Christians have for Christianity. I often hear, and have been guilty of saying this myself, Christians respond to non-Christians by saying, “Don’t look at me and hate Christianity simply because I practice it poorly. I’m a sinner just like you and can’t live a perfect life. Look at Jesus. Your judgement of Christianity should be based on HIM and not me.” May I humbly submit to you the reader that this is absolutely ridiculous. We Christians need to stop defending our sinful, superficial Christian-living and wake-up and realise there is something seriously wrong with our churches…or those who fill them. I’m included.
The second point I would like to make is that I find it difficult to believe that someone is a Christian when they do not grieve over their own sin or the sin of others, but instead accept it as ok, because they believe something different from themselves. Now, before I hear the cries of “Who are you to judge mate!!?”, please do hear me out. Christianity is an evangelising religion. That very word evangelism stems from the Greek word “EVANGELION” which literally means “Good News”. It must convey to others that their sin will separate them from God, and that they must repent and believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus wholly trusting in Him alone to make them right before God. God, in his sovereign will, has ordained that human language is to be the medium for this message to be proclaimed. God the Son came down and preached the good news, but Jesus’ ministry was the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy. Thus God has also given us His word, the Bible to testify and point us to Christ. The Bible states that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. So, God has decided that the gospel be proclaimed through human language, written and spoken.
WHY then are Christians to share this message and why do I blog??????
Quite simply it is because of love. Ideally, a Christian should be motivated to share his/her faith because they believe, as the Bible teaches, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and will thus suffer the wrath of a Holy and Just God at the time of judgement because He would in fact be unjust and a liar if he were not to keep to his own testimony. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way that we can be freed from this judgement, by dying on the cross for us. By his own will, and not against it as some are now suggesting, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He took the punishment we deserve. However the crux of the issue lies in His resurrection. Did it happen or didn’t it? If it didn’t then for goodness sake I wish the Christians who say “it doesn’t matter ‘cos I will have lived a decent moral life anyways” would just keep quiet and realise the fallacy of their mindset. The apostle Paul himself states in 1 Cor 15:15-19 that,
“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”
Let me make this categorically clear; if Jesus did not rise from the dead, if they were to dig up his bones tomorrow and it was proved that they were actually Jesus’ genuine remains then I will be straight out on the town partying and over-indulging myself with fine women. No longer will I waste my life for a lie for I am to be pitied and deserve to be mocked and ridiculed for believing a lie.
However, I believe in the resurrection of Christ. I believe because the change in the disciple’s behaviour indicates a MAJOR occurrence took place three days after the crucifixion. I believe in the resurrection because the Apostle Paul suddenly became a follower of Jesus abandoning his hate-filled persecution of Christians due to the risen Jesus meeting with Him on the road to Damascus. I believe in the resurrection because no-one WILLINGLY dies for a lie. Yes we have Islamic fundamentalists who blow themselves up, but that is because they fully believe that they are following the truth. They unknowingly die for a lie. The disciples, however, are a totally different scenario. They followed Jesus for 3 years, sitting under his teaching, hearing His claims that He was God, that he was the Messiah, that he would die and be raised from the dead on the third day. Their despondency in the gospel accounts after his crucifixion reveal an authenticity of the gospel accounts. They reveal the despondency and disillusionment that comes with following Jesus. Geuine, raw, real life emotions are recorded here. Yet why did they die for their belief that Christ was the Son of God? Well because they met with the risen Christ and had no reason to doubt. Jesus’ claim was/is massive and the fact that Paul testifies that we would be stupid to believe and follow him if he wasn’t raised from the dead shows that he is TOTALLY AND UTTERLY CONFIDENT THROUGH HIS OWN OBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE that Jesus was raised from the dead. There is no other explanation.
I believe in the resurrection because ancient historians and archaeologists can locate the graves of prominent figures from ancient times yet cannot begin to point to a site where the most famous man in all of History was “buried”. Sure fantastical new hypotheses are proposed every year but none of these have any credibility and when critiqued are always exposed as shabby scholarship by desperado professors seeking to make a quick buck by releasing a book that is always guaranteed to make the best sellers list.
So Christians believe that they are forgiven and justified before God because Christ died for our sins and rose again from the dead showing that His testimony was true. This is good news to proclaim in sheer joy and love is it not? Well yes, of course it is!
BUT…..Christians often do not preach this truth from the motivation of LOVE. They often preach it without practicing it. They often forget the fact that the only difference separating them from non-Christians, is the blood of Christ shed for them to redeem them. They did nothing but repent and submit to His Lordship, and even then they were only enable to do this by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. They earned no right to a higher standing, or to cast icy glances at sinners.
Jesus himself showed love to sinners, knowing that his LIFE OF LOVE would provide a solid foundation and prepare the hearts of his hearers to receive his message of truth, which DID talk about sin and hell and the fact that he is the ONLY way and that it is not possible for people to get to God through anyone else.
So Christians, where did we go wrong? We are hypocrites. We rebuke sinners and love each other, even when we have hidden sin festering beneath the surface like a rotten carcass on a hot summers day. Why don’t we start loving sinners, and rebuking ourselves? If we get real with God and allow him to cleanse us from our sin, some of the sin that will go out the window will be disdain for non-Christians and secular culture. Then we will be able to love them as Jesus did, and perhaps provide a ready soil in which to plant seeds of truth. I am sick and tired of Christians being a part of, and forming little cliquey clubs. I love God, I love his creation, I love people and I love his Christ and as God is my witness I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a lost world and I want to share His good news as I do so.
But I and we must first get real with God. We must humble ourselves and turn from our own wicked ways. We must repent of our pride, of our selfishness, and allow him to work his holiness in us. Maybe then, non-Christians would have an accurate understanding of the Church.
Non-Christians, as a result of this blog, I don’t expect you to believe what I believe all of a sudden. But if you don’t believe, I hope that it will not be because of the impression that I am hypocritical or hateful or judgmental. However, by saying that I am saying that I am going to shy away from presenting what I believe to be the truth. Nevertheless, maybe if we can start displaying true Christianity, it will allow you to make an accurate, informed judgment about the truth of the matter. Maybe if we start living out what we believe then people will see that the Word (resurrected and written) that we believe in and follow is actually the truth.
God give us the grace, give me the grace, to live such a life and forgive me for the times I have failed to do so….in public and behind closed doors, even this night.
In Jesus name,