“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Ghandi
Author Anne Rice recently announced that she is renouncing Christianity. I can understand her feelings. It is quite easy to look at the world today– full of legalistic, condemning statements, judgmental attitudes, hatred spewed publically in the name of Christ– and wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to be a Christian. Most of the air time dedicated to Christianity highlights the ranting of Pat Robertson or the alleged affair between Benny Hinn and Paula White or Ted Haggard proudly delcaring that he now says “hell” from the pulpit (and he isn’t referring to the place) or Westboro “Baptist Church” protesting at soldiers’ funerals. We see people teaching their children to protest by allowing 5 and 6 year olds to carry “God hates Fags” posters. It’s enough to make me want to tell them that the closest Jesus came to hating a group of people was his disgust not with sinners but with the Pharisees, the religious legalists who hated the sinners that He came to save.
Some have apparently already been quick to pass judgment on Rice’s announcement and on Rice herself, only further confirming that many in Christianity have bypassed Jesus and returned to a legalistic rule-keeping religion that couldn’t be further from the relationship Jesus died to provide for us. I wish that my friends who are not believers would have the opportunity to hear and see true faith in a widespread realm like social media or the evening news. Unfortunately, calm, rational, and loving but firm grace isn’t interesting enough to make the news. So I wanted to share this post from Russell Moore as an example of what “real” Christianity looks and sounds like. Not harsh, judgmental and self-righteous. But wise, forgiving, calm and humble. Real Christianity doesn’t lord over unbelievers (or the wayward brother or sister) as if we have done something to deserve the salvation we claim to be our own. Rather, true Christianity remembers daily, “Were but for the grace of God go I.”
If all you know of Christianity is the close minded, hateful rants of the self-righteous, read this, and know that most of us dislike them as much as you do. But we don’t rant against them. We try to follow our own advice. We pray for them. We encourage them to compare their lives to Scripture. We hope they meet Jesus and recognize (or at least remember) their own sin and need of a Savior. And we firmly hold to the faith that God is Sovereign and the loud screaming of a few will not so defame his glory as to derail His plans for his people.
Jesus didn’t condemn people into saving faith. He challenged them. He spoke truth, but he spoke it in love, with compassion. We would be wise to do the same if we wish to consider ourselves capable of carrying the title Christian, which means “Little Christ”. If your attitude and actions don’t make people see Jesus in you, either change your actions or change your title. The Gospel itself is offensive enough on its own; it doesn’t need our help.
Very well written. Thanks, Bekah!
Part of your comment that you’ve written here below in another blog got my attention and so I thought that I would at least check your last post before I not pass judgement cause that’s The Lord’s JOB.
>>A similar experience happened in my own life concerning an equally controversial issue of Scripture’s treatment of homosexuality. When I was challenged to stop reading scholarly works on the issue and actually read the Bible, my heart, convictions and teachings changed overnight .< Right’.
If you’re willing and honestly believe that you can discuss this without putting any hatred in your heart then feel free to send me respectful email. You should have no problem
reaching me cause I’ve never hid from the world although some so called Christians that I know probably wish that I would.
Please feel free to use quotes from The Holy Book but do not discuss with me where they are found because I only
want to hear from what is really in your heart and mind at this time.
I hope you won’t mind if I ask some of God’s Angels to keep an eye on U>S (usual sinners) cause I don’t think I
could do “IT” without their help.
I would be happy to respectfully dialogue with you concerning my statement about Dr. Mohler’s testimony of his change in conviction about women’s roles in the church. I am unclear, however, as to which part of my statement you struggle with– do you take issue with the Holy Spirit’s ability to use the Word to convict mankind to the very soul and require heart change, or do you doubt that I was able to willingly repent and submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life?
I did reply here to your comment and as a matter of fact, I think that I kept a copy of “IT” and if you want me to include “IT” here again, I would be happy to do so.
With the internet, who knows what might have happened to “IT” but as long as you got “IT” that’s the most important and “IT” does not matter that “IT” be necessary posted.
You’re “IT” Man!