For Christians, this has not quite been the “Summer of Love”, has it?
Between the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, the release of Planned Parenthood videos, and now the specter of Kim Davis’ refusal to sign those aforementioned marriage certificates, Christianity has been in the news and taken quite a lot of criticism.
There’s also been a lot of people who’ve decided they are the official spokesmodel for Christianity. Honestly, there are some of these people I’d like to give a high-five…in the face…with a brick.
But all the hubbub has caused believers to reflect on what they really believe, and why. However, this is actually one of the best things that could happen to our faith.
Why? Because even though some believe questioning is antithetical to faith, it is in reality faith’s greatest tonic. Questioning causes you to seriously consider what you believe about God, and the ramifications of that belief. Those questions, if offered trusting that God ultimately holds the answers, will lead you to God’s Truth. In fact, if you never question, you’ll never understanding God with any depth.
It’s when Christians haven’t thought about what they believe that they end up saying goofy things. Then these goofy assumptions, which are often have nothing to do with the Bible, become fodder for Christianity’s many critics.
Consequently, over the summer I’ve heard some pretty silly critiques lobbed at my faith by those who wish to discredit it…
The Bible teaches slavery is OK, right?
Wrong. Slave owners took passages out of context to support their ghastly practices. Scripture sought to give comfort to those trapped by the injustice of slavery, not justify their abusers.
The Bible is filled with lots of ridiculous laws about shellfish and mixed fabrics, proving it has no place in our enlightened modern culture, right?
Wrong. Many of those laws actually show how miraculous the Bible really is. Thousands of years before the microscope or the concept of germs, God taught His people how to avoid disease through sanitation. He put them on a diet that even Dr. Oz would endorse. And in the lesson of not mixing fabrics, He gave a visual aid reminding them to not intermarry with the child-sacrificing, sexually perverse, barbaric tribes around them. He was saving their lives in an ancient, hostile culture.
Christians are hypocrites to preach some Biblical laws but ignore dietary rules, right?
Wrong. In Acts chapter 10, God told Peter they were no longer necessary for Christians. No inconsistency, just rules about food from another era that were no longer relevant.
What’s clear to me after this controversial summer is that Christianity is doing just fine. Honestly, we were never really the “moral majority” – that was only a watered-down mutation of Biblical Christianity at best. The fact that yesterday’s faux-Christians now admit they really don’t believe in anything just clarifies the real challenge were face.
The greatest times of the church’s growth have been when we were a counter-cultural movement. Our religion was born as one for outsiders, misunderstood right out of the gate. First century Christians were accused of being ghouls because they “drank blood and ate flesh”, misreading the symbolism of communion. They weren’t patriots since they wouldn’t worship Caesar. But regardless of the attacks, as long as they remained true to the faith, they flourished.
But when we entered the realm of political power, we usually became just as corrupt as the politicians. Why? Because power was the very thing Jesus avoided like the plague, though it was what His followers kept thrusting upon Him. How many times does He have to remind us, “My kingdom is not of this world”?
Another thing made clear this summer is that no one person or group speaks for all Christians. Not Kim Davis, not the Christian Left nor Right. I know Christians who disagree with me on every one of the issues raised this summer. And yet we’re still able to love one another and respect our variety of opinions.
So know the next time you make a blanket statement about “all Christians” being a certain way, you’ve just proven your ignorance. We are a diverse people, with many varied viewpoints. And since there’s no IQ test required in order to gain entrance into our fold, there will always be a good supply of people calling themselves Christians who seem a bit “off”.
Those people do not speak for all Christians, and neither do I, for that matter. In fact, there is only One qualified to speak for all Christians.
So if you want to know where Christianity stands, listen to Him. Only Him.