Friday, May 18, 2012

Redefining Christianity

I recently heard that a large percentage of supposedly Christian people under 30 are leaving their churches for taking a stand against homosexuality.  They argue that they have good friends in this community and they are tired of divisions and cultural wars and exclusivism, etc.  They are tired of Christians being narrow and judgmental an so on.  It is even more disturbing when real Christians buy into this type of reasoning.  One reason I find this disturbing is because they show that they have no idea what Christianity is.

Christianity is Christ dying to pay the price for our sins that would send us to Hell otherwise.  It is also those who have been redeemed now living for his honor and being sent by Christ himself to go into the world, read culture, and tell others who are lost in their sins that there is a way to find peace with God and the forgiveness of their sins.  These people have turned all that on its head.  Christ has already told us that this world will hate us for telling it that their sinfulness offends God and condemns them.  The early church was marginalized and considered fools and "narrow" because they dared to tell the prevailing culture that the things they were doing were not right but instead were sinful.

All of the sudden today so called Christians are telling us that we should not suggest that those living in sin are sinful but accept them and include them and, worst of all, do not make them feel inferior.  I am sorry, but evangelism at its heart is to tell people that there is something wrong with them.  I am also sorry if some Christians forget that they are also sinners saved by grace and so evangelize in a somewhat unloving way but that doesn't change the facts.  I am glad that at some point in my life someone didn't worry about offending me but told me plainly that if I didn't repent of my sins and turn to Christ I would suffer the wrath of God in Hell.  The gospel is by its definition offensive to sinners.  Yet today we are being told that the worst thing we can do is offend the world.  I am sorry that these people's parents didn't train them very well in the Faith and I am sorry that they and many Christians as well, don't love the Lord enough and care enough about their faith to study these things out and study the history of our Faith enough to realize that Christianity is always counter-cultural and confrontational to sinners.  Christians weren't massacred in ancient Rome because they went around reaffirming the goodness of man.  Just as Christ invaded a world of sinners to bring salvation so we are to invade our culture proclaiming him to all.  Why are we being told that our ministry should be accepted while his was not?  Was he a bad evangelist?

Of course it doesn't help when our President says that some Christians have a narrow definition of marriage.  It should be obvious that this is a direct attack against the Bible and so our Faith.  Christ made is crystal clear that marriage is defined as between a man and woman.  He was not narrowing the definition, he was restating the view our Creator established for all men and women.  President Obama and those whose world view is like his are trying to redefine marriage but biblically all this does is to make it something other than marriage.

If I define my bicycle as having two wheels and someone comes along and criticizes me for being too narrow in my definition and says that they have broadened their view of a bicycle to have as many wheels as they want, all they have done is to make it into something that is no longer a bicycle.  His criticism is an attempt to make me look narrow for defining reality the way God has made it.  But Christians do not have a narrow definition of marriage, we simply are stating the definition that God has given us.  To go beyond this is to openly rebel against God's rule and that is exactly why they need the gospel.

To refuse to tell people that they are sinning is to remove any need of the gospel itself which another thing Christians are being criticized for because it is clear that to call upon someone of another faith to repent and believe in Christ is suggesting that their faith is wrong and this is the worst of all sins in our culture today.  Satan has cleverly made the very act of evangelism a taboo in western society.  We should not be surprised by this but we also must be aware of what is going on and not be intimidated by this world's godless way of thinking.

1Co 1:23  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.  The idea that Christians can minister to this world by not offending but instead coddle them in their sin is the opposite of what it is to be a Christian.  If you are not ready to suffer the consequences of this then you are not following Christ.  The use of the words "narrow" and "broad" in the cultural conversations today give me a fresh understanding of what Jesus was speaking of when he said, "narrow is the way that leads to life and broad is the way that leads to destruction".  God has laid down the parameters of what pleases him and what does not.  When mankind decides that anything goes, they attempt to broaden the way but it is our job to tell them where such a lifestyle is leading them, not to make them feel good about the choice they have made.

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