Progressing From . To ? To !

There is a progression that I believe Christians should be aware of as they lead others toward Christ.

First: .

Those who have been de-churched, or who have had a negative experience with another Christian, or who have become disenchanted with the Church, make factual statements about Christians and Church.

“The Church is….

“Christians always….

But if are truly the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we can season and shine in a way that will cause them to question their own factual statements.

Next comes: ?

“The Christian Church exists to reveal God and to utter forth His praise, to make God known to men who know Him not, that in the presence of the revelation they may be filled with awe, and wonder, and amazement—to make God known, that God shall be attractive to humanity.” —G. Morgan Campbell

This is Church?

You’re a Christian?

Which leads to: !

Jesus stated that the greatest of all commandments—indeed the fulfillment of all the commandments—was loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and then loving others as we love ourselves. Once people see Christians as true representations of Christ … people so intent on loving God and loving others, they too will find what their hearts have been longing for.

“This is what I’ve been looking for!

“Now this is what I call a real Church!

Can I suggest an easy place to start? With your smile. Look at what Job said:

Men listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears. They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. (Job 29:21-24)

Living in this way can move people from close-minded skeptics, to curious questioners, to enthusiastic followers of Jesus Christ. Let’s do this! 

Dichotomy & Ricky Gervais

Dichotomy is a big word that means two parts that are opposed to each other. But it also means that they were once joined together—they were once in unity. Much like the first Christians: when people looked at them they saw Jesus; when they heard them speak they heard Jesus; when they watched their lives they saw the life of Jesus.

Christ and Christian were the same unified picture.

Today this is, sadly, far from the truth. People have a lot of wonderful things to say about Jesus, and a lot of nasty things to say about Christians. An unfortunate, and unnecessary, dichotomy exists.

I read an editorial from Ricky Gervais, a self-proclaimed atheist, entitled “Why I’m A Good Christian.” You can read his full editorial in the Wall Street Journal here, but for me this was the key passage:

I am of course not a good Christian in the sense that I believe that Jesus was half man, half God, but I do believe I am a good Christian compared to a lot of Christians.

It’s not that I don’t believe that the teachings of Jesus wouldn’t make this a better world if they were followed. It’s just that they are rarely followed.

Gandhi summed it up really. He said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

I have always felt this way, even when I believed in God, and in a weird way I feel I am still a pretty good “Christian” who doesn’t believe in God.

I think the way back from this dichotomy is two-fold:

(1) Christ-followers need to make an intentional effort to act more Christ-like.

(2) We Christians need to be more thoughtful in our responses to people like Ricky Gervais. I like the pattern Peter recommends

Honor Christ and let Him be the Lord of your life [our motivation for action]. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope [“hope,” not theology, not bad behavior]. Give a kind and respectful answer and keep your conscience clear [there is zero justification for a Christian to give a crass, disrespectful, or sarcastic answer]. This way you will make people ashamed for saying bad things about your good conduct as a follower of Christ [good conduct = we live, talk, and act like Jesus].

C’mon, followers of Christ, let’s close this dichotomy between us and Jesus!

%d bloggers like this: