I’m not like ‘those’ Christians

A colleague came back from teaching a senior Religion class and commented that one of the students had been particularly outspoken about her faith. In what, I imagine, was an attempt to separate herself from the Christian stereotype generally despised by other students, she began to draw out the distinctions of her particular denomination, speaking scathingly of the others and saying that she wasn’t like ‘those Christians.’

Suffice to say, it didn’t have the desired effect, and I imagine she did nothing to promote the merits of Christianity at all.

Unfortunately, though, I can relate to her efforts. I still recall sitting in a lecture theatre at uni, waiting for a class to start, as a fellow student slated Christians. I mentioned that I was a Christian and she responded, ‘yeah but you’re not one of those in-your-face born-again types.’

The fact is, that Christians come in all different shapes, sizes, and levels of sanctification. While it is important that we separate ourselves from cults that promote a false Gospel, I can’t help thinking that our general Christian-slamming and denomination promoting is doing far more to destroy the Church than build it.

The fact is, we’re all a bunch of messed up sinners. We have different preferences and a bent towards selfishness. We are all redeemed only by the grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and it was He who said that the world would know us by our love for one another. Maybe we should focus on that.

 

 

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10 Things the World Needs to Know About the Church

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  1. You can try to squash us, but you will never succeed, because even the gates of Hell will not prevail against us.
  2. You can hurt us, embarrass us, and bring out the worst in us, but you can never take our lives, because they are hid with Christ in God.
  3. You can try to discredit us with academics or human reasoning, but we’ll believe the God who created the brain.
  4. You can accuse us of hypocrisy or the most grievous of sins, but you cannot shame us into hell, because we were never trusting in our own righteousness to keep us out of it.
  5. You can hang around us, and sing with us, be loved by us, and pray with us, but only accepting Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins and the Lord of your life, makes you one of us.
  6. You can despise us and reject us, but you will not surprise us, because it was done to Jesus first.
  7. You can scatter us, but not one who belongs to Jesus will be lost.
  8. You can tell us that our God does not exist, but we know Him in whom we have believed.
  9. You can come to us, and we will embrace you, because despite our unworthiness, Jesus embraced us.
  10. We will not always get it right, but we serve the One who cannot get it wrong.

 

Is it really just ‘Emotional “Penty” Hogwash?’

There has long been a (hopefully friendly) rivalry between Pentecostal/charismatic and more conservative/traditional Christian churches.

The former get accused of being too emotionally and experientially driven and not grounded in the Scriptures, while the latter get accused of being too straight-laced, dogmatic and lacking in the Spirit.

While you will always find negative extremes, both sides need to be careful that their judgment is not clouded by prejudice or ignorance of what the Bible actually says.

This really hit home to me some time back as I was listening to a song by Matt Redman, entitled Undignified (I will dance).i10030

Some of the lyrics are as follows:

I will dance, I will sing
To be mad for my King...

And I’ll become even more undigni-fied than this.

My natural, default bias would ordinarily have written this song off as ‘emotional “penty” hogwash,’ (I mean, undignified dancing!!) but this time was different. Only days before I heard the song, I was reading a fascinating passage of Scripture in 2 Samuel 6:16-23 in which King David was bringing the Ark into Jerusalem, so I immediately recognized the song as being directly from Scripture. (You can read the passage here)

It was a good reminder to me that before we write anything off as ‘emotional “penty” hogwash’ or ‘legalistic conservative dogma’ it would be wise to go to the Scriptures first, and, above all, to remember that Jesus greatly desires the unity of His Church.