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.
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.
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.