It is a source of increasing amazement to me that believers read the same Bible and ENTIRELY MISS the parts that challenge their most cherished stereotypes of real raw and vital Christianity.
I would rather win a friend than win an argument. Like most of you, I would rather avoid confrontation…BUT I've had to man up when protecting the 60% from the 20%.
CONSIDER…HERE IS SOME STARTLING DATA:
– 20% are aggressively in the wrong
– 60% are confused in the middle
– 20% are aggressively right
If you are silent to the 20% who are wrong you let them SHAPE THE NARRATIVE THAT PERSUADES THE MIDDLE!
Christians think they are being coy by saying they are “spiritual” rather than “Christian”. They are embarrassed to confess affiliation with a church – but note, the secular world still steps on you or over you as you speak. Lacking “salt” and a winsome well thought world view the American believer is simply “trampled underfoot”…just as the Master warned.
Likewise, I hear the cute evasion among the faithful “not wanting to be political.” Really?
JESUS WAS NOT CRUCIFIED BECAUSE HE AVOIDED CONTROVERSY – He was THE controversy. And His execution was BECAUSE He got political. He threatened the dynasty of the High Priest and their monetary system as He overturned their tables – literally. And when did Pilate “wash his hands” in feigned innocence? When he trembled at the crowd shouting “If you let this man go, you are not a friend of Caesar!”
I can’t tell you how odd it is when people write to me: “You should not talk against ‘so and so’ or about whomsoever's views.” I write about what matters. When did we collectively decide to sign off and make Christianity the toothless domesticated pet of popular opinion? When did we decide it was uncool to declare a prophetic perspective on right and wrong?
This was not the path of Martin Luther or Martin Luther King, but it has become our path.
What sort of mind numb limp pasta are we modeling? How are we raising up the next generation to stand against the monstrous evils facing them?
Was John the Baptist having a bad hair day when he rebuked Herod for his many evils? Or how about Jesus who had the bad manners to insult his dinner host in front of His guests when he noted how he and his friends silently judged a wayward woman who washed his feet with tears?
My favorite conundrum in Christian kindness and civility is Paul – the Al Qaeda Pharisee turned Pentecostal.
For 20 years I quoted him at every wedding as I pastorally presided. Sighting 1 Cor 13:4-5, I quoted…
“Love is patient, love is kind…it does not act unbecomingly; … is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,…”
Now…from the same sponsor who brought to you the comforting wedding verse just quoted I bring to you the loving next quote…
“Then Paul said to him, ‘God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?' “ (Acts 23:3)
PAUL TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK?
Or how about Paul's long-suffering reply to a sorcerer who contradicted him while he was trying to witness to a political figure…
…“But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, ‘You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.‘ And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.…” (Acts 13:10-12)
I guess God must have agreed as He smote the sorcerer with temporary blindness.
Consider now Paul's loving way of evangelizing…
“He refuted the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.” (Acts 18:28)
Some people say, “Yea, but he figured out later a better method was through using signs and wonders.” Really? Somebody should have told Peter that method, along with the other Apostles because they had some heated discussions…
“After there had been MUCH DEBATE, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.'” (Acts 15:7)
Seems like the other elders and Apostles were comfortable debating important matters among themselves.
Let's settle the matter…
Love can have an opinion and love can stay in love even as love debates.