November 11, 2004

Christians Are More Despized Since Election

Hostile attitudes towards Christians have escalated with the re-election of George W. Bush. Regular fare in our local newspaper are letters to the editor like the one by a man who sounds like someone who has known only a caricature of the Christian faith and believes it to be normative. He sarcastically notes the “good old Judeo-Christian laws and values” critically citing only portions of verses here and there drawing conclusions that are absurd.

He quotes, Numbers 14:18 severing the middle of the verse from the entire verse itself disdainfully noting only the portion that states, “…visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.” He purposely omitted the first part of the verse that says, “The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty…” In its entirety, it’s a different verse altogether.

He then cites several proverbs regarding the discipline of children predictably making the leap from “sparing the rod and spoiling the child” to equal, beating the tar out of your children. With wild exaggeration he proceeds to utter fiction referring to the “untold millions of beaten, bloody and bruised children at the hands of their parents and women by their husbands.” Is this how we are viewed by the unbelieving community? My wife of 32 years and my three grown children would take strong exception to such a characterization. Is this part of what Jesus meant when he said, "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of me”? (Matthew 5:11)

He concludes proclaiming people with a sincere, religious faith to be “the same as the terrorists who fly bombs into buildings…” and that both Christians and terrorists, “all belong on the same cell block.”

Unfortunately this is not an uncommon view of Bible-believing Christianity today. Satan has run a very successful disinformation campaign and tragically there always seems to be a token fanatic here and there who validates such caricatured ideas.

But at its core, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, we believe there are certain absolute truths that are non-negotiable regardless of epoch. But we do not see everything as either black or white as we are often accused.

It just so happens that our culture is so far removed from our Judeo-Christian heritage that many of the clear absolutes in the Bible, which were clearly understood and accepted as life’s norms by the majority of society, have long been forgotten, rejected, revised, or relegated to some heap of irrelevant antiquities.

Where does it leave a people of faith? If you read your Bible you see pretty clearly that such hostilities against people who believe and worse, who dare speak about their beliefs, will become the focus of ridicule.

Our challenge is to remain resolute, and unbending in those areas that matter, yet gracious and tolerant in those areas that do not. And while some have difficulty distinguishing between the two, comprehensive study of the Holy Scriptures is the only rule for dividing personal preference from inspired truth.

Christians are called to be ambassadors of Christ—peace-makers in Jesus’ name-- but not at the expense of truth. And because of that, we will continue to be an irritation to a world that wants to define truth for itself. So as the hostilities grow, let’s just make sure the accusations are—as Jesus said—uttered falsely, and not deservedly because we are obnoxious, or arrogant or rude.


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