My atheism class has an online forum where we've been carrying on various discussions. Recently, one of atheist classmates made a comment in it that I would like to share with you. Since being in this class my eyes have widened to the amount of harm that many self proclaimed Christians have been causing to the Kingdom, to Christ (whose name they claim), to authentic disciples of Christ around the world that are associated with such people, and to those that aren't Christians. Such a self proclaimed Christian makes me think of verses in the Bible like Romans 2:23-24:
"If you pride yourself in having God's law, then stop dishonoring God by failing to keep its teaching. Here's what it says: 'Because of you, God's reputation is slandered by those outside the covenant'."
Although it is very unfortunate that the word "Christian" has become such an ill and taboo word in our world today, I am still not the least bit ashamed of my God, my Christ or the gospel!
I can care less about what name it is that I'm called. The early followers of Jesus were simply called, "those belonging to the Way" --which sound really awesome if you ask me. But I believe, as I've said before, that authentic discipleship to Jesus is something that is recognizable --even to those who aren't believers, like some of my classmates. Some of them no longer call me a Christian (since I don't fit the modern profile) but rather they say that I am someone who is like Christ. Which to me is a tremendous complement.
Here is what my classmate Lee Miller had to say after a response I gave him in our forum on morals:
I'm glad to see that you took the time and effort to respond thoughtfully.
You are an example of the rare, pleasant Christian that I enjoy communicating with on these subjects! I think it's neat that you know your beliefs well enough to quote the bible, and use your common sense...AT THE SAME TIME.
All to often I see Christians doing nothing more than pushing the idea that the "evangelical" way is the only way. Following unbelievers around, passing out flyers, while forcing both morals and ideologies (or any other similar form of conversion) is very frustrating, disrespectful, and annoying. It seems like every where I look...the street corner, TV, radio, politics, sports, etc...they are trying to force the ideology of Christianity upon the onlookers.
In terms of the political landscape, (from a bystander's point of view) it just looks like because "Christians" kick and scream the loudest they get center stage on many issues. The religious moderates act as "enablers" of their 'kicking and screaming' nonsense.
I wish we all, Christians and non Christians, would unite against the hate, bigotry, and disrespect of what "Christianity" is becoming. Their version of your faith is harmful both to people like myself, and YOUR beliefs.
I think that it's extremely important that disciples of Christ live intentional lives before those around them. It seems that there are many people, like my friend Lee, who have been "evangelized" to, but were left without feeling the love of Christ. Because of this I try to remind myself that I am first and foremost called to love. Love God and love others. And of course, telling someone the great news of Jesus the Christ is a part of that, however I think that our methods of evangelizing should set loving people as a priority.
Just like Christ we are here in this world to shine before man so that they too may come to praise God for all He has done.
Please keep my upcoming forum in your prayers. And pray for all those that may be there who don't not yet know of the amazing love of God.