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Public Christianity.


I was talking to a policeman…

He was then a mere inspector, but now holds a very high rank indeed. His progress through the ranks has been remarkable, considering that he is a professing Christian, and a member of an evangelical church, and in view of the fact that our local police service is the most PC bunch of cops known to mankind, characterised by their devotion to diversity training, over-respect for minorities, training in recognising ‘homophobic incidents’ – it’s all there in abundance. I wouldn’t last ten minutes in an organisation like that, I’d be sure to offend someone! So I asked him how he copes. How does he live out and share his faith in such an environment?

He looked at me with incomprehension and shock. “I’m a Christian,” he said, “But when I enter the police station, when I put on my uniform, – I’M A PROFESSIONAL!’

I have to say I was taken aback by this reply, but it strikes me that this is exactly what the secular world wants from Christians. No one minds if you are a Christian, after all, society is all about tolerance, isn’t it? We live in a pluralist, multi-cultural society, and if you want to be a Muslim or a Hindu, or a Pagan or a Scientologist or even a Christian, that’s ok. Just so long as you don’t impose your own cultural or religious views on anyone else. It you’re naive enough to believe in God, go ahead, but keep it to yourself.

So, you can be a Christian nowadays, just so long as you don’t witness for your faith to anyone. Don’t tell anybody about the amazing thing that happened, when God sent his Son to die for you on the Cross, when the Holy Spirit awakened you, and regenerated your dead spirit, and you were given new life in Christ. Don’t tell anyone that you are certain to spend eternity with The Lord, in heavenly splendour and glory, because of Christ. Especially don’t tell them that there is a place called hell, where the lost will suffer eternal punishment, for rebellion and sin against God which has gone unforgiven and in atoned for, despite the free offer of salvation through trusting in Jesus.

DON’T MENTION ANY OF THOSE THINGS, – BE PROFESSIONAL. Leave your Christianity at the door of the work place, or the clubhouse or the pub.

And on a wider scale, don’t try to use your Christianity to influence society. If you believe in the biblical definition of marriage, go ahead and marry a member of the opposite gender, – just don’t criticise others or try to influence their lifestyle. If you believe that children need a mother and a father, thats ok for you, don’t force your wacky beliefs on others, If you believe that a sabbath day is God’s ordained plan for mankind, go ahead and sit at home, just don’t criticise others who flock to the supermarkets. If you believe that God created the world and made mankind after His own image, don’t tell anybody. If you believe you ought to be in government, don’t let your church or your faith have any impact whatsoever on your legislative decisions.

Go on officer, do all of that and get your well earned promotion.

But that is NOT what Christ expects from His disciples.

He sends us out into the world to evangelise the world. Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

He wants to to boldly proclaim the gospel in word and in deed. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

He wants our Christianity to have an impact on the culture, and to stand out like a sore thumb from the pagan society. Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

He wants us to be different from the world. He wants us to be non-conformists in the strictest sense of the word. Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

A Christian simply cannot leave his faith at the factory / office / station / school door. Christianity is not just for Sunday or for the church or the home, – it is for life. It will change our worldview, influence our decision making process, affect our conversations, bring us new friendships, for everything about the Christian life is different. Paul wrote:

2nd Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

It is our task, having been reconciled to God, to carry that message of reconciliation to all of mankind, whether the culture likes it or not. We must not be silenced by criticism, militant secularism or political correctness.

A few years ago, while visiting Atlanta City in USA, Janette and I were travelling on the underground train, the ‘MARTA’. The train pulled into a station and the automatic doors hissed open. A very large black man, perhaps in his thirties entered the carriage, with a large Bible in his hand. He looked around the train for a target and his eyes rested on us. He sat down heavily on the seat opposite. “Hey!” He introduced himself… “I love Jesus! Do you?” We assured him that we too loved the Saviour. “That’s great!” He warmed to his subject. “Do you want to come to church with me tonight? – I’ll come and get you!” We declined, having already made arrangements for the evening, and he wished us God’s blessing and went to look for someone else to tell about the Saviour.

If only we could be as enthusiastic about sharing our faith, and being open about our beliefs as he was.

A prayer: ‘Lord, thank you for sending your Son to die at Calvary, to save us from sin and judgement. Thank you for giving us new life in Christ. Make us bold, to proclaim God’s word and to stand up for Jesus, whatever the cost may be.”

From → Editorial

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