Archive for December, 2008

"Anti" Christians

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 18, 2008 by gospel2live
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that we was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Facebook is an interesting phenomenon.  This free social networking site allows people to create their own web page on the internet and is a useful tool for keeping in touch with friends and family.  One of the noteworthy features of facebook is your status line.  Status lines are simply a headline that is easily changeable and is often used to let people know what you are thinking, feeling, or doing at any particular moment.  A recent facebook status by a friend of mine announced that he “is anti-gay.”  This caused me to pause and think about how we define ourselves.
The truth is that evangelicals are often identified by what we are against.  We may be anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-slavery, anti-liberal, and even anti-catholic or anti-Islam.  Sometimes, some of us may be anti-alcohol, anti-tobacco, anti-dancing, anti-movies, or (like my paternal grandparents) anti-playing cards.  In extreme cases, some would go so far as to say they are anti-drums, anti-guitars, and anti-syncopated beat.  
Some of these things that we are against arise from right, Biblical convictions, while others tend to be more personal preferences that have taken on a traditional appearance of greater holiness.  Clearly, in today’s day and age, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who would advocate for slavery.  At the other end of the spectrum, it is becoming increasingly hard to find those who hold to the idea that playing crazy 8s or hearts will banish someone to hell!  
Regardless of which end of the spectrum that these issues may be on, there is a great danger that occurs when we define ourselves by them.  Certainly some of these issues require us to take action, such as slavery or abortion.  Yet, why do we take action?  What is the purpose and attitudes that are behind our activism?  Are we proceeding out of a self-righteous pride that motivates us to condemn those involved in a particular activity?  Or are we lovingly advancing the Gospel as we interact with the homosexual, the unwed mother considering abortion, or the person who likes rock music?
D. A. Carson, in his book The Cross and Christian Ministry,  recounts an assessment from a Mennonite leader as follows:
“One generation of Mennonites cherished the Gospel and believed that the entailment of the Gospel lay in certain social and political commitments.  The next generation assumed the Gospel and emphasized the social and political commitments.  The present generation identifies itself with the social and political commitments, while the Gospel is variously confessed or disowned; it no longer lies at the heart of the belief system of some who call themselves Mennonites.” (p 63)
As we look to 2009, will you resolve to make the Gospel more central to your identity?  Will you humbly start each day by thanking Jesus for dying as your substitute, to satisfy the wrath of God against your sin?  Will you ask him to send the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the glory of the Gospel and lead you, day by day, to lovingly and faithfully proclaim that Gospel to the people you encounter?  Will you define yourself by being for the Gospel, rather than against something else?  May God bless you in this coming year and draw you ever more deeply into the beauty and glory of the cross of Jesus Christ!