Monday, August 2, 2021

In the Name of Jesus

And just like that, it's happening again - certain leaders in the church are panicking, quickly jumping to condemn Christianity and to apologize for Christians in the wake of yet another attack by culture. 

Here's what happened: last week, testimony began in the case of the January 6 events at the United States Capitol building. And in the early testimony, what came out was that some of the persons present were carrying signs identifying themselves with Jesus. These signs allegedly said things like "Jesus is Savior; Trump is King." And within just a few hours of this testimony coming out, my Twitter was blowing up with pastors and Christian authors who were jumping on Christianity, lamenting, and repenting - condemning every Christian who voted for Trump...and many others. Condemning Christianity itself. "Oh, my friends, we are getting Christianity so wrong!"

But are we?

This is one of those very dangerous areas that we have to be exceptionally mindful about. On one hand, we absolutely want to condemn the places where we are getting our own faith wrong. We want to be vocal about the brokenness that we are perpetuating, or even creating, in the world. We want to be honest about our failures and earnest about our heart to do better. All of these things are absolutely true. 

At the same time, however, we cannot be a people who let the world tell us when to condemn ourselves. We cannot let the world dictate when we apologize. 

It's quite simple - the world, as we've seen, has a limited perspective on things, even on truth, even on 'true' things that it's certain that it sees with its own eyes. And that is evidenced quite well in the story that we're talking about right now. 

The world saw the word "Jesus" and immediately jumped to blame Christians and Christianity, a group that the world has proven itself to be antagonistic to. The world has (almost) always been antagonistic to Christianity. In our present times, the world would like nothing more than to completely discredit Christianity and put Jesus back in the tomb. This is no secret. 

That means that at the drop of a pin, the world is ready to jump on anything they might be able to attribute to Christianity and use to tear it down. So when the world sees "Jesus" on a sign or hears His name in the middle of a riot, the world is very quick to say, "See? SEE? We tried to tell you about these Christians and this Christ." 

And then these pastors, authors, and Christian leaders who are so scared, for some reason, of this world are so quick to jump in and say, "You're right, you're right. We're terrible." What in the world is going on? This is the world determining our faith for us. This is the world setting the parameters of our belief. This is the world chaining us to its antagonism, and too many Christian leaders are falling right for it. 

To the detriment, not to the benefit, of the church. 

Now, it may seem like I am defending the actions that took place at the Capitol or the use of the name of Jesus as part of them. That, too, is the world's narrative - everything is black or white. Either you completely condemn everything or you're in favor of it. Either you subscribe to the dominant narrative or you're one of "them." You probably would have been at the Capitol, too, if you had the means to get there. But this attack is clearly logically false and doesn't hold water, no matter how loudly the world shouts it. And it doesn't hold water here, either. 

What I am saying, though, is that there are other layers to the truth of the testimony that was given last week about these events, other considerations that we have to keep in mind. Things that, if we kept them in just as clear view, would keep us from having this kind of knee-jerk reaction to culture that condemns us. 

In fact, we might see - and we might even show - that things aren't as dire for the church as the world wants to pretend that they are. 

Stay tuned. We have a lot to unpack this week.  

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