President Bush gets ridiculed for letting his faith impact his leadership as President. President Obama gets ridiculed for not being as open about his faith in public. Critics question the integrity of the faith of both presidents. Maybe Christians should just keep their mouths shut, at least about anything that has to do with their faith.
Common objections to Christianity abound around the right of Christians to speak in the public forum. For example, there is a loud cry amongst Christian detractors that Christians always think they are right, and therefore everyone must be wrong.
I raise the question, “What’s wrong with thinking you are right?” Doesn’t anyone who offers an opinion on anything, Christian or not, think that they are right? If they didn’t they wouldn’t offer an opinion. There is nothing wrong with thinking you are right, especially when you think you have good reasons to think you are right. Christians believe they do because the Bible is their authority on all things, and they believe it is given to us by God. That is a very good starting point for believing you are right.
So a person objects again, and says, “I don’t care what Christianity teaches, I don’t think that Christians should share their faith with others.” There are two arenas that this objection is raised. One is in politics. As Scott Sullivan writes in his article “How to Answer a Jesus Critic”, “This isn’t really a view about religion; rather you are expressing a political view about participatory government. In which the population is allowed to vote and have a voice on how the country should be run.” The Christian has a responsibility to vote just as the rest of the country does, and share why s/he is voting just like everyone else. Just because the Christian believes s/he is right, and says so with conviction doesn’t mean s/he is imposing their views on someone else. That is how our political system works.
The other area of objection is when Christians share their faith to try to convert others to Christianity. This objection really arises out of a desire not to have to deal with the claims of Christianity, and so people simply try to silence Christians. It is an important part of the Christian faith that we share what we believe with others. Jesus Christ’s last command before ascending to heaven was, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Again, Dr. Sullivan comments on this objection by writing, “If Christianity is true, then helping others to see this fact is the most loving thing one can do for them. So the issue is not really about evangelism (sharing your faith with others), but whether or not Christianity is true.” That is a question that is at the crux of these objections. Christians not only think what they believe is true, they also believe that realizing this is something everyone needs to consider because the decision someone makes about whether a person believes in Jesus Christ has eternal implications. This is true, not because I say so, but because Jesus said so. In John 14:6 we read, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
We humans don’t like to admit we’re wrong, and we don’t like to lose control of our lives. For both Christians and non-Christians, the Bible always challenges us to do both, admit we are wrong and give control of our lives to God. This is the great challenge of not just having faith, but also growing in faith.
How often have you shared your faith in the public forum? Are you a Christian who thinks that faith is a private matter, and we shouldn’t talk about it? Where in the Bible is that idea taught? Take a look at I Peter 3:15 and talk about what this means with someone else.
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