Old Facebook Discussion

Ok, so awhile back, I asked these questions on Facebook –

Why do Christians feel they have to act differently than non-existent stereotypes the world chooses for us? Have you ever run into a minister like the guy in “Footloose”, or someone who preached ‘hell-fire & brimstone’?

I received a lot of different answers, and some people were confused about my questions.  (Sometimes I think we read into questions people ask on Facebook, and don’t just take them at face value.)  Now I have time, and I would like to revisit this discussion, which kind of leads into the next discussion I want to tackle – the one I posted about Christians not understanding basic theology.  But first – let me clarify my position on the first of the above questions.

When I asked, “Why do Christians feel they have to act differently than non-existent stereotypes the world chooses for us?”, it was  in response to some posts I had seen where people (Christians) were wanting to downplay the “judgmental” aspect of Christianity.  I keep seeing references to Christians as being like the dad in “Footloose” or being super-critical or judgmental.  But these stereotypes are non-existent in my mind, because the Christians I know and the churches I’ve been to aren’t like this.  However, it seems to me that mainstream Christianity is responding to these stereotypes and changing actions, speech and even thoughts to combat them.  Why is this?  Why do churches feel like they have to be nice – so nice, in fact, that some refuse to point out sin – and we can’t say anything to anyone (even those within the church with us)?

I feel like the world has set up an image for us that we are trying to tear down, when that image was an improper representation of who we are from the beginning.  The world set up an image of Christians not based on who we were, but who they saw us as – filtered through their sinful nature.  This image is a reaction to sinful people being convicted of who they are.

So, why do we feel the need to change our image in the world’s eyes?  Why do we need them to like us?  The Gospel, in and of Itself, is offensive, and a stumbling block … (Jesus’ and Paul’s words) … people will see us the same way (Jesus said so).  I understand the present thinking that we want to make the Gospel more open, or palatable to non-Christians.  Can we not share the Gospel without reinventing ourselves?

When we reinvent ourselves, or change how we act in response to how the world perceives us, we are degrading and detracting from the Gospel.  The thing we seem to forget is that God doesn’t need us to be anything.  We seem to be under the belief that we have to look our best, do our best, make everything pretty, in order for the Gospel to be accepted.  Truth is, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5)  We do not have to make the Gospel nicer, we don’t have to have a pretty church.  In all honesty, we don’t even have to be nice people!  Because, the Gospel is not dependent on US.  If we believe that it is, we have a tiny, tiny God.

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About Sonja

I am a wife, a mom, a homeschooler, a Christian, a scrapbooker, a cook, a baker, a reader, and a thinker. I am many other things, too, that are not so easily defined. Right now, God has been calling me to be faithful in what He has given me to do – to be the best wife, mom, homeschooler, friend, etc. that I can be. In essence, He has told me to “bloom where I’m planted”.
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  • Jeff Minch

    I’ve been told more than once that “You’re not like other Christians.” I’ve come to realize that all this means is that that person doesn’t know very many Christians. The Christians they “know” are the Hollywood and MSM stereotypes. This is understandable, I guess. The trouble is then I go to church and hear a pastor and my fellow Christian parishioners say “We’re not like those Christians” and realize that they’re talking about the same stereotype.

  • Kamali

    But . . . but what about . . . “love ’em ’till they ask you why?” I get you, Sonj. I think the other part of it, is the Christian has an obligation to self examine and change. The world likes to see this as weakness and throw it in our face. It’s a double edged sword. BTW, I’ve never had anyone ask me why. I have always had to tell people that I’m a Christian, because I guess I’m not that Christ-like :)

    • Jeff Minch

      Yeah, I don’t think they ever ask why. But that gives us an excuse never to have to tell them the Gospel.
      Christians may have an obligation to self-examine but only the Holy Spirit can convict us and only He can change us. But the Holy Spirit works through other Christians who are discerning enough to see where we are failing– unless they are more worried about offending us then they are about helping us grow in Christ.