i was asked this Q via facebook: ‘what happened to your faith? how did it become hijacked by the intolerant?’ it’s out there, folks. responses?
It seems easier to hijack a faith than to truly live it out for others to see. I agree with Kade that all it takes is someone who is more attention driven to gain a following or gain another form of attention from others who are willing to …react. By living your faith, you aren’t doing it for attention or to glorify yourself. It’s much deeper than that. It is about finding, following and serving Jesus Christ and living the way he lived. This includes but is not limited to loving people; even our enemies. Loving God and loving people is not about gaining attention for ourselves, it is just part of living out our faith on a daily basis
Christianity gets hijacked just as easily as any other good or true thing–because we’re human. Pride and corruption are easy to come by. As for when, Christians have been intolerant since the days of Jesus and the twelve disciples (e.g. Ja…mes and John asking Jesus if they should call down fire on a village that didn’t receive them) and the early church (e.g. Jewish Christians trying to force their legalism on Gentile believers). All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Our faith was hijacked the moment Eve ate the fruit.
But think about it… who’s gonna get the media attention? Those who make for the more interesting and controversial story. So of course guys like this will make the news, and Christians standing against it won’t. That guy is gonna sell more papers for them than people opposing him ever will. What does that say about human intolerance and corruption?
The faith of those can easily be hijacked by the intolerant. At least to the public it appears that way. Just as all muslims did not agree with the attack on the twin towers during 9-11. It gets hijacked by those who believe that they have the power to make a radical decision on their own. Not considering the ramifications of others and the world. these are the people that desire attention and think that if they put a “cause” with their actions that they are justified.
If the second coming of Christ was happening and millions were running to greet him in one direction and only one person was heading in the other direction, who would the news media cover? It is the nature of modern-day journalism to cover the extreme situation. The media will cover one person being shot in North Minneapolis but will never notice what a hundred of us Christians are doing to bring renewal to that same community. Thank you Michael for giving us an opportunity to hint at what the Body of Christ is really like. No one will discover that through the media. The only way is to jump in and work with us for awhile doing His redemptive work in our little corners of Creation.
and thank you, Jim, for your words.
One other thought I had: Even if you are an atheist or have never heard or read a single verse in the Bible, if you work with us for even one week, you WILL see the risen Christ — and He will invite you into a relationship with Him. A relational faith like that cannot be undermined. A propositional faith (one in which we convince ourselves of truth based on Bible teachings, apologetic reasoning, orthodoxy or whatever) is on much shakier ground. Using your word: MOVE!! … and be moved.
In reference to your other comment below, Jim, it is certainly true that propositional language is used in the New Testament to communicate the gospel. Jesus in John’s gospel speaks within the famework of syllogistic reasoning, a method developed by Sorcates and Plato. Paul uses a bit of it at Mars Hill and John builds his case for Christian fellowship in and with God in Christ’s love in I John as a daisy-chain of syllogisms, the basic building blocks of deductive reason.
However, Jesus also utilizes what is called chiastic poetry to teach and parallel poetry in his (the Lord’s) prayer. The gospel is no more intrinsically propositional than it is poetic or prophetic. “If your right eye offends you, pluck it out!” is not propositional. It is not even referential speech (I hope and pray!). It is the sort of commissive communication which we find in political speeches and in locker room pep talks:
“What are we going to do out there!”
“We’re going to kill them!!!!”
Jesus often used the language of commitment. So did Paul. There is nothing propositional about such language. Biblical writers used all sorts of styles and forms and styles and forms, as part of culture, are always built on world-views which people hold. The use of a method of communication does not require the user of the method to hold to the assumptions of those who developed the method he or she uses. The Bible contains propositional communication; its truth is not therefore propositional. The best book from a Christian perspective on this subject is Truth is Stranger than it Used To Be by J. Richard Middleton and Brian J. Walsh, 1995, IVP. Good stuff, Jim and Mike!
I do not believe that our faith can be highjacked. As is stated in John 10:28-29, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
I would say that to be able hijack something or someone you have to go after who or that is unstable. It takes one person to get others to join in on an idea that can explode into something bigger than that person, however, that idea is founded solely on the person.
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