Apparently, this CNN journalist thinks it's time we Evangelical Christians rethink our message.
The reason why? Obama was re-elected.
(By the way: What is it with the press and this president? I have never seen journalism this devoted to actually not being journalists in my life.)
The CNN author's reasons?
"In three states voters approved same-sex marriage; anti-abortion candidates were defeated in red states; and Obama, whose opponent had the support of Billy Graham, won a second term."
Even more reason: "the fastest growing religious group in America is people who are not affiliated with any organized religion, according to a recent Pew survey."
The solution presented in his article? Change the message. Cooperate with the shifting sands of culture's foundations. Appease the Agnostic with a more palatable message and far less absolutes.
After all, he writes: "Playing hip music and wearing jeans when you preach may not be enough to catch a new generation of Americans." To which I say (tongue in cheek) "Whatever will we do?!?!"
Perhaps it's time we change our stance. Abortions on demand! Marry whomever, however, whenever you want. Christ is only one of the paths to heaven, we aren't exclusive! After all, we have churches to protect and financial responsibilities to meet. We have a reputation to uphold and it would be bad press if we actually started losing people because we were so "inflexible" with God's word.
My response? "Thanks, but no thanks."
I have news for CNN and anyone else who might agree with them. You don't follow Christ for convenience, but rather you follow Him out of deep undeniable conviction. I believe the Bible is God's authority and life in Christ gives hope, healing and joy this world can NEVER take away.
If CNN was around when the events of John 6:66 happened, I'm sure they would have the same message for Jesus. "Temper it down, Jesus, the people are leaving, you're becoming less relevant. Don't you think its time to acquiesce a little to save the movement you've worked so hard to build?"
I have a feeling that conversation would have ended with a whip being made and some tables being flipped ...
Jesus wasn't a sell out.
Neither are His followers.
Christian faith is NOT supposed to be popular. And we have ample scriptural support:
Matthew 10:22 (NIV) All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
John 15:18–19 (ESV) If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Philippians 3:18 (NIV) For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Matthew 24:12–13 (NIV) Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
You think Jesus or Paul were preparing us to be popular with these statements. How about this one:
Luke 6:26 (ESV) Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
In other words, Jesus says, "if you are popular while you follow me, you aren't doing it right!"
Maybe however, we Christian churches have sent the wrong message. Maybe in our quest to be relevant and effective in our ministry, we have falsely conveyed the idea that we'll do anything to be relevant and effective. Success brings a whole new set of temptations that trying to get there never had. What happens if things go poorly as a result of following Christ? What will we do?
Maybe we'll get back to our roots in the faith. When Peter and John left the Sanhedrin jumping for joy that they were counted "worthy to suffer dishonor" for the Name of Jesus, they weren't worried about tax-exempt status or annual budgets. They were free in the deepest sense of the word. Nothing could stop them.
I don't know about you, but there's a part of my heart that aches for that kind of spirit in American Christianity.
Christianity bears a cost. Let's start talking about this again. It's not about free coffee in our cafe, comfortable chairs and cool music. It's painful. It's uncomfortable. It's hard. And it's awesome at the same time.
Following Jesus is about losing your life—friends, relatives, associations, reputations ... only to turn around and FIND REAL LIFE.
Maybe soon in this country, following Christ is going to cost church leaders television ministries, programs, buildings, attendees, reputations, associations and more.
But "If God be for us...
...you can finish the rest out loud.
Tim Hatch blogs about Christian faith and values at www.timhatchagain.com every week.