Folks can ask some pointed, troubling questions.
It’s been years since I first heard a question which resulted from violently cruel persecution of Christians by the Russian Communist party, especially its KGB police. (I predict the recent re-election of former KGBer Putin will soon launch another such purge and ‘cleansing.’)
But now to the question: “If being a Christian were a crime in America, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
Admittedly, under atheistic socialist/communist (not much different, are they?) regimes, anyone’s claim — based on the flimsiest proof or none — suffices to get you killed or imprisoned.
Perhaps in America, a bit higher “burden of proof” would be required. What might that be? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is church membership rolls, legally pretty solid evidence.
There’s just one problem with these rolls…. “Just because your name is on the roll doesn’t mean that you’re a ‘real’ Christian.”
We’ve heard that observation repeatedly, and I couldn’t agree more! (Of course, I also agree that many a “real” Christian is not on any church roll!)
I also agree that the “words of our mouth” — certainly enough to convict in a totalitarian society — might not be sufficient in an American court, for liars can claim to be Medal-of-Honor winners without being convicted of a crime because of “freedom of speech” rights.
So just what might hold up in an American court of law as incontrovertible, “beyond-a-reasonable-doubt” evidence of one’s being a Christian?
Behavior!…the “acid test” of any profession of belief, whether philosophical, political, or religious. Isn’t that why in the news right now, Chief Justice John Roberts is being castigated by some for being a “phony” conservative and, simultaneously, by others for being a “closet” liberal, while many on both sides argue that you have to consider his record as a whole?
So then, might the real test, of words and behavior be not what we do in a “glare-of-the-spotlight” moment, but in the daily-ness of a lifetime?
A second, even more troubling question struck me recently…. “If a Christian is supposed to “look” like, be like Jesus Christ, would a person looking at you or me and thinking they’re seeing exactly what He is like, want to become a Christian, too?”
I still don’t know why that question struck me mid-landing recently as I climbed a set of steps. But it did…and I am still reeling from my immediate — and horrified — realization in response to it: “No, it’s not likely that the person would want to….”
From all accounts, few people in history have ever really read or seen a film, etc., of the life of Jesus Christ without either falling in love with Him or at least deeply admiring Him, whether as divine or merely as the greatest, best human being Who has ever lived.
I’ve seen several recent allusions to Mahatma Gandhi’s familiar observation that he could admire and accept Jesus Christ, but could have no desire to be a Christian because “Christians” were so little like Jesus.
How sad! Think of the ramifications of his statement: Might the fate of millions of people in India be different today if Christians had borne such compelling similarity to Christ that Gandhi would eventually have been compelled to convert?! Would India be a “Christian” nation?
Well, of course, I don’t know…and neither does anyone else.
But then, is America a “Christian” nation? Have we ever really been so? Will we ever be so?
I don’t know. And you know what? Those ponderings are trivial compared to the second question: “Is anyone likely to “choose” Christ because my life or yours is such a mirror of His that they simply cannot resist becoming His? One of us?”
We should not just find that question “rhetorical” or interesting or even riveting. We should find it convicting….
Have a good week!