Do we need to defend our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Do we need to defend our moral standards? Does God need defending against those who don’t believe in him, or is God perfectly able to defend Himself?
We are called to let the Kingdom of God rule in our own lives and extend his Kingdom in the world around us until, “The earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea”. In seeking to bring more of God’s kingdom in the society in which we live we are meant to put our faith into action and lead by example rather than seek to impose our moral standards on our fellow human beings.
Potential collision points
The following is a list of issues where there is the potential for a collision of beliefs and standards between those who seek to follow Jesus Christ and the beliefs and standards of society in general.
- Abortion, and the difference between pro-choice view and a pro-life view.
- Evolution or creationism.
- Same gender relationships or marriage.
- Sex before marriage.
- Unfaithful sex outside of marriage.
- Using military force to attempt to solve political problems.
- The right or otherwise to possess a gun to protect our family.
- Inequality of wealth.
- Divorce and remarriage.
- Immigration and Racism.
- Socialism, Capitalism, Communism.
- Heaven and Hell.
- Our attitudes to the poor and disadvantaged.
As we look at this list, some of the issues will be important to us – and some may not be an issue at all. For instance we might accept the idea that a creative God could use evolution. Alternatively, we might hold the view that God created the earth in 6 days as per Genesis. We may be a great believer in the use of the military to intervene in failing states, or we might believe that the use of force will never solve anything.
Voting in a democracy
If Christians cannot agree with each other about some of these issues, we can hardly try to impose our views on the rest of the world. In a democracy we should not expect the views of a minority to hold sway over the majority. We do have a vote of course, and we should try to use it to vote for the person, or party whose policies most closely reflect what we believe to be Christian values.
I’m writing this article from the point of view of an Englishman living in the United Kingdom. For me, the political choice will depend mostly on the party’s attitude to the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised in society. This would override any doubts about the parties stance on other moral issues. I say, “other moral issues”, because I consider how we treat the disadvantaged of society a matter of prime morality.
In the United States, the political views of Christians seem to be far more polarised. If I was an American citizen, I would be a Democrat but realise that I would be criticised and judged by many “Christians”.
I believe that Christians are far too ready to judge each other and to judge people around them. In fact the worst judgmentalism seems to be reserved for fellow Christians. If you ask a non-Christian, “What is wrong with Christians?”, you are most likely to get the answer that Christians are quick to judge.
Being judgmental is very harmful to ourselves and to other people. We will not change society by judging individual members of society by trying to impose our views on them. We can only change society by changing individuals, and the only part we can play in bringing somebody to faith in Jesus Christ, is by the example of faith worked out in our lives. People may see that we have certain standards, and those standards may make them feel uncomfortable, but there is no need for us to add to this by being judgmental in words or attitudes.
Defending our faith
If we follow Jesus Christ we are called to give an account of faith if asked. But our faith itself does not need to be defended. If we are continually seeking to defend what we believe against the “onslaughts” of the world then this suggests an insecurity in our faith.
Neither do our moral values need defending against attacks from outside. We could be constantly scanning the press for examples of prejudice, discrimination or “persecution”. It is so easy to end up defending the wrong thing and finally seem to be foolish. In history the established church tried to defend itself against those who didn’t think the world was flat or that the Sun and planets revolved round the Earth.
Perhaps the most futile thing we can do is to try to defend God Himself. If God is God then he certainly doesn’t need us to defend Him. Trying to defend God indicates that our God is much smaller than He really is. We don’t need to defend God against those who don’t believe in Him. The main enemy of the Kingdom of God is complacency and indifference – not atheism.
Demonstrating our faith
I believe it is far more important to demonstrate our faith than trying to defend our faith. We can demonstrate our faith by:
- The words we say
- Our attitudes (believe it or not people are aware of or attitudes whether spoken or not).
- Our “likes” or comments on Facebook or other social media
- Our actions
We need consistency between what we say, write, think and our actions. If not, we will very quickly be regarded as hypocritical. If we speak out on a moral issue of any kind, then we must be doubly sure that our actions back up what we say. For example if we say, or imply, that unfaithful sex outside of marriage is wrong we must realise that the enemy, and the world, would love to trip us up and bring shame upon faith in Jesus Christ.
We live in an imperfect world. But the church has grown enormously in that imperfect world in spite of persecution, wrong attitudes and evil. The Kingdom of God is expanding slowly but surely in spite of opposition and indifference. If we truly want to see more of the Kingdom of God in the world, then we will seek to ensure that God rules in the kingdom of our hearts as we seek to follow him in our thoughts, words and actions.
- Do not judge not or you will be judged (GeorgeDowdell.org)
Are you stirred by this article? Do you disagree and want to make your point? Please add your comments below.