Back in 2004, when I first started telling my family and friends (usually either Methodists or atheists) about my evangelical faith... Everybody freaked out. it seems that evangelicals didn’t have a great reputation, already then.
I’ve had some more trouble since: a couple of friends and a church calling themselves “Christians”, then stabbing me in the back for different things, for starters. Random fools are dropping by once in a while in the media to warn confidently that, according to their successful calculations, “the Rapture/end of the world/Judgment Day is near!”; thus totally disregarding Matthew 24:42-44. I remember one’s suggestion to burn all the Coran Bibles not so long ago, as a peaceful solution. As for today, I could bring up the shooting and bombing that took place recently in Norway. I’ll stop here, as you get the idea: for people around me (and many others around the world, with the same or different facts to back things up), the reputation of evangelicals isn’t shiny, and my family and friends still freak out once in a while, as my faith and understanding of things (with, sometimes, mistakes present) grows and I start taking stands, etc. But...
Hey?! Why should the whole denomination take the blame for a handful of people’s missed turns somewhere, in the shaping of their faith?!? Of course, I am saying this for evangelical Christians, because that’s my thing. I am one of them; just one of the quiet ones doing her best to live at peace with others and productive for the Lord, looking forward to his coming, whenever that is. But this could be said about both genders, all physical appearances, all countries, all religions, all... You name it. My point is: it isn’t because one person did or said something crazy, devilish or simply stupid, that all others sharing one or more attributes with that person should also take the heat. Having prejudices is something we’re good at, true. But, we can fight it and respect each other, in spite of cultural or, more dangerously, religious differences to deal with. Today, I see blemish on the church when they shouldn’t be (Eph 5:27); and not just because of evangelicals, but christianity in general is suffering greatly. There is hope, though, as God has planned it all: how one day all those world-problems shall disappear and peace shall rule, through Christ’s coming. Until then, let’s live a “life that pleases God” (1Thess 4) and try our best to clean up the mess.
We can’t do much about prejudice, just that: take a stand for Jesus, speak in simple language to help people understand. But, more importantly, walk our talk: “walk as children of light.”, says Ephesians 5:8. If God says to love, let’s love (John 13:34, 1 John 4:20-21)! If God says it’s better to give than to take, let’s become “cheerful givers” (Acts 20:35, 2 Cor 9:7)! If God says to forgive, let’s forgive (Mark 11:26, Matthew 6:14-15). It’s easier said than done, but with Jesus in our heart, it is possible. And it’s not because other christians misunderstand a thing or two and “misbehave” or make silly or horrible mistakes that we should do so too, feeling hopeless about things. We can represent Jesus in a good way, independently, to make up.
Perhaps then, more people will see him as the Savior he truly is, in spite of the errors.