DEFENDING THE FAITH
by paul hoffmaster
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Whenever a person’s religious preference and expression is challenged, there is bound to be a vocal response in the form of aggressive rhetoric. When an individual receives any self-interpreted affront to their faith, there will be a jettison of defensive words and actions to express how they have been offended. This formula of response is prevalent to so many religions.
It is interesting how Religious persecution is a selective process. The Atheist, Agnostic, Existentialist, and Humanist will attack movements that will be met with the least resistance. To attack followers of Islam and their Koran will largely be ignored due to the Muslims zeal and commitment to Mohammad. To attack their religious leader is a personal affront to them, and they will respond accordingly. When is the last time you heard people ridicule and make fun of the Islamic Faith? Many Muslims are willing to die for their faith and will defend it, whatever the cost. The Christian faith, on the other hand, is ridiculed and maligned with little of no constructive response from Believers. Today, the Word of God is being defamed as simply literature that is out of touch with reality. If the same attack was made on the Koran, there would be a price to pay. Where are the Christians during these times of spiritual assault? What should be the Believers’ response when the name of God is merged with words to express anger? How should Believers respond when Jesus Christ is used as a common swear word? Where is the Church during the assault against the foundation of this once great Country? Where is the Church when Christ is being taken out of Christmas? Where was the Church when God was kicked out of the schools? Why has not the Body of Christ stood up for the God who has loved them so much? Any response that the Church might initiate against the attackers of their faith will basically be in the form of verbal counter attacks. Instead of displaying a tooth-for-tooth mentality, the church needs to learn how to promote what they believe through a display of graceful actions. This is not a time to bunker down and launch Christian missiles into the oppressor’s camps, but a time to turn the cheek while displaying the hope of our calling. The Bible states that a “soft answer turns away wrath.” (Proverbs 15:1) There is a difference between responding offensively to the challenges to our Faith, and defending our beliefs. Tragically, the Church has merged these concepts into one action.
Christians need to stand up for our faith and not be ashamed for what we believe, but how we go about doing that is critical. When a Believer counterattacks the oppressors with Biblical arrows, the outcome will be a wounding and the closing of the door of opportunity to those who need God. Every Christian should never let an assault against the Kingdom of God go unanswered. But we need to learn to defend the Gospel with an attitude of forgiveness and grace, and not with condemnation and anger. When the world sees our works and attitudes, maybe they will realize Believers are the real thing.
The American Christian movement has become a faith of excuses and complacency. It is quick to respond to the negatives of life, and slow to promote the positiveness of the faith. When one compares Western Christianity to its counter part in Eastern countries, there is little similarity to each other. Believers in Third World countries are willing to face any obstacle to carry the message to the lost, while many American Believers have a hard time walking consistently in what we confess to believe. Let every true Christian learn to stand up for the Faith with love, and not stand out as an instrument of judgment.
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