Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. [Matthew 5:13]
Better warn you up-front. This is not for the easily offended. If you are looking to “feel good” you’d be better off reading something from Rick Warren or Joel Osteen. And please don’t send me any emails telling me how mean-spirited I am, that I need more love, or that I need to meet Jesus.
If that is your inclination, do us both a favor. Stop reading right now. There. You’ve been warned.
To steal a phrase from a popular radio-host, I need some duct tape. I really don’t know how much more of this I can take.
“Waah! Waah! Waah! Make them stop saying such bad things about Christianity.” That is what I am hearing from the big-time Christian pundits. "Boycott the advertisers. Write the networks. Call your congressman. Waaaah!”
First it was the hub-bub a few years ago about Andres Seranno’s “Piss Christ.” You remember that, don’t you? The picture of a crucifix of Christ submerged in a bottle of urine, funded by your tax-dollars through the National Endowment for the Arts.
Next was the great piece of work by Nikos Kazantkazis, The Last Temptation of Christ, which Martin Scorsese turned into a movie, which depicted a married Jesus getting it on with his wife Mary Magdalene.
Recently, we have weathered The Book of Daniel, an NBC mini-series depicting Christians as hypocritical and unbalanced.
And now, The DaVinci Code, which many Christian pundits claim questions the deity of Christ. Millions of the books have been sold and a feature movie has just been released.
A few months ago, the world almost erupted into war over the unflattering depiction of Mohammed in a series of cartoons.
The Muslims took to the streets. They defended their god. They threatened violence, even death to those who published the pictures. I don’t approve of their tactics, but I respect their indignation. Major media blinked, newspapers and magazines refused to show the pictures and they wrote about the need to be “sensitive” to the Muslims concerns.
The reaction of the leaders of the two religions has been stark. While Christians retreated into their churches and sucked on their thumbs, the Islam leaders spoke out boldly and clearly in defense of their god. The Muslims took to the streets. The Christians depended on the Republicans.
It is time that modern Christians asked ourselves some hard questions. Why is it that the American media fears and protects Islam, but knocks itself out throwing mud at Christianity? What has happened in America that the media no longer fears the reaction of the Christian Church? Why does the media view us the way they do?
What has happened to the salt? Have we lost our savor? Have we become, as Jesus warned, good for nothing?
Good for nothing Christianity… that’s what the media sees. They see a Church that no longer fears God, so they no longer fear the Church. Can you imagine the reaction if someone had dared submerge the Muslim prophet in a jar of urine? Cities would still be burning. Which commands more respect, a snarling bulldog or a lazy old basset hound?
Let’s face it. Most of the unsaved-world sees us as weak, ineffective, money-grubbing hypocrites. Might as well face facts, we’re void of savor, and trodden under by man.
Perception is reality. A wise man once said, “Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear what your mouth is saying.” Instead of being mad at the Christian bashers, perhaps we should start with the man in the mirror. Why is Christianity so mocked?
May I offer a few snapshots, a series of pictures stuck in the minds of those who don’t understand us?
· We fight amongst ourselves. Pastors don’t work together, denominations think they have a corner on Truth, and we can’t agree on what the Bible says. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
· We strive for the things of this world. While we watch millions of the poor languish in the depravity, we’ve turned their care over to the government, while our churches and church leaders build opulent ministries, including turning basketball arenas into sanctuaries, oblivious to the condition of those around us. While the Islamofacists willingly lose their lives for their god, Christians aren’t willing to lose their “stuff” for theirs. [See Section The Church...Then and Now]
· We ignore the speck in our own eye. Fighting to “defend” marriage from the gays, we look the other way at the mess Christian heterosexuals have made of “one man-one woman for life.” We declare the sanctity of life, yet warehouse our parents in nursing homes. We uncompromisingly-defend our denomination's “theological purity,” while we send our children to government schools where they grow in the Devil’s theology. We declare we are “one nation under God” but act like He is one god under the nation.
· We defend the ungodly fruit of Republicanism. More has been done to destroy America under this Republican administration than any president since FDR, all with a wink and nod from our Christian leaders. The defenders of Republicanism chortle “the Democrats are worse,” as if being the lesser of two evils is somehow honorable.
· We accept sin in the Church. We idolize sports, possessions, and our children. We seek “all of these things” more than we “seek first the Kingdom.” We covet the same things our un-saved neighbors covet. We lie and cheat on the job. We dishonor our Lord, the Sabbath, our wedding vows, and our parents. We tithe to the Cable TV company but hoard money from those who do the Lord’s work. We have a “form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof.” We take the name of the Lord in vain by accepting Him as Savior, but not as Lord. The god of self sits on the throne.
I could go on and on, but you get the point.
So, what is the image that the Church is projecting to our enemies? Do they see a Church sold out to the cause of Christ, or a Church sold out for the material blessings of Christ? What image do the Sunday-morning preachers on your local TV project?
A “best-life-now, Jesus-wants-to-bless-you, turn-the-other-cheek, Christian-psychology” kind of Gospel?
a “fall-on-your-knees, repent-of-your-wicked-ways, be-ye-holy, judgment-begins-in-the-house-of-God” kind of Christianity? [See Repentance]
Who do the media think is more committed to their faith? Muslims who pray five times a day as they fall prostrate before Allah, or Christians who pray on the way to their Sunday morning Little League baseball game? Those who will strap a bomb to their body to die for their god or those who retreat into the safety of the church to be hidden by theirs?
I am always struck by something that David said before he dropped Goliath in his tracks. I Samuel 17:26b “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David wasn’t upset that they were defying God; he knew God could take care of Himself. David was concerned with the “armies of God,” that they would allow their God to be spoken of in such a way.
To put David’s statement into modern language, “Ain’t anybody gonna stick up for Him?”
If the Church won’t call evil what it is, if the Church won’t rebuke the wicked, if the Church won’t stand up for Christ, how can we expect the world to fear our God? If the Church won’t clean up its own mess, how can we demand others clean up theirs? If the armies of God won’t stand up to the giants of the day, why should they respect us?
Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? [Psalm 94:16]
One final question. If you weren’t already a Christian, what is it about modern Christianity that would make you want to join?
Good for nothing Christianity, that’s what the world sees. Salt without savor, easily trod upon.
Oh, Christ is so much greater than we have allowed Him to be!
© 2006 Dave Daubenmire - All Rights Reserved
Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries http://www.ptsalt.com/ and Minutemen United http://www.minutemenunited.org/, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio. In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.