Spies or Ambassadors? Acceptance or Authenticity?

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Events and other things to remember are slowly dwindling, and it certainly is a relief. I know that for the past few days, I’ve been posting about my hectic week, but now that the week is in the process of coming to an end, many of the upcoming events have begun to be spoken of in the past tense – in other words, they’ve already happened. So now that I have no busy schedule to talk about, I have to come up with something else. Of course, when you’re a person that can write essay-length entries every day, that’s not all that hard.

Every Friday (or Thursday, as the case may be this week), I get the BCC newsletter in my email inbox. I’m really not sure why, but Mr. G likes to send it to all the alumni of BCC. I guess it keeps me informed of what’s going on there, and considering that I still know people that go there, I suppose it helps somewhat. But even though most of it doesn’t really concern me too much, talking about Phys. Ed. uniforms and football tournaments, I still make sure to read them over every week. Why? I’m not exactly sure. My dad has mentioned various times that Mr. G is quite a good writer, and I’d have to agree – sometimes he wavers on the edge of boredom, but I guess that’s what you get when you’ve taught sleeping students for a millenia or two. Plus, the first part of the newsletter often has some interesting topics to do with Christianity or Christian schools or the Church, or any various subjects that stem off of those.

This week, the newsletter was actually a copy of an article which Mr. G came into knowledge of at a meeting he attended. It mainly deals with students of Christian universities being more noticeably influenced by the pluralistic and relativistic society in which we live today, but a couple sentences stuck out to me, which I’d like to share here. “…[Stuart] McElvie believes that there can be no genuine reversal apart from a ‘more godly’ church. ‘The church can no longer sit in its little cocoon in denial and not take ownership of the morally depraved culture that we’re living in,’ he says. ‘Darkness can’t overcome light. The only way darkness can grow is by the light becoming dim.” This guy has a very valid point here. Too often, the church has sat back and raised their hands in innocence, saying, “It wasn’t us! It’s not our fault that society’s like this. They don’t have God, so they act like this, and we’re so much different and better than they are, because we’re God’s children.”

At first glance, the statement is true. Those without God are depraved and wicked, and they will follow their own selfish desires. Those who are genuine, born-again Christians are new creations; the old has passed, the new has come. They have the ability to operate unselfishly and can live moral lives. But to say that the church is without blame in regard to the society we live in is wrong. We are light of the world. The church’s role is to spread the Gospel throughout the world, and in doing so, we spread the light, so to speak. But darkness is just the absence of light. You can’t just turn on an anti-lightbulb and turn on the darkness. No, in order to make a room dark, you must turn off the light. So to apply the metaphor, the reason that today’s society is dark is because the church has been itself darkened – not extinguished completely, of course, but dimmed. The lightbulbs of God have decided that they like it better in the dark anyways, and so they somehow attempt to hide their light and be one with the world, all the while separating themselves and saying, “Hey, it’s not our fault that society’s this way!”

I’m certainly not trying to distinguish myself from the rest of the Church in this. I’m as much at fault as any other Christian may be. And of course, there are some great Christians out there that are spreading the Gospel like wildfire. But the problem is, if you have 100 lightbulbs, the easiest way to brighten the room is not to turn on one lightbulb and then try to somehow enhance the brightness of that one bulb – the easiest way is to simply turn on all the lightbulbs. If we as a collective group of people who profess to be saved and changed decide to actually turn on God’s light within us and shine to let the world see that we’re different, then we can actually make a difference. Sure, heaven rejoices over even one person saved, but shouldn’t we be making heaven one constant party? We should be bringing in streams of people, not just a tiny trickle. I guess that we’re just settling for less; we’re saying, “Oh, well two people interested in Christ is good. Just keep bringing them out to church, and keep praying.” Sure, that’s great, but isn’t the salvation of 3000 like in Acts 2 so much better?

Probably the reason we’re not seeing this radical growth is because we couldn’t even get ten people out to church if we threatened them at gunpoint. Most people would rather have their arms sawed off than come to church, because they’re sick and tired of all the hypocrisy. We as Christians somehow try to “slip under the radar.” What are we trying to do, befriend people and then surprise them by saying, “Hey! I’m a Christian! Haha, weren’t you fooled!” The problem with that is that they will be surprised, since to slip under the radar, we’ve had to act exactly like them. We go around living like everyone else, and then work up the courage to ask someone to church, and they say, “What? You’re actually a Christian?” Score one for the hypocritical church. The point is, we’re not trying to be undercover agents for Christ. We’re not trying to use the “shock and awe” treatment to bring people to salvation. We’re ambassadors. Ambassadors don’t sneak around. They know their authority, and they use it. They march right up to someone and proclaim the message they have to say. And more importantly, they represent the people they belong to. Being an ambassador doesn’t require camouflage. Hiding is for chameleons and cowards.

What this really comes down to is what I talked about a couple days ago. Are we shooting to actually be authentic Christians, or are we just more concerned with acceptance? I mean, every good Christian will say they’re trying to be authentic, but when it comes down to it, how many times do we shy away from telling someone what we believe just because, “Oh, they’re not ready to hear it.” Sure, we need discretion, but discretion is much different from deflection. I know that in my own life, even though I’ve been asked many times about my old school, I’ve often just stated the name as “BCC” instead of “Brantford Christian Collegiate.” I mean, it’s so simple. But just having the word “Christian” in the name begins to open things up – or at least has the possibility. Even still, I shy away from it – I don’t even know why. I guess somewhere deep down in my subconscious mind, I’m afraid that I’m going to get some sort of negative response about what I believe. But why do I care? If it’s what I truly believe, why do I really care what other people think about it? In even simple areas such as that, I aim for acceptance rather than authenticity. And I’m sure that I’m not alone in this – I’m positive, in fact.

I think that’s all I have to say about the topic. Take what you can from it, and if you can’t take anything, at the very least it filled up space. As for me, though, I have to finish this off and get prepared for tonight. I’m helping hand out hot dogs with Why Not? City Missions, and then after that, I have to work another marquee shift. It should be pretty fun. I’m looking forward to both things, actually. Don’t ask me why; let’s just say I’m strange and leave it at that. But that is, I suppose, all I have to say for today. Have a good one.

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