Oh the things you see on social media. I saw a Facebook post which pictured a three-dimensional billboard showing a crucified Jesus with the words “Live for me” and “I died for you”. As you can imagine with over 1,700 comments, there was quite a range of responses. One lengthy comment caught my eye as I was scrolling through:
Religion is very personal, and I feel that no religion should be pushed on others who are not of that faith. It annoys the daylights out of me when Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking at my door!!! There are so many different religions in the world. How do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christianity is the one, true, right religion? All other religions believe that they also are the "right" religion. Yes, I believe for me, Christianity is the right religion. But I cannot push that on others. I do believe that there is a higher power that created all of our world. For me, the most important thing is to have a belief, to be sincere in it, and not to push it on others.
As I read that “comment” I realized that this person summed up in a short paragraph most of what is wrong with the modern day Church. Let’s look carefully at what is being said here.
To begin with, I would agree that “Religion is very personal…” Yet the commenter's conclusion to that statement is to say, therefore “no religion should be pushed on others.” Excuse me but “personal” is not a synonym for “private.” My relationship with my wife is very “personal.” Yet when I am out in public with her I don’t take off my wedding ring and walk at a distance from her so that no will get the idea that we are married. Nothing could be more personal than walking into a voting booth on Election Day and casting my ballot outside the view of others. But it doesn’t follow that since voting is a very “personal” thing that I should keep my political views and opinions to myself. It is sheer silliness to suggest that because something is personal it must necessarily be kept private.
No time to start shaking your head though. Watch this: “I feel that no religion should be pushed on others who are not of that faith.” The key to this is, of course, the word “pushed.” Don’t forget the context in which this statement was made. A billboard on the side of the road elicited this comment. Apparently, to this faithful and devout follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, no attempt to publicly share your faith in the person and work of the Savior should ever be foisted upon people outside of the four walls of the local church! How’s that for commitment to the Great Commission?
Take a breath and keep going. Did you notice how the frustrated “Christian” writes off all evangelism by using the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a scapegoat? This individual’s annoyance at having to speak to a Jehovah’s Witness seems to have provided adequate justification for never sharing Christ. How convenient. That is like saying that since I got frustrated with a telemarketing call I have decided never to use a phone again! Ludicrous and absurd!
Next up? Flagrant hypocrisy or gross inconsistency…take your pick! On the one hand “Christianity is the right religion” for this person. On the other hand “How do we know…that Christianity is the one, true, right religion?” So, let me get this straight. This person claims to have embraced Christianity even though there is no way to know if Christianity is true? Yes, folks, this is where so many are at as they sit in the pew on Sunday. Claiming to stake their eternal destiny on that which they cannot know is true and isn’t worth sharing with others. Hallelujah and Praise the Lord!
“I do believe that there is a higher power that created all of our world.” Yes and according to the Bible you claim to embrace that power has a name: Jesus! Apparently, our Facebook commenter either doesn’t know or highly regard John 1:3 & 10, or Colossians 1:16, or Hebrews 1:2.
Finally, the coup de grâce of common sense is unashamedly revealed. Here we go: “the most important thing” (did you get that?) “is to have a belief, to be sincere in it, and not to push it on others.” While that sounds so inviting and tolerant and open minded, here is what it really means. I can believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died to take away sin (John 3:16) and that he made it crystal clear that whoever believes in Him must “Go…and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) but I don’t really have to. Because despite the clear teaching of Jesus, the Bible, and the Church “I cannot push that on others.” Jesus specifically addressed this kind of “believing” in His closing remarks in the Sermon on the Mount. He spoke of the ruination of the foolish person who “hears these words of mine and does not do them” (Matthew 7:26).
The Church is rife with this kind of thinking. This is nothing less than a childish attempt to take the Cross out of Christianity for the convenience of the pew pundit. Jesus made some stark and powerful truth claims that people like our friend on Facebook either don’t know or don’t care to embrace. For one thing He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He also said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). I hate to be the one to break this to my Facebook friend but being annoyed at how others live out their faith is no justification or excuse for turning away from what we clearly know is the word and will of Jesus Christ.
Finally, Jesus said, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 5:23). How exactly does it honor God to acknowledge that while you believe Jesus died for your sins it is not right to suggest He died for everyone’s sins? That is exactly what you are saying when you imply that Christianity is salvific for you but not those who believe their religion is right. They found another way. And we sure wouldn’t want to annoy anyone about our way, right?
I truly want to keep positive and say uplifting things about my faith. But to be honest, when I am confronted (as I often am) with such self-righteous religious nonsense passing itself off as suave sophistication and culturally sensitive tolerance I can’t help but speak up and point out the inconsistencies and utter incoherence of such statements about belief. The notion that one can be a follower of Christ without acknowledging His uniqueness and sovereignty in all things while brushing aside His crucifixion and trivializing the Great Commission is...obscene.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16).
And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? (Romans 10:14)
All glory and honor to the only means to eternal life: Jesus Christ!