As often happens when I attend the International Christian Retail Show, I witness something very disturbing. Last evening, I attended a publicity meeting at the show. At least that’s what it purported to be. It was really a panel discussion intended to promote a particular book. I won’t mention the title or the author, because I don’t want anyone to buy it out of curiosity.
Their premise is that the church is too antagonist toward unbelievers. This is “proven” by the fact that their perception of believers is that we’re judgmental, hateful, and hypocritical, and also that their perception of Jesus is much more positive. Therefore, if we would be more like Jesus, unbelievers would have a better perception of us as well. They said we need to stop criticizing and start being more loving and accepting. One on the panel went so far as to say, “We need to stop the apologetics and start apologizing.”
That’s when I almost lost my lunch. These panelists have it completely backwards. The church needs to engage with more of the truth, not less. We need more, “Repent, lest you die,” not “I’m sorry you’re upset.” Unbelievers will never come to true faith with a watered-down gospel of “acceptance.” They need to repent of their sins and turn to the living God in obedience.
Jesus told us that the world would hate us, so why should we worry about an opinion poll of unbelievers? They hated Jesus and crucified Him. Should he have apologized for saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”? Absurd. Yet these authors had the audacity to say that we should be apologizing.
The reason people give higher ratings to Jesus than they do to His followers is that they are evaluating a Jesus that they have invented in their minds, not the real Jesus. They don’t think about His command to repent or His insistence that they love Him more than life itself. If they were alive at the time of Jesus, they would likely have been among the crowds who shouted, “Crucify him!”
Another statement the author made that was just ridiculous was, “Yes, I’m a hypocrite, and I’m sorry. Yes, I’m not a good example of Jesus, and I’m sorry.” I wanted to stand up and say, “You must not be very sorry if you’re still playing the hypocrite.”
This is one part of their message that was true. Hypocrisy is a horrible blight on the church. The false doctrine of the carnal Christian continues to destroy the witness of the true believers. Yet, this author claims to be one of those hypocrites, gives a weak, “I’m sorry,” and, apparently goes on being a hypocrite, because, I suppose, he believes us all to be hypocrites. This is simply twisted thinking. True Christians are not hypocrites.
I’m going back to the convention today, and it’s likely I’ll see more disturbing examples of fake Christianity. It always grieves me and makes me wonder how God puts up with all this nonsense masquerading as truth.