A few months ago, I was having dinner with a few great kids – students at a local Christian college. We were talking about the homosexuality issue, which I blogged on last week. At the end of our extensive discussion, one of the young men said, “I just don’t care – it’s just not a big deal to me, one way or another.” Sound familiar?
So, I asked him this question. “Based on what we read in the Bible, do you think God cares one way or another about this issue?” “Yeh, I think he doesn’t like the idea of anyone having sex outside of marriage”, he replied. “Again, based on the Bible do you think he feels strongly about it, or just has a preference?” I asked. “He apparently feels strongly about it,” he answered honestly.
“Well, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then whatever is important to God, must become important to you! His worldview must become your worldview, whether you personally agree with it or not. If you’re not prepared to make that one of the supreme goals of your life, you may want to re-think whether or not, you’re a true Christian.” He was shocked, so I went on to explain.
Inviting God into our conversations I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among young Christians. They like to have “conversations” about God and the things of God. That’s great! Christians have discussed and studied the Bible and the things of God for 2,000 years. But, here’s what troubles me; they appear to invite God and the Bible into the conversation because they find his opinions interesting, but not authoritative! They give him perhaps two votes in those conversations (because of course, he’s God!) But, in the end it’s the group or “community” as they call it that finally decides what’s true, regardless of what the Bible and historic Christianity clearly teaches.
Brian McLaren, who has been called the “Martin Luther” of the Emergent Church Movement, said in his book, A New Kind of Christianity, about conservative Christians, that they “read and use the Bible as a legal constitution… rather than what it actually is, a portable library of poems, prophecies, histories, fables, parables, letters, sage sayings, quarrels, and so on.”
He goes on to explain that the Bible, like a library, is a useful resource, but should not be read like a constitution that has authority over us. And younger Christians, perhaps your children and grandchildren are eating this stuff up!
I am not my own. Nearly 500 years ago, a group of devout theologians and pastors in Germany wrote the Heidelberg Catechism. It was their attempt, in a simple question and answer format, to teach people the most important truths of true Christian faith. It’s interesting to note that the very first question and answer they chose was this;
Q. What is our only hope in life and in death?
A. That we are not our own but belong body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.(This is from the New City Catechism, a modern, abbreviated version of the Heidelberg Catechism, written by Tim Keller.) http://www.newcitycatechism.com
The key phrase from that first answer is this; “we are not our own”. Because Jesus Christ has redeemed us to be children of God, we belong to God, not to ourselves any longer. That doesn’t simply mean we have been saved. It means that as members of God’s family and his kingdom, God’s agenda becomes ours. God’s laws become our laws; God’s truth becomes our truth. If God cares deeply about an issue, to be a true Christian, we must care about it also!
Can Christians “care about” everything? There’s a difference between caring for the things of God and having a passion for them. I’ve found I cannot be passionate about everything God cares about. I’m passionate about evangelism and spiritual mentoring because God has given me the spiritual gifts to do that work. Other Christians have a passion for the homeless and the poor. Other Christians have a passion for the sick and dying or for social justice. All those things are important to me also, because I know they’re important to God, but the truth is I can’t be passionate about everything. However, I do not have the right to say, “I just don’t care” if God cares about something deeply.
So, the next time you hear yourself, or someone else say, “I just don’t care”, ask this question, “Has God spoken clearly about this issue in scripture?” If he has, and you claim to be a child of God, then learn as much as you can about that issue, pray about it, pray for people wrestling with it. Perhaps even give money to Christians trying to address that issue. But, don’t ever say, “I don’t care”, if God himself does!
It is fair for Christians to say, we don’t understand. It’s even fair to ask, “Why would God say this or teach this?” But, the fact that we don’t have a satisfying answer to our “why” questions must not keep us from obeying him!
“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Romans 2:13
Following Jesus in Real Life