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Hypocritical: Part 3 – Quotes from the Frontline

USA Today just published an article entitled, “Southern Baptists urge their members to evangelize more.” It is a short article describing briefly some research that Ed Stetzer and Lifeway have done as part of a new evangelism push in the SBC. The article was interesting, but, for our purposes, it is the comments that users have jumped in to offer that will be worth our time. Following are some of the comments to the article…

  • Religion is out of control, and is given far too much respect.
    It enjoys a status it hasn’t earned, doesn’t deserve, and
    it should be mocked and ridiculed as foolishness and a
    public nuisance.
    Religion is like Alcohol.
    The more you indulge,
    the less coherent you sound.
  • is this supposed to be a recruiting tool for fresh republirats???? Bush used this method in the past and while it suceeded, it has now caused americans to dislike the rpeublirat party, while seeing them as hypocrites.
  • The weather is getting nice, time for the baptists to evangelize in a neighborhood near you. Need those $$$ for a BIG new steeple.
  • They are all the same:
    they think they are the true church
    they think the other churches are wrong
    I used to be a christian, I grew up thinking my religion was right and the rest of them were wrong
    C RA P
    I am now a proud ATHEIST and very much happy. I understand now our place in this planet.
  • Why does the mere subject of religion set off anger in so many people?
    ********************
    Seriously?
    Because religion is behind:

    • Eliminating a woman’s right to choose
      Denying homosexuals the right to marry those whom they love
      Limiting scientific research to cure disease
      Right to die issues
      Misogyny
      Many wars
      That’s just for starters.
  • Please don’t knock on my door. I’m busy dealing with reality.
  • It’s a hard concept because Southern Baptists condemn, judge and threaten.
  • The GOP takes a judgmental view of the poor and attracts racists. I doubt Christ would be a Republican.
  • Oh boy, I can’t wait to see the fights at my front door between the Jehovah’s witnesses and the Southern Bapts! I wonder what percentage of the Bible they would agree on?!?
  • Simple. If the southern baptist convention really wants to get the word out they should hire a bunch of Jehovah’s witnesses to hit the streets. THey are a tenacious bunch I tell ya…
  • No one wants to hear these hateful, out of touch, old creatures going around spreading their word.
  • Every so often in the summertime one of the busiest intersections in my city is descended upon by the evangelical howlers who walk up and down in in the stoped traffic and yell and scream at the people in their cars that they are going straight to hell if they don’t shape up right now… it always makes me wish I had a crate of tomatoes on hand.
  • I use to attend church but the hypocrisy of those who say they are Christians and then act otherwise is amazing to me.

Wow. Isn’t that insightful as to what people really think of Christians are our evangelism efforts? These are just a small sample of the comments on the site, but did you notice the 6 themes uncovered by unChristian surfacing? Did you notice that many of these people used to be self-professed Christians?

Stay tuned for part 4 when we look at why being hypocritical is so bad and why it causes us so many problems.

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Longing to be great

The goal is not to be remarkable for remarkable’s sake. I don’t want to just build a purple cow empire. I want to grow the kingdom. I want see hearts bowed before King Jesus. I long to see the image of God (us) claiming the far corners of the earth for our great King. That is the type of radical greatness to which this author and this blog aspires. So, let us now turn to the objections that unbelievers – outsiders – have to Christianity. What is it that keeps unbelievers from engaging the claims of Christ. David Kinnaman, in an important research study of Mosaic and Buster outsiders (which he defines as 16-29 year olds outside of Christianity) reveals 6 major objections. Unfortunately, and this is the challenge for us, the reason many people do not engage the claims of Christ is because of his followers. As Gandhi is often quoted as saying, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Here are the six major themes (objections or points of skepticism) that Kinnaman’s research revealed (I will quote Kinnaman here and save personal interaction with them for the upcoming series of posts):

  • Hypocritical. Outsiders consider us hypocritical – saying one thing and doing another – and they are skeptical of our morally superior attitudes. They say Christians pretend to be something unreal, conveying a polished image that is not accurate. Christians think the church is only a place for virtuous and morally pure people.
  • Too focused on getting converts. Outsiders wonder if we genuinely care about them. They feel like targets rather than people. They question our motives when we try to help them “get saved,” despite the fact that many of them have already “tried” Jesus and experienced church before.
  • Antihomosexual. Outsiders say that Christians are bigoted and show disdain for gays and lesbians. They say Christians are fixated on curing homosexuals and on leveraging political solutions against them.
  • Sheltered. Christians are thought of as old-fashioned, boring, and out of touch with reality. Outsiders say we do not respond to reality in appropriately complex ways, preferring simplistic solutions and answers. We are not willing to deal with the grit and grime of people’s lives.
  • Too political. Another common perception of Christians is that we are overly motivated by a political agenda, that we promote and represent politically conservative interests and issues. Conservative Christians are often thought of as right-wingers.
  • Judgmental. Outsiders think of Christians are quick to judge others. They say we are not honest about our attitudes and perspectives about other people. They doubt that we really love people as we say we do (p. 29-30).

Now, remember, these may or may not be true and may or may not be fair representations. But they are, at least, widely held perceptions. This is not to say we compromise on truth, but maybe we need to learn how to texture truth with grace in these arenas. In the coming posts, we will explore each of them and their challenge for the church today.

Interact: Do any of these objections resonate with you? Is there one that causes you anguish or slowed (slows) your receptivity to the claims of Christ?

P.S. > Part of the reason that people object to Christ is because they are depraved, slaves to the evil one. It is not our job (we couldn’t do it if we wanted to) regenerate hearts. That is the work of God the Spirit. However, to the extent possible, the path to greatness in the kingdom requires us to be diligent and faithful, quick to learn when and where our actions and our attitudes become obstacles.