By Jim Denison, Crosswalk.com
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is worth nearly $200 billion, but money doesn’t necessarily buy popularity. For example, after Bezos boards the suborbital rocket New Shepard on July 20 for an eleven-minute voyage into space, a sizable number of people hope he doesn’t come back.
The petition “Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth” has collected more than 74,000 signatures as of this morning. Other petitions are making the same request.
Our post-truth culture views reality through personal sentiment. If you consider Jeff Bezos to be unworthy of living on the planet with you, whether you have met him in person or not, you might sign a petition stating the same.
Senator equates Christians with KKK members
One person was killed and another was seriously injured last Saturday when a truck drove into a crowd at a Pride parade in Florida. Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean Trantalis immediately called the tragedy a “terrorist attack against the LGBT community” and stated, “This is exactly what it is. Hardly an accident. It was deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person.”
However, police soon determined that the driver was a participant in the event and that the tragedy was not deliberate. The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus president stated, “To my knowledge it was an accident. This was not an attack on the LGBTQ community. We anticipate more details to follow and ask for the community’s love and support.”
If the mayor could conclude apart from the facts that an accident was a “terrorist attack against the LGBT community,” I suspect he would view me in somewhat the same way that Jeff Bezos’ detractors view him. Though the mayor and I have not met, he would likely see my commitment to biblical morality as homophobic, bigoted, and dangerous. And he would probably dismiss my appeal to the First Amendment and religious freedom as well.
Consider Senator Dick Durbin’s closing remarks in the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act. Sen. Durbin is a practicing Catholic; his church has consistently stated its opposition to the Act on the grounds that it discriminates against Christians and threatens the unborn.
Nonetheless, the senator stated: “I do believe that people who want to blatantly discriminate and use religion as their weapon have gone too far. We have to have limits on what they can do. I might remind us in history that the Ku Klux Klan was not burning question marks. They were burning a cross. They were making some distorted connection with religion. And God forbid that anyone would buy that. We don’t need that in America, regardless of the time, regardless of the organization, wherever they come down on the political spectrum.”
If Catholics and others who support biblical morality are to be equated with KKK members, clearly we cannot expect a reasoned conversation with our culture on sexual ethics.
"We do not know how to hate"
How, then, can we persuade our fallen world of the truth and relevance of biblical morality? By demonstrating its truth and relevance in our lives.
Relevance is the currency of our culture. While Paul quoted Greek philosophers to reach Greek philosophers (Acts 17:28) and quoted the Hebrew Bible to reach Jews (cf. Acts 17:1-4), you and I live in a society that measures “truth” by its results in its adherents.
This is actually good news for the good news of the gospel. Jesus transforms those who trust and follow him so fully that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Focusing on relevance was also how many early Christians showed the Roman world the authenticity and power of their faith. They had no political power to abolish slavery, so they purchased slaves and freed them. They could not end the horrific practice of abandoning unwanted babies, so they rescued discarded babies and raised them as their own.
This is why Justin Martyr (ca. AD 100–165) could say of his fellow Christians, “We who hated and destroyed one another, and on account of their different manners would not live with men of a different tribe, now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them, and pray for our enemies” (First Apology 14).
An early Christian named Minucius Felix testified to the Romans, “We love one another ... with a mutual love, because we do not know how to hate.” In a culture famed for its violence and barbarism, the transforming grace of Christ was a powerful apologetic for the gospel of Christ.
How God changed Terry Crews
We can follow the same strategy today.
Terry Crews is an actor, bodybuilder, former NFL player, and the current host of America’s Got Talent. He is also a recovering porn addict whose wife credits the Lord with saving their marriage. She told Christian Post, “He took hold of the word of God, and he took hold of the Scriptures, and he just ran with all his might. He said, ‘God, I don’t want to be like this anymore.’ And he amazes me every day. He really is the kinder, gentler version of Terry Crews because he let God do a work in his life.”
Black pastors are encouraging their members to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But they are doing more than preaching—they are opening their churches as vaccination sites. One such initiative has been responsible for over thirty thousand vaccinations in its first three months.
One of the first songs I learned after becoming a Christian at the age of fifteen included the words, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” In one of the first Bible studies I attended, our youth minister asked us, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
How would those who know you answer his question today?
Publication date: June 22, 2021
Photo courtesy: SWN
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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