Monday, September 28, 2009

New Season of "Preparing Your Answer"

The first podcast in our new season of "Preparing Your Answer" is now on the website. We are starting this year with a "Christianity 101" series. So if you want a reminder of the foundations of your faith, or if you are a seeker looking for answers to the basic questions of what Christians believe, visit the TMM site (; see the link at the top of the page) and download the podcasts free of charge! The first lesson is titled "Getting to Know Your Textbook."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat

In my job I spend a lot of time in the car, so I listen to Christian radio to pass the time. Lately, with all the hubub over health care reform, I've felt more like I am listening to political radio than religious radio. For some of these shows, it seems that the only thing they talk about is how "wrong" the President's proposals are.

First of all, I've been somehwat disturbed by the lack of repect sometimes shown to our President. Romans 13:1-2 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established … Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted.” In the interest of full disclosure I am an independent. But as you can probably guess by the content of Ten Minas' website, my political views run a bit more toward the conservative spectrum, at least on many social issues. However, that does not mean that I do not take my obligation to be respectful to our President very seriously. We are free to disagree with him, but not by utilizing the type of ridicule and irresponsible fact-twisting we all have likely come across from time to time. And please don't think I am "calling out" only Republicans on this. Democrats and other political parties are just as guilty sometimes.

Leaving that aside for the moment, though, it bothers me a bit that the message many of these radio shows seem to be sending is, "If you are a Christian, you should be opposed to the Democratic proposals for health care reform." I am pretty sure there is nothing in the Bible about what kind of coverage Blue Cross Blue Shield should be providing or whether or not there should be a "public option."

Yes, it is very important to have an open and honest discussion of these issues. Yes, there are many political issues that also have theological implications (abortion, homosexual marriage, etc.). But I fear that sometimes we take this too far and act as if everything on the politically conservative agenda is also on Jesus' agenda. Don't we as Christians understand that when we do this we only put up one more obstacle between us and non-Christians that gets in the way of sharing the gospel? Do we really want people thinking, "I like Obama's health care plan, so I guess I can't be a Christian"? That may not be what we intend to say, but it is what many people are hearing (see, e.g., the chapter in the book "UnChristian" about how Christianity is perceived by outsiders as being "Too Political").

There is (and should be) a forum for discussing political issues like health care reform, and I certainly have no problem with anyone in that forum being forthright about their love for Christ. But when a program that is purportedly dedicated to teaching and advancing Christian principles spends day after day talking about health care reform, I am left wondering if they have lost sight of their true mission.

Don't assume that everything you believe is what Jesus believes. If you do, you are in danger of creating Jesus in your image. Instead, evaluate what you believe based upon what the Bible says. Then we can allow the Holy Spirit to mold us in Jesus' image. And always remember that there are many areas in life where we can disagree and still belong to the same body of Christ. That's the beauty of Christianity. It can bring unity in diversity. Yes, there still are some foundational beliefs that define what it is to be a "Christian" (as there must be if we are not to slip into universalism). But sometimes I fear that we define those foundational beliefs far too broadly and pick and choose them so that we can exclude anyone who is not "like us." Please be careful. Jesus spent His time on Earth with sinners, and they were definitely not "like Him" in that regard.

God bless you all, and God bless America.