Culture At Large

Perceptions of Christianity

Andy Rau

While thinking about Brian's post below, I happened to come across another article, which wonders how something so wonderful as the Gospel could possibly have come to provoke suspicion and distrust:

Has contemporary Western culture swung 180 degrees --- from assuming that Christian values and Christ's teaching are a foundation for spiritual health, to being suspicious of anything Christian?

When I read today's readings, I find myself wondering, "How did this happen?" How did it come to pass that one of the most compelling figures and one of the riches set of teachings the world have ever known has become perceived as something that can't possibly make a positive contribution to our society?

I share the author's frustration that the Gospel is not appreciated for the genuinely Good News that it is, but is this really a surprise? Sure, there have been times in history when the church as an institution has been better-respected by the world around it... but there's a reason that the Bible calls Jesus a stumbling block, and it's not by human logic, power, or good behavior that people are moved past that stumbling block into God's grace.

So how can we tell whether a person's disdain for the Christianity is caused by their personal rejection of the Gospel, or their frustration with the human Church? The former we can't control. As for the latter, well, I agree with the sentiment that it's not our job to make people like Christianity... but if our actions or inactions are placing new, man-made stumbling blocks in front of their feet, then we do have a responsibility to get rid of those blocks.

Where does our "ambassadorial" Christian responsibility begin and end? I've re-written this post three times now, and have come to a different conclusion each time. What do you think?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Evangelism