We are in a dangerous position in our current culture. The position is one in which the availability of knowledge has made everyone an expert in everything. After reading a few articles, or even a few words of a few articles online, suddenly we consider ourselves experts in whatever topic. However, there is a great difference between being an expert and simply knowing about a topic. While the time we could spend on such a topic is immense, that’s not my goal here. Instead, this week has yielded some interesting stories of antagonism towards Christians in which this applies.
I’ve watched my Facebook feed, the very few times I have been on, be filled more than normal with people making broad and generic claims about Christians without having all the information. Several stories have cropped up about religious freedom as well. It was a story about a man who painted a verse on the side of his true to indicate that women should be silent and submissive. His reasoning was not what you would expect. This is a man who wanted to compel people to read the Bible and be confronted with how awful the Bible is. The irony of this should not be lost. These same people who claim that people should read the Bible to understand it better haven’t actually read it themselves except to find phrases out of context that can be utilized to support their agenda.
While some would quickly call for this man to be silenced and forced to remove the writing on his truck, I would urge caution in that. In a culture that is quick to silence those whom disagree with us, this is often the first reaction. Yet, to demand freedom to disseminate our own ideas while silencing those who oppose us not only conveys an illogical motive, but likely will push people away versus draw them in. Furthermore, it has the propensity to work against us in the future as people try to censure us on that same basis.
However, the concern here is not merely a freedom of speech or freedom of religion issue, but the basis they use in seeking to suppress Christianity. They do so not by spreading truth, but falsehood. After reading a few stories about the Bible, rather than the Bible itself, they are the experts on the topic. That by itself would not be an issue. We could simply ignore such naivety and confront it as we experience it. What makes this a bigger issue though is the willful submission of people to such falsehood.
The result is an impact that continues to gain influence and demands action from us. What action then must we take? The answer to that question is quite simple:
- Discernment: I’ve long advocated for the necessity of discernment in our lives as Christians. The same is true here. We must be discerning about the information we take in, testing it against the reliable, infallible, and inerrant Word of God. The readiness at which information is disseminated with little regard to the facts necessitate a greater need for discernment.
- Diligence: Not only must we test things against the word, but we must be diligent in our study of it. So that we are not lead astray, we must be careful to open our Bibles and read them constantly.
- Define: If the Word is to be the basis for all things, then it must be rightly defined in order to be rightly applied. That necessitates that we utilize right hermeneutics, or a right methodology for interpretation, in order to understand Scripture. We cannot make the Bible say what we want it to say, but instead, must be careful to make it say what it really says. The issue with those who try to utilize Scripture to prove how horrendous Christianity is do so with a wrong interpretation of Scripture. Thus, there is a need to rightly interpret Scripture.
- Develop: A right hermeneutic not only ensures that we are faithful to the Word, but equips us with a right defense against those who use it wrongly. We must be prepared with a defense in these situations, to point out the misuses of the Bible and instead reveal it in its truth.
Discernment, diligence, definition, and develop are key strategies that we must engage in for our own spiritual growth with a view towards impacting others with the truth.
While few will claim to be experts in everything, most will act as though they are. Have a conversation and they have something to say about anything and everything, and there is no room for discussion because they already know it all. This arrogance has found its way into the culture of those antagonistic towards Christians and demands that we be experts on the only thing that matters: The Lord and His Word.
Photo “Academics” courtesy of user Katerina Athanasaki and Flickr.