I want 2017 to be a revolutionary year.
Hope not Hate
I want the focus to be on hope not on hate.
On being positive, about what we believe in, rather than what we oppose.
This is particularly true in Christianity. I am sick of seeing things that are anti Islam. Especially those that seem to thing that the horrors due to the Taliban and ISIS/ISUL/IS/Daesh, are in line with mainstream Islamic belief.
As Christians we have more in common with those with Abrahamic faith – Judaism , Islam – than we do with people of our own country and own race but who are agnostic or atheist. We should stand together and celebrate what we have in common.
Not that we should agree on everything. Christianity is based on the deity of Christ Jesus, and him being raised from the dead, which we should continue to proclaim. But we share a great deal with other faiths that we can celebrate together. I think we need to find more ways and new ways to stand together on what we share. Too many religious groups are defined by what they are against rather than what they believe.
I have recently changed my mind on this after studying St Paul’s letter to the Colossians. I have studies the book before, but always in bits, passage by passage. Stepping back and looking at the whole book in context it seems that the letter was written because the early church in Colossae was falling into some serious heresy. The interesting thing is that Paul does not mention the heresy directly in the letter written about it. Instead he proclaims Jesus and what he has done. So instead of us using, and wasting, our time proclaiming that we are anti Muslim, anti both sexes being bishops, anti gay, anti whatever, we would be better off proclaiming Christ Jesus and him crucified.
Proclamation not preaching
Controversial. Especially for an Evangelical.
The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:11 “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers. We are not all called to be preachers. Some are and we should support them. In fact we should seek those who are called to preach and encourage them to follow where God is calling them. But the rest of us?
The usual answer is that we to witness. OK so far, but then you see the whole range of “How to Witness” material, and it is all about how to leas someone to Christ. All well and good, we know Jesus Christ and want others to share the same joy, but what is described in the witnessing leaflets is evangelism. As I said above, not all are called to be evangelists.
Witnessing is saying what we have seen felt and heard. Tell people what Jesus means to us personally, including the difficult bits. Especially the difficult bits. Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling us which the Bible, and our experience, tells us is a foretaste of heaven. We don’t just have pie in the sky when we die but there is a degree of here on the ground when we are sill around.
If Christians took these approaches it would be revolutionary.