Monday, April 27, 2020

Anonymous Asks (90)

“Why should I talk about my faith at school?”

Here’s a thought: maybe you shouldn’t. Or at least, maybe you shouldn’t make some kind of formal policy out of it.

When I was growing up, we recited the Lord’s Prayer in public schools. There was something close to a common consensus that the Christian faith encouraged character qualities which, if not practiced by everybody you knew, were at least almost universally acknowledged as values we’d like our kids to have. And if helping your children learn the merits of honesty, loyalty, hard work, persistence, hope, patience and kindness could be accomplished by telling them stories about Jesus, most parents were okay with sending their kids off to Sunday School too.

These are not those days. Today’s West is pluralistic, multicultural and secular. Its school systems have been retooled to produce citizens tolerant of things Christians should not tolerate and intolerant of things which are not only perfectly acceptable but necessary to living any kind of balanced life — such as believing in objective reality. The Lord’s Prayer is long gone and it’s not coming back. Children from Christian families who attend public schools are undercover in Propaganda Central. They are in enemy territory, and the enemy is everywhere. Professions of Christian faith are no longer greeted with polite indifference or bemusement but as declarations of war.

In such an environment, maybe you shouldn’t talk about your faith. Really.

If knowing Jesus Christ has not changed your view of humanity into two very simple categories — saved and lost — then you are probably not sufficiently spiritually mature to be able to talk about what you believe about God with the kind of urgency and authenticity the world needs.

If being loved by the Father — who sent his Son into the world that the world through him might be saved — has not shed abroad God’s love in your heart so that you long for the salvation of your friends more than a hot girlfriend, a new videogame or a successful career, then you probably couldn’t say anything compelling or useful to them anyway.

If having your sins forgiven and being graciously granted the hope of resurrection and eternal life with Christ and all those who love him does not get you so lit up that you can’t stop talking about it, maybe you shouldn’t try to fake interest just because your church wants to you behave like everybody else who goes there. “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

If reading your Bible and having fellowship with God’s people has not made you long for a new world in which the earth will be “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” and “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain”, well, why would you talk about something that doesn’t mean everything to you and that you don’t think about and pray for every day of your life?

In short, if I have to tell you why you should share your faith ... if I have to argue with you or plead with you or try to shame you into acknowledging to a hostile world that you stand with Christ over, above and against all the wickedness our society cherishes and promotes ... well, maybe you’re better off keeping your faith to yourself.

It’s not much of a faith anyway.


  1. Frankly, the one thing I am always confounded by, concerning the Protestant faith, is the ease and casualness with which human society is separated into two groups, saved and unsaved even by the educated who should know better. Only God knows who is saved and no human does. It would therefore be better to make that clear in a discussion by adding qualifiers like potentially, or likely, or contingent on attitude and behavior, etc.. One can still make the wanted and intended distinction that biblically inspired morality, values, and behavior influences those probabilities where the individual is concerned. It is therefore much more important to stress that God is interested in having us become aware of where we are going wrong and is more than willing to assist us in changing accordingly.

    1. I would argue that the binary nature of salvation is a biblical observation, not a Protestant one: "What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:15). One is "saved" or one is "lost" at the end. This the the Lord's own language. We didn't make it up. It is the New Jerusalem or the Lake of Fire, not somewhere in between. That is the message of God's word.

      Now, should people be handled delicately and with discernment when discussing that truth? Certainly. But it is basic to theology of salvation. It is why Christ died: because we desperately needed it, and because people still need to experience the consequences of it today.

  2. "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)