Friday, January 9, 2009

What's In A Name?

I am a fan of Ted Dekker's books. He writes unusual Christian books, and some I have liked better than others, but he is a great author. Other than the use of "hell", as telling people to go there, in his book "Sinner", I have had no issues with his writing, and he told me it would not be in future printings of his book.

I received an email from him, sent out to everyone who is signed up for updates, that grabbed my attention. It was a link to his newest blog post, titled "The Challenge of Being Gay". The post isn't at all what it sounds like, but I had to disagree with him on the post. Here is the gyst of the blog in a few sentences:

" For starters the term “Evangelical” is fast becoming a measure of ones fanaticism and dedication to particular political and social agendas rather than a term that denotes doctrinal convictions or affiliations. The term “Christian” is close on its heels. Put together the meaning of phrase “Evangelical Christian” means one thing in Atlanta, and another thing entirely in New York or Boston. In one city it means protestant, in another it means bigoted, politically motivated, fundamentalist who hates liberals and is willing to take up arms to prove it. Or something like that."

I disagree with Mr. Dekker. The world doesn't view us as fanatics and hate us because of what we call ourselves, but because of what we believe. They hate us because we say abortion is murder, that homosexuality is a sin, that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and that you must live by the Bible to make it there.

I am not ashamed of being Evangelical, or Christian, or both. If we don't refer to ourselves as Christians, what do we call ourselves? And is it going to matter to the world what we call ourselves? I think not.

I am not sure if Dekker is saying we should just love everyone and try not to block liberal agenda and protect our freedoms, but one could almost get the idea from his blog that he is espousing that idea. If anything, I believe we have been too gulity of sitting back on our butts and letting the atheists, the gays, the abortion crowd take over the country and our freedoms. From the start, we should have been calling, emailing, boycotting, whatever it took to stop the liberal takeover of our nation.

Could our methods be better? I am sure. The answer is not to bomb abortion clinics, beat up homosexuals, and actions like that. We need to love people, but we also need to speak out against sin. Don't let the homosexual agenda take our freedoms of speech away. Call abortion what it is: murder. Tell the world that Jesus is the only way, but love people.

John 15: 19 says "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." I John 3:13 says "
13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you."

Sounds to me that in light of these verses, that it doesn't really matter what we call ourselves, the world is going to hate us. So who is right, Ted Dekker, or the Bible? He seems to think by not calling ourselves Christians and/or Evangelicals, we will be more accepted and be able to evangelize easier. I think not. They hate us for our beliefs, not for the name we call ourselves.

I really ticked off some the home schooling mothers awhile back with daring to express my viewpoints on home school verses Christian school. If I did a similar post, and called myself "John", or "Michael", would they just throw their arms around me and love me? No, of course not! It isn't my name that makes them irritated - it is my message, or viewpoint. Likewise, I can quit calling myself a Christian and/or Evangelical, and still be an irritant to the world. They still won't like me. Why not?! I call myself something else now! I am not Evangelical, or Christian anymore. I am.........ok - I am stumped - what would we call ourselves?! Ah - how about a Sojourner! "I am a Sojourner. Abortion? Um, I still think it is murder. Fanatic? Hateful?! No, you don't understand, I am not a "Christian" - I am a Sojourner. You can accept me now, like me now! No, Islam isn't the way, Jesus is the only Way. No, I am not a Christian! I am a Sojourner - we aren't fanatics.........." Ok, that didn't work, how about "believer"! Believer in what? Oh, Jesus. No! I am not one of those fanatics................"

OK, maybe I exaggerate the "conversation" above, but I do think I have a point. Yes, we need to show more love, but we cannot compromise or sit back and let the liberals, atheists, and the like, destroy our freedoms. We have to speak out, but in a loving way.

It is also true that many Christians have given us a bad name. There are preachers who have publicly fallen into sin, and made national headlines with their indiscretions. People have bombed abortion clinics, killed homosexuals, in the name of Christ. But we should not run from calling ourselves Christians, or Evangelicals. What we need to do is to show the world that though there may be "bad" Christians, that we are not one of them. That yes, Jesus IS the only way, that sin is sin, no matter what you call it, or who accepts it, but that we will love, as God loves. Will we still fight the liberal agendas? To quote Sara Palin "you betcha!" All that we need for bad to progress, is for good men to do nothing. (paraphrased quote from someone).

I don't think Dekker is promoting the idea that we compromise and sit on our butts, but his blog could give that idea. I do know this: He may be ashamed to call himself Christian & Evangelical, but I am not. It is who I am.

And my apologies to my home school friends (and enemies!) for using home schooling as an example. :-)

Comment if you like, on my blog, or on Ted Dekker's. He wants comments. And yes, I commented - a short version of this blog. :-)


Christa said...

I didnt see anything offensive about his post. To me, he seemed to be exploring a thought. However, I think the world has taken over alot of our things--such as our holidays for instance (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny,---and Happy Holidays also!!), why let the world take over something else. And over all, I dont think the world has a horribly bad view of Christians. There are those that let themselves be tainted by the few that claim the name, and dont walk the walk, but they over all are probably mostly the ones that want a excuse to not have to change themselves. The majority of the world does seem to trust you more if they know you are a Christian, or maybe I am still lost in the back forty...
And the homeschool moms were not ticked off, they were just pleasantly and firmly debating!!!

Steve-n-Deb said...


On NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me they told about a principal who has forbidden the use of the word "school". Instead he has a "learning place". He said that two many parents had bad associations with the word school. This seems to be an epidemic.

My only thought in support of Dekker is that if the name turns people off, I can use a different name to get them to listen to the message.

Most people will respond to the message the same way no matter what we call it, like you said. It would be the exceptions that a name change might help.

Then again, we are Alleghenians and nobody knows what that is anyway.