Saturday, November 1, 2008

The difference between professing Christ loudly and confessing Christ proudly

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldiers is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”  -- Martin Luther.

What does this mean? I think Martin Luther is pretty clear. It is of the utmost importance that a Christian stand up for the truth of God that is being attacked. If you stand up for something that is not being attacked, you’re not accomplishing a whole lot. It’s not that hard to be anti-slavery in modern America, but it was much harder when slavery was common in American society. So, which of God’s truths are under attack today? The sanctity of life and God’s model for marriage come to mind. 

The world is at war with God’s word. Even passive Nativity displays, or pictures of Noah and his animals on invitations for an event at the Children’s Zoo are removed in the name of diversity. I think there are two kinds of diversity. My idea is that diversity is inclusive, that everyone should be represented. The world’s idea of diversity is excusive, a naked public square.

In a world full of war and death, these displays may not seem like a huge problem. But shouldn’t Christians be concerned that those who are against Christ, who think the good news of the Gospel message is offensive, are effectively stripping the public square of any religious expression. There is nothing inclusive or diverse about a society that only permits secular expression in public places.

These are ways the secular world is attacking our faith, and it’s where I think Christians need to step up and defend the truth. Martin Luther is right that Christians who don’t do this are a disgrace, not confessing Christ to the world.

In the years before the Civil War in America, there were two kinds of people who called themselves Christians. There were those who supported, condoned, or failed to oppose slavery, the most abominable evil of their time, and there were the Christians who believed in the abolition of slavery (and formed the Republican party to do just that). Which group was truly confessing Christ and which group was merely professing Christ? Here is a theological question I would love your thoughts on: in those times, was someone who worshiped on Sunday, but had his human slaves whipped every other day of the week truly a Christian? 

Are pro-slavery Christians saved, or are these the sort of people Christ was talking about when he said this: Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' What about those who condoned the extermination of Jews during the holocaust? There were people who did just that, yet claimed to be Christians. Were they showing the fruit of the Holy Spirit?

If you don't think neo-nazis are saved, or if members of the Ku Klux Klan, which often evokes the name of God to justify their actions, should call themselves Christians, then here is one last question to ponder: can you be pro-choice and a Christian? Is someone who supports the extermination of over 50,000,000 innocent unborn infants confessing Christ? What would Martin Luther think? 

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