I genuinely believe that many Christians have jumped on the "outrage bandwagon" far too hard. In many cases, the target of our ire is the LGBTQ+ community. We tend to pick the worst time to get all loud about it too. Usually June, usually around Pride. It's as if we're surprised it's happening again. In 2015 it was Rainbow Doritos, 2017 it was Mc Donalds' rainbow french fries, in 2019, it was any company who wanted to "rainbowize" its social media profile picture seemed to be begging for a "Believer's Boycott."
Frankly, it's exhausting. LGBTQ+ folks need the Gospel as much as any glutton, alcoholic, smoker, gambler, or 15-year-old boy who has looked at a woman who is not his wife lustfully. For the record, I remember being that 15-year-old boy; I needed the Gospel A LOT (I still do, incidentally).
Everyone needs the gospel, is the point I'm laboriously trying to make here.
We have a habit of jumping on these causes, like this low-hanging-fruit of sexual sin, and ignoring the larger issues that would demand action from the people of God. Sexual slavery, human trafficking, gross income inequality, and children in concentration camps at the US/Mexico border...These are much larger issues, where real lives are lost, but even these pale in comparison to the true problem people are experiencing.
They're dying without hope.
As believers, is it really within our purview to go around condemning people who already stand condemned? I primarily hold to a view of the atonement called: Penal Substitutionary Atonement; the simplest explanation of which is that we are all guilty, and Jesus exchanged his freedom for our punishment. He, in doing so, takes the blame for our sin. So indulge me a moment and let me use the metaphor of a courtroom.
Clearly, the Christian is not the judge, that's God the Father. We're also not the prosecutor who convicts of sin, that's Holy Spirit. Believers, at least, aren't the defendant who will serve the sentence; that's pretty clearly the Lord Jesus. What would our role be then? I think it's made pretty clear in scripture in places like Colossians 4, and 1 Timothy 3 (look them up) that we're the character witnesses who point to the good news and say: "You can't be tried for this offence! The penalty is paid already" (This is also where the metaphor begins to break down, but I think I've made my point.)
I've been reflecting deeply on the passage in Colossians for the last 4 years. It’s the passage that gives this blog its name. I could probably spend the rest of my life on verses 3-6 alone. I believe the church in the West has forgotten what it means to be winsome. To be gracious in our speech and actions. Everyone needs Jesus, everyone; and yet many of us act, even unintentionally, in such a way that pushes people away. Usually, these are people who WE think are perhaps too far gone.
I actually wrote about this in 2015 when Doritos came out with that limited-run of "Rainbow Doritos". The important dichotomy, at least to me, in scripture is this: Paul is hard on believers in places like 1 Corinthians, but his view of non-believers is much gentler, much more gracious. I try to do the same thing, and I wish the church at large would too.
We Christians bear the happiest of burdens: we are the image-bearing character witnesses of the Gospel! Our only job is to tell people how magnificent God is, how great Jesus is, and how free they can be if they follow Him. We are called to do this with wisdom, grace, and a spirit of winsomeness. I see a lot of believers on social media, I don’t see a lot of wisdom, grace, or winsomeness. I do see a lot of fear, condemnation, arrogance, and, to steal the word: toxicity. We’re called to be heralds of the Kingdom, not harbingers of destruction. This doesn't mean we minimize sin, and how it divides us from the presence of God. We don't water down the reality of Hell for the unrepentant, but the Glutton isn't spending eternity in Hell because of their eating habits, the gay man isn't going to Hell because of how he spends his time in bed, neither the adulterer. Rather EVERYONE deserves Hell because we don't worship God the Father and accept His Son as our sacrifice (propitiation, another great word to look up.)
Isn't that so much better of a gig to have? Don't you want to be the bearer of good news rather than bad?
How do we do this though? What’s the key to modern evangelism and being a good character witness for Jesus? I think it has to do with getting away from what I call: “Shock and Awe” evangelism and embracing “Hearts and Minds” evangelism.
Read about that here.