Machiavellian Christianity

I was talking to Shao Laoshi, my Chinese Teacher and Interpreter

about Faith. “Many feel that Christianity came to China on a cannon ball,” he told me. The implications of “forced faith” sobered me. “I’m sorry about that,” I told him, “that’s not the way it should be.”

All too often, Western believers have been guilty of what I call, "Machiavellian Christianity." It's the idea that as long as we're forwarding the gospel, "the ends justify the means." Ironically, when we understand the gospel, the wrong means result in the wrong end....

I love the old poem, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours'. If it doesn't, it never was!" God knows this better than we do. Forced faith isn't really faith. It's just compliance--form without substance, etc.

We see this in some pro-life circles or when political support for candidates sharing our values turns into nasty rhetoric or even violence. Christians forget that if we become un-Christian to promote Christianity, we are little more than a personified oxymoron. We will never accomplish the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 in this way.

Perhaps there is no more damaging example of this than when we attempt to share our faith by arguments and name-calling. Instead of presenting our testimony and sharing the gospel in a calm, peaceful way, we sometimes resort to making fun of those who disagree. Again, it's "Machiavellian." This isn't just wrong and sinful, it's ineffective--even counter-productive.

So...putting it simply, let's BE Christian as we spread Christianity. I think the results will speak for themselves...

To that end,

Pastor Joel

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