I was reading a couple of articles this week and ran across a profound statement from the book, The Church as a Movement by JR Woodward and Dan White Jr. In it they write, “When the gospel is reduced to a private affair between us and God, it not only seems self-serving, but it becomes irrelevant to the world around us and the problems we face as humanity, whether it be poverty, senseless violence, ecological disasters or the break-up of families.”
A stark reminder that in God’s eyes there is no separation between church and state. For that matter, I don’t think God would consider any separation of church and work, or family, or leisure, or entertainment, or any other aspect of life as appropriate. Church, Christianity and faith is not a private affair. Rather, it should saturate, drench and flood over into every part of life. The news media, the irreligious, the agnostic and the atheist use terms like, “politically correct”, “socially acceptable”, and “tolerance” in an effort to remove all aspects of God, faith and religion from public society. However, when I read the New Testament, when I read the words of Paul, when I see what the disciples did I am convinced that the idea that they would restrain their proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus in order to prevent offending someone would never have even occurred to them. And if in some crazy, unbelievable instant that thought crossed through their minds, it would have vanished in the same instant. Just read the answer Peter and John gave the Sanhedrin, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, but we cannot stop speaking…” (Acts 4:19-20) Peter and John said they were compelled, the had to speak about Jesus. The Apostles were whipped, put in prison and even executed for preaching Jesus—yet they never stopped.
Unfortunately, someone says talking about Jesus is offensive, and if we keep doing it they won’t be our friends anymore—and we stop talking about Jesus—or worse, because we are afraid they will say that we don’t even start! Being quiet about Jesus is not being kind and considerate, in reality, it is actually hateful. When you and I don’t share, in both word and deed, the Gospel of Jesus we are defiantly shouting to God and the world around us that parts of His creation, some of the people made in His image, are not worth saving, and not worth loving.