This declaration is so central to all that we believe and represent here at the Catch that it is a permanent document always accessible here at our website. However, I have found it necessary to review it often as it is prophetic and remains true to how we interact with the culture around us. Therefore I bring it up today as a Catch so that you, as fellow disciples of Christ, will review it, too, and see how you are doing. I also look forward to your comments as to how these declarations relate, or don’t relate, to your experience in the world today.
Whereas: We are followers of Christ who are wary about things that are given the cultural label “Christian”; and
Whereas: “Christian” has become a term that has more to do with how one aligns oneself politically and socially, or how one behaves in relation to certain cultural mores, than it does with anything of the heart; and
Whereas: We want to be Christians – but with a new definition;
We have come to the following conclusions:
We are not trying to create a place of safety in the world. Instead, we have found a place in our hearts where Christ dwells, and this gives us courage to face the world as it is.
We realize our overall purpose is not to change the world (that kind of thing is beyond our control), but it is to bring comfort, peace, warmth, love, and aid to people who are in the world, in the name of Jesus and His gospel.
Even if we were able to control the moral standards of society we understand that we would not necessarily be furthering the cause of Christ by making people better. In fact, we recognize a selfish motive in wanting a better world so we can have a safer environment in which to live and raise our own families. This gives no regard to the fact that “better” people without Christ still perish in their sins. A more moral society means little or nothing if people do not come into relationship with Christ.
We may not look or talk like traditional Christians because we hang around non-Christians a lot and have learned to play down our differences rather than exploit them, as some Christians before us. We have discovered that by identifying with sinners we are in a better position to introduce them to Christ than when we remain separate and aloof because we think we are “different” (which usually translates to “better” in their minds). The only people who are looking for perfect Christians to model their lives after are other Christians who have bought the lie that perfection is attainable.
We will not be offended by the language and behavior of non-Christians. We realize, because we know ourselves, that sinners sin. There is no reason to be appalled at this. If we were perfect and had no sin of our own, we could be appalled, but we are not without sin. The only thing that should offend us is the same thing that offended Jesus: self-righteous hypocrisy. We realize that in choosing to be offended by the normal behavior of non-Christians, we are turning ourselves into the very thing Jesus hated. We, who are worried about being offended, make ourselves an offense to God.
Listen to our new BlogTalkRadio interview with Susan Burton to discover how one woman is turning grace outward in her world today.
In the last two paragraphs when you say “non-Christians” I would just change it to “other people”. If we are to downplay our differences then it should not matter what degree of faith a person claims to have or not have or whether we even know. Also “non-Christians” can include religious people: Jews, Muslims, and yes, false Christians who are not what they claim. I think the idea of Christians being puritanical is a thing of the past. In my experience the language of some Christians is no different from anyone else.
Regardless of how a person is to be labeled, Christian or not, that should not matter to us. We should treat everyone with the same level of love and respect and have no expectations about their behaviour because of how we would label them. That should be part of our declaration too.
Big Amen to this GREAT point & TY 4 it brother John: “Regardless of how a person is to be labeled, Christian or not, that should not matter to us.”
This is a very good point, John. What about saying “people who are not Christians?”
Absolutely LOVED this in Today’s Catch:
“We realize our overall purpose is not to change the world (that kind of thing is beyond our control), but it is to bring comfort, peace, warmth, love, and aid to people who are in the world, in the name of Jesus and His gospel.” I’ll add an Amen!