Tuesday, September 11, 2007

With a Gun in the Face, How Do You Answer?

Yesterday I tried to give a very rough systematic outline of some questions to ask a person you know who claims to be a Christian but who gives little evidence of being converted. In thinking over my post, I thought it might be helpful to conclude this mini-series with a few gut-level questions that attempt to drill less systematically but more piercingly to the core of the matter. These are not intended to be systematic, but they are intended to call the wavering and endangered among us to consider the reality of Christianity and to count the cost.
  • If a gun is pointed at your head, and you are asked whether you love and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, what would you say?
  • Your family is hosting a major event on Sunday morning. Do you acquiesce and attend or do you make things awkward and fellowship with your church family?
  • Do you make any attempt to feed your soul with truth? Does entertainment altogether drown out any spiritual activity on your part?
  • When you look at your pastimes, hobbies, and activities, is there any distinguishable pattern of Christian commitment?
  • Do you put off involvement with the church on the grounds that you're too busy right now but will do so one day?
  • Who do you surround yourself with? Do you have a number of strong Christian friends who build you up in the faith? Or do you surround yourself with lost people who offer you no spiritual help and do not challenge you to grow as a Christian?
  • Would you give up your favorite things for the sake of Christian growth? If necessary, would you cut out football, or a close friendship, or "recreational" shopping, or watching your favorite television show or movie?
  • Do you ever, at all, make time to be with God in a devotional sense?
  • Does your Christianity ever induce awkward moments? Do you laugh at every dirty joke that is told? Do you stand up for Christ or Christians in a public setting? Would anyone identify you as a Christian?
The more we can prompt reflection in those around us, the better the opportunity for them to consider Christ and His call. If there is nothing more important than knowing Christ as savior, there can be nothing more important than asking hard questions of those we love--and seeking, and handling well, honest answers.

"My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20)

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Blogger Terry Delaney said...

Very good questions, brother. I enjoyed your entry. I would like to share with you and experience I had asking similar questions.

I asked once from the pulpit "Who would take a bullet to the head if they were asked to deny their faith in Christ?" A godly man in the church spoke out and said, "No, that is not the question to ask a believer because for a believer, death is victory. No, the question to ask is, 'Would you allow your son to take a bullet for your profession of faith in Christ?'"

I responded something about that being a much better gut-check question and have given much thought to it since that time. What made that question all the more impactful is that my newborn son was being held by my wife at the back of the church.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Dad said...

Owen, while agreeing with the general tone of your questions I do think they can be refined some.

Terry makes a good point, so I won't expand on that. However, . . .

Sunday morning event: Is this my immediate family, or a family reunion or . . . Am I a wife who is submissive to my husband, or a child who desires to honor my parents?? I heard a man give a 'mother's day' message. One of the points was that this mother, contrary to his unsaved father's wishes, took him to church. The speaker was praising the actions of his mother. I think that she was not submitting to her husband and was thus not being a good example of how the church was to submit to Christ. Also, that she was not trusting in the Lord to minister to her son if she would submit to her husband.

Being in 'church' every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and once a twice a week sometimes is not a good testimony to an unsaved family. And by the way some churches have way too many things scheduled, and actually destroy family time and time in the world to bring the light of the Lord there.

Invite them to church with you? Sometimes there is not much of a testimony at a church service - the saints are not friendly, the 'food' poor. So that is not always a good option either.

Sometimes just walking with God is a great testimony.

Some general comments of the next 4 or 5. What is 'spiritual activity' and 'Christian commitment'? Are we looking for legalistic outward markers here? And my first thought as I was reading these was that the specifics of these questions were going against some of what you have discussed in other blogs, i.e. Christians entering into the the 'world' and being a light.

I'll close with one other thought. So far I have not found that daily Bible reading is advocated in the Bible nor is a daily devotional time. I'm not saying that these are bad things either, but what is commanded is to meditate upon the law of God day and night. How do you measure this? Or the lack of this? And sometimes such meditation may lead in a direction contrary to that of a whole church full of people not meditating on God's Word.

May God bless and keep you.

Al (Not Owen's dad or that other "Al".)

4:19 AM  
Anonymous DrLiz said...

I agree with "dad" on the family stuff, except perhaps on the "mom taking kid to church against unsaved husband's wishes." Wives are not called to disobey God in order to submit to their husbands. As Christians we are told to submit to governing authorities, but if the governing authority sets forth a law that is in conflict with God's law, then we should obey God's law. (I'm not trying to be legalistic about church attendance here, just making the point that submission to God supercedes submission to any earthly authority.)

7:44 PM  

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