10 November 2015

American Christian Identity In Crisis

Would the American Christian, coming from a small town in America's south, who sees Christ through the lens of a particular Protestant denomination, for example, be able to recognize his brother in Christ who is culturally Arab?

Aside from outer appearances, if only words were heard (the Arabic language heard by the American), what are the chances that the American may think their Arab brother in Christ was a terrorist?

The same could be seen in reverse, with the Arab Christian perceiving their American counterpart as being hostile to the Arab culture, or whatever the negative perception of American Christians is in an Arab culture.

I don't like using labels or categories (Arab, American, Christian), but I do so in this instance to make the point that outer appearances, and their attached labels, can be deceiving.

Our initial judgment of someone by outer appearance can be very wrong.

What is sad, but needs to be pointed out, is how certain groups of “Christians” are suspicious and judgmental of other groups of Christians, even those who walk the very same streets but attend a different Christian group, or explain their faith using different terms.

Yet, no man can clearly see the heart of another man, neither what the future holds for both themselves and others.

Sadly, an individual can be easily judged according to their clothes, their ethnicity, their group affiliation, or their group's doctrinal points, instead of being measured according to a relationship.

Yet, this human shortcoming isn't only common to the Christian circles.

This same shortcoming is evident in practically all people, whether religious or secular.

How can someone overcome such a shortcoming of their human condition?

We can see a great example in a man named Paul:

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

- 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23

Imagine the American Christian (whatever that is), for the sake of loving and saving their perceived “enemy,” would adopt their enemy's culture, as an act of love and service, in order to reach them? We read the quoted example how Paul became what ever was necessary to embrace, reach, relate to and absorb into Christ those who were destined to hear the good news of Christ's kingdom.

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