Less Evidence That Demands a Verdict:
A Satirical Look at the Christian Witness
This CT is given here to show how easily people can misuse and manipulate Scripture. Please understand that I am not promoting the things found herein;it is satirical.
I once overheard someone ask a question that abruptly grabbed my attention: "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would they have enough evidence to convict you?" What a detestable thought, on trial for being a Christian. My counter question of course was, "Why on earth should they, who ever they are, suspect you in the first place!"
As I thought on this medieval proposal, I began to realize that there are some Christians out thereway out therewho may not have my discriminating Christian lifestyle. And so, as a good Samaritan, I have decided to list some precautions that will help lead well meaning, but obtrusive, Christians away from self destruction, some are accustomed to refer to it as martyrdom.
So, my dear Christian friend, the following material will, if lived by with your whole heart, help keep you from being brought to trial charged of being a Christian, all the while, of course, being one. Of course, being a Christian is both good and right, but let us not get fanatical or radical. After all, God does say, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40).
So let us look at some precautions you can take in your daily routine to keep the incriminating evidence down to a non-incriminating level.
1. You must appear as much like normal (non-Christian) people as possible. For example, keep your clothing up-to-date with the latest fashions. Ladies, if the skirt hemlines go up, buy short skirts. Men, if the current hair style is "spiked, "get yours "spiked"--of course each of you will have to decide what type of worldly fashions you will choose according to your likes and dislikes and age, but keep up! You may ask, "How can I keep up financially with the fashions?" Easy, put ten per cent of your income aside from each paycheck, and in no timeat all you will have enough to buy the best.
2. Another important precaution is to keep your vocabulary like normal (non-Christian) people. This is a must! If you are not careful, your speech "will give you away." We learn this lesson from no less a personage than the Apostle Peter himself (the rock of the church)!
After Jesus had been arrested, Peter was warming himself at the enemy's fire, and someone said to him, "You are a Galilean (Christian), for your speech gives you away" (Matt. 25:73). Peter was on trial for being a Christian. He had gotten himself into trouble because of wrong vocabulary! Peter realizing the gravity of the situation quickly began to remedy the problem by adopting and using the accuser's vocabulary. The Bible says that Peter "began to curse and swear" (Matt. 26:74). That quick action on Peter's part got him off the hook. We learn from this short Bible study that it is better just to speak in the vocabulary of the world all the time so you will not have an embarrassing situation as Peter did.
3. Be a silent witness for Jesus. There are those who are always vocally bearing witness about Jesus everywhere they go. We who are silent witnesses know that all of that "preaching" just turns people off. Jesus himself gave the command to many that he healed or set free to keep quiet about it (and we must obey the Master.) To the leper in Mark 1:44 after He healed him, Jesus said, "See that you say nothing to anyone." And after He raised Jairus' daughter from the dead, Jesus gave "strict orders that no one should know about this" (Mk. 5:43). So be a silent witness for Jesus, as He has commanded. Perhaps it would do you good to remember the silent witness' motto: "Being a Christian is a personal thing; you don't share it with just anybody."
4. Church attendance is another area in which you must take great precaution. Some of those radical Christians say, "Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian." Don't be too sure! My advice is do not let enough evidence pile up to give even the slightest chance of being arrested, let alone convicted.
You really must be careful on this point because our great psychologists today tell us that if we do something twenty-one times consecutively, it becomes a habit. And you know that bad habits are hard to break.
Rather than falling into this trap, let us learn a valuable lesson from the great Apostle Paul on this point. In first Corinthians, Paul addresses the Corinthian church. Paul tells them that he will not be able to attend their meeting, but that he would be with them in spirit (1 Cor. 5:3-4). Why not call your pastor right now, and tell him that you cannot attend next Sunday's services?
5. Many Christians fail to be cautious in their homes. You must be careful not to have too much Christian paraphernalia in your home. A wise Christian would never put a "Christian" bumper sticker on his car or have some type of damaging evidence in his place of employment. But the same "wise" Christian seems to loose all intellect when it comes to his home. Far too often, Christians have overwhelming evidence (to their downfall) right in their own home, such as a well used Bible, Christian magazines, CDs, and wall pictures.
On one occasion, while out of town, I met a man for a business transaction. After our brief session together, he invited me to his home for dinner; I accepted. I was horrified to see on his living room wall a picture which depicted a waterfall and a dove flying amidst the water's spray and the words blasted across the bottom of the picture "You Must Be Born Again!" If you insist on having items in your home that are that descriptive, at least keep them in the privacy of your bedroom.
If you feel you must have something religious in your living room, you may hang one of those traditional pictures of Jesus on the wall. After all, even some non-Christian people I have known have had that picture. At least I think they were non-Christian . . . or very good silent witnesses! See what I mean? Evidence at a minimum.
6. Music is another area that is a problem, though it needs not be. For there are Christian artists today who have mastered the ability to shroud the "evidence" in the music of the world. Ambiguous words concerning spiritual truth are used, such as "him"instead of "Jesus," "fresh start" in place of the biblical term "born again," and the list goes on. This genre of music has been called by many titles, but I prefer to call it "precaution." Recently, it was reported to me that a Christian gentleman was playing his precautionary-Christian music on his tape player in his car when two obviously non-Christian types walked by. As they passed, one of them said, "Dude, good tunes," meaning that he liked the music. The Christian was pleased because these two people had absolutely no idea what he was really listening to.
7. Lastly, the discriminate Christian will talk in generalities about God and religion, and not specifics, i.e., Jesus Christ. When one talks about "religion," it could be any religion: Hindu, Buddhist, pagan, or whatever. Talking about Jesus Christ only mounts evidence against yourself and narrows down the conversation to Christianity. With that kind of evidence, you could easily be convicted. If someone asks you a direct question about your spiritual condition, you may answer directly as long as it is in generalities, i.e. "Yes, I am religious." This tactic will fog the issue on your behalf. After all, Satan himself is religious.
Thus, talking about religion and spiritual matters in generalities is the least incriminating way to handle conversations about spiritual matters. Jesus is our example . . . and He refused to talk directly about Himself. When Jesus was on trial, Pilate asked Him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Now, notice the Master's evasive reply, "You say I am" (Mk. 15:2). Now that's wisdom! Again, generalities fogged the issue, and Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitude, "I find no fault in this man" (Jn. 18:38). And as long as you speak in vague generalities, it will be difficult for anyone to find fault with you either.
"If you were arrested for being a Christian, would they have enough evidence to convict you?" Not if you follow the precautionary measures that I have laid out for you. Many good Christians have been using the tactics, which I have listed above, for years, and many people who are coming into Christianity in recent times are being introduced to these precautions, both in their churches and by friends. The final choice is up to you; do you want to be safe? Then do the things prescribed in this teaching.
If you do not abide by the precautions herein, I have only one thing to say to you; if and when you are arrested, do not call on me or any of the other silent witnesses--we will not speak out on your behalf. You will be all by yourself, and may God help you.
A Reader Responds:
Whoa, some really bad advice, according to the word of God. God tells us in His word to come out and be separate, to be modest, and that how our hair looks should be modest, also. We aren't supposed to walk around looking like prudes, but we also should not look like a freak side show. After all, as Christians, we are to be reflecting Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to show us how to live. I don't think He would be telling us to keep up with the current fads, especially short skirts, (not so modest) and spiked hair (not too modest, either.) You can live any way you like, but be careful what you tell others, as you WILL be held accountable for those you lead astray. All this is said in love, and hopes that you will think about what you are telling others they should be doing. Have you weighed it against the word of God? He certainly doesn't tell us to keep our belief and faith in Him a secret. You are taking the verse you used totally out of context. Yes, we are to live out our testimony, but He tells us not to be ashamed, or hide our light under a bushel basket. He also tells us that we will be hated, as Jesus was, and we will be persecuted. AND not to be afraid, that He will give us supernatural ability to stand up for what is right, not cower in a corner. Read the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed Nego....they didn't play it "safe" They stood up for what they believed, and were thrown into a furnace, and low and behold, the Lord kept them safe. He's all we need to be "safe." If we aren't willing to risk it all, we have NOTHING. You go ahead and be safe. As for me.....I will listen to His still small voice. Not the voice of the many, like yourself, who are giving very bad advice.
Ric responds to the reader:
Oh my . . . I think perhaps you did not read the title very well: A Satirical Look at the Christian Witness
You do know what satire is, don't you? :-)
Send comments about this, or any, Coffee Talk to Rick Walston at: CES - @ - ColumbiaSeminary.edu
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