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Redeemer Church
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Christians and Our Martyr Complex

A poll taken earlier this year gives us a new perspective on the attitude towards Christians in the community of higher learning. This poll was designed and conducted by a Jewish group to gauge feelings of anti-Semitism in American universities, but what they found was far from their expected results. 53 percent of its sample of 1,200 college and university faculty members said they have "unfavorable" feelings toward evangelical Christians.

Said chief pollster Gary Tobin, "If a majority of faculty said they did not feel warmly about Muslims or Jews . . . there would be an outcry. No one would attempt to justify or explain those feelings." As Dr. Jim Eckman observed, "since higher education is training the next generation of leaders and is instilling them with a worldview, that worldview is biased against biblical Christianity".

I don't doubt, if polled, we would see a similar bais against Christianity mirrored in many other circles (politics, media, the sciences, etc.) as well. This results in a double standard when it comes to the public response to conflicts surrounding Christianity. Case in point: Kathy Griffin's "Suck it, Jesus" comment during this year's Emmys. I am fairly certain there would have been a much larger outcry had she degraded any other religion and their deity/s. However, I am inclined to point the finger at Christianity before I point it at others.

One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing Christians cry "martyr" the moment we feel slighted. We instantly play the "persecution" card and chalk it up as suffering for Jesus to avoid any self-evaluation about how we are presenting (and representing) Christ and the Gospel. Bypassing introspection, we charge on bull-headed in behavior that we think honors God simply because non-Christians react negatively to it. While Christ promised His followers they would receive hostile responses just as He did, such a response is not an instant endorsement that you are conducting yourself in a Christ-like manner. We must make certain that the tension rises out of the pure Gospel and not as result of an attitude that is abusive, ignorant, or self-righteous.

We should be constantly striving for a Christianity that is graceful and winsome rather than judgemental and overbearing. We should be studying to be intelligent and articulate in our presentation of Christ and the Christian worldview rather than close-minded and shallow. From religious issues (God, sin, etc.) to scientific issues (Intelligent Design, stem cell research, etc.) to social issues (homosexuality, abortion, etc.), we need to be prepared to give a more satisfying answer than "The Bible says so". The Gospel is offensive enough on its own, there is no need for us to add more offense to it. Instead, we should be administering a constant gut & heart check to make sure that the "persecution" we receive is brought on by the Gospel and not our own foolishness.


lovewillbringustogether said...

Hi, Just a short one this time to let you know that yesterday i tried adding a comment here 'on topic' but after multiple attempts ad sending over around an hour or 90 mins i eventually closed the Window

Blogger sux in my humble opinion :-)

Or maybe it just refused to print what i wrote because it was 'offended' ;-) - Not down to you i am positive - but it is your choice to use blogger and i have had so many problems commenting on this brand of blog.

Just thought you should be aware.

Pity too would have liked to hear your comment on my comment.

in a very small nutshell i wondered if the reason for the positioning of the Jewish faith on the list was the fact that Jews are so well organised in eliminating anything that even REMOTELY could be thought of as being in any way 'anti-them'?

I guess persecution results in a persecution 'complex' huh?

Which came first i wonder? :- ))))


Jared said...


In the future, if the problem persists, feel free to e-mail me directly. You can find my e-mail by the complete profile link.


lovewilllbringustogether said...

the 'problem' may be one of my understanding ( MAY BE?? lol)

no-one told me i had to 'preview' first before sending and if i do this it seems to 'work' well enough... for now!

Thanks for the offer!


cale said...

hey jared, when reading this I have so many thoughts that run into my head, one being one that wants to run away to a small gated community where I know I can raise a family in a proper, closed house hold. But yet aren't we as christians called by God to stand up for him to show everyone what were about even though they might be offended or not care. I am confused with my wants and my needs with what God wants us to do. I am not one to feel self pitty or quickly call martyrdom, but doesn't God not tells us that we shouldn't cast pearls to swine?
Let me know your thoughts,

Jared said...


You are absolutely right, our first priority is to Christ and the Gospel. My point here is that I feel both are better served by our being intelligent and tactful rather than bull-headed and willingly ignorant. I am not saying that we compromise or water down the Gospel, quite the opposite. But I've seen so many Christians compromise even the opportunity to share the Gospel by being unnecessarily abrasive, close-minded, and out-spoken about things they are not ready to tackle.
The way we avoid this and become Christians who can witness without getting in the way is being Bible-saturated. Be continually in prayer and the Word.