This is a response, directed at those individuals who possibly take offense at, or are offset by, the yellow shirt-wearing Christians seen around campus this weekend. Although I have minimal affiliation with the sponsoring group, Campus Crusade, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and therefore feel compelled to explain why we Christians so relentlessly proclaim the gospel and why I participate in this evangelistic campaign.
Here’s the quick answer: As Christians, we are obligated by God’s Word and through LOVE to tell everybody about Him and His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. The reality that salvation comes through repentance of sin and acceptance of Christ as Lord is a very real and anything but funny or lighthearted truth to us. Indeed, God does not request, but demands that we share His love with unbelievers. That makes our faith both private and very public. We feel that every opportunity should be taken to share God’s Word as it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
If we call ourselves Christians, then we must believe in the complete (meaning the Old and New Testament) and infallible nature of the Bible. The Bible is not a spiritual handbook or a buffet of moral principles from which we can pick and choose aspects we like and dislike. Believing this, and knowing the truth revealed in this – the greatest love story ever recorded – we are deeply and profoundly moved to concern ourselves with our own spiritual condition and the spiritual condition of our brothers and sisters. God tells us that the only way to a truly meaningful life is to come into a living relationship with Jesus Christ. He isn’t just a concept; He really does exist and He wants us to know Him. This is the good news we have! There is eternal life in heaven (or in another very real place called hell) and every human – naughty or nice – can experience life more abundantly through Jesus Christ.
Think of it this way: If, as Christians, we truly believe that we have the truth – and this truth tells us that if man lives as his own ruler, denying his heavenly Abba (Daddy), then he will spend eternity in hell – wouldn’t it be more offensive if we didn’t bother to tell you about it? That would mean that we really don’t care about what becomes of your soul after you die. In fact, continuing on this logical course, if you have a Christian friend who doesn’t proclaim the gospel through his or her words or actions, you might be justified in concluding that this “friend” really doesn’t care for you that much, or perhaps has fallen asleep in his or her faith (as did I for so long). If they truly love and respect you, then, out of this love, they should care enough to challenge your way of life. Certainly this world – where tolerance, not truth, seems to be the greatest virtue – will not challenge your faith. But Christians should challenge the unbeliever, because we must not tolerate things God does not tolerate. God is a just God and tells us in the Bible what is right and what is wrong. This is why we are so stubborn and persistent in our evangelism. Pursued correctly, it is an act of love (tough love perhaps).
Admittedly, Christians fall short in so many ways. Often we are not very good people and we have problems just like everyone else. Thankfully, Christianity is not a religion of performance. Nobody can earn one’s way into heaven. Only by the Grace of God, through Jesus Christ, can we achieve salvation. It is true that God loves us as we are, not as we should be. But while that may be comforting to some, we also must recognize that God will not allow sin into his house and did not send His Son to die the most humiliating of deaths for no reason. Therefore, we are called to make a radical break with sin and ask for forgiveness. Problems won’t disappear and pain will still exist, but what will have changed is that you will have the assurance that you are forgiven. And you can develop an intimate relationship with the God of the universe who has reserved a spot for you in a place so spectacular that it would be pointless to attempt any description.
I could go on, but really nobody is going to be argued into believing. The selling point of Christianity, besides the unconditional love of God and the reason I am saved, is that it is the ONLY “thing” capable of filling that void. The void we continually pollute with drunken parties, drugs, sexual perversions, pride and other sins that only build up a spiritual wall between us and our Father. WE are not called to be religious or merely “spiritual” – we are called to repentance and to love God with all of our heart.
Don’t listen to me if you don’t want to. But if you have a problem with Christians wearing yellow shirts, then what you are objecting to is our beliefs and not our actions, because we are simply doing as we are called to do. If your dilemma is with our beliefs, I encourage you to investigate what the Bible says and decide for yourself, but do it with an open heart and a contemplative spirit. You might just figure out why we put on these goofy T-shirts.
Lucas Dalgleish is a senior communication major.