As secularization moves our society away from theistic religion, atheistic religion, humanism—faith in man himself—rushes in to fill the vacuum, undermining Christian ethics and values. Thus, humanism has become a household word among Christians. It is understood as being the foremost philosophical alternative to Christianity, the great contemporary enemy.
I would agree that this threat is real, and that we are indebted to those who are alerting us to the encroachments of secularization and its consequences. But it seems to me that something is missing in much of what is being said. We are skilled at spelling out the distance between the positions. We are clear in our warnings and counsel related to endangered rights and freedoms on private and political levels. In short, we are building a great defense. But where is our offense?
We are not dealing merely with ideas and philosophies; we are dealing with people. Ideas find their existence only in people's minds. In the zeal of our battle against ideas, we Christians often confuse matters by placing ourselves in a position of war against those who hold to those ideas. But we must always remember that we are sent to such people. They are not really the enemy, but victims of the “thief”, deceived by the powers of darkness (John 10:10; Ephesians 6:12).
Defending the faith is important. We are told in Jude 3, “ . . . contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” But if we never go on the offense and go after people as it says in Jude 22-23, “have mercy on some who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire . . .”; all of our defense is futile. As Christians, if instead of evangelizing the lost of this world, we fight them, condemn them, and hate them; we run the risk of falling short of the Grace of God. This is something the Lord Jesus never did. He looked upon the confused, helpless, sadly self absorbed and slowly dying sheep without a shepherd, with compassion. You will never build bridges to the lost if you are always on the defensive, see them as the enemy, or can’t stand them; because bridges bring people together. Bridges can bring people to Christ. Why not go on offense, begin construction on some of your own bridges today.
By Pastor Cliff
Adapted from “Living Proof” by Jim Petersen