Sunday, 28 May 2017

of "Gospel-Presenting Professionals" and Other Pseudo-Christianese Lethargy

Well, friends, here we are; it's been a while since I last posted. You know how it is; despite our best intensions, life suddenly throws us a curveball, and our best-laid plans, suddenly find their way to the back burner.

What I want to share with you today, centres on a little pet peeve of mine, as well as something that I saw in a Christian book flyer that recently appeared in my mailbox. Here it is: What is a "gospel-presenting professional?" Seriously? I cropped the picture because I did not wish to take a chance and accidentally slander another brother (?) in the Lord.

In my humble, and perhaps naive way of looking at things, the use of the word "professional" suggests someone who is in the "business" of something or another. Dear friend, has the presentation of the gospel become a "business" that is somehow differentiated between the professional and non-professional? Excuse me, but am I missing something here? Whatever happened to the "you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that YOU may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light," as opposed to some hireling doing it for you? (1 Peter 2: 9). Don't YOU and I have the same ability and responsibility to present the gospel to our unbelieving friends and neighbours as our would-be "professional" friends do? Or am I missing something here?

As is often the case, a caveat is in order; I have over the years purchased several books from this Christian book supplier, and probably will continue to do so in the years going forward. However, there are several books in their catalogue listings that also cause me to shake my head in confusion. Christian? Hmm. Really? Why is it that the term "Looney Tunes" sometimes strangely seems more appropriate? But I'll not be the judge.

So back to my original question: What is a "gospel-presenting professional?"

When my Jesus presented the gospel, he did so as a man who had no place to even rest his head (Matthew 8:20). Even though He was/is the Son of God, He certainly wasn't a "professional" in that He didn't receive a pay check or honorarium for sharing the Gospel, like many who preach the gospel today strangely seem to do. Did Jesus present a different gospel than is typically presented today? Hmm, I can't help but wonder sometimes.

I guess when it comes right down to it, the Apostle Paul may have been right when he said, "It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice" (Philippians 1: 15-18). Does the "gospel-presenting professional" equal the preaching of "Christ out of selfish ambition?" I wonder. Maybe, so long as Christ is in fact preached, that's all that matters. Hmm.

Having said all that, it all begs the question as to how many other things we've done (or are doing) in the name of Christianity, that really have no biblical support. I will wager a bet that, when it comes right down to it, the list is a lot longer than we're comfortable admitting.

It also begs the question as to what you and I are (or are not) doing in the spreading of the Gospel. If we have simply relegated this task to some pastoral "professional," perhaps out of convenience or laziness on our part, then maybe we are equally to blame. Shame on us. Where do we get off thinking that, since we are not "professional" pastors or evangelists, that we can continue on in this life with our head buried in the proverbial sand when it comes to sharing Jesus? Really? If that's the case, we might as well have remained atheists, for all the good our pseudo-Christianity is worth!

So friend, whoever you are, go ahead; be a "gospel-presenting professional." I'll bet that it sure looks good on your resume. If that rocks your boat and somehow makes you feel more important than the rest of us lower-class and second-tier Christians, then I fear that Jesus would say of guys like you, "they have received their reward in full" (Matthew 6:2). But having said that, I think the warning is equally true for you and me, non-professional and "lay" (whatever than means) Christians, lest by default we've become lethargic in sharing Jesus. When that day comes, may the Lord never say of us, "I never knew you" (Matthew 7:23) because we didn't think it important enough to share Him.

"Professional?" I hope your self-exaultation was worth it. Lethargic pew-sitter? I hope you'll think twice. Note to self … Hmm.