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By CCD contributor: Lin Huanxi
on October 15, 2016 05:10 AM
A Korean priest chatted with several Chinese priests, and he said:" Let's pray for china! Pray for God to give your national leaders and major national sectors wisdom to run this country." But embarrassingly, no one knew the names of our national leaders or what were those national sectors.
Then the Korean priest asked another question:" Do any of you know about any major current events?" Still, no one could answer. I remember when I attended group praying in Korea, the priest would tell us about the main sectors and national events in the country that we need to pray about. So the priest was also in shock, saying:" How do you pray for your country when you absolutely don't care about it?"
I find the idea that Christians should be separated from the outside world and its impure messages, and only study the holy bible very popular inland, when I talk to our brothers and sisters. Sisters especially lean into this opinion.
Once I shared my opinion about Christians should read more, like history, politics among other categories with a sister, but she objected me immediately:" why waste time on that? Those are not the truth, and irrelevant to God." So I said:" Ok, then I can recommend some bible related books for you, which have some great content, including the difference between Christianity and Catholicism, how Christianity develops from start......" Yet she replied angrily with:" If you read too much of that kind of stuff you will be led to the wrong path!" I stayed shocked for a few seconds, and began to think instead of contending with her. Then I remembered those people who left church and faith or were tempted by heterodoxy, and summarized what they had in common.
1. Unaware of the foundation of Christianity.
Some people leave church in a short time because the word of God never truly entered their hearts. But another kind of people may seem very faithful. They always attend studying events, and they may have converted for over a year, yet in the end they either lose their faith entirely or turn to heresies. Because their foundation of faith isn't based on the words of holy bible, but on a vague understanding for it, their personal feelings and their environment. Those things determine how they believe in God. They tend to leave for someone with great enthusiasm and eloquence very easily. They may have read the bible but unable to understand it, and listened to preaches but unable to take it in. Just like the bible in Acts:17:11 says:" These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures everyday to see whether these things were so." The third kind not only reads the bible, but examines and researches a lot in order to acquire complete knowledge of Christian foundation, so they would tell the truth when tempted, with a right understanding about Christianity.
2. Seen as fools by unbelievers.
I went back to China once last year, and encountered a debate between an unbeliever and several sisters in the church. Most questions brought up by this man were common misunderstandings for unbelievers, but no one could give a proper respond because it concerned world history. So I gave out answers. This experience struck me deeply, and I began to realize how terrifyingly we Christians lack of knowledge when it comes to communicating with unbelievers.
Another opposite experience was in a restaurant. A couple sitting next to my table were discussing Christianity and other religions. I walked by to join their discussion. I had an obvious feeling that even though they didn't believe in God, our knowledge levels were rather equal. So when I preached gospel they wouldn't reject or judge me as a crazy person. There was a sister who turned the unbelievers even further away from Christ while hating her after her preaching. I think aside from those people's stubborn hearts, another reason led to this is on our own.
3. The truth beneath the uncaring for knowledge is pride and idleness.
Some Christians don't associate with unbelievers at all, because they believe that's what a true Christian does. They even think that as Christian they are allowed to judge others by standing on a higher moral ground. Once a Christian harshly criticized someone with very sharp words just because he/she did something wrong. But the Colossians:4:6 says:" Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone." We Christians should admonish others instead of expostulating like a judge. When we think we are looking out for others' best interests, we hide our pride inside. Living in this world, we forgive people and guard sins, for the holy bible tells us in Corinth:5:10 :" Not all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would need to go out of the world."
To know of the darkness is to preach the light better. Darkness won't disappear when we don't look, hear, or think. First step to solve a problem is to find out its cause, and that's why we should look and find the syndrome, for which we then pray.
4. Christians should work harder and excel more in knowledge than unbelievers.
Matthew:10:16 :" See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." When preaching abroad, we need to communicate and deliver complete messages apart from the work done by the Holy Spirit, but not to force belief on others.
As Colossians:4:5 says:" Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time." If you still think we should only focus on the holy bible, let's take a look of Jewish lifestyle. The Jews are the original chosen people by God, and they are closer to his will than other nations. As we all know, the hard work and wisdom of the Jewish people shines bright like a diamond in this world, with their blessing form God. They are very erudite. My first boyfriend, Jewish, is a very hard worker, who acquired several doctor's degrees, able to speak 7 languages. His 5 siblings live in 5 different countries, and his mother, with one doctor's degree, has the lowest education level in his family. His grandfather was the vice president in their country, and his brother was received by Chinese national leaders. This kind of family truly glorifies God when they preach gospel.
Who can say that Christians should only read the holy bible and not care about the ugly outside world at all now? I really like this saying:" If you don't like this world, change it." Matthew:5:13-14 says:" You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid." We should care for this world more than unbelievers, and try to change it. Because it is our duty and our identity.
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