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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are You a Grapefruit or Chocolate Milk Christian?

Finally the Super Bowl ad starring Tim Tebow and his mother has aired—what a controversial message! The pro-life ad caused quite a stir weeks before it even aired. Several pro-abortion groups were up in arms and called on CBS to pull it. To their credit CBS refused.

Over 30 liberal pro-abortion groups sent a letter to CBS saying that, “By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers.... we urge you to immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family's agenda.”

Erin Matson, the Action Vice President of the National Organization for Women declared, “this ad is frankly offensive.” She foolishly added, “It is hate masquerading as love. It sends a message that abortion is always a mistake.” (Given the tame nature of the ad, she looks even more foolish!)

The Super Bowl “is not a day to discuss abortion,” said Gregg Doyel of CBSsports.com. Another sports writer offered, “Don't accept medical advice, is basically what the ad says. You might lose a kid who will grow up to be a football hero.”

“An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year, an event designed to bring Americans together,” said Jehmu Greene, president of Women's Media Center. And so on and so on. You get the idea—Just shut up and play football, Tim.

You see, what many people seem to want out of Christianity and its followers are simply nice “do-gooders” who go about their business without causing any trouble. (One columnist recently complimented Tebow because, in the past, he has shown “the good manners to proclaim his faith quietly without questioning or condemning that of others.”)

What are these people so afraid of? The answer: Jesus Christ. I’m beginning to repeat myself here, but as I pointed out with Rick Warren (Nice People or New Men?) and Brit Hume (Brit Hume Was Right), many outside of Christianity, and many who feign to be a part of it, have an especially distorted view about what it means to be a follower of Christ. They seem eager to embrace His message of love and forgiveness, as well they should, but they easily forget His message of repentance and salvation. Also, they fail to notice that He was and is, of all things, a very controversial and divisive figure.

As I also recently pointed out, Jesus Christ NEVER claimed that a person’s faith was a private matter. That is frequently-uttered nonsense by many non-Christians, and even by some Christians. Jesus said: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).”

My pastor (who is also my father-in-law, thank you very little) often points out, that, when Christ truly comes into someone’s life, He is not simply a section of that life, as in a grapefruit. He is not something that we devote part of one day to and are supposed to keep separate from the rest of our lives—work, family, entertainment, politics, and so on.

A person who has surrendered his or her life to Christ is more like a glass of milk that has had chocolate syrup squeezed into it. Once the chocolate and the milk are combined, it is impossible to separate one from the other.

Or, as C.S. Lewis put it, “Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think are innocent as well as the ones you think are wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you myself: my own will shall become yours.’”

In other words, inviting Christ into your life is inviting an invasion. He does not come simply to be a slice of your life, but to transform you into something else—into Himself (or at least a smaller version of Him).

Now, virtually all Christians struggle with “letting their light shine;” that is, letting the light of Christ shine through us. It is a constant, every day battle. As the book of John tells us, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

This is why Brit Hume, Tim Tebow, and anyone else who dares to take a bold stand for Christ experiences a backlash. In fact, if you’re a Christian and your life is rather cushy and you seem to be getting your way a lot, you might want to take stock of your walk with Christ. To use a football analogy (we are talking about Tim Tebow), if your jersey is clean, then you must not be getting much playing time.

We are, after all, in a war—albeit a spiritual one. Paul admonishes us to put on the whole armor of God “so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” Just remember, before you go out to battle, have chocolate milk instead of grapefruit.

Copyright 2010, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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