Monday, April 17, 2017


The default view among Christians is that if unbelievers think better of Christians, they will be more likely to become believers themselves.  It certainly sounds more plausible than the opposite formulation, that how they view us is irrelevant to their eventual decisions about Jesus Christ.

And yet I have to wonder, as the result of this is that Christians naturally gravitate to getting people to like us, or our churches, or at least not hate us or think us entirely unreasonable - rather to think better of Christ. - whether this does not miss the mark fairly thoroughly. CS Lewis wrote in several places about First and Second Things - that if we aim for the lower goal we get neither, yet if we aim for the main thing we get all the secondary gains thrown in. But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. 

One possible response would be doing nothing but good works and holding camp meeting revivals.  We scoff that this would of course be ridiculously ineffective.  Yet this used to be the model for the early Wesleyans, and later the Salvation Army. Did that work?


Texan99 said...

I don't know, but the opposite problem worries me: that my bad behavior reflects discredit on the church and gives people an excuse to write my religion off as empty or hypocritical.

GAHCindy said...

1 Peter 4:14-16 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Thomas Doubting said...

I've never actually taken this they way AVI has. I've taken it as the personal witness of living a Christian life and thereby attracting people who admire that kind of life but who aren't Christians. It was never about being liked; it was about creating an environment where you could tell people about Christ.

I never took it as something a church would do, either, but rather an individual way of evangelizing, by demonstrating the faith in daily life. However, I guess whole churches do this when they get involved in community projects, respond to disasters, etc.

I've also experienced it from the other side. I grew up in a church, but left it in my teens and wanted nothing to do with Christianity for a long time. Then I started reading a lot of history and learned that many of the things I thought was wrong with Christianity were just anti-Christian propaganda. That opened the door to re-evaluate the faith, and at that moment I was blessed to know several Christians who really lived their faith in the most admirable ways. They never talked to me about it; they just demonstrated it. That was the second major factor in my coming back to Christianity. There were some other things as well, but that individual witness was significant.

Christopher B said...

Being likeable has the advantage of attracting the same mayo-on-white-bread people who aren't going to take inconvenient parts the Bible seriously.