Last week I mentioned my 4-step response to the critic’s charge of “Christians behaving badly”:
- Acknowledge harm
- Don’t blame the hammer
- Reject impostors
- Remember the good
See last week’s post for thoughts on 1 and 2 above.
#3, Reject impostors, means that when people who are not true Christians cause harm in the name of Christianity, I take no responsibility.
To illustrate, let’s say two men in police uniforms knock at your door and ask to come in. Upon entry, they tie you up and rob your house.
Would you blame the real police for this crime? Hopefully not.
In the same way, non-Christians putting on the uniform of Christianity and bringing injury to others is not the fault of Christians.
The question might arise, How do we know if it was a real Christian or not who did the damage?
The answer is that we may not know. This lack of knowledge should, minimally, raise a flag of caution to critics.
#4, Remember the good, is what I say to critics who forget all the positive contributions Christians have made to humankind.
Three examples of Christian service and benevolence (we could list thousands):
- Habitat for Humanity: a Christian organization that has built over 500,000 homes for low-income families.
- Health care in the west. Do some research on health care practices in the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, and all the way into the 20th century, and you’ll find it dominated by Christians and Christian principles.
- Education in America: Check out the origins of Harvard, Yale, Princeton. Again, Christians were the main impetus.
* * *
In summary, remember to acknowledge harm caused by true Christians. The church should be good at such confession.
And tell critics, “Don’t blame the hammer.” That is, when a tool (Christianity) is used badly, don’t blame the tool.
Reject impostors and remember the good.
Those are the four steps. I hope you’ll find them helpful.
For a fuller treatment of the critic’s charge of “Christians behaving badly,” see chapter 8 of my book, Faith is Like Skydiving . . .