I have been doing some thinking about the book UnChristian in which non – Christians had the opportunity to share their views of Evangelical Christians. Not surprisingly they are not too impressed by us. In fact the huge majority of them see us in a very negative light. Specifically, they see us a being homo – phobic, pro – war, insensitive and extremely judgmental.
When I read these accusations towards us I could not help but think of what would happen if we were able to go back in time and do a similar research project on people’s views of Jesus. What would the “sinners” in Jesus’ day say about him? I think that they would be very positive about Jesus after all they were always hanging around him (see Luke 15: 1 - 2).
I believe that they would see him as being the opposite of how non – Christians view us Evangelicals today. They would see Jesus as being sympathetic and forgiving (not homo – phobic), merciful (not pro – war), empathetic (not insensitive) and very gracious (not judgmental).
Then I got thinking of what would happen if we surveyed these same people, the sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes and other so called “unclean” types found in the Gospels who hung out with Jesus and who loved him so much. What would they say if we asked them what they thought of the Pharisee’s? I think you know what they would say. They would probably use the exact same words that non – Christians today used in describing us – insensitive and extremely judgmental!
So my question now is this – who do we Evangelicals really emulate the most – Jesus or the Pharisees? Who do we best represent when it comes to what we say and how we behave towards the homosexual community – Pharisee’s or Jesus? Who do we most look like when we take a stand on issues like war, torture of suspected terrorists and tax cuts (that will negatively affect social programs to help the poor) – Pharisee’s or Jesus?
These are tough questions, questions that shine a spotlight right onto our hearts. It is our response to issues like these (and there are others) that the world watches and judges us on. Pharisee or Jesus? Take your pick. I hope I choose Jesus.
Rev. Colin McCartney is the founder of UrbanPromise Toronto and author of two best selling books: The Beautiful Disappointment and Red Letter Revolution (Castle Quay Publishers). He is also a mentor to pastors and business people and is in high demand as a speaker. Colin is married to Judith McCartney and has two children – Colin Junior and Victoria McCartney.