September 17, 2007

Christians Acting unChristlike

50 Reasons
by John Piper

In my personal devotions, I have been reading John Piper's Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die. This outstanding book will edify and convict you if you are a Christian, and if you are not a Christian it will present to you what Christianity is truly about from the perspective of Jesus and his disciples, not from the American media or from well-meaning, but wrong-acting Christians.

Here's an excerpt that convicted me:

The Death of Christ and the Camps of Death

It is a tragedy that the story of Christ's death has produced anti-Semitism against Jews and crusading violence against Muslims. We Christians are ashamed of many of our ancestors who did not act in the spirit of Christ. No doubt there are traces of this plague in our own souls. But true Christianity—which is radically different from Western culture, and may not be found in many Christian churches—renounces the advance of religion by means of violence. "My kingdom is not of this world," Jesus said. "If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting" (John 18:36). The way of the cross is the way of suffering. Christians are called to die, not kill, in order to show the world how they are loved by Christ.

True Christian love humbly and boldly commends Christ, no matter what it costs, to all peoples as the only saving way to God. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). But let it be crystal-clear: To humiliate or scorn or despise or persecute with prideful putdowns or pogroms or crusades or concentration camps is not Christian. These were and are, very simply and horribly, disobedience to Jesus Christ. Unlike many of his so-called followers after him, he prayed from the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

John Piper wants you to hear the good news about Jesus Christ, so this book is available free of charge online at his Desiring God website. I encourage you to purchase the book from your local Christian bookstore to help support this ministry so they can continue to offer free books to those in need of Christ (that would be every person on the planet).