In a Q&A with Michael Ramsden, a participant in an Open Forum at UCLA asks the following question:
If the power of Jesus Christ is so great and its the only way to live an abundant life and never thirst again, how come we do not see more Christians living this transformed, abundant, Spirit-filled life?
Wow, what a great question!
Before reading any farther, maybe test yourself. Open a blank page and write down how you would answer this question!
Here’s how Michael Ramsden engaged with the questioner:
Some points worth reflecting on:
First, Ramsden identifies himself as part of the problem:
I want to be careful how I phrase this because of I’m part of the church, that’s part of my identity, ever since I myself became a Christian.
Second, Ramsden confesses that:
We’ve excused ourselves from a lot of that [having quoted a challenge from Martin Luther King, Jr.] and we’ve claimed comfort and convenience has been the highest ethic, rather than the principle of laying down your life in service for others. We’re expecting everyone to lay down their lives and service to us and that can’t possibly be right.
In other words, he basically agrees with the questioner that the criticism hits the mark.
Third, Ramsden deepens the critique by acknowledging that the picture of a “totally uncompromised” Christian that often comes to mind is not very attractive:
If you were to close your eyes and imagine a thoroughly uncompromised Christian — someone who was totally uncompromising in their Christian faith —we would immediately think of someone who’s very harsh, very difficult, and very unpleasant to spend time with.
At the same time, the answer is interspersed with examples worthy of imitation: Martin Luther King, Jr., the persecuted church, and the standard given to us in the Scriptures:
And we’re told that the fruit of their life, for everyone who claims to follow Christ, should be love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self control and so on. So let’s be thoroughly uncompromising about that.
What do you think?
- Is the moral example of Christians in your community inspiring to people of other worldviews and ways of life? Is your own moral example distinctively patterned after the standard given to us in Scripture?
- What role does confession of sin play in our evangelistic dialogue with family and friends?