Moving in the right direction

November 17, 2010

One of the most popular things for critics of Christianity to do is to point out sins in the church. They will point to flaws in individuals (“so and so is a jerk and he is a Christian”) and they will point out flaws in majority Christian societies (“such and such nation is majority Christian but look at all the bad things they do”).

The disconnect between the Christian rule and Christian behavior leads the critic to assert that Christians are hypocrites. Is this a fair charge? While of course there are individual Christian hypocrites but the existence of sin in a Christian person or culture does not necessarily suggest hypocrisy. This is because the Christian religion does not claim that we are perfect. To the contrary, scripture asserts that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and that each one of us will fail daily in our Christian walk.

Conversion (whether on an individual level or on a societal level) does not mean that one will immediately be made perfect. Chuck Colson once said that “Christianity doesn’t make people perfect, just better.” In other words, we grow in our faith. We mature in our efforts to follow Christ as our King. This often is a slow and gradual process.

Societies that embrace Christ are made better. One need only look at the wonderful changes that took place in the Roman Empire between the close of the first century and the beginning of the fourth to see what blessing Christianity can be. Christianity made the Roman Empire a much nicer place to be. But was it perfect? No. There were still many many problems. But was it better? Absolutely.

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