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Image Problems

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”
The Epistle to the Colossians 4:5 (ESV)

Time magazine recently ran a story about the Christianity’s “image problem”. Leaning heavily on David Kinnaman’s new book UnChristian, the piece relates how more and more Americans negatively perceive Christians.
Kinnaman says non-Christians’ biggest complaints about the faith are not immediately theological: Jesus and the Bible get relatively good marks. Rather, he sees resentment as focused on perceived Christian attitudes. Nine out of ten outsiders found Christians too “anti-homosexual,”

While the statement is contradictory (the Christian understanding of homosexuality is directly tied to theology), the point is quite clear. Non-Christians don’t like the latest version of Christianity they see.

I think many Christians would agree with them.

Yet we must be careful in our response because their angst with the church is more complex than we may think. Some of their belly burn may come from stances we hold (e.g., homosexuality) because they are clearly biblical while other issues may be because the church is dropping the ball due to hypocrisy, ignorance, etc. Thus, while I might nod my head in agreement to some of their grievances, I might also find myself graciously and lovingly disagreeing with them.

This article is another sober reminder to continually examine our beliefs and behaviors to see how much of what we do is shaped by the Bible or the culture. Because if we are going to suffer an “image problem” let it be for the right things.

Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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