As you probably know by now I am a sucker for surveys so when I saw this book called unchristian I had to buy it. It’s based groundbreaking research form the Barna Group. In the book they asked unchurched Americans’ what they thought of the Church and in particular Christians today?”
As a result of their survey they identified six negative qualities that the unchurched used to describe the church and Christianity today.
Judgmental, (narrow minded and intolerant)
Hypocritical, who do not practice what they preach
Insensitive, focused on a superficial “saving” of others souls rather than real connection, empathy and communication,
Now I don’t know what you think of the survey but I tend to agree with Chuck Colson, Chief Counsel to former President Nixon and convicted Watergate conspirator when he said. . .
“Your immediate reaction—like mine—is that this characterization is grossly unfair. Why don’t these folks recognize all the good things we do, like helping prisoners and Africans with AIDS?
The answer is that, fairly or not, hostile press characterizations of us as judgmental, homophobic bigots have stuck. But this is only half the answer. A shocking 50 percent of respondents said they base their negative views on personal contacts with Christians.
As the authors write, “Many of those outside of Christianity . . . reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians.”
Let’s be honest: Sometimes we do come across as judgmental, anti-homosexual, and excessively politicized. And all too often, when others misrepresent Christianity, we do not know enough about our own doctrines to explain the truth. Yes, we draw millions into our churches on Sunday, but let’s face it: We draw them in by offering therapeutic services that make them feel better, but not be better.”
Look instead at Peter’s words to the scared and scattered Christians in 1 Peter 3:8 and 9. Here I think are 6 qualities that if the church (and Christians) would be who we are called to be should mark us instead.
The six characteristics that ought to describe the church and us as Christians are. . .
Maybe then the world will want what we have and ask us how they can have it. I Peter 3:15. Without that we will continue to isolate and alienate ourselves from the people who need us most.