Is the Gospel a Pair of Sunglasses or a Bulletproof Vest?
by J Warner Wallace
A recent poll indicates that Christians typically fail to share their faith, in spite of what is universally understood as an essential command from Jesus (the Great Commission). Why is this the case? Might there be something about the nature of our culture that has influenced our actions as Christians? Is it something about our cultural understanding of “truth”? Is it something about our personal understanding of the nature of the Gospel? I think all of these factors are involved.
Many Christians have allowed themselves to be influenced by the inclusive, pluralistic and relativistic culture in which we live. It’s difficult for some of us, therefore, to share what we privately believe to be offensively exclusive. In addition to this, some of us have been lured and enticed by a version of the Gospel that appeals to our selfish desire for success, prosperity and blessing. As a result, many have exchanged the truth of the Gospel for a lie; we’ve come to see the Gospel as a promise of an improved life rather than as an offer of rescue from the justified, deserved wrath of God.
Police officers use a variety of tools and wear a number of distinct pieces of equipment. Some of these are optional. Some of us, when working day watch for example, choose to wear sunglasses. Some of us don’t. Some officers believe that sunglasses make them more comfortable, help them to see better in bright environments and protect their vision. Others believe that sunglasses can prevent them from seeing intricate detail in high contrast settings and create glare that obscures their vision. As a result, not every officer chooses to wear sunglasses.
But every officer wears a bulletproof vest. We don’t see the vest as an optional piece of equipment. It’s not a matter of opinion. We understand the necessity of the vest because we know what it does for us. We know that the vest has saved the life of many officers in the past and will save the lives of many more in the years to come. There are times when sunglasses are not even appropriate, but there is never a time when the vest is inappropriate. When I wear my uniform, I wear a vest. It’s that important to me. There are times when the vest is incredibly inconvenient. It often limits my movement, it’s usually very warm and it’s typically uncomfortable. That’s the downside. But the vest can save my life; that’s the upside. I don’t wear the vest because I look good in it, because it makes me feel good, or because it makes life easier for me. I wear the vest because it’s a lifesaver…
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