I’m going to throw this question out there as something which it might be a good idea to think about, debate, chew over and ponder: should non-Christians tell Christians what Christianity is? Should Christians listen to them?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, the reason being that in a lot of debates and provocative books on the subject, non-Christians tell Christians what Christianity is. ‘It says this in the Bible…’; ‘Christians are supposed to act like this…’; ‘Jesus taught this…’ the list goes on. Frankly, I’m sick of being told what I believe by people who don’t have a clue. If I sound a bit bullish about this, it’s because I am. As an English student, I wouldn’t tell Tolkien how to write a fantasy book. A music student wouldn’t tell Beethoven how to compose a masterpiece. So why should someone who’s found a few Bible verses on the internet tell Christians how to live their lives?
I appreciate that Christians will always be watched by the outside world and I know it’s important that as far as we possibly can, we keep our lives free from sin and hypocrisy. I get that. I also know that a non-Christian may be able to offer insight into Christianity that a Christian may have missed – I’m not saying that’s impossible. But here’s why I think that a non-Christian instructing a Christian about Christianity doesn’t work: it is impossible to get Christianity without first knowing Jesus personally. An atheist reading this may well be rolling their eyes at the notion of a relationship with Jesus, but bear with me. Christianity is not all about the Bible. If it was, anyone could look into it in depth; a non-Christian could have the same level of insight as a Christian. No, I believe that Christianity is dynamic; true faith is the product of a relationship with the Father, made possible by the death of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit in us. So much of the way I understand Christianity has come out of late night conversations with God. If you’re a non-Christian and you’re reading this thinking ‘what is he on about?’ then you’re proving my point. I don’t see how you can really get to grips with Christianity until you start to know the Author of the faith. Central to Christianity is Jesus’ death and the personal relationship with God that that death brings. If you don’t have that relationship, how can you even begin to know what being a Christian is all about?