This almost sounds like a trick question from a Bible class on “Christian Fundamentals 101” but in truth, it is a very serious and personal appeal to introspection as well as perhaps, brutal honesty. I mean, this is not asking about “how” you became a Christian-such as the formula, technique, ritual, or reciting the ‘Sinner’s Prayer,’ but rather the modus operandi or reason for such a decision. So, with that thought in mind, let’s pull back from looking too closely at the canvas and see the larger framework surrounding your faith portrait. Where you stand in Christ or your introduction to the gospel of salvation has very much to do with where you were born. Unlike in many parts of the world, the United States of America has a rich history and tradition which allows for religious freedom, and Christian is the most dominant one; in-spite of all its sectarian and doctrinal variations. There are very few households absent a King James Bible or some other popular version, and what hotel room hasn’t included a copy of the Gideon’s Bible?
Even if someone were not already a Christian it would still be easier to convert someone to the faith just by virtue of the cultural and social proximity to this religious belief system. There is hardly anyone who is not acquainted with a Christian, whether it is a classmate, friend, co-worker, or family member. This last part is my main argument, namely that probably the reason many people become Christians is because of ‘family ties.’ Just like in the case of Timothy, it was due to the influence of his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1: 5). It is a rare person indeed, who can be dragged to Bible class all the time or preached to by relatives of a particular denomination, and yet choose to join a different Church or remain a non-believer for the rest of their lives. So, why did you want to receive God’s saving grace- was it parental pressure; a condition of marriage (like Ivanka Trump embracing the Jewish religion); was it a promise made to a loved one on their deathbed; how about a traumatic life experience such as a terrible accident or incurable disease that after recovering you promised God your service; was it a near-death experience where you saw the divine light and glory of God? Would you have come to the Lord without any of these occurrences or influences?
I think much of the growth in some of the Christian Churches comes from families passing down through faith practices and values down through their generations as opposed to active evangelism outside kinships. Of course, there are always people seeking salvation when a catastrophic event happens like a World War, terrorist attack, rumors of a Martian invasion or UFO sighting, and any time there is a movie like “Left Behind” (the Rapture) or hearing a prophesy about the Apocalypse or End of Days. During these times Church membership swells but when the danger passes the pews slowly but steadily empty out or return to the pre-crisis numbers. Being a Christian is more than being ‘convinced’ but are you truly converted? One last time: Did you become a Christian because it was a last ditch effort and desperate cling to reality before going completely off the rails? Maybe attending church services gives you a sense of belonging, value, worth, attention; a feeling of being a ‘somebody’ as opposed to being unnoticed, neglected, shunned, underappreciated, ignored, unacknowledged, or feeling like a nobody? For others to be a Christian is like belonging to a family, or it could be a sort of social status especially if one belongs to a Mega-Church and is involved in one of the ministries there. Again, why are you really a Christian?
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April 21, 2017