As we continue with Brownlow North’s six steps for new Christians (and old Christians can benefit from these, too), we come to a tough one:
Never take your Christianity from Christians, or argue that because such and such people do so and so, therefore, you may (2 Cor 10:12). You are to ask yourself, “How would Christ act in my place?” and strive to follow him (Jn 10:27).
The church is, in fact, “the pillar and buttress of truth” (1 Tim 3:15). So it’s impossible not to take (at least some) Christianity from Christians. To not take your Christianity from Christians denies the whole concept of discipleship, which is the spirit in which I posted these rules in the first place.
The place of the church is education and discipline. It should be the responsibility of the church’s elders to identify sin in the congregation and do something about that.
So it’s fair to say that I disagree with the first clause.
The second clause is excellent. Because other people do it, that doesn’t make it okay. As a manager for over a decade and a half in the fast food industry, every single time I dealt with someone’s tardiness the first thing I always got to listen to was an angry litany of names of people who are also “always late.”
That’s what North is talking about. Using someone else’s behavior to justify your own is not acceptable. Take responsibility for yourself.
Amanda Brown, co-founder of We Are Atheism, posted a video that indicted Christianity using the other side of this coin. She said that the church she grew up in preached abstinence, but her peers had sex in the pews during the service. Therefore, abstinence-only education is total crap and doesn’t work
Well, let’s think about this:
- Everyone has sex before marriage.
- It’s really hard to abstain from sex until marriage.
- Currently, the church thinks it’s morally wrong to have sex before marriage.
Given these facts, society has decided that the best solution to the problem is to lower its expectations, accept sex before marriage, and make fun of the church for continuing to preach “antiquated” morals.
Let’s look at this from a different perspective.
What if I were the new manager of your local fast food restaurant? Let’s say that the people in the store think that it’s okay to serve french fries that have been baking under heat lamps for two hours. It’s really hard cook new ones and make customers wait, and it also costs a lot of money in wasted food. Everyone in the store thinks this is cool.
If I were to follow Amanda’s logic, then my best course of action as the new GM is to lower my expectations until I, too, believe that serving two-hour old french fries is acceptable.
Lowering expectations is never the best solution. Indeed, it shouldn’t even be an option. Yet, with sexual morals, this is exactly what society is doing. It’s too hard to resist having sex until marriage, so let’s just have sex now and risk unwanted pregnancies, incurable diseases, serious heartache, etc. Just wrap it up with a condom and you’re good to go. The solution to loose sexual morals is to encourage them, as long as the people involved are being “responsible.”
That’s about like using a Band-Aid to treat an ear-to-ear throat slash.
Bringing this back neatly to the point, we cannot expect to justify behavior by comparing our behavior to the behavior of others. The yardstick for comparison is what North says next: Ask what the Lord would do were he in our place. In other words, “What Would Jesus Do?”
We might not have an immediate answer, but if we follow the first rule and the second rule, we’re on our way to having a good sense of the answer.