Are You an Extremist?
Issue Date: July/August 2016
“The decades old trend, that Christianity is irrelevant, is increasingly giving way to the notion that Christianity is bad for society,” declares the Christian pollster Barna Group.
As suicide bombers target airports and subways, “religious extremism” is increasingly blamed. Governments struggle to maintain a balance of freedom for all beliefs, but it is obvious to the public that religious belief is the motivation behind the jihadists. After the Brussels bombing the pope asked for prayer for the terrorists who were “taken in by cruel fundamentalism.” Islam is okay, it’s just those “extreme fundamentalists.”
Unfortunately, as the general public becomes more non-religious, Bible believers get painted with the same brush. There is rising concern about strange people who go to church instead of brunch on Sunday, who read an old book of legends about a mythical being who rose from the dead, and who question evolution. The last straw is when these weirdos engage in “proselyting,” and try to convert your children. These “extremists” need to be watched.
Satan has always tried to push the gospel into the margins. As usual, the change in the meanings of words is a tip-off to where it is going. Over the past 50 years, “fundamentalist” has gone from someone who is admired for holding fast to the fundamental doctrines of scripture, to synonymous with Muslim “extremists” who act out the “fundamental” doctrines of the Qur’an.
Adding to the confusion is the pope’s statement that Christians and Muslims both worship the same God. This lie is also held by many western government leaders. Even former President George W. Bush stated this right after 9/11.
But when the heart is unredeemed, liberty becomes freedom to sin. Then, Satan’s false religions become tools for death and destruction his ultimate goal. Then Satan can sell the idea that all religions are bad, including biblical Christianity.
Increasingly, we who were known as strange “fundamentalists,” are lumped together with more suspicious “extremists” on the way to becoming feared “radicals.” What was once mainstream biblical views on hell, sodomy, and marriage are now considered antiquated Neanderthal concepts.
So, what’s a soul winner to do? The Great Commission doesn’t give us room to run and hide. More and more we are ambassadors from a foreign Kingdom, on assignment to this alien world that is under Satan’s heel. We must keep up our witness of the joys and benefits of our Kingdom His love and sacrifice for lost sinners.
When we see ourselves as the sower in the parable, we know that not all gospel seed will sprout. We must spread generously, however, for there to be a maximum harvest. In the hustle and bustle of living, there is rarely time for discussion about the Kingdom. But it only takes a few seconds to hand someone a tract containing the seed of the gospel. When we do, then the Spirit has something to water, and God gives the increase.
Satan’s “extremists” bring death and destruction. We must be winsome “extremists” graciously inviting the bewildered to consider our Kingdom and our King whose name is true Love.
But we are under the same instruction as Ezekiel in chapter 3:18. We will be held accountable if we neglect to warn the sinner.