Saturday, September 17, 2011

"I Keep My Faith Pretty Quiet..."

DISCLAIMER: I don't know Kevin Sorbo, the actor who is famous for his role on "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys." He certainly seems like a nice enough fellow, and he claims a belief in God and in Jesus Christ. The purpose of this post is not to cast doubt upon this testimony. In short, I am not questioning anybody's salvation through this post, so please adjust your expectations accordingly.

Before you read this post, I strongly encourage you to watch this video first.

At around the 5:00 mark, Kevin Sorbo gives his testimony. After he speaks about how he walked an isle down to the front during a Billy Graham crusade, he makes this statement...

"I keep my faith pretty quiet."

That mindset concerns me, for obvious reasons. Now, I have no personal insight into what Mr. Sorbo's faith even consists of. He claims the name of Christ and he says he is trying to "minister" by making "faith-based movies" (I'm guessing that his other recent films such as "B*tch Slap" and "FDR: American Bada**" are not worthy of mentioning in the same sentence as the word "ministry," but that's another blog for another day), but--apparently, when it comes to his faith, he believes that "mum's the word."

Scripture clearly teaches that those who have been born again in Christ have a clear responsibility to make disciples (Matthew 28:19); we are commanded to preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). Indeed, those who are ashamed of the words of Christ can be certain that Christ will be ashamed on them on Judgment Day (Luke 9:26).

Mr. Sorbo has his own reasons for wanting to keep his faith "quiet." I won't comment on them because I don't know what they are.

My question to you, dear reader, is you agree with Mr. Sorbo's mindset?

Recent statistics suggest that--for the most part--professing born again Christians do indeed agree. If George Barna's research is to be believed, about half (55%) of those who are professing born-again Christians have shared their faith at least once in the past 12 months. The next obvious question is..."what do these folks mean by 'sharing their faith?'"

A very valid question. The answer? Good deeds and good living.

78% of those professing Christians who did "share their faith" did so by offering to pray with a non-believer. Taking prayer requests is always a good idea, but evangelism it isn't.

Also, 74% of these professing Christians who did "share their faith" did so by living "Christian" lives with the hopes that non-believers would take notice and ask them why they are always such nice people. Again, holy living is always a good idea. In fact, holy living is more than a good idea, it is commanded of God (1 Peter 1:15-16). However, holy living is not evangelism.

So what is the wisdom in "keeping one's faith pretty quiet?" If the apostles lived according to that mindset, what would have happened to the early Church?

In fact, what is so great about a faith that you feel the need to keep quiet about?

Jesus paints quite a different picture of the faith Christians are to have.

His is a faith that simply cannot keep quiet (Luke 19:40).

His is a faith that is so vocal that those who speak up and speak out will be hated and persecuted (Matthew 24:9).

Christians have Christ. We are in Him. We are what we are only because of Him. He is our Creator and Sustainer. He is the door by which we enter into perfect fellowship with God (John 10:7).

People have faith in money and strongly believe that it's worth talking about.

People have faith in relationships and strongly believe that it's worth talking about.

And we are to believe that somebody can have saving faith in Jesus Christ and believe that it's not worth talking about?

I respectfully yet strongly disagree with Kevin Sorbo. He is free to make his "faith-based movies" and believe that in doing so he is somehow replacing a verbal proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and calling men to repent and believe on His name.

God can certainly use prayer requests and He can certainly use good deeds and holy living. He can even use "faith-based movies" if He so desires. After all, He has even used a donkey to communicate His will.

That being said, prayer requests, holy living, and faith-based movies are NOT evangelism.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
(Romans 10:14-17)

- Shane