The media mouths continue to heap scorn (and blasphemy in some cases) on Brit Hume for his comments about Christianity and Buddhism (e.g., Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, ad infinitum). Tom Shales also adds some barbs of his own in his regular column for the Washington Post. One sentence in particular from Shales’ article struck me. He writes:
“He [Brit Hume] doesn’t really have the authority, does he, unless one believes that every Christian by mandate must proselytize? . . . the remark will probably rank. . . as one of the most ridiculous of the year.”
This remark struck me because Jesus Himself spoke about authority and proselytizing, but He did so in an entirely different way than Shales.
“18 All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus claims authority and commands His disciples to proselytize. Isn’t the implication clear? One cannot be a faithful Christian unless one proselytizes. I don’t say this in order to push back at Shales for not understanding Christianity. Unbelievers often misconstrue the faith once for all delivered to the saints. I say it because the saints need to remember that people in our culture by and large are not going to congratulate us for being faithful to Jesus. They may in fact scorn, ridicule, and marginalize us. None of us should seek such mistreatment, but nor should we be surprised or flag in obedience when it comes. This is what people did to Jesus, and Jesus says we should expect the same if we follow Him.
“18 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me” (John 15:18-21).