by Rev. Jack Darida
A recent poll demonstrates public confusion concerning President Barack Obama’s faith. President Obama consistently professes to be a Christian. However, poll numbers demonstrate a change in public perception. In 2009, 11 percent of the public believed the President was Muslim. This year that number increased to 18 percent. Why is this? Maybe it is because these people do not like his positions and refuse to embrace his Christian profession. The White House claims there is a concerted effort to distort the President’s faith. I choose not to get into the middle of this controversy. If the President professes faith in Christ, I take him at his word. Nevertheless, the confusion over President Obama’s faith brings up a significant question. If people who know you were polled, how many would question your Christianity?
How do you tell whether someone is a Christian? Jesus told His disciples that the world would know they were His followers by their love. Love is the quintessential mark of the Christian. If you are a loving person, your friends might recognize you as a Christian.
Another acid test for Christianity is your belief system. If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, and live your life according to its principles, your friends might recognize you as a Christian. True Christians are serious about living out their faith. Doctrine is not dry and meaningless. Doctrine comes alive through the life of the believer in Christ.
Followers of Christ also have a habit of talking about Him. Christian speech is salty, sometimes causing unbelievers to take notice. When you are in a loving relationship with someone who means everything to you, you can’t help but include him in your conversations.
What about the church? While attending church does not guarantee you are a believer in Christ, the committed believer in Christ will be committed to His body. A couple of years ago, the Barna research group discovered that over half of professing Christians in the United States do not attend church. Dan Kimball reflects this in the title of his book about a new generation of believers: “They Like Jesus but Not the Church.” In spite of the trend, it is important for believers in Jesus Christ to worship, fellowship, learn, grow, and experience life together. The majority of the New Testament applies to a community and loses its force when directed only to the individual. Observable Christians actively plug themselves in to Christ’s body, the church. Perhaps consistent video clips of President Obama leading his family to church for worship would lay any questions to rest.
Someone once asked the question, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Christ-like love, living what you believe, salty speech, and a commitment to church togetherness would all stand up nicely in the court of public opinion.
Jack Darida is the pastor of Quaker Gap Baptist Church in King, NC. This article originally appeared in their church newsletter, The Messenger.