Are you an extremist?
According to a U.S. Army Reserve presentation (now discarded) by the Department of Defense, if you are an evangelical Protestant or a Catholic, you belong to an extremist group. You’ve been lumped in with, al Qaeda, Hamas, and the KKK. You can read one news story here.
As would be expected, the presentation caused a huge ruckus. After all, more than half of Americans consider themselves to be either Catholic or Protestant Evangelical. The Department was quick to backpedal, assign blame and make excuses.
At first, I too was upset. No one likes to be branded an extremist. Few people want to be likened to the KKK. But then I started thinking.
Maybe they’re right.
Maybe Christians are an extremist group.
Consider some verses:
- Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)
- “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)
- Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
- …I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…. (Philippians 3:8)
- This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
Laying down our lives, considering God more important that our families, more important than anything else in our lives—isn’t that being a bit extreme?
Why haven’t Christians been labeled extremists until now? Maybe because we aren’t.
We’ve heard the quote “Moderation in all things” (probably attributed to Terence, a Roman playwright) and we tend to buy into that philosophy. But that isn’t what the Bible teaches. God doesn’t want people who are moderately interested in following Him. Consider what Jesus says about lukewarm Christians!
- I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)
God is looking for passionate, on-fire believers who will change the world and bring Him the glory He so richly deserves. He’s looking for radical Christians, willing to lay down their lives day after day to honor Him and His desire to see everyone brought under His saving grace and mercy.
Are you an extremist?