Misrepresentation of the church: How Christians hinder kingdom growth │© Fola Daniel Adelesi

One of the most important things that we have to be very careful about in today’s Christianity is the fact that there are too many people who are misrepresenting the church. A lot of them are even supposedly church leaders and some of them are just church members. Their status in the church is not what even matters to me or any other person but that they are giving people outside the church a wrong impression. This is a very serious issue because we all know that our lives are supposed to impress the people out there so that they can now begin to get closer to us and ask us about the God we are serving. We were supposed to live a life that evangelizes to people and then increase the kingdom. In these days, I am so afraid that if we do nothing, there will be a huge misrepresentation of the church so much so that when you introduce yourself as a child of God in some places it will mean nothing to them. Just in case I don’t remember to touch on this by the time I finish, I want you to ask yourself a question. Are you one of those misrepresenting the church and consequently hindering more people from coming to the kingdom or are you one of those whose lives are bringing more people to the kingdom?
I have heard of series of cases where some people want to lure Christians into doing something wrong and those ones tell them that they are children of God and will do no such thing. The answer they would normally get in such cases is, ‘stop that! Look at the guy over there. He is a Christian as well and we know what he is doing. Look at that other one. He is even a general overseer or a Bishop and we know what he is doing.’ When you hear of things like these you can’t but almost weep for those who have been misrepresenting the church or the kingdom. I am also trying as much as I can not to make this look like an article that is about the image of the church. Please note that my focus is beyond the image of the church and that is why I am deliberately using the word kingdom. This is more about being true ambassadors of Christ rather than saying people from a certain denomination behave in a certain way.
We need to remember that the Bible itself says that it was in Antioch the believers were first called Christians and the reason they were called Christians was not because they went to church. They were called Christians because they were Christ like which means they behaved like Christ. Have Christians suddenly forgotten that we are supposed to behave like Christ? How come people are referred to as Christians and people in their neighbourhood disdain them. They have not earned anyone’s respect because they are only Christians inside the church and they are no different from devils outside the church. In the community where they are supposed to cooperate with other residents for community advancement, they are the ones jumpstarting troubles. In their offices, they are known for all sorts of sharp practices and when you smell trouble you can always look in their direction.
There are so many ways in which people are misrepresenting the church but a few of them that I have listed are:
1. Our lifestyle – We were clearly instructed to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our father in heaven. The way so many Christians are living today, there is no light that is shining from them. Men will also see their bad works and sometimes insult God. It is a shame that many Christians today are the ones allowing men to disdain our God. You also need to check yourself.
2. Isolation from the larger community – Many people have erroneously quoted repeatedly the Bible verse that says we should not be equally yoked with unbelievers. They then isolate themselves completely from the larger community. The first thing that happens here is that they lose the opportunity to win more people to God and they are also misrepresenting God in that our God is loving and willing to accept everyone who turns to him. After all, were told, ‘this is God’s love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.’ If Christ himself had isolated from the larger community we will never have the opportunity to call ourselves Christians. We probably would not have been born because generations long before us would have been wiped out for their sins.
3. Speech Proverbs tells us that in the multitude of words sin is not lacking. It also says that the one whose speech is with grace will be the friend of the king. Again we were told that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Ephesians admonishes us that our speech should be with grace and that it should edify others. Yet, when you hear so many Christians today, you will be so disappointed by their utterances. Some of them are not different from gangsters! A lot of them still use very abusive words and are always cursing other people. The worst of it that I have seen is pastors who curse their members at every slight provocation. They stand on the pulpit and say, ‘except God did not call me.’ Hello sir, we know God called you but you are grossly abusing the call of God over your life. You were called for the perfecting of the saints which is why some are prophets or teachers or evangelists. You were not called to place a burden on the people and remember that you are a shepard – one who guides, mentors or trains and feeds the flock!
4. Poor sense of judgment – When you hear some people talk you can’t think of any other thing but to wonder where in the world they have been or what they have been feeding on! They talk like men or women who have not known God and who have not been freely given the Holy Spirit. Their decisions are amazing, to say the least.
5. Indiscipline – I do not expect that anyone would be perfect but at least I expect we will be disciplined enough not to bring ridicule to the name of the Lord. Many people publicly make themselves a laughing stock and because they have been identified with the church, the next thing people say is, ‘and he is a Christian!’
6. Dressing – This is almost a no go area today. There are people who claim to even minister publicly in churches and are going about half naked. We want to please ourselves, even though the Bible is clear on this but we twist the Bible to make ourselves comfortable. Sunday meetings are now the avenues to showcase the most revealing clothes in the world. People can barely shout Halleluiah without their breasts falling out. Seating down is a difficult thing to do because you wonder if some of the people who claim to have dressed only wore their pants and forgot to wear the other dresses. Men now also come to church sagging and with all sorts of piercing all over the body. We step out in these disgusting manner and claim that we are Christians.
7. Laziness in the name of religion – There are those who seat around or sleep around and do nothing yet they can beg in the name of God. If you know how to sleep so well and do nothing, that’s fine! But to go about harassing people in the name of God and nearly blackmailing them to give you money because they are Christians is appalling.
8. Integrity issues – It is so disheartening that I have heard so many people who say they will never do business with Christians again. Some of them have said they prefer to do business with unbelievers. You will be amazed at all the funny things you can hear when we start talking about integrity issues for people who are supposed to be Children and ambassadors of the kingdom.
The list really goes on. We may not even be able to touch on it all but we need to call ourselves to order. Too many Christians, rather than bring many more to the kingdom, are actually chasing them away from the kingdom. Which one are you doing? Bringing more people to God or sending more people away?
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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