Unashamed of the Gospel
Open any university textbook in
foundational studies in biology, anthropology, or geology and you will find
traces of evolutionist theories, especially relating to the beginning of man.
The theory of evolution proposes itself to be the alternative explanation to
biblical creation. Moreover, modern philosophy and English literature have
their roots in the humanist movement, involving a turning away from the
Christian faith toward the individual.
As the modern day Christian is
bombarded daily with such atheistic notions and faces an increasingly ungodly
society that mocks at essential Christian doctrines, how can we remain assured
of our own faith? Before preaching to others, can we stand convicted in our
beliefs in Christ?
FINDING YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST
Bearing witness to the gospel by
conduct is no easy task. It always boils down to the daily basics, such as how
much time we spend in communion with God and invest in spiritual nurture.
The key to shining as a true Christian depends on how deeply we know God,
whether we are sure of what we believe in, and, ultimately, what our identity
in Christ is. When Moses came of age, he refused to be called the son of
Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God than
to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin (Heb 11:24–26). Because he was nursed and
brought up by his own mother, a Hebrew woman (Ex 2:7–9, 11), Moses retained his
Hebrew identity and chose to be with God’s people rather than to be an Egyptian.
Similarly, as Christians of the
True Jesus Church, we should have the correct faith based on the doctrines of
Christ and understand that it is true and unique, and not be ashamed of its
differences from other religions or Christian groups. It is this strong sense
of identity that will keep reminding us of who we are and the commission
entrusted to us—to preach the good news.
Having this identity will ensure that we will not easily fall away in the face
of opposing beliefs and theories. When we have an irremovable identity in
Christ and see ourselves as part of Christ, there is basis for us to keep our
BE A CHRISTIAN OF SUBSTANCE
To be a Christian of substance, it
is vital to maintain our stance on our faith and to know what we believe in
despite opposing beliefs and theories. We need not necessarily join the
apologetics movement, but certainly need to know how to defend our faith when
it is undermined by the worldly knowledge we feed our minds with at secular
Find Answers to Prevalent Questions
First, we can know and find
answers to prevalent questions regarding the faith. One of the arguments
against God in my first year Philosophy class was, “Why does a good God allow
suffering?” At that time, even though I believed in God, I was unable to rebut
what seemed like a really good argument against the case for the existence of
Indeed, to refute philosophical
theories against the faith in academia, one is often expected to use the tools
learned in philosophy. But this is not the recommendation given in the Bible,
which tells us to not indulge or be caught up with men’s philosophies (Col
2:8). Instead of using the tools of the world to defend our faith, we should be
equipped with the word of God, which is fit for reproof, correction, and
instruction (2 Tim 3:16), to fight for our faith.
For example, there are biblical
answers to the question of suffering. Suffering can be the result of man's sin
against God, or a trial sent by God to perfect the faith of a believer.
Examples include the Israelites’ chastisement when they departed from God's
commandments (Hab 1:5–11; 2:15–16; Hos 2:2–13), and Job whom God wanted to perfect by removing
his self-righteousness through sufferings.
In fact, God is good, but man does not always choose to do good (Jn 1:4–5), thus he suffers. It doesn’t help that the devil
often wreaks havoc in men’s lives (Job 1:6–12), but God allows it as a trial to
shape us into a better person.
With special regard to the matter
of suffering, sometimes, the Bible does not always give explicit answers to
specific questions we may have. When our young child is diagnosed with a
chronic illness or when Dad is laid off at work without a reason, we tend to
ask God why these unfortunate events happen to us. Whether it is to bring
one's entire household to Christ or to train us to give up our lives to God, we
may not know at that moment in time. The search for answers is often a journey
and takes time. In such situations, we need to look ahead with faith (Job 13:15;
Hab 2:4; 2 Cor 5:7) and trust in the abidance of God
Discern Right from Wrong
Second, discern right and
wrong by being on the right side. Our allegiance is towards God; we are
not trying to win a philosophical debate. When I was younger, I used to think
that the only way to discern between right and wrong was by having full
knowledge and an understanding of both sides. But life soon taught me that I
was wrong. Man is fallible.
When we incline ourselves to what
is unrighteous, we will gradually be influenced by wrong concepts and thus
breed wrongdoing in our life. Putting ourselves in the shoes of someone who
blatantly does wrong merely serves to blur the boundaries between right and
wrong, making it difficult to do what is right. This eventually leads to the
corruption of good values.
Thus, I learned that the
discernment between right and wrong is given by God (Heb 5:12–14) and cannot be
attained through our own vain pursuit. Moreover, I learned that whilst we can
pursue knowledge to a certain extent according to the best of our own
abilities, the maturation of that knowledge involves faith and waiting for the
Lord, the One who gives fruition to our efforts. Until then, the only thing
required of us is that we are faithful to the Lord and remain on the right side
of His commandments.
Spotting Fallacies of Opposing Theories
As sojourners living in a
transient world, it is useful for Christians to gain worldly knowledge that can
help us support our livelihood. Yet how do we find a way from being influenced
by atheistic theories prevalent in school and society? While we cannot isolate
ourselves from the world by living in an utopia in which all of God’s laws are
upheld, there are many ways in which we can prevent our beliefs from being
compromised, if only we let faith dictate the way. While we can know about
atheistic concepts, we should avoid subscribing to them. One way to achieve
this is to be aware of the flaws of these concepts and why they are not in line
with God’s will.
For instance, if we are assigned
to write a paper on the theory of evolution, we can use the opportunity to find
out about the fallacies of this theory as well as other scientific findings
that are in accordance with the Bible’s account of creation. There are times
when it may be necessary to abstain from studying too deeply into concepts that
contradict our faith: we don’t need to challenge our faith by purposely picking
controversial fields to expand our knowledge, for gaining knowledge of the
wrong sort may corrupt good values. Instead, we should desire to grow in the
knowledge of the grace of the Lord (2 Pet 3:18, 1:8).
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD
If finding an identity in Christ
forms an intrinsic part of a Christian's values, daring to be different is how
we keep those values. As the world changes and Christianity declines in the
countries where it once flourished, more and more people no longer profess to
be Christians. Due to pop culture, the young may find it to be “uncool” to be a Christian, and such influence is
In this growing tide of
ungodliness, it is hard to be a Christian and to profess one’s faith without
being labeled as overly religious. Hence, it takes courage for a Christian to
stand up for his faith. Youths and adults alike, but especially youths who are
prone to peer pressure, must dare to be different from the world, to be “the
salt and light of the earth” (Mt 5:13–14).
I believe that many of us may
regret when we realize, in retrospect, that we would have done much better had
we not given in to peer pressure during our pre-adult years. I draw this
analogy because daring to be different is just that—being our own unique selves
without succumbing to more dominant social pressure. And the challenges it
poses to us don't just stop during our teenage years but continue in
our quest to be mature Christians.
We might have sustained or
nurtured a hidden dream or passion if only we had not given it up just to blend
in with the rest or belong to the “cool crowd.” Maybe we would have spoken our
minds in class, or perhaps gotten better grades, or hung out with that sweet
yet unsocialized slip of a friend whose friendship we
treasured. Daring to be different is far from claiming exclusivity or being
intolerant of others; nor is it all about standing out from the crowd. More
often, it is about knowing our identity and claiming it, even if it means
bearing with inconveniences and nuances in everyday living.
Despite censure from unbelieving parties, we can evangelize powerfully and keep
the faith at the same time, without compromising it, by being ready to give an
answer for the faith that is in us (Col 4:6) to anyone who asks.
BEING FAITHFUL TO THE WORD
Finally, we should be
faithful to the word and keep it to the end (1 Jn
3:24). When short-term solutions cannot solve present problems, one may
have to endure hardship for the faith. We ought to know that to apply the
Lord’s word in this world is to first bear the costs of our decision to follow
Him and be rewarded at the end with the crown of righteousness—just like Lazarus,
who might have been poor for the sake of not wanting ill-gotten gain (Lk
16:19–25), like Paul suffering in chains, hard-pressed on every side for the
Lord and beaten for the cross (2 Cor 4:8). Yet a good Christian should never
quail at this prospect. It is a form of fighting for our beliefs in a very real
We should resolve to “contend”
(Jude 1:3) and protect the “precious faith” (2 Pet 1:1; 1 Pet 1:7) by upholding
its tenets in doctrine and not let God’s name suffer abuse by blasphemous
words. We ought to be arrows in His quiver, daring to take a firm stance on
church beliefs and fight for the Lord as one conscripted in the army (2 Tim
Initially, we may employ tact, but
in the face of opposing beliefs, we must stand up for our faith and not consent
to erroneous teachings. We should point out where the misconceptions are and
present the teachings of Christ the way it was imparted to us. It all boils
down to this: not being afraid to be different from the world and being willing
to suffer for the Lord by offering our lives to Him. For in living out our
faith in this manner, we take our understanding of the truth to a different
level, a higher ground in which we can concretely experience God.
In summary, our daily decisions
for God contribute to our boldness for Christ. If we can keep our faith over
the little things, we will be trained in righteousness to handle matters of
greater importance. Let us honor our status as children of God. May the
influence of the Word pervade our lives, and the teachings of Christ translate
to godly actions so that when it is time for us to testify for the Lord, we can
be unashamed like the apostle who willingly gave up his life for the sake of
the gospel (2 Tim 3:10–12).