A Private Matter


What I believe is personal….The position that faith is a private matter originates from two very different views. Those who claim to follow Christ, and those who have no desire to. I would like to explore both, and then take a look at what the biblical position is on this subject.

The first group holds the position that what they believe is  “personal” releasing them from any obligation to share their views or take a stand. They can also be very defensive or vague when questioned about what they actually believe. They accept little or no responsibility for the welfare of others, “I don’t want to judge” especially if there is personal cost or sacrifice involved. When social issues are in conflict with Biblical teaching, their stance is “it doesn’t affect us directly no need to get involved”, or compromising  authority of scripture using what benefits their position, dismissing the rest.  A pastor in my area when questioned about scripture that is in conflict with cultural acceptance dismissed the Biblical view with, “I take the Bible seriously, but not always literally.” Their mantra is “Jesus loved everybody” that’s all we need to do.

With this group there is the tendency to be chameleons, blending into whatever setting they are in, living compartmentalized lives, determined by the setting they are in. Their personal, work, social, and church identity can all look different. The first  view is rooted in selfishness, and self-preservation, the second is well, hypocritical. Both are disobedient to the two things Jesus said was most important

“You should love the Eternal, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

The second great commandment is this: “Love others in the same way you love yourself.” He even said “There are no commandments more important than these”.

The second group is adamant that you keep your views/convictions private. They quickly point out all the terrible things done in the name of religion, and assign most of the problems of the world to religion. “It (religion, faith) causes great problems on a local, national, state and global scale”, is their worldview. This group believes religious discussion or influence has no place in the public sector, including schools, universities and increasingly even in our military.

Biblical views that address issues such as morality, sexual identity and marriage, right to life, are intolerant, bigoted and judgmental.  The progressive movement in our society seeks laws and ordinances under the guise of preventing discrimination and inequality,  that would in effect silence biblical opinion. Because Biblical teaching and doctrine is in direct conflict with what culture finds acceptable in many areas,  these local laws and ordinances would impose on Christians and religious groups the very inequality this group claims to be seeking protection from. We see this already when Christian businesses  and individuals are threatened with fines, prosecution and incarceration for refusing to perform services that violate their religious conscience and belief.

 But what is the Biblical view of our faith? Is it public or private? Do true followers of Christ have a choice? According to the Bible and Jesus himself, the answer is no.

Our faith as it is expressed in our belief in Jesus Christ and what he taught is always a public matter. To make it private is to at the very least, disobey Jesus command in Matthew 28 “I am here speaking with all the authority of God, who has commanded Me to give you this commission: Go out and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

Go out and make disciples, baptize them, teach them, the message is clear. Our faith is a public matter and it must be authentic. Peter, who in his moment of testing denied his relationship with Jesus said this years later “ Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15

Paul says this in 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

Jesus said “But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

The world needs the message of the Good News as much as it ever has and the Biblical view concerning public or private faith is clear. We have two choices to hide our light, or let it shine. What will your choice be?


About HCliffCraig.com

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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7 Responses to A Private Matter

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (4-16-2015) | My Daily Musing

  2. Reblogged this on The Gospel of Barney and commented:
    Faith is always public!

  3. Faith is by its definition, public!

  4. Christ in us is the hope of glory! Christ in us allows us to Love God and Love one another as ourselves, fulfilling the royal law! Arise, shine; for your Light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! Those who turn human beings to righteousness shine like stars for ever (Daniel 12)! Be purified, refined and made white as snow! Christ in us is righteousness! We give everything to Jesus including right to ourselves, sin, and death; and the risen, ascended Christ Jesus gives us everything: his righteousness, his holiness, his blamelessness, irreproachability, perfect Love that casts out all fear; fullness of Joy beyond circumstances; his perfect peace beyond understanding, his shalom, his completeness so that we lack nothing. Christ in us is the hope of glory! Spread the Light of our Father’s Love so that the world is covered in glory like water covers the sea! Let our body of water, our body temple be covered with Christ’s glory so that we truly shine in a dark world with thick darkness covering her people to dissolve the darkness and transfer human beings lost in the world of dominion of darkness to the Kingdom of our Father’s Beloved Son! God bless you!

  5. Father Paul Lemmen says:

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

  6. Sue C. says:

    Very well said! We are the light unto the world and it is the darkness that wants to squelch it. We better start shining brighter or the darkness will win………….at least for now.

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