Many food products have a "standard of identity". This just means that, in order to carry a particular name, they must meet certain standards. To be called a "custard" for example a product must contain a certain amount of egg and a certain amount of cream. To be called "mayonnaise", a product must contain a certain amount of egg as well. These standards ensure that wackos out there aren't creating a frozen dessert out of corn and trying to market it as "ice cream", thereby fooling the unknowing public.
We, also, have standards of identity in society, only they aren't regulated like they are for food. Generally, they're assumed. You assume, for example, that if someone tells you they have a degree, they mean they attended an educational institution and obtained a diploma. Unless they're trying to be someone they're not, or they're lying to you, you're probably correct in your assumption. Similarly, if someone tells you they have kids, you'll probably assume they are referring to little people they're raising, and not small goats. And usually, you'd be right.
What this brings me to is a HUGE point of anger, a very large bone I have to pick. Why is there seemingly no standard of identity for Christians? The brain-child of this post comes from what I consider to be an absolutely heinous act by a Florida "pastor" who intends to burn Koran books on September 11th. And yes, he calls himself a "Christian".
Let me be perfectly clear: I believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY one true way to salvation. I believe that Muslims will face judgement in front of God himself, just as will ALL of humanity who have not placed their trust in Him, and have not believed in His solemn promise of salvation through the death and resurrection of this son Jesus.
To take a book cherished by an entire people group and; in the name of a religion which MANY Americans claim as their own; to burn that book as a sign of hatred, is absolutely wrong. I don't care what day of the year it is. In what way does something so offensive win any believers to Christ?
And isn't that what we were called to do? To make disciples out of all the nations?
It's about Love, people. Now I'm not saying "let's just ignore sin, and have a big 'ol love party", but if we do not come FIRST in love, who will listen? Who?
I'll tell you one thing. The pastor who is planning to burn those books on the 11th will NOT be sharing Christ's unending love with ANYONE. And certainly not a muslim. I am ashamed that he has intentionally aligned himself with the God I love so dearly, with the Savior who stole my heart. I am horrified that people outside our religiously free United States may lump my Jesus in with his hatred. Horrified.
Beyond the simple tenets of faith, there is no standard of identity for a Christian. And that makes me upset, because I think this act of horrific hypocrisy has the potential to deflate outreach efforts of MANY who are risking their lives as good-news-spreaders in the Middle East, and throughout the world.
Lord, may they see your light through all this mud. May they see your light.