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Greatest cause for atheism

Built on a Rock
Pastor Jeremy Wiersema, Reformed Church of Steen

I want to invite us to consider the following quote from Brennan Manning, a Franciscan priest.  “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle.  That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
Those are some hard words for Christians. The first time I heard this quote was in 1995, and it has stuck in my mind ever since.
The point being made is simple: How we live matters. It also means that, like it or not, we all live in a glass house.
Brennan Manning’s quote has often caused me to think about how I live and what my actions and words say to people. I will be the first to say I am not always proud of myself. I have said and done things that don’t bear witness to my Christian faith, and I know I am not alone.
It might be easy to feel upset with Brennan Manning for pointing out to us a hard biblical teaching. I heard this quote in 1995, and it continues to work on my heart. How can we use this statement to motivate us to live differently?
It would seem that Jesus is always inviting us to consider how we live. As people who profess Jesus as Lord, what effect do we have on people around us? What impact does our lifestyle have?
Let’s be careful not to over these questions. How we live matters, and it has a significant effect on our community.
Jesus’ last words to us while on this earth are found at the end of Matthew 28: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Go, make, baptize, and teach. There is nothing in Jesus’ statement about encouraging unbelief. As followers of Jesus, do we really want to be known as the greatest cause of atheism in our culture?
Clearly this means our mission is to influence our culture to be Jesus people and not the opposite. I know I want to do better, even in Sioux Falls when I have to sit still at a green light for the slow person two or three cars in front of me.

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