There are few things more difficult to accomplish in the realm of religious discussions than to defend Christianity with someone who has defined Christianity as something that would be viewed through the Crusades, or some divergent cult. This is particularly true in reference to the non-Christian world that has a concept of Christianity that is so different from what we read in our New Testaments.
Nevertheless, this is the challenge every true Christian has in a world of the international news media whose definition of Christianity is often based on the behavior of the “Christian” religious establishment of our times. There is Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and then they just throw in “Christianity.” The news media knows no difference. One religion is just as good as another. The international news media is as blind as the world of non-Christian religions in their view of true Christianity. And sadly, many of those who would “classify” themselves as “Christian,” are just as guilty in their dysfunctional understanding of true Christianity because of their lack of knowledge of what should define their faith (See Rm 10:17).
But this challenge also faced the early Christians. The government figure, Felix, considered the Christians of his day to simply be a “sect” of Nazarenes who were divergent from mainline Judaism (At 24:5). When the apostle Paul finally extracted himself from the religious establishment of the Jews, he looked back and called the religious canonization of rules and traditions in which he once lived to be the “Jews’ religion,” or “Judaism” (Gl 1:13).
The international news media today has a difficult time in understanding true Christianity. When divergent becomes the norm by which the “Christian” religious establishment is defined, then simple Christians are thrown into a difficult predicament. In their efforts to explain themselves, they are more often talking past those to whom they would explain themselves.
I have always wanted to write a letter to the government of China. That I will eventually do, for one of the difficult philosophical predicaments that “divergent Christianity” has produced in this world is a twisted understanding of Christianity. What has been presented to the world of politics, unfortunately, is simply not who Christians are. Subsequently, the government policies of some nations of the world are often antagonistic against a “divergent Christianity” that finds no definition in the Bible. I would defend before such governments that the establishment of “divergent Christianity” in the West does not explain who true Christians are.
Here’s a suggestion for every Christian: What we should do, as those who are seeking to emulate in our lives the true faith that we discover in the word of God, is preach and live the person of Jesus Christ. In the presence of those who are a part of “divergent Christianity,” we will defend Jesus, and live according to His gospel.
To most people of the world, “Christianity” is simply viewed as just another religion among the assortment of choices the religious world offers. But such cannot be said of Jesus Christ the Son of God. If we focus on Jesus, and not “Christianity,” then the world must deal with the origin of our faith. Instead of being antagonists against an established religion, they would have to deal with Jesus Christ. If we could somewhat rephrase a statement of a particular religion, we would make some changes by saying, “There is one God, and Jesus is not only His prophet, but also the only begotten Son of God.” This belief is the beginning of the separation of true Christianity from the beliefs of all other faiths of the world.