If you have followed “Christian” news the last few days then you might have heard that a rap group called the Insane Clown Posse came out as Christians. In fact they said they have been Christians for the entirety of their career.
Now this came as a shock to me, as it does others. ICP is not known for family friendly lyrics (and that might be the understatement of the year). Their songs promote promiscuity, murder, violence, and if you had to put out a radio version of their songs then you probably would not have much left to listen to.
When asked why they hid their faith the response was they had to speak the language of their target group and gain their credibility before they could tell them the truth about themselves (although I think 20 years might have been a little long).
Although this is truly an extreme case, I think this is the type of mindset I have seen from other Christians. The mindset that we have to participate in sin in order to reach “sinners.” Here are the problems that I have with this approach:
1. It is dishonest. To participate in sin and purposely mask your relationship with Christ in order to reach others comes off as dishonest. It feels as if you are lying to people. When you finally “reveal” yourself as a Christian then your credibility is shot because you have lied to these people you wanted to influence!
2. It violates the “faithful witness” aspect of Christians and the church. The church (and individuals in the church) is called to be a faithful witness to God’s Kingdom on this earth. We are required to show the world what it could be like if they would allow God to reign over them. When we become like the world, then we are not the influence we should be.
3. It is a misunderstanding of Scripture. I have heard well-meaning Christians attempt to defend their participation by using arguments like “Jesus ate with sinners” or “Paul became all things to all men”. Both of those arguments are true, but there is a distinction between interacting with sinners and participating in sin. Jesus never participated in sin.
Church lets reach out to all people with the gospel. Let’s build bridges with groups we normally do not. But at the same time let’s not be dishonest and sinful in how we interact. Let them see the beauty of the Christian faith in us. May we never hide the glory of Christ.