Recently I had my sixtieth birthday and my sister baked a birthday cake which my niece then decorated it by putting icing on it in the form of a steam locomotive. The picture is of the remnant of it. The cake is a fruit cake and as such not to everyone’s taste. I shared some at the fellowship I belong to. Children there were attracted to the icing and tried pick bits off to nibble yet did not want to eat the cake itself. An adult said that they did not like the marzipan. The thought occurred to me that when Christians present the Gospel to non-believers we sugar coat it in layers of thick icing but we do not tell them what is in the cake itself. There is the line in a song “If you cannot bear a cross you cannot wear a crown.” We put the stress on wearing the crown but do not explain about the bearing of one’s cross. Then we are surprised when they bite into the cake that they dislike the contents. True, Christianity is often portrayed negatively in the secular media and we need to redress negative perceptions that many people have, but that should not be an excuse to spread equally false perceptions. If you have ever read “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” Christian after he found Christ at the cross did he get on a cruise ship and have a pleasure cruise until he arrived at the pearly gates? No! He encountered one difficulty after another. We play down the need for repentance, sometimes confusing it with regret and other emotions which fall short of true repentance. Just telling someone to recite a sinner’s prayer is not enough in a world where the concept of objective truth is not accepted. Let’s face it, if a person recites a prayer he or she does not believe then they are bearing a false witness, so instead of getting rid of their sin they are adding to it. Their position is therefore worse than before they made that ‘prayer.’ God detests falsehood and when we are in His presence we will not be able to lie. In the book of Job when Satan meets with God if you read it Satan, elsewhere described as the “father of lies”, he could not lie, when he expressed his opinion that Job abandon God if his wealth was stripped from him it was his honest opinion. When he did not he argued that it was only because of his good health he was again stating an honest opinion. Of course, he then put lies into the minds of ‘Job’s comforters’ which, if anything, Job found it more difficult to deal with. I am digressing here.
The point is that Jesus, who called himself the Truth, will be displeased if believers present a false impression of what it is to be a Christian in an overly positive manner, as much as those who oppose Christianity who are being overly negative. There is a lot of sweetness in the Christian but there are times when it is not a cake-walk.
David Rose, 2015.