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Religion Is Dangerous, but Not because We Are Too Radical (We Are Not Radical Enough)

Jim Denison | Denison Forum | Updated: Mar 12, 2024
Religion Is Dangerous, but Not because We Are Too Radical (We Are Not Radical Enough)

Religion Is Dangerous, but Not because We Are Too Radical (We Are Not Radical Enough)


Kate Middleton has been in the center of a media firestorm since abdominal surgery on January 16 removed her from the public eye, leading to rampant speculation regarding the severity of her condition. A photo of her with her children posted on Sunday was intended to calm the waters, but media outlets discovered that it had been edited and removed it from their sites, which only fanned the flames. She admitted yesterday that she edited the photo personally and apologized for the confusion.

If you’re like most of us, this is a “tempest in a teapot.” You likely follow news about the Princess of Wales and her family with some degree of interest. But knowing about the royal family and knowing them personally are two very different things.

Satan does everything he can to confine our relationship with Jesus to the former. Choosing the latter is the single most important decision in all of time and eternity. It changes our lives and, through us, our world.

We are not radical enough

The transformation of America must begin with the transformation of America’s Christians. We must prove that biblical morality is relevant today by demonstrating its relevance in our personal lives. We then become our best argument for persuading others to join us. And we are empowered to share biblical truth with bold, courageous compassion as we display the “fruit of the Spirit” to the world (Galatians 5:22–23).

Consequently, you and I need to seek nothing less than a daily, intimate personal experience with the risen Christ.

Substituting a religion about Jesus for a transforming relationship with him is a deception of Satan himself. When we fall for this trap:

  • We don’t seek to know Christ more fully (Jeremiah 29:13).
  • Rather, we seek to be our own God (Genesis 3:5), in control of our own lives.
  • We are inoculated spiritually with just enough of a relationship with God to keep us from experiencing the real thing.
  • Our witness is enervated since the world sees no difference between our lives and theirs.

In this way, religion is dangerous, but not for the reasons post-Christian progressives think. It’s not that we are too radical, but that we are not radical enough:

  • We should oppose abortion, despite the accusation that we are part of a “war on women,” but we must also love women considering abortion and the children we encourage them to bring into the world.
  • We should oppose same-sex marriage, despite the claim that we are “homophobic,” but we must also model biblical marriage by rejecting pornography and adultery while loving all people as Christ loves us.
  • We should oppose euthanasia, despite the claim that we oppose “death with dignity,” but we must also care for the infirm and honor the elderly.
  • We should bemoan the divisiveness of our politicized culture, but we must also “love [our] neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39) whatever their political positions.

Why I love to talk about my grandkids

Here’s why today’s conversation is so crucial for our broken culture: when you and I experience the risen Christ in a daily, intimate, transforming way, we must tell the world. Just as Jesus “had” to pass through Samaria (John 4:4), not because this was a geographical necessity but because he was compelled by his love for Samaritans, so the Samaritan woman he led to himself had to tell her fellow villagers about him (vv. 28–30, 39–42).

She was not alone:

  • The demoniac healed by Jesus had to tell his fellow residents in the Decapolis “how much Jesus had done for him” (Mark 5:20).
  • The disciples on the road to Emmaus, when they had a transforming encounter with the risen Christ, had to tell the apostles “what had happened on the road” (Luke 24:35).
  • Early Christians, when they were “filled with the Spirit,” had to share the gospel with the Pentecost crowds (Acts 2:4–41).
  • When Peter was “filled with the Spirit,” he had to testify for Christ before the Sanhedrin at the risk of his life (Acts 4:8–12).
  • When Paul met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, he had to proclaim Christ in the synagogues there (Acts 9:20).
  • When John met the risen Christ on the prison island of Patmos, he had to give the Revelation to the world.

We often see evangelism as a duty and even a chore. But in fact, when we truly experience the risen Christ, we must share him. We cannot help it—we want everyone we know to know the One whose love has changed our lives.

Jesus promised the same: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38). Like the waters of an artesian well forced by underground pressure to pour up from the ground, so our love for Jesus will flow into our words and actions as we naturally fulfill his commission to “be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

Because I love my family, I love talking about them. And, like a typical grandparent, I am always ready to convince you that my grandchildren are perfect (with pictures as evidence). Because I love them, I want you to love them.

So, here’s the question:

Do you want to share Jesus with someone today?

If not, why not?

Image credit: Getty/BMPix

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

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Religion Is Dangerous, but Not because We Are Too Radical (We Are Not Radical Enough)