Ok, I admit it. I like for people to think I’m smart. I like having the reputation as a guy who can answer questions. I get a weird kick out of receiving an e-mail asking for my opinion on a question that has come up in someone’s quiet time. I’ve put a lot of effort in exploring my faith, its foundations and its reliability, and it means something to me when that effort is recognized by others. Conversely, I don’t enjoy being regarded as shallow, close-minded and ignorant. Who does? Evangelism gets tricky when you like the reputation of “the smart guy” and dislike the reputation of being close-minded. How do you confidently proclaim the exclusivity of Christ, the necessity of repentance, and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone when you’re concerned with being labeled “close-minded?”
In this regard I’ve reached the tipping point. I can either: 1)Continue on in the same pattern in which I have lived up to this point and continue to be concerned with being perceived as intelligent and insightful. OR 2)I can resolve “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Option 1 will free me from a lot of awkward silences and disbelieving glances. It may even free me from some obligations and a sense of responsibility I feel to share the Gospel at all. Option 2 will result in my being labeled “narrow-minded,” “exclusivist,” and, in some cases “ignorant,” possibly the worst insult in my mind. But option 2 will put me in line with what I believe the Lord expects of all who follow him. It puts me in position to exalt the wisdom of God over and against the wisdom of the world. It puts me in position to point to the power of Christ over and against the futility of worldliness. Many will reject my proclamation but “but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). May my life be testimony to the wisdom and power of God even if it means I am regarded as ignorant and narrow-minded.