question someone’s faith….??? The answer is no, at least according to the conversation I was on the fringe of last week. I will admit I was readin the paper at the time and the fact that everyone in the room imediately said ‘no’ meant that I didn’t really want to be the one who spoke up and say ‘yes’.
I know I wrote about this last month, but while I could say that general faith you couldn’t question, something like Christian faith I think you can.
Afterall, if you are a Christian there are rules that you have to follow. Rules that thankfully can be boiled down to two, as found in Mark 12: 28-31…..
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments [is], “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength”: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” There is none other commandment greater than these.’
To love God and to love your neighbour.
Ok, it’s not as simple as that. We are afterall human and so we’re going to fail, and fail miserably. But it’s what we do with our failings that’s important. If we reconise that we’ve failed, if we try to do better, that is important. I know that there are times when I fail with the ‘love your neighbour’ part, there are some people in this world that I’m nasty to, though I try not to be. I ask for forgiveness, I pray to be made a better man, someone who doesn’t have to make the snide comments. I care that I’ve failed.
But if someone doesn’t care that they’ve failed, if they are happy to carry on not concerning themselves with what can only be described as fairly important stuff, can they really claim to be a Christian??
It’s a toughie certainly. It’s not like having a membership card or a certain attendance level to services are a real indication to someone’s faith, but they are still important. (well, maybe not the membership card bit!!!) Being a Christian is about being part of a family, we are in the Family of Christ. One of the reasons we come together in churches, is so we can come together. We share the one body at Holy Communion, we drink from the same cup (even if we drink from those separate shot glasses some places use). We are one.
A church service is not only a gathering of people, a sit through a sermon, but it is also glorifying God. We go to worship Him. When we pray, when we sing, when we go there in His glorious name.
If someone is happy to cut themselves off from church they must be in some way cutting themselves off from God. Not entirely, because God isn’t like that, but to shun the institutions, the family that makes up the church (and btw, I’m mean all churches here) cannot be a good thing.
nb – I’ve also decided that if the question is asked again, even if everyone says no I will say yes, because it is the right answer.