I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Rom 1:16
I was late for the conference and arrived after all but two had left.
One of the doctors called me in, “You’re spiritual; you can come in and hear this.”
He then proceeded with a red-faced rant against Christians.
“When I was operated on, the last thing I remember, as I was going under and couldn’t protect myself, was this surgeon leaning over me and asking God to be with him as he did his thing. That surgeon had no right to exploit my weakness under anesthesia to pray to his God over me, just to make himself feel good.”
I wasn’t smart or quick enough to defend my faith, so I responded, “I think it’s best for Christian doctors to ask permission when they pray with a patient.” And then added, “But you’ve done well, so I suspect God did help your surgeon accomplish his task.”
We spent another twenty minutes discussing our responsibility toward the poor and each of our efforts in that direction.
His face cooled down during our conversation and he left saying, “I used to hate all Christians but some of you are changing my mind.”
As Christians we are tempted at times to defend the Creator of the Universe. His reputation depends on us. If we don’t argue correctly, the Alpha and Omega might somehow lose---and our reputation loses with him. Such a compulsion to defend our faith is contrary to Jesus’ approach to the skeptics. He never tried to out-reason his opponents; he never argued folks to salvation. He just laid out the truth of life, loved his opponents and then acted with the power of God. Making sense was not his chief goal.
As Oswald Chambers put it:
“If you try and weave a conception of God out of Jesus Christ’s presentation of Him, you will find that God is flatly contradicted in the natural world. God is the only being who can afford to be misunderstood; He deliberately stands aside and lets himself be slandered and misrepresented; he never vindicates himself.”
We shouldn’t blame the skeptics for their confusion about our faith. Our walk with Christ doesn’t make a lot of earthly sense, so it’s hard for us to reason folks to our side. But we should not lose heart and become anxious when our words seem ineffective; God is at work. As Karl Barth put it in his commentary on Romans, “Anxiety concerning the victory of the Gospel is meaningless…God does not need us. Indeed, if He were not God, He would be ashamed of us…The assumption that Jesus is the Christ is, in the strictest sense of the word, an assumption, void of any content that can be comprehended by us and must be apprehended in the Spirit.”
God is mostly in the business of transforming rather than convincing. We as Christian doctors should certainly know the Gospel well; we should live what we believe, speak what we know in love and then let God stand up for himself and let him do the business of changing lives.
Let me know well the truth of the Gospel and be ready to answer when your Spirit leads, and let me trust you with both my reputation and yours.