First, it was Ann Coulter. On the “Big Idea” program with Donny Deutsch, Coulter was asked what her vision of a “Perfect America” would be. “Everyone would be happy, Republican and we would look like America did during the NYC Republican convention,” she answered. The incendiary author went on to say that non-Christians, like Jews, would be Christians in a Perfect America; that Jews need to be “perfected,” and that Christians consider themselves to be “perfected Jews.”
Now, there WAS more to Coulter’s rant, and I could spend a few pages trying to explain that she probably meant to say “completed” rather than “perfected,” but that would take too much space, and could—quite possibly—be a misrepresentation of Coulter’s intent. So ask your pastor, if you’re not quite sure what the Bible says about Christianity and Judaism.
My points are these:
1) If we were as Biblically-literate of a society as we were just two generations ago, Coulter’s theology would have been roundly critiqued and corrected, rather than summarily mocked or dismissed;
2) Liberal ears are itching to hear conservatives tie together their political values with their perceived religious intolerance, and
3) Misrepresenting the claims of Christ is not only wrong, but opens our faith to the “amateur hour” interpretation of the mainstream media.
The Ann Coulter buffoonery was only part of how the church was dragged through the mud this week. 70s rockers David Crosby and Graham Nash appeared on the Chris Matthews program, eager to promote their “peace concert.” In the process, the two indicted the church for its culpability in the war, wondering why the “religious people” on both sides (Muslim and Judeo-Christian)aren’t having a dialogue about peace, and why—if “most” Americans are against the war—the church is not “following their lead”…’cause, after all…the church “could use a little good publicity right now.” Well, I guess if the church was all about courting public opinion, such might just be the course to follow. But the Gospel is about representing the Truth, and doing so regardless of its popularity.
But not all the misrepresentation was coming from outside the church. We turn now to last weekend’s CBS “60 Minutes” program, where the tables were turned, and the reporter was actually the voice of reason in a piece on TV pastor, Joel Osteen. The popular author and speaker, when confronted with the fact that his new book does not mention “God” or “Jesus Christ”…that Osteen’s ministry is accused of “dumbing down the Gospel,” and that his books are more about self-help than the Christian faith…he could answer only, “there’s (sic) a lot of people better-qualified to write a book that explains the Scriptures to you. I just don’t think it’s my gifting.” Not your gifting, as a pastor? What about your calling?
And how about you, dear reader? Are you “qualified” to “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…with gentleness and respect?”* Granted, you likely will never be called upon to defend what you believe on national TV, before millions of witnesses. But the odds are that you’ll be part of a conversation about Coulter, Crosby, Nash, or Osteen sometime this week. Will you be ready to speak for God?
*1 Peter 3:15-16, NIV