Private Christians Resent Public Christians

George Whitefield

Amos 5:10 says, “They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks uprightly.” One sign of a corrupt society is that those who speak the truth are persecuted and hated. especially those who speak the truth publicly. America is surely in that position. Her politicians and other public figures are serial liars. Truth is hated in America. But beyond politics the church does the same thing. She doesn’t want truth tellers. She doesn’t want public figures who call out wicked men and women for their lies and abominations. We are embarrassed by public condemnation of sins. Let’s do our theology at our desks and keep our opinions to ourselves. Let’s have our family worship, but never tell others about Jesus. Let’s hold our private opinions about gender and sexual issues, but let’s not impose those on others. Let’s continue to vote for people who destroy the weak and poor. And we so castrate Christianity, cutting off its potency. Tim Bayly speaks to this in his book Daddy Tried: 

Public Christians are always an inconvenience to private Christians, and so we teach young men and new Christians to keep their Christian faith quiet and harmless-which is to say, personal and private. But Christian faith that is personal and private, carefully kept within the confines of home and church, is no faith at all.

No wonder America continues to slaughter babies at the rate of 1.3 million per year, and often just down the street from our church or kitty-corner to our supermarket.

We’re private Christians.

No wonder America has come to believe in homosexual marriage. No wonder America has more women getting college, university, and professional degrees than men. No wonder America will soon have a woman president who’s a stronger leader than her husband. No wonder America lost faith in the authority of Scripture, denies the existence of Hell, and never reads the Bible. No wonder America is having fewer and fewer children in homes that are mostly fatherless, now.

Here is Jesus’s warning: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (Mt. 5:13)

So it’s happened, hasn’t it.

The world is dying for lack of manly, zealous, biblical fathers like Noah, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, John the Baptist, the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Peter Waldo, Francis of Assisi, John Knox, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Elliot, Marvin Olasky, Phil Jensen…

And Jesus.

Men, what are you doing to speak and live truth in the city square? Is Jesus tucked away in your back pocket so you can pull Him out during family devotions and in the church parking lot, but He is ignored the rest of the time? If we are to be men who love Christ then we must find ways to speak  up in the gates. We need to look for opportunities to publicly oppose legislation that is against God’s Word. We need to look for opportunities to tell our neighbors the good news of Jesus Christ. We need to march on abortion clinics and write letters to the editor. We need to publicly oppose government programs the keep people poor. We need to expose the sins of our elected officials and put honest men in their place. Our faith is not private thing. We do not declare a Jesus who is in our heart. We declare a Jesus who king and has all authority in heaven and on earth. His authority extends to the city hall, the town square, and the legislative sessions in our states. Do we believe that? I think we do. But I also think we are cowards afraid of what others might think of us and the price we might have to pay for our public stand.

Be prepared though. One of the most discouraging things I have seen over the years is that if you do this Christians, not just the world, will hate you. Of course, we expect the world to denounce us. But fellow Christians? Yes. If we are active in the city gate, it will not just be the world telling us to shut up, but Christians will as well. You are bringing shame to Christ’s name. You are not loving your neighbor. You are driving people away from the church. You don’t want to sound like a crazy fundamentalist do you?  And so they will hate the one who rebukes in the gate. But that is a little price to pay to bring glory to our Savior and perhaps turn some to the truth, isn’t it?