How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home

Slide1Every Imperfect and Normal Family wants their kids to turn out right. So, we establish goals for character development and try to create an environment where our kids can mature. Church, school, sports teams, family relationships… each of these provides a context where our kids can learn to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Unfortunately, our “good” objectives might have absolutely nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we inadvertently end up raising pagans instead of Christians.

 We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

Too many times, (Christian) parents have it as their goal to make their kids good and moral. It is as if the entire purpose of their family’s spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens who stay out of trouble. The only problem with this goal is that it runs in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. The gospel is not about making bad people moral, but about making dead people alive. If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God’s will, then we are raising moral pagans.

We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

This sentiment was stirred in me afresh when I read an interview with Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. He was reflecting on how the “Christian message” he was trying to teach wasn’t Christianity at all…

“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality. . .

And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”

So what is your objective?

Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.

I want my kids to be good. We all do. But as our kids grow up, the truth of the gospel can easily get lost somewhere between salvation (where we know we need Jesus) and living life (where we tend to say “I’ve got this”). My experience is that the vast majority of parents are encouraging moral behavior in their kids so that God will bless their (usually self-centered) pursuits. It’s the American Dream plus Jesus. And it produces good, moral pagans.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones.

Consider the key objectives you have for your kids. Seriously, take a minute to think about what would deem you a successful parent. If your goals are focused on your kids’ behavior, their happiness, or their accomplishments (but don’t include a dependence upon Christ and a submission to His will and work), then you might want to make some adjustments.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones. What we need is kids who fully grasp the reality that they have nothing to offer, but who intimately know a God who has everything they need.

*I have added a follow-up post that offer some suggestions of How to Guide Your Kid to a Faith That Lasts. I hope it’s helpful!

*Check out my brand new book: The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Talking about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables. It has been developed to assist parents as they help their kids navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Whether your kids are 6 or 16, it provides practical help to help your kids to make wise choices in a messed-up world. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.

 

About Barrett Johnson

Barrett Johnson is the husband to Jenifer and the father of five great kids (including four adolescents). He serves as the Family Minister at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church outside of Atlanta and his blog, INFO for Families, has more than 40,000 views each month. He has recently released his first book, “The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Critical Conversations About Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables.” It has been created to help every parent to equip their kids to make wise choices in a sexually-charged culture. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.

Unpacking the Vision

CFC logo_facebook

 

We recently re-stated our ministry’s vision after several months of praying, thinking, and discussing. It’s BIG and BOLD and captures the essence of what we’ve been working towards from the very beginning.

My goal here is to help you understand the vision so that it’s crystal clear in your mind.

 

 

Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others.

“All Christians”

Note I didn’t say all people. We are about helping Christians (and those seeking Him). We’re trying to help those that want to be helped….those that acknowledge they need help. And through our message we are trying to convict folks that they need help. We aren’t trying to go out and evangelize and get new/more people into the kingdom. We believe that will happen naturally as the result of our work, but it’s not our focus. Helping those that are already here is already a God-sized challenge. And so we are confident that God will bring people that He calls into His church. For our part, He has given us the burden of helping them once they walk through that door.

“Authentically”

This qualifies the words that follow about loving God and loving others. Authentically means it’s real, sincere, genuine, and tangible. Going through the motions is not authentic.

the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength

Having great intentions or thoughts is not authentic. Jesus called out as a role model the Good Samaritan. He didn’t hold him up as a role model because he said “that’s really sad, I’ll pray for him” and continued walking by. The good Samaritan adjusted his life at a crucial moment in order to help his fellow man. His love was authentic and our love should be the same.

We all struggle with authenticity now and then. We want to do so much for so many people that we quickly become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Or we give a little money to a good cause because it’s a whole lot easier than the alternatives. We often have great intentions, such as having a daily quiet time with our Lord, but then our busy lives cause us to lose focus and retreat from our plans.

“Loving God”

Our vision is based on Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This means we can’t pay lip service to loving God or partially loving God. He doesn’t want our divided attention. It begs the question “What does it mean to love God?” This means to truly (authentically) worship Him, praise Him, seek to know Him, seek to follow His ways, and ultimately to obey Him. We are to align our ways to His ways. We are to change our thinking to His thinking. We are to change our hearts to His heart. We are to live in His strength, not our own strength.

This is an area that I admittedly struggle. I think we all do. I don’t put myself on a pedestal and say “look at me” as a perfect example. I’m far from it. Like the apostle Paul, I’m merely human. The question in my mind is whether as a Christian I am struggling towards that ideal, acknowledging the grace that Christ gives even in my failing attempts, or is struggling towards that ideal not even on my radar.In this sense, our vision is an ideal worth seeking after. Are you seeking after it or not? You might know OF Christ or ABOUT Christ…but do you KNOW him and LOVE him enough to OBEY him?

humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us

“and Loving Others” 

Jesus said that loving others was the 2nd greatest commandment. The Good Samaritan parable applies here as well. Loving others certainly includes praying for others, but it mustn’t stop there. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter, to love them in practical ways. I’m reminded of the teaching from James 2:16, ”If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” We are to feed the hungry, clothe the clothe-less, and care for orphans and widows. We are to care for our families, our neighbors, as well as love those we consider to be our enemies. We are to humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us.

This too is not easy. It’s so much easier to think about and serve ourselves. That’s what comes naturally. But God never suggested that we should act naturally. Instead, God wants you and I to get out of our own skin long enough to see the world through His eyes and to authentically love others.

So, our vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others. It’s an ideal worth pursuing and a calling we take seriously. Won’t you join us?

 

 

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Want to Create More Christian Disciples in 2014?

bigstock-Silhouette-of-man-and-sunshine-18659549When I talk with fellow Christians, many say that they would like to share their faith, bring more Christians in the door, and help other Christians grow in spiritual maturity. But they often don’t know WHO or HOW. It’s usually just a lack of self-confidence.

That’s understandable. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference for God’s Kingdom. You Can!

What if there was an organization already helping Christians grow? What if there was an organization already working very hard to create Disciples of Jesus Christ? And what if you could make a difference…not by doing the work yourself, but by supporting an organization already doing the work?

Well, that’s what we’re already doing. And you can help us keep doing it in 2014′…all for God’s glory, by simply supporting us with your year-end, tax deductible financial gift. Read a testimony of our impact below. 

The result of your partnership with us is Christ-transformed lives.

Donate

http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/donate/

And if you want to get involved further and actually help us with the work, we need more spiritually mature Christians to act as mentors (disciples) for others. And if you don’t feel as strong in your faith and biblical understanding, why not ask us for a Christian mentor to help you? Our email-based Discipleship program is thriving doing just that; connecting Christians to help one another; creating Disciples of Jesus Christ. Just follow our discipleship program link to get connected.

Testimony from K. Wade: The idea behind the mentoring program may be primarily to help the mentee but I was getting just as much help as she was. God was keeping me on my knees in prayer about the worthiness of my own spirituality to be guiding someone else’s as well for the mentee that I grew to love in just a few short weeks as if she were my own daughter. I was blessed beyond measure through this program.”

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Experience the Joy of Discipleship This Christmas

Experience the Joy of Discipleship This ChristmasWhen you partner with us to disciple someone, you’re helping change that person’s life…forever! Miracles can happen when authentic love for God and loving others change the world they live in…even with global results.

Discipleship is a crucial piece of the puzzle that is missing in Christian communities today. People are busy. Churches often need help. Families are fragmented.

The solution is simple. Your financial partnership helps us to collaborate with churches and individuals who long to see all Christians respond, in unity with spiritually mature lives, to a world of confusion, turmoil, and suffering. 

The result of your partnership with us is Christ-transformed lives

With your prayers and financial help, YOU can be part of the solution.

Help us grow Disciples in Jesus and become a part of our GOD-SIZED vision of the future. If you believe in our cause,
please contribute by December 31 and see your donation doubled up to $2,500.

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

A New Bold Vision Of The Future

Our Mission and Vision

Every few years, it’s good to revisit what you are doing and why. This ministry is no exception. In fact, through the help of some very wise counsel, we have actually defined our vision of the future for the 1st time since founding Changing the Face of Christianity.

We have always been focused on reversing negative Christian stereotypes and I thought that was actually a vision/mission. As it turns out, that was really more of an anti-vision. In other words, we knew what we wanted to change (negative stereotypes), but we never clearly defined what we wanted to change TO. In comes the vision….

Our Vision

Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others (Matthew 22:36-40)

What’s Next?

Our Vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others

 So, does this mean we are no longer focused on reversing negative Christian stereotypes? Not at all. One of our strategic goals will continue to address that problem. However, what it does mean is we have a clearer focus on what we are working towards. Our mission will be to work on strategic, purposeful goals that will lead us to fulfillment of the vision. In my view, negative Christian stereotypes will be reversed when we start authentically loving God and loving others. I’ll post more on our redefined mission statement as well as our strategic plan in an upcoming article. If you want to see our Strategic Plan google doc, click here. We’re busy working on a three-year strategic plan, with measurable goals, benchmarks, core values, etc. Check out the google doc to see our progress.

We hope you will enthusiastically join us in passionately pursuing this new bold vision of the future. Leave a comment and share your thoughts about our new vision below. Thanks!

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Do Introverted Christians Need To Be Fixed?

bigstock-Assortment-of-tools-on-plain-b-46755976

A reader shared the following infographic with me and I thought it would be interesting to review and discuss. The infographic compares introverted Christians with extroverted Christians. It suggests that in our culture we tend to hold up extroverted Christians as the model while diminishing the value or esteem of introverted Christians.

This reminded me of people in various small groups that have had no problems praying in private, but great reservations about praying in a public setting such as a small group. I’ve thought to myself…do these people need to be “fixed”? How can I help them?

This infographic has caused me to rethink my perspective on the more introverted Christians I know.

 This infographic has caused me to rethink my perspective on the more introverted Christians I know. Maybe they don’t need to be fixed after all.

Review the infographic below and let us know what you think on the topic. [Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Good Enough FOR Me

Survey questionnaire

Do you believe that there is such a thing as “good” people?  Or perhaps, you know some “good” Christians?  We throw this word “good” around all of the time; usually in reference to people that we love and admire and in response to something positive that they did.  I’d like to challenge you to consider the fallacy of this type of thinking, and ask you to consider that it is performance driven rather than Grace driven, thus contrary to the Word of God.  I believe that this subtle and seemingly innocent false perception often times grows into something quite larger and can in effect have a negative impact on non believers, believers, and ultimately the Body of Christ.
[Read more...]

About laura deleon

In 2004, at the ripe old age of 23, Jesus Christ met Laura DeLeon, His beloved prodigal daughter, in a hopeless pile of shame and regret on her bedroom floor. It was here, that the truth that she had always known traveled from her head and into her heart. His brilliant love and forgiveness altered her life's path and the great adventure of following after her King began. Having also struggled with severe depression and anxiety in different seasons of her life, she feels that she has been given a special ministry in helping others who walk down this road as well. Just as He called and continues to call her from her ashes and into a life of beauty and redemption, she now hopes to inspire other captives into His precious Arms. Laura is an Air Force wife, mother of 3, and a student at Liberty University, pursuing her degree in Christian counseling, with the purpose of showing others that Grace has no limits and that nobody is beyond Christ's reach.

The End of The World – Part 2 of 2


In the first article in this series on the end of the world, we explored the Mayan myth and what NASA thinks about such end-of-the-world predictions.  (Click here to read  - http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/christian-news-and-insights/the-end-of-the-world-part-1-of-2/)

In this 2nd part, let’s continue exploring this fascination with end-of-the-world predictions and try to make sense of it all so we aren’t deceived.

[Read more...]

About Kasey Harris

Kasey is a long time Christian who only recently found Christ. She tells people that she was 31 years old before she finally realized there was a huge part missing in her Christian walk, a part that made her long for something deeper, more relational and less ritualistic. That part was a day to day relationship with Christ Himself and a working application of His word. She has since committed herself to a deeper understanding of the Bible and God, and has come to the conclusion that for many years she was trying to change herself and not allow Christ to change her. She has completed four years with Bible Study Fellowship, enjoys leading women’s ministries, and is a member of The Gospel Coalition. Kasey is also a former board member of Changing the Face of Christianity. As a Christian Pop Culture writer, she loves sharing how we can be Christians IN the world, but not OF the world.

The End of The World – Part 1 of 2


Do you might remember that Prince song “1999” that goes:

“I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray.
“But when I woke up this morning, could’ve sworn it was judgement day.
  So, say, two-thousand, zero, zero, party’s over, oops-out of time.
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”

[Read more...]

About Kasey Harris

Kasey is a long time Christian who only recently found Christ. She tells people that she was 31 years old before she finally realized there was a huge part missing in her Christian walk, a part that made her long for something deeper, more relational and less ritualistic. That part was a day to day relationship with Christ Himself and a working application of His word. She has since committed herself to a deeper understanding of the Bible and God, and has come to the conclusion that for many years she was trying to change herself and not allow Christ to change her. She has completed four years with Bible Study Fellowship, enjoys leading women’s ministries, and is a member of The Gospel Coalition. Kasey is also a former board member of Changing the Face of Christianity. As a Christian Pop Culture writer, she loves sharing how we can be Christians IN the world, but not OF the world.

Seeking Christian T-Shirt Ideas

We’re designing a few Christian T-Shirts to sell on our new online store, and we’re looking for t-shirt slogans that would fit our ministry’s purpose and help us get the word out.

If you have ideas, share them using our comment form below using this format:
FRONT: <text goes here> BACK: <text goes here>.
Please avoid previously copyrighted or trademarked slogans.

All store proceeds go to support our ministry.
http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/store/

[Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Christianity Quiz Shows Sharp Increase in Worldly Christians

Quiz Results

Changing the Face of Christianity Inc has released the results of a Christianity Quiz; an anonymous self-assessment scoring how well Christians live the teachings of Jesus Christ. E.g. The quiz answers the question: “How Christian Are You?”

Answer 10 multiple-choice questions and the quiz returns a score, indicating how well the person lives up to the Christian ideal as modeled by Jesus Christ. The results indicate if you are “Far from Christ”, a “Worldly Christian”, a “Good Christian”, or a “Spiritually Mature Christian”.

Over an 8 month period, from September 2011 through April 2012, Changing the Face of Christianity collected over 1,500 responses to their Christianity Quiz.

Here is a summary of the results: [Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

R. Brad White Predicts Return of Jesus Christ – Save the Date

With the increasing popularity (and disdain) of “Jesus is coming on x date”, I thought I would join the ranks of those with a Jesus second coming prediction.  I hope you aren’t disappointed.  But before I give the date, let me build up some suspense. [Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Frequently Asked Questions: An Interview with R. Brad White

 What inspired you to start Changing the Face of Christianity Inc?

God whispered in my ear several years ago that the face of Christianity needed to change. I felt called, and I have simply answered that call by saying YES to God. Our mission is to reverse negative Christian stereotypes (such as homophobia, intolerance, judgmentalism, hypocrisy, and others) by helping Christians be more like Jesus Christ.

God prepared me well for this enormous challenge. I was an atheist for much of my adult life, yet raised in a Christian home. So I’ve seen Christianity from the outside and inside. Although many Christians are living their faith and bringing glory to God, there are far too many so-called Christians who dishonor God through their lives.

Non-Christians use the negative stereotypes we are trying to reverse as a convenient stumbling block to accepting our faith.

Non-Christians use the negative stereotypes we are trying to reverse as a convenient stumbling block to accepting our faith. I see traditional evangelism efforts falling short because most outsiders have already made their mind up because of the poor witness of Christians they know. As a secondary goal, we are trying to prepare the field (through Christians being a better witness of Jesus Christ through how we live), so that future evangelism efforts are met with openness and a positive Christian experience.

But to be clear, our main objective is not to evangelize and bring people into the faith. There are countless organizations already doing this much better than we can do. We are focused on building up those already in the faith. Helping Christians mature and transform into Christ-likeness is the key. We do believe our efforts will lead to more people accepting the faith. You bring them in, and we help build them up into mature Christians who glorify God and truly change the face of Christianity that outsiders see.

 

 What has been the response?

The overwhelming response has been positive. But as with any organization or public position, there are those that disagree or think we are off the mark. We take the negative opinions with an open heart and an open mind. We are teachable…just like we expect other Christians to be. However, we won’t allow people who oppose us to deter us from our goal.

The people who support us agree that there are far too many people out there giving Christianity a bad name…which dishonors God.

The people who oppose us think we are just trying to be culturally relevant or watering down Christianity until the masses think it’s palatable. It’s been difficult to change their minds, but they couldn’t be more wrong. We call Sin, Sin. We don’t water down the truth of the Gospel. However, our firm belief is that we can be a Christian faith that holds strongly to our essential core beliefs…yet still loves other people who don’t live or believe as we do.

Here is one of the more controversial examples of the divide that exists. As Christians, we believe that homosexuality is a sin. You’ll never hear us say anything to the contrary. However, how should Christians treat a homosexual? Should we reject the person? Should we not try to relate to them and understand them…so that we can reach them? Should we ridicule them and shut them out of our churches? Should we kick them out of our homes and families? My opinion is no.

We should first and foremost LOVE them. Love bridges the gap between our attitudes and beliefs about homosexuals. The problem is…homosexuals don’t feel loved. They simply feel rejected. REJECTED. And it goes deeper than that. PEOPLE are rejecting them, but they feel rejected by God too. Because of what WE do to them, they feel that GOD doesn’t love them or care for them. When we take on the role of Judge on behalf of God (a role we have never been given), we send the wrong message in my opinion.

There are those that say they SHOULD be rejected because of their sin. This is where the conflict arises. You can’t reject them INTO the faith. Rejecting them won’t influence them to BE different. Love is the only way. And to speak frankly about it…we suck at loving the unlovable. In everyday practice, most Christians find it virtually impossible to hate the sin but love the sinner. Instead, what homosexuals experience is both hating the sin and feeling hated as a person. 

I’ve made this point many times. We all sin. And homosexuality is just one of many sins in this fallen world.

I’ve made this point many times. We all sin. And homosexuality is just one of many sins in this fallen world. If we rejected and kicked out of our churches and families everyone who held onto a sin…any sin…our churches would be abandoned and empty. It is only through God’s grace and mercy that any of us can stand in His presence. We all struggle with something. And only through the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to change. We believe that welcoming these people with open loving arms increases the chances that the Holy Spirit can work in their lives.

But, back to your question about the response. Again, most people are incredibly supportive and feel that we are echoing their beliefs and attitudes about what must change within our Christian faith.

 

What have you discovered since starting CFC?

There are many Christians out there that are disgusted with what they see happening within our Christian faith. Pastors are molesting children, elders are falling into moral temptation, churches are attempting cover-ups, we see snake-oil televangelists, and overly political Christian attention seekers. Those get everyone’s attention, and unfortunately help us take the focus off of ourselves. There are far fewer Christians willing to look at themselves and seek to change through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve heard stories about incredibly unchristian behavior from your average Sunday churchgoer. Such as a Campus Crusade group, or fellowship of Christian athletes group beating up or threatening someone who wasn’t willing to pray with them or convert, and people going through a divorce feeling shunned and judged instead of loved. I’ve witnessed “evangelism” conversations on facebook between Christians and non-Christians that pushed the non-Christians further away right before my very eyes.

Most of all, I’ve discovered Christians who so desperately want to SAY something to a non-Christian that they aren’t willing to LISTEN to them. Instead of earning the right to witness to them by first building a relationship, I’ve seen ineffective Christians shot down in flames because the person in front of them was treated like a manipulatable object instead of a real person.

We should evangelize, but mostly through how we live our lives. It appears we are ill-equipped to do so effectively. At Changing the Face of Christianity, we hope to change that over the long term.

 

What have non-believers or atheists said in regards to your organization?

It’s been interesting. The non-believers and atheists who catch the vision of what we are trying to accomplish cheer us on. They are incredibly happy that our organization is working to make a difference within the faith. Many of the atheists that we have met are FORMER Christians…or at least people who grew up in Christian homes who would have called themselves Christians at some point in their earlier lives. In many cases, these are the outspoken people who have been negatively impacted by the negative Christian stereotypes we are trying to reverse. Again, a secondary goal of our ministry is to help keep these people within the faith before they feel compelled to leave. There is a lot of work to be done in this area.

In reference to our primary goal of reversing negative Christian stereotypes, some tell us it’s a lost cause and we are wasting our time, and that Christianity and all religions need to disappear from the face of the earth. Effectively they are saying we are un-savable, so why try? 

The biggest disappointment I’ve faced in talking with atheists is the incredible animosity and lack of trust that exists between us. We’ve earned the mistrust. And the animosity is a result

.

The biggest disappointment I’ve faced in talking with atheists is the incredible animosity and lack of trust that exists between us. We’ve earned the mistrust. And the animosity is a result. For example, the lead sentence of most Christians in conversation with an atheist is “you are going to burn in hell.” That may be true (only God knows who is in His book of Life), but do you think presenting the Gospel in such an antagonistic way is going to warm them to the faith?

Some Christians engage in a “relationship” with a non-believer for the sole purpose of converting them. And once the job is done or they give up, the relationship is OVER! I.e. There was no relationship. They were just manipulating them without true love for the person. People see right through this disingenuous tactic and it reinforces the stereotype that we don’t truly love people. I engage with atheists for the relationship first. And if my life and example influences them positively toward the faith, then I’ve done my job.

 

Why is it important to look at ourselves before going out and evangelizing?

Because our credibility is actually important to those being evangelized to. If we don’t practice what we preach, why would someone want to join us? The Gospel does transcend our own behaviors. In other words, even if we don’t live up to the ideal we present, this shouldn’t stop us from witnessing to others.

However, consider an obese person trying to convince you to adopt a particular diet to lose weight. You would reject it and rightly so. Even if the diet works and was full of truth, you would dismiss it because of the messenger. So, metaphorically speaking, in the Christian faith we have a diet which works and is full of truth, but the people out selling it (evangelizing) are grossly overweight.  We need to shed some pounds before the message we want to share is credible and believable. Live a life consistent with the message and although there are still some that will dismiss it as a hoax, the “diet” has more likelihood of being adopted.

 

I like the section on “Christians Doing Good”. How important is that?

When we started Changing the Face of Christianity, I felt it was important to present not just the bad things we do (trying to educate and convict people of the need to change), but also to present the clearly good things we do. There are so many Christians in the world doing so much good. I don’t position it as a “hey, look at us doing good”. God’s word says we should do good but don’t call attention to it for our own glory. If we do, we have already received our reward in full. However, I position it in terms of what some Christians have done, that others can take and repeat. I look for working models from one community that others can learn and apply in their own community.

I think this is very important. People are always asking the question “what can I do?” There are people out there doing it. And so if we can spread the word, help others connect with them, and encourage others to carry it forward, then we can make a difference in this world.

 

Do you feel the tabs you have on your menu (judgmental, intolerant, hypocritical, homophobic, etc…) open up the conversation about the Christian perception mission, and vision for the future of the Christian nation?

 We are humbly shining a spotlight on our own weakness and then saying “let’s do something about it together.”

The tabs are intentionally “in your face” when you come to the site (www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com). We want to stand out as different from your average Christian ministry…because we are different. We aren’t hiding our imperfections. We are humbly shining a spotlight on our own weakness and then saying “let’s do something about it together.” It has opened up conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, and we hope it opens up more in the future.

 

Tell us about the Christianity Quiz and how folks can take it.

You can take the Christianity Quiz at http://www.ChristianityQuiz.com. It’s a short, 10 question self-assessment to determine how Christian you are. Instead of quizzing on things like Bible trivia or academic theology, we’ve created a quiz that evaluates the Christian believer’s thoughts, words, and actions in light of scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Do your thoughts, words, and actions indicate you are a spiritually mature Christian? Or do they indicate you are far from Christ, worldly, or just a “good” Christian?

First take the quiz and see your own personals results. Then, see the results from everyone else here: http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/insider-news/christianity-quiz-results-sign-up

We created the quiz to be a catalyst for positive change within our faith. If you score highly on the quiz, it means you are generally presenting a positive Christian image to the world by consistently living your faith. If you score lower on the quiz, it indicates there is some conflict between the teachings of Jesus Christ, Christian beliefs, and how you think and act in the real world. If you don’t score so well, we encourage you to recommit to living your life as a worthy disciple of Jesus Christ. That will take hard work and submitting to the Holy Spirit. Let us know how we can help you in that growth and maturity process.

 

What’s your favorite Bible verse and why?

I have several.

Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is my favorite verse because it’s what Jesus Christ said are the two MOST important commandments. So, if I’m not doing this…then nothing else really matters.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.”

No matter how much I learn or grow in the faith, my first priority is to trust in the Lord and walk in faith in Him. When I think myself wise, that’s when I know I’m in trouble.

When I was an atheist, I completely rested on my own understanding. I couldn’t acknowledge what I didn’t understand, namely spiritual things. Now, I use this verse to keep me humble. No matter how much I learn or grow in the faith, my first priority is to trust in the Lord and walk in faith in Him. When I think myself wise, that’s when I know I’m in trouble.

1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

Love is a verb. Do it.

 

Anything you want to add?

I want to encourage your audience to be a part of the solution. Visit our site, learn from the articles and stories we share, share your thoughts and comments, and help us change the face of Christianity.

Together, through God’s power and will, we can make a difference. And as a 501 (C) 3 non-profit, we need your financial support. If you believe in our cause, then please consider a donation to help us continue our work. http://giftworkslive.com/Donations/DonateNow/MRLAU7TAACY2WPM3J4RM

Finally, we can’t make a difference alone. Please share our ministry and mission with others and encourage others to get involved.

We see church small groups as a key avenue for growing mature Christians. We are piloting a new method for doing small groups that moves people from simply studying our faith to living it. If you lead or are in a small church group, contact us for more information at  http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/about/contact-us

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Should Howard Schultz have Caved to Homosexual Activitist Censorship?

Photo by o5com

Last week, Willow Creek Church and its association held its Global Leadership Summit; a worldwide leadership conference for Christians. Every year, this conference invites a cross section of our population to speak and share leadership principles to help improve our world. Past speakers have included Jim Collins (“Good to Great” book author), Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Jack Welch, and others. Willow Creek invites leaders to share their not-exclusively-Christian message to A LOT of Christians worldwide. This year, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, was invited to come, and he accepted. I have no doubt he would have shared some pearls of wisdom from his book “Onward” that sells in Starbucks stores worldwide. However, when homosexual activists protested his presence at the conference, he caved and withdrew from the speaking engagement.

So, the question this week is: Should Howard Schultz have caved to homosexual activist censorship? Other related questions that also come to mind… Was this an appropriate response? Does the homosexual community benefit from this censorship? Does the Christian community benefit from this censorship? Does Starbucks, it’s customers, employees, and stockholders benefit from this censorship? Would you have recommended he speak or stay home?

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Obama Won’t Defend 1996 Defense of Marriage Act

(New York Times)

President Obama has determined that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, is unconstitutional and should not be defended by the Justice Department. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr added “The president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation are unconstitutional.” Such classifications should be subjected to a strict legal test intended to block unfair discrimination.

President Obama concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation are unconstitutional

Some people are denouncing the decision and gay rights activists are applauding the decision. “This is a great step by the Obama administration and a tipping point for the gay rights movement that will have ripple effects in contexts beyond the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the ACLU. He continues, “It will reach into issues of employment discrimination, family recognition and full equal rights for lesbian and gay people.”

What do you think about the decision?

Originally posted on http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/us/24marriage.html?scp=1&sq=obama%201996&st=cse

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White