The unfriendly face of anger

David A. Staff

In a recent editorial (1-23-97), ISU junior Brian Johnson lashed out in journalistic anger at the current “faces” of Christianity. He criticized some Christians for supporting capital punishment, some for believing and publicizing that Eastern religions may be spiritually harmful if not wrong, some Christians for being too wealthy, and some for being vocal in Washington, D.C. In other words, he criticized some Americans within the movement of Christianity for exercising their rights as Americans to support an expression of civil justice, to believe that some ideas are false, for actually working hard and enjoying the fruit of wise and persistent effort, and for participating in a policy-changing way in the direction of our country. Strange criticism from one American to another!

I gather from the tone of Brian’s article that he believes the Christians who do such things are “wrong,” in keeping with some standard of morality that helps him define his convictions. Yet not being a Christian, where does he get his standard? And indeed, what makes his standard superior? Strange criticism from one moralist to another!

Here are the facts: Genuine Christians by-and-large take their cues from the Christian scriptures. They are confident that this ancient volume is a time-tested revelation from a God who communicates right from wrong, truth from error. Scripture is a proven benchmark for life and thought.

Within biblical pages is found a consistent moral code which 1) supports the just idea that “if a man sheds another man’s blood, by man his blood will be shed,” 2) does clearly articulate that some ideas are true while others are false, one true God exists while many false gods are promoted, and that love also has a tough side that requires (yes even severe) justice at times; 3) encourages hard work and the enjoyment of the fruits of labor (e.g., read Ecclesiastes), and 4) allows for Christians to participate fully in the rights their government affords, including weighing in at those times when issues are being discussed and policies are being determined.

In other words, you may not agree with what many Christians believe in and stand for and work to see happen, but it is important that you fully respect their rights to so believe and stand and work. Such Christians are, in fact, exemplary in decency. They are also the ones who are giving millions of dollars each year to missions, famine-stricken children and families, the poor, food banks and shelters. They fast and pray for this country, for lowa, for Ames and for this university. Prayer that each of its students may come to know the truth about Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Please do not be angry with us, Mr. Johnson. We ask for your respect, as we give you ours. Anything less would be un-American, and un-Christian.

David A. Staff

Senior Pastor

First Evangelical Free Church

Ames IA