October 5, 2013
Posted by on
“True evangelism is the result of a contagious holiness. Untrue evangelism is simply marketing or recruiting.”
-Doug Wilson, from Blog & Mablog, http://www.dougwils.com
Doug Wilson writes from a Calvinist / Reformed point of view, therefore we differ on some very fundamental issues of the Christian faith. Yet a lot of what he writes about the way Christian faith needs to be demonstrated in everyday life is very much on target. The quote above provides the perfect segue from the quote from The Clockmaker that I posted last night to what I want to say today. So I have borrowed his words and want to give credit where credit is due.
It is right and good to honour heroes of the faith from the past and to follow their example. We owe much to those leaders and evangelists of ages past who have faithfully taught and led the people of God along the narrow way. Some have left us writings that we would do well to read and meditate upon. They are not as easy to read as much of the “Christian” literature of our day, but they are not meant to be read in a single setting, then more or less forgotten. The fact that these writings are saturated with Scripture quotations gives us an insight into the extent that the writers relied on the light of God’s Word to pilot their lives.
Yet such men are a small part of the story. The Anabaptist faith was propagated and preserved by a multitude of unknown believers who simply lived faithful and holy lives. These were men and women who kept the faith in times of plenty and times of poverty, in times of peace and times of persecution. They had answers for their neighbours who asked a reason of the hope that was in them. It is to these humble, unknown saints that we owe the preservation of the faith until our day.
We are heirs of the salvation purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary. It is the gift of God, not of human origin. Yet in some measure we are also heirs of those of past generations who have lived out this faith in real life, practical Christian living. This is not a heritage that has been passed along certain family lines or ethnic lines. It is not a heritage that merely consists of a certain lifestyle. It is a heritage that is caught by contact with those who truly have a faith that is contagious.
The cross is a symbol of that faith. The cross is not a fashion accessory, a badge that confers some distinction on us. The cross is a rough, heavy, ugly instrument of death, yet it is absolutely essential to our Christian life. We cannot truly live until all our selfish pride and selfish aspirations are nailed to the cross and allowed to bleed to death. Jesus said we would need to do this daily. Self-denial and cross-bearing are not pleasant, but they allow a contagious faith to grow within us.
Our Anabaptist forefathers had that kind of faith. It was authentic and it was contagious. May God grant us that same faith today.