“Go find some proof or get God to do something we can all see.” This was one of the comments left on Jonathan Acuff’s article that he wrote for CNN entitled “My take: How to scandal proof your church.” Acuff, who is a popular author of the book Stuff Christians Like and a blog by the same name, wrote this article in response to the growing amount of bad publicity that has been recorded about the Church. When someone in the Church screws up, it seems like the media feasts on the drama. That’s not what this post is about, though.
When I read this comment, my stomach turned – not like the stomach churning after eating too much at Chuy’s, but it was the stomach churning that you feel right before a huge performance. It is that nervous energy telling you that something could go drastically wrong. Fear. Anxiety. It seems like a simple request: “Go find some proof or get God to do something we can all see,” but it freaks me out in two ways. First, why can’t this guy see God at work already? Second, how is it even possible for the Church to reach out to people like this?
Most Christians would admit that God shows Himself differently today compared with the way he showed Himself in the B.C. years. During the period where the Hebrews roamed around the desert on their way to the Promised Land, God manifested Himself as a pillar of fire during the night and a pillar of clouds in the day. He talked to Moses in a burning bush. He spoke directly to His prophets and showed His glory through miraculous events. It was easy to know God was there, but His people still couldn’t figure it out.
While He does things differently today, at least He’s still doing things. He is, right? That’s where faith comes into play. God doesn’t stamp His signature on the everyday events of our lives, nor does he make His mark when a friend has a miraculous recovery from a terminal illness. That’s God, right? In the midst of our brokenness, we cry out to Him for comfort, but He doesn’t pat us on the back or cause the ground to rumble at His command. Faith is tricky like that. It answers our questions with even more questions.
Second, how do we reach out to guys like this? After reading some of his other comments, he makes it pretty clear that he has completely shut his mind off to the idea of God, Christianity, and any form of evangelism. There are plenty of people like him out there in the world. You’ve probably debated with a person like this at some point. We spend all this emotional energy explaining our beliefs, but the end result is a headache from banging your head against a brick wall. Some people are simply contrarians; no matter how valid or believable a point may be, they will debate you to the end. How do we show Jesus to those people?
“Go find some proof or get God to do something we can all see.” How does that make you feel?