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6.23.2005    |    Let your light shine
Jesus Christ instructs us to "let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). Hence, evangelicals going wherever the Spirit leads them, to "baptise all the nations." Doing good works, and planting churches.

Some of the Christians already on the ground resent some of this in Iraq, where we are told, in a front page story no less in the Washington Post, that "Evangelicals Building a Base in Iraq -- Newcomers Raise Worry Among Traditional Church Leaders." The "traditional church leaders" especially include those of the Chaldean and Roman Catholic churches in Iraq. Churches who long ago made their Devil's pact with Saddam and were allowed to keep their privileges in a majority Muslim nation.

Christians have apparently been departing Iraq for decades, and for obvious and good reasons. The famous intolerance of Islam for any other faith for starters. The brutish, unchristian nastiness of the Saddam regime right behind. Well, Saddam is gone, Iraq has been liberated by many thousands of Western Christians who actually believe that people should be free to worship as their conscience dictates. Hence the rise, modest, perhaps, of truly evangelical Christian churches.

Whatever else one might believe about cultural ghetto churches such as the Chaldeans and Roman Catholics in Iraq, they are not evangelical in the sense of going out and baptizing all the nations. They are more about their comfortable tribal worship, in the local language, with liturgies specific to Iraq. Are they Christian? I can't really say one way or the other, as I don't know what's in their hearts. As institutions, however, they most certainly fail to honor Paul's injunction to the Galatians (3:28) that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

And any Christian should welcome, with open arms, evangelicals who actually proselytize. But, no, of course they do not. After all, the new evangelical churches might draw some of their members away:
Sleiman charged that the new churches were sowing "a new division" among Christians because "churches here mean a big community with tradition, language and culture, not simply a building with some people worshiping. If you want to help Christians here, help through the churches [already] here."
Welcome to the new world of Christianity in Iraq, Mr. Sleiman -- we are all one in Christ Jesus, even if some of us don't act on this truth.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.