Sunday, March 2, 2014


This is a summary of the sermon given at Prairie Chapel UMC on Feb 26, 2014.

The new evangelical atheists allege that the world would be better off without religion. That the wars, the violence, the bigotry are all the result of religion. Do away with it! I don’t believe that for a minute, in fact Christianity is the hope of the world. Don’t paint us with the same brush as you might the Westboro Baptist Church or others like them. As Christians, we are called not to war, not to violence, not to confrontation, but to a ministry of reconciliation.  

Christianity got off on the right foot in its first two centuries, feeding the hungry, caring for even the Romans when they were sick, loving God and loving neighbor. Following Constantine's conversion in 313 AD, Christianity became entwined with the State, the secular rulers and laws, and was distorted, sometimes doing terrible things in the name of Christianity: The Crusades, The Thirty-Years War, The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials. The good news about the Salem Witch Trials is that it was the last experiment of religion and state in America. Again to the skeptic: It is not Christianity that is violent, but the State that has distorted religion. Instead, Christianity is the hope of the world, and we are called to a ministry of reconciliation. And we are its Ambassadors.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” (Be Ambassadors.) “Turn the other cheek.” (Be Ambassadors.) “Give your tunic as well.” (Be Ambassadors.) “

How important is reconciliation to Jesus? He said, “first, go be reconciled to your brother or sister.” (Mt 5:24) and Paul told us “we are called to a ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18) In speaking of New Town, Philip Yancey says, “the new atheists [have no words of comfort]… Christians believe God joined in our suffering… and has promised to remake the world into a painless and deathless one.” Christianity is the hope of the world. No other faith or non-faith can offer that. And we are it’s Ambassadors. May it be so with us.