Reading Reflection:

Bringing the Gospel Home, Randy Newman (Crossway, 2011) This is an interesting topic for a book—Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well.  Who couldn’t use help with that?  I’ve found it to be a helpful read, and wanted to share a longer portion than usual because I think it touches on a problem we all encounter when trying to share God’s truth: False humility seems to be growing in its frequency in our tolerance-obsessed world.  Most people assume that anyone who would insist there’s only one way to heaven must be arrogant.  Conversely, anyone who sees all religions as equally valid must be, by definition, humble.  But listen to these self-proclaimed humble people for a while, and you’ll detect the intolerance of tolerance and the pride of open-mindedness. I once read a collection of speeches and writings by Mohandas Gandhi, which all centered on his thoughts about Christianity.  It was amazing how many times he told his hearers he was a humble man.  After a while, it grew almost comical.  I found myself wondering, “if you’ve got to keep telling us you’re humble, it might not be true.” Many Christians exalt Gandhi to near saint-like status.  But they need to reconsider their admiration.  He misquotes Jesus and reinterprets standard Christian doctrine and then dismissed it all as something impossible to believe in… Gandhi has many disciples in our world today, and I’m not just talking about the ones who acknowledge him as their model.  His spirit of false humility permeates and dominates our culture.  The presumptuousness of those who think they understand our faith better than we do, attempt to convert us to a brand of religion that never seeks to convert anyone, and insist their post-Enlightenment, Western, secular faith is not narrow, needs to be unmasked.  Not far below its surface lies a very narrow, intolerant, zealous form of religion.  It is anything but humble (p.138-139). This is so discerning.  Somehow humility is being identified with inclusiveness.  While it is both important and loving to share the gospel with everyone (inclusive), we must be sure we are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ (exclusive).  Humility is a looking away from ourselves for righteousness, and trusting in our Lord’s perfect righteousness.  It is knowing your place and serving joyfully in it.  I’d imagine that when you are doing this, you are not at the same time patting yourself on the back for being humble.  That would be reverting back to self-fulfillment.  This false humility that Newman describes is also indirectly accusing those (Christians) who claim a particular truth different from its message of not being humble.  Interesting.  True humility is found in the One who submitted perfectly to his Father’s will.  As we aspire to be more like Christ, we can trust in his work on our behalf.  The gospel humbles us all.  My confidence in sharing my faith will be in his word that does not go out void, guided by the power of his Spirit.