One-on-One with James Choung about evangelism and discipleship.
Ed: It’s hard to deny that we are living in challenging times culturally. The church’s influence is fading, and we are struggling to find answers to some hard questions. What’s your take on the health of the church today, especially as it relates to our witness?
James: Can I respond with a story? Just trying to be like Jesus, right?
I was invited to speak at a large student conference in Michigan, and they came from all over the state. As I took the elevator up to my room, I struck up a conversation with a student who told me that he was not a Christian, but that he was at the conference to explore the faith.
As he talked, I sensed that he was bothered by Christian political engagement. So I said, “The point of this conference isn’t so that you can become a Christian, but it’s so that you can learn how to become a follower of Jesus.”
“I’m so glad you said that,” he said, obviously relieved. “I thought that if I became a Christian, I’d have to vote a certain way.”
Before the conference was over, he responded to an invitation to faith, and had given his life to Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Of course, I want him to own his identity as a Christian. But for people who don’t yet follow Jesus, the term Christian comes with so much political baggage that it’s just easier to call people to follow Jesus instead.
On campuses in some parts of our country, when skeptics find out that we’re Christians, we are often asked who we voted for. That’s new. It has become the new litmus test: Are these the kind of people I want to be connected to?These are, albeit anecdotal, data points that show that politics has become the new religion.
This story is …