Savior Endeavor Presents Inaccurate Interpretation of Christianity

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I was walking by Peters Hall last Friday when I noticed an unfortunately familiar sight: a man standing upon a short ladder with a megaphone and a sign that proclaimed, “Our God is too holy to save an unrepentant sinner.” I’d be lying if I said that I was not angry, that I did not feel frustration, or even that my first instinct was one of love. See, I am a Christ-follower, but I too am flawed. In my sincere attempts to live up to one of our highest mandates, that is, to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” I too fall short. That being said, I do believe and hope that anyone who is pursuing a relationship with God would realize that our actions should be predicated upon a foundation of love — namely, one we come to know through our Creator.

All this being said, occurrences like this trouble me. As someone who is actively involved with one of our Christian organizations, the Oberlin Christian Fellowship, things like this are really frustrating because they do not reflect our hopes or values. If people like the man with the megaphone would make an effort to have a conversation with us, maybe they would become more aware of the presence of a Christian movement on campus. Instead, they come to campus assuming that nothing is happening — that we are all filled with hopelessness, darkness, and in need of saviors who come in trying to take credit for doing missionary work.

However, this savior endeavor is flawed from its conception. If there is zero interest from this person in researching and encountering the Christian presence on campus (we weren’t notified of their intentions, they did not attempt to meet with us, and they came in as a stranger), zero interest from this person in trying to understand the Christian culture on this campus, and ultimately, ignorance of this culture’s needs, then their actions were never going to work — though this is operating under the assumption that a person who undertakes a savior endeavor wants to bring people closer to God and make them believe that such actions will. However, I have no basis to assume this, as there is no evidence I can point to that would say that this person had any genuine interest in making a lasting, positive impact on this campus.

I could be mistaken, but my opinion is that there’s no interest in speaking out of love here. There’s no interest in helping to bring people closer to God, but rather, it seems that people who speak like this are making an effort to attain self-righteousness. In other words, this seems like an effort to exploit, claiming to have religious basis for condemning others and to be justified in spreading hate speech. I hope this isn’t true. What I charitably hope is that people like this are simply misguided and unaware of how to efficiently, effectively, and accurately communicate the whole and true Good News. John 14:6 says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

That being said, I want to say this loud and clear: this is what our Christian movement is about — it’s about love; it’s about truth; it’s about peace. In 1 Corinthians 13:1 it says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Another Scripture, Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

Jesus died and rose not so we’d be eternally condemned or indebted to Him, but rather, so we would be free and accepted. The truth is, my God is loving, and even though there are imperfect people like myself, there are no conditions for that love.

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