| What do you think I am, a Saint?
The Sunday school teachers at Liberty Baptist were having an argument
no, a discussion about unruly kids. Mrs. Ketts
was of the opinion that any behavior short of dangerous was acceptable,
while Mr. Radi wanted more discipline.
You must try to understand, Mr. Radi, American kids are not like
kids in India.
Ive noticed. They are disrespectful and ignorant. I have never
seen such behavior among teenagers before. And these kids are supposed
to be Christian.
Mr. Radi, you havent been here long.
I mean, in the
United States. Being a Christian has nothing to do with it. Perhaps Christians
in India are better behaved because everyone is better behaved.
No, Christians in India are better behaved because Christians in
India are Christian.
Whats that supposed to mean?
Mrs. Ketts, be honest with me. How many of the kids in your class
do you think are really born again?
She looked down at the table and sat silently. After a pause during which
a person could have gotten up, poured a cup of coffee and returned to
his seat, she looked up and said, If you keep thinking like that,
you wont fit in here.
Now it was Mr. Radi who was silent. He couldnt figure out what she
meant. Was there a rule about questioning someones salvation?
Just then the pastor came in. Sorry Im late. What did I miss?
Mr. Radi just said our teenagers dont act like Christians.
Oh, well, I guess thats why we need you Mr. Radiso you
can teach them how to act like Christians.
Im afraid I cannot take the place of the Holy Spirit. Most
of the kids in my class show no sign of being born again.
Oh? Is this a new doctrine from India? Is there some foolproof way
of knowing who is or isnt a Christian?
This conversation illustrates the typical, American evangelical attitude
toward salvation and behavior. When church kids come back from Bible camp
or the sanctuary altar having given their life to Jesus, we
hope for the best and brace for the worse. Our low expectations are consistent
with a theology that sees salvation as merely a state of mind, not a supernatural
indwelling of the Holy Spirit.