This morning I watched an interview on NBC's "Today" show; Robin Roberts was interviewing Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins about their most recent book, the last in the "Left Behind" series. Now, this post is not about those books--there has been a lot written about them already on the internet, and I haven't read this latest one, so I'm leaving that subject alone for now. Later, when I have read the book, I may (or may not) blog about that. What I would like to discuss is the way these Christian men answered a couple of questions in this interview.
So many times when I see Christian people interviewed on television, I cringe as they back-pedal and then sugar-coat their answers when asked direct questions about the exclusivity of Christ. I was favorably impressed and greatly encouraged to see LaHaye and Jenkins give direct, Biblical answers, refusing to compromise the message of the gospel.
Robin Roberts asked them (and I'm paraphrasing here)"What about people who are offended by the message of these books, after all, for Jews and Muslims it sounds like you are saying that if people don't believe in Jesus they will be left behind, they will not go to heaven."
LaHaye and Jenkins answered that they believe the Bible to be God's Word, and Jesus to be God, and they pointed out that no other person who has ever lived on earth has had a greater impact on history and humanity than Christ. They also pointed out that Jesus Himself said that He is the only way to heaven.
Roberts followed up with some statement to the effect that this seems like an intolerant position and offensive.
LaHaye and Jenkins said that they agree the gospel is offensive to people, but they said, (and this is a direct quote) "You don't see evangelicals crashing planes into buidlings because they disagree with their beliefs." They also said that if people don't believe the gospel, they still love those people, work with them, admire and respect them, but believe them to be wrong in this area. They stated that they are blessed to be living in a country where they are free to believe whatever they want to and not be persecuted for it.
I was thrilled to see these men deliver such straightforward answers in a calm, loving, Godly manner. After seeing so many other Christians, among them Joel Osteen and Rick Warren, give vague answers or simply sidestep the questions, it was refreshing to see someone tell it straight.
What interested me even more was the comment that Robin Roberts made at the end of the interview. As she was thanking them for being there, she said, "You two always light things up when you come in here." WOW!!! Did she even realize she said that? She said on national TV that these two Christians bring LIGHT with them when they come--they are putting Matthew 5:14-16 into practice with their behavior in the NBC studios. PRAISE THE LORD!!! May more and more "famous" Christians give such straight answers, and bring light to national television.
On a personal note, this makes me more determined to be salt and light every day in whatever situation I may find myself. Do I "light things up" for other people, shining God's light through my words and actions? Do I bring out the best in others, love and encourage them, and generally brighten their existence? My very attitude can be a powerful witness in our current circumstances, and I pray that the Lord will give me the strength to be "salt and light" to those around me.