Christianity Is Not a Frowning Contest

The Gospel Coalition | 10/16/2019 | Randy Alcorn
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G. K. Chesterton is widely credited with saying, “Jesus promised his disciples three things: that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.” It might be argued that most Western Christians don’t exemplify any of these three—least of all “absurdly happy.”

In today’s world, Christianity is perceived to be about tradition and morality, not happiness. I’ve taught college courses on biblical ethics, and I make no apologies for defending morality. Certainly Christians are often unpopular or maligned for professing Christ and standing for biblical truth.

Reasons - Unbelievers - Christian - Unhappiness - Churchgoers

But there are valid reasons why unbelievers fear that becoming a Christian will result in unhappiness. They’ve known—as many of us churchgoers have also known—professing Christians who seemingly go out of their way to exude misery, not gladness.

Are We Chronically Unhappy?

Bible-believing - Christ-centered - People - Thoughts - Blog

I’ve seen Bible-believing, Christ-centered people post thoughts on a blog or on social media only to receive a string of hypercritical responses from people who wield Scripture verses like pickaxes, swiftly condemning viewpoints they consider suspicious. Responders assume the worst, not giving the benefit of the doubt, engaging in shotgun-style character assassination instead. If I were an unbeliever reading such responses, I certainly wouldn’t be drawn to the Christian faith.

Other believers focus on negative news and political issues to the point the good news doesn’t even factor into their thoughts or conversations. I see too many long-faced Christians who seem continuously angry, disillusioned, and defensive over politics and the infringement of their rights.

Story - Course - Community - People - Confidence

This isn’t the whole story, of course. Nearly every community includes people with quiet confidence in Christ who are extraordinarily loving, kind, helpful, and cheerful. Unfortunately, many unbelievers see them as the rare exception. How tragic, since happiness in Christ is one of our most powerful evangelistic tools.

Happiness in Christ is one of our most powerful evangelistic tools.

Isaiah

Consider Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful...
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