The Cynic and the Saint
Perhaps you have noticed that one of the candidates for president has become quite popular among evangelical Christians? Mike Huckabee was once a Baptist preacher. I am not convinced that his former occupation qualifies him to become President of the United States. At the same time, I get a bit tired of smug reporters and political hacks that grin stupidly every time his name is mentioned. It disturbs me that so many feel his strong Christian faith renders him unfit to serve as president.
It just goes to show how little attitudes toward Fundamentalists have changed through the years. You may recall the controversy raised by a Washington Post reporter in early 1993. In an article he described Evangelical Christians as “largely uneducated, poor, and easily led.” The Democrat leadership all says they hope Huckabee gets his party’s nomination. They believe his religious views will make him easy to beat. They may be right for this stereotype is wide spread and has been around a long time.
Non-believers look at the things we believe and at the way we live and label us as simple minded or ignorant. Why would anyone willingly get out of bed on his day off and go listen to a boring speech? And why would anyone in these hard times put 10 to 20% of his income in the hands of the church? Why are these people so willing to be made fun of and persecuted? Some of them are even willing to get arrested for upholding the things they believe (China, Sudan, America).
If these modern critics would do a little research, they would discover that our behavior is not new. The Book of Acts offers many accounts showing that Christians have always been different. No person having met God through His Son can ever be the same. Knowing Jesus changes the way one thinks, believes, and behaves. I can think of no better way to illustrate my point than by pointing to the examples of Peter and Herod Agrippa I.
Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the Great that ordered the murder of male babies in Bethlehem in an effort to kill the Messiah. He was the nephew of Herod Antipas that had John the Baptist beheaded for his preaching. He was enamored of Judaism and courted favor with the Jewish leadership by doing their dirty work. He was responsible for the death of James (brother of John) and had Peter arrested with the intent to kill him after Passover.
I. Herod, A Man Given to Sinfulness
A. Sin is contemptuous of others
1. Herod did not care what these men were preaching
2. His persecution was to curry favor and entertain himself
3. Sin causes cynicism (questioning the motives of others)
B. Sin is capable of great brutality
1. A man’s life meant nothing to him
2. He ordered 16 soldiers killed after Peter’s escape
3. A sinful heart can justify killing an unborn child for the sake of convenience. It can easily sanction euthanasia
C. Sin will do anything to achieves its desired ends
1. He would have killed Peter to make the Jewish leaders happy
2. Men and women that will sell their own ideals for popularity will not hesitate to sell the public trust for the sake of political expediency
Note: How can a saved person sanction abortion?
D. Sinful men are impotent to pose any long-term danger to anyone but themselves
1. Herod’s jail could not hold Peter
2. Saints may be locked away, persecuted, even killed but the Church will continue to prosper
Just look at the peace of Peter to see how blessed is faith in God. He was able to sleep peacefully even knowing that death was imminent. Both men met a particularly grizzly end. Herod from disease and Peter from crucifixion. Just consider that Peter now resides in the bosom of God and Herod in Hell.