Fools For Christ
There is no getting around it – Christians are fools for Christ:
The Kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. Those things that God values, cherishes and loves are the things the world spurns. And what the world celebrates and promotes are often the things that God detests. That is why the committed Christian will never fully fit in with this world.
Indeed, the more committed to Christ the believer is, the more he will be considered to be a fool by those around him. And the New Testament is not shy about stating this very truth. One of the main texts that speaks to this is 1 Corinthians 4:10: “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.”
The next three verses also speak to this matter of the topsy-turvy Christian life in a pagan world: “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”
Similar sorts of thoughts are expressed in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29:
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Until the Christian gets a firm grasp of these basic truths he will have a rough go of things as he seeks to live out a life pleasing to Christ. The many biblical passages that warn about how the Christian will be hated and persecuted should have made all this clear.
But the world really will consider the real-deal Christian to be a fool, a buffoon, and a clown. The world WILL look down on us and despise us. That is clearly promised in Scripture. Let me illustrate all this by briefly mentioning three things that occurred yesterday. As is often the case, I tend to view these things as being more than just coincidental – it may be that God brought them together for a reason.
So allow me to turn this into a bit of a personal story. Yesterday I spoke with a number of pro-freedom, faith and family champs. It was an honour to be there amongst such luminaries. With two years of lockdown madness, followed by a year of my wife’s cancer, I have not been out speaking much at all for the past three years.
But with my wife’s permission I was able to stay for the full event yesterday afternoon. However, a few thoughts passed through my mind as I headed home from it. I believe I was the oldest speaker there. One was just 25! I am getting to be the ancient of days!
Not only that, but I was the only speaker on the panel with an American accent. Given that we were talking about Australian politics in general, and the upcoming Victorian election in particular, why have some old guy who was not even born here speak at such a gathering? But I was invited so I did what I could.
Of course I have been wondering about such things for quite a while now. I have been in this country for over 33 years now. During that time I have done many hundreds of interviews with the secular media (TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, etc) and many hundreds with the Christian media. I have spoken hundreds of times at all sorts of events.
While most (but not all!) of my Christian audiences have been kind enough to invite me to be there, certainly many folks in the world would consider me to just be a buffoon, a madman, and a fool. Indeed, given the almost daily hate mail that I get, I am under no illusions as to how so many worldlings view me! And a number of those claiming to be Christians have also let me know what they really think of me at various times.
But all that is just part of our job description. All believers are called to be witnesses for Christ, one way or another. Not all will be interviewed by the ABC or the Sydney Morning Herald, or be asked to speak at countless public events. But we are all to give testimony – in both word and deed – to the Lord that we serve. And that WILL result in opposition, ridicule and hatred.
The second event from yesterday that tied into all this was to learn about how the great Christian of NSW politics, Fred Nile is retiring. Plenty of media outlets have covered this story of course. The SMH, no friend of Fred’s, said this in part:
The state’s longest-serving MP, the Reverend Fred Nile, will retire from parliament at the state election, with his second wife Silvana Nile to contest a seat in the upper house in a bid to replace him. Nile, 88, who has served for 41 years in Macquarie Street except for a short break in 2004 when he unsuccessfully contested a seat in the federal Senate, will deliver his valedictory speech on November 16.
The Christian crusader – who has opposed same-sex marriage, abortion and the availability of halal food products in Australian stores – also served in parliament with his first wife, Elaine. She was an MP from 1998 until she retired in 2002. Elaine died in 2011 and Nile married Silvana in 2013. Despite his vocal opposition to many progressive issues, Nile has been working with First Nations people for decades, and particularly since 1983 when he backed the Aboriginal Land Rights Act that passed parliament. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/fred-nile-to-retire-from-parliament-20221018-p5bqsn.html
Fred Nile has of course been vilified, attacked, pilloried and hated on for over four decades now. Even in this newspaper piece we see the usual pejorative terminology, such as “Christian crusader.” The media and so many in politics have mercilessly attacked him, ridiculed him, and made fun of him for years. They consider him to be a fool. But Fred would be the first to wear this as a badge of honour. He knows that he has been a fool for Christ.
If you do not know much about Fred, there is plenty of material out there. Two decades ago he released his autobiography. That will give you a good look into who he is and what he has achieved, at least up until 2001. He was even kind enough to give me a mention in his book. He is a champion of champions, and he will be missed. The world may despise him, but he is God’s man – God’s fool if you will.
My third and final thing from yesterday actually does not deal with a Christian, but it seems to tie in nonetheless, so I will quickly discuss it. Many of us have heard of the English ski jumper and Olympian Michael Edwards – better known as Eddie “the Eagle.”
A film was made of his life back in 2015 called Eddie the Eagle. I had never seen it, but last night as I was somewhat tired from my speaking event, I was flicking through the television channels, and I happened upon it, so I watched just a few short segments of it.
Many sporting officials, other sporting teams, and his own teammates did not take him seriously. They thought he was a buffoon and a fool, and that he did not belong in the Olympics. And while he finished last in the events that he took part in, he not only achieved personal bests, but he did something for England that no other man had done.
His story was like that of the “Jamaican Bobsled” team. Both were ridiculed and made fun of, and both were told they did not belong there. But both were committed and persevered, and both were given credit and praise at least from the crowds for doing so. Even some fellow athletes reluctantly applauded the efforts of both as well.
OK, so his is not a Christian story, but the feel-good movie version of his life did remind me of what Christians routinely go through as they seek to stay committed and persevere in their faith in a hostile world. We too are laughed at and berated and treated with contempt. We too are not taken seriously.
But that is OK. Like the Apostle Paul, we can say that we are fools for Christ’s sake. That is the name of the game. The world will not want anything to do with us and will consider us to be buffoons and idiots. But God has a whole different view of us.
So hang in there. Persevere. And be proud to be considered the “scum of the world” for the sake of Christ. As Paul put it in Philippians 3:7-8: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
For those wondering about the various talks given yesterday, you can find them all here at the Turning Point Aus website – thanks to Joel Jammal for getting them up so quickly: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/tey6yt21ch0h6ep4boyqs/h?dl=0&rlkey=lfogq93wig3967sdn6rthg1uc
5 Replies to “Fools For Christ”
My husband went on a “Reclaim the Cross” march Fred Nile organised in the late 70’s and because he’s tall he was handed one of the ends of the banner to carry up the front, right behind Fred. He said he’s never felt such visceral hatred from some of the people lining the streets (and he didn’t have a sheltered upbringing) and he’d lived at the Cross before becoming a Christian.
Thanks for that Carole.
Thanks for the reminder Bill. I couldn’t help but notice Bill, the respectful way in which you were introduced at the Turning Point event and that you were referred to numerous times in a way that felt as if you were a statesman. Per your hate mail, consider such things reminders that we are in battle. If we forget we are in battle then we don’t fight the good fight anymore.
I noticed from the article “Despite his vocal opposition to many progressive issues, Nile has been working with First Nations people for decades,”
Because the world sees Christians as white conquerors and enslavers they can’t even imagine them caring about non-Christians especially Natives. They think only the progressives, who have “evolved” beyond the need of God, could care for all people especially Natives and minorities.
Same in the States the progressive democrats see themselves as the champions of the non white people especially Native Americans yet Native Americans are kept in poverty by their compassion and love because they don’t own their own land thus can’t get loans thus can’t improve their land or start businesses. Because the REFUSE to know God they understand what love really is and attack people who know him and want to put his love in action.
Thank you Bill for being a ‘fool for Christ’ (an intelligent and faithful one) and always taking a stand for God and on scripture and for speaking truth. Your article really emphasizes the Christian faith is on the opposite pole of the world compass…where we are called to be walking an opposite path, which means we will be often rejected, shunned, spoken evil of and maligned and not popular when sharing truth. But praise God Jesus Christ went before and showed us how to keep obeying the Father’s call to share the gospel message of eternal life, the resurrection and to ignore the backlash.