The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

Bridging the Gap

How Can Christians Improve Relations with Non-Christians?
Photo courtesy of theatlantic.com
Photo courtesy of theatlantic.com

There is an elephant in every room at Millikin. There is a silent battle, a distrust that often stems from misunderstanding without effort of reconciliation. 

The distrust often stems from two groups: Christians and non-Christians.  

There is a divide between the two. This is blatantly obvious. Christians, or at least true Christians, often referred to as “little Christs,” are people who believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth, lived a perfect life, died, and rose from the dead, becoming the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sin of the world. These are people filled with love, joy, compassion, goodness, and faithfulness.  

This may not always be the case, however. 

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There are “Christian” groups who manipulate the teachings of Jesus to create false justifications to carry out terrible acts, creating a larger divide than ever. Take the insurrection of January sixth. There were several flags being waved that read “Jesus is my savior. Trump is my president.”

This event was not a Christian event. These people were simply a group seen in the crowd, although this is not always easy to believe. 

As a Conservative Christian myself, I find this ideology to be quite distant from my beliefs. I was personally disgusted by the insurrection and the fact that Christianity was even a little associated with such a day. 

Romans one verse seven reads “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” 

Because these people believed that the election of 2020 was illegitimate, they believed that they were justified by God in carrying out the insurrection. Several images from that day bear insurrectionists praying to a cross and clutching a Bible in their hands. These groups are doing nothing to improve the already tainted image of Christianity in America.  

These groups create false narratives about Christianity as a whole. However, how can Christians blame anyone for buying in and believing them? It is often the most extreme action taken out by these groups that creates the most exposure, usually at the expense of Christians attempting to create connections and understanding in their communities. 

Donald Trump has now endorsed Lee Greenwood’s version of the Bible, which he sells for a ridiculous price of $60. Greenwood released “God Bless the USA” in 1984, and the chorus to his hit song is included in this version of the Bible, along with copies of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance. None of these are mentioned or included in any other Bibles.  

Trump poses with Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA Bible.” (godblesstheusabible.com)

Is there not a good reason that these are not already included in any other version? Greenwood does not seem to think so. 

Trump released a video all over social media promoting this Bible, in which he says that “religion is so important and so missing, but it’s going to come back.” 

I hope Trump is right. I hope religion comes back to America, but not in this way. Using the Bible to promote oneself in any way goes directly against everything that true Christianity stands for. And although Trump is promoting the Bible, he is promoting much more. 

So how do Christians bridge the gap? 

John 13 verse 35 reads, “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

Christians are called to love everyone, regardless of if their lifestyle does not follow the guidelines that Jesus Christ lived out. This does not mean to accept and promote every lifestyle; rather, it means to proclaim a Christian truth from a place of love and understanding. Jesus ate with sinners. He washed the feet of sinners. Why can’t we as Christians do the same? 

However, this is not to say that the misunderstanding is only caused by Christians.  

There are many who buy into the narratives created by false Christians and do not dig deeper to find out that this is not what Christianity truly is. Do I blame or judge them? Certainly not. I am in no place to judge anyone. 

But I have experienced instances where a classmate or peer speaks negatively about the Bible without ever reading a page, and it is very discouraging. It often feels like a slap in the face. But we as Christians are not called to retaliate in an instance such as this. 

Matthew five verse 39 reads, “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” 

If we retaliate out of anger in an instance such as this, why should a person listen to what we have to say? Reacting without anger often comes at our expense, but Christians are called to bear that burden. We are not called to win arguments, we are called to love people, regardless of how we are treated in return. 

This is how we create understanding. We bridge the gap, even if it comes at our expense. We promote Jesus, not ourselves. We do our best to live the way that Jesus lived, and we show that love to everyone we encounter. 

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About the Contributor
Kemper Koslofski, Editor-in-Chief
Kemper Koslofski serves as the current Editor-in-Chief for the Decaturian. Born and raised in Decatur, he is very passionate about journalism and the opportunities that it can provide its writers and readers. Kemper also serves as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) leader on campus. Editor-in-Chief: January 2023-Present Sports Editor: March 2023-December 2023

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