Freedom of speech may be a constitutional right, but do you ever wish people did not feel so free to exercise that right? It’s hard not to bemoan the cultural lunacy that appears to be another step down the slippery slope from rational to irrational thought. Bruce Jenner claims to identify as a woman despite the biology of his birth. Now, Rachel Dolezal, the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP who is born to two white parents, identifies herself as African-American. Her story has ignited yet another “identity crisis” conversation, complete with its own Twitter Hashtag (#WrongSkin). Some who have posted there are engaging in some intelligent tongue in cheek and sarcasm, but many more seem to be seriously conflicted about their racial identity. Our ancestors would be in utter disbelief of the lack of critical thought they would hear in such discussions.
But let’s carry this line of “thought” further:
- I was born to middle class parents, but I identify as the son and heir of Bill Gates.
- I barely passed High School, but I identify as a Rhodes Scholar.
- I am a lazy couch potato, but I identify as an elite triathlete.
- I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, but I identity as a musical virtuoso.
- I scorch water and ruin Ramen noodles, but I identify as a world-class chef.
You know, you can claim anything, but that does not make it so. Sometimes, the best way to expose an absurdity is to escort them further down that slope. Then, they can get a better look at themselves.
Claiming to be a woman when you are a man or to be one race when you are another is head-scratching, but did you know that there are people making a much more serious claim whose incorrect conclusion is infinitely more grave? A great many people, asked if they are a Christian, say “yes.” However, though they identify as a Christian, they have not followed the plan God put in place whereby one becomes a Christian. Jesus says that claiming does not equate to being (cf. Mat. 7:21-23). He also says there is but one way (John 14:6). We can strongly identify ourselves as a Christian, but have we actually been “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5)? Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16). Peter said, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Ananias said, “Get up and be baptized, and washing away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). Paul wrote, “We have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). He also said, “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Peter wrote, “Baptism now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21). Now, Scripture sets other conditions in place one must meet in order to receive God’s grace and salvation, but the overwhelming majority do not reject faith and repentance. They do, however, dismiss the role of baptism as a divine condition for salvation. In light of the above Scriptures (and there are others, too), how can one refuse to obey this and yet still claim to belong to Christ (cf. Luke 6:46)?