The above cartoon from The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus makes a crucially important point. Very often, Christians allow themselves to be manipulated by those who speak with confidence and enthusiasm – and in some cases, understand such manipulation to be the very essence of their faith. Many Christians believe that it is the definition of being a faithful Christian to accept what a pastor, or evangelist, or prophet, or even Paul or a Gospel author says, provided that they claim to be Christians and speak with authority, certainty, conviction and fervor.
But the Bible and the history of Christianity both ancient and modern provides ample indication that Christians can be wrong – even well-meaning ones, even ones who knew Jesus personally, even enthusiastic, devout, and utterly certain ones.
We owe it to ourselves and those around us to consider matters carefully, no matter who is demanding our assent or how much we instinctively like what they have to say.
“Amen” is not the only possible Christian response to “Can I hear an Amen?”