You Don’t Have to Be a Christian to Cause Trouble

We’ve all heard the incessant reminders that Christians should be champions at turning the other cheek, perfecting the art of being meek and quiet, and living at peace with everyone.

Yet the early church of Acts quickly learned what we would do well to remember today. You don’t have to be a Christian to cause trouble — but it sure helps.

Photo via

That’s not to say we should make it our aim to stir up strife. I’ve know a few believers who seemed to think it their duty to do just that.

My reading of the Acts of the Apostles makes it clear that trouble was not the aim of those early followers of the Way. It just happened as a natural result of light clashing with oppressive darkness.  Truth and falsehood cannot peacefully coexist.

The Acts of the Troublemakers

Consider this collection of examples of Christians who caused trouble in the book of Acts alone:

  • Acts 7:54 “When they heard…they were cut to the heart and gnashed at him with their teeth.” Yikes. What an image of how Stephen’s message met with nothing but trouble. Come to think of it, their reaction sounds eerily similar to Tolkien’s depiction of those beguiled by the power of the Ring of Doom.
  • Acts 9:23 “After many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him [Paul].” Nice. If you can’t win the argument, kill the opposition.
  • Acts 17:6 “The Jews who were not persuaded became envious, took some of the evil men….gathered a mob….and said, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here, too.'” Ahh. Ministry envy. Still a leading cause of trouble whenever the gospel is doing what Christ sent it to do.
  • Acts 19:15-16 “The evil spirit answered, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowering them….so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.” Here ends a series of unfortunate events caused by those attempting the acts of Christ without the power of Christ.
  • Acts 19:23 “And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way….silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen….and the assembly was confused and most of them did not know why they had come together.” In Ephesus, the gospel disrupted the established economic system built around the worship of a false god (dare we compare our western reliance on human government?). The gospel offer of freedom from captivity to a false god ran into the Ephesians’ fear of losing their next paycheck. Often I wonder if that fear of losing a paycheck isn’t the greatest barrier to Western Christians being willing to cause trouble by speaking the truth in love.

Wherever the gospel went, it seemed trouble soon followed. Not because Christians were rude but because the gospel is revolutionary. It disturbs the status quo as it throws “down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” (1 Cor. 10:5)

Are You a Troublemaker?

Which brings us to you, Christian. Are you a troublemaker? If no one is bothered by your faith in Christ, just how closely are you following Him?

Think about your life right now. Where are you meeting resistance? Is resistance coming your way for faithfully fulfilling the Great Commission? Or is it the result of your own stupidity, inactivity, or fear of losing that next paycheck?

I know that, all too often, I’ve had to nod with the latter of those two. Maybe that’s true for you. I don’t know.

I do know that some reading these words are suffering for speaking the truth in love for Christ. To those feeling the heat from murderous crowds and envious religious folk, take heart. You’re in good company.

For the rest of us, we need to ask some uncomfortable, soul-searching questions. Do Satan and his demons even know who we are? Do the forces of darkness have a poster of us in hell’s break-room warning of Christians to avoid? If not, why not?

Maybe it’s time you started to cause some trouble.

Do you agree that the call to follow Christ in the light will bring resistance from darkness? Leave a comment with a click here to share your thoughts.

About Bill Blankschaen

Bill Blankschaen is a writer, author, and speaker who empowers people to live an authentic life with abundant faith. A former pastor, Christian school leader, and master teacher, he is the founder of FaithWalkers ( where he equips Christians to live an authentic life and a blogger on faith and cultural issues at Patheos and He is the author of several books including A Story Worth Telling: Your Field Guide to Living an Authentic Life, What God Wants You to Do Next, The Secret to Explosive Personal Growth, and multiple collaborative books including his latest with co-author Erick Erickson — You Will Be Made to Care: The War on Faith, Family, and Your Freedom to Believe (Regnery, February 22, 2016).
In addition to his own writing and speaking, Bill helps other people and organizations tell their own story in effective ways. He comes alongside authors as a collaborative writer, handcrafts engaging materials as a content creator, and creates an effective brand strategy as a platform developer with his team of creatives and digital technicians. (

  • Christie

    If a Christian stands up for what God deems is right, expect not to be loved by all.

    • Bill Blankschaen

      So true, Christie, Reading about Paul’s abuse when he returned to Jerusalem. He knew it was coming, yet he went boldly anyways. I fear most Christians wouldn’t even go to church on Sunday if they thought someone migth be sitting in their pew. God forgive us.

      Thanks for the comment!