I like this decidedly tongue-in-cheek poster displayed by Phil Johnson on his blog, as it pokes fun at what authenticity means to some.

There’s a great deal of talk today about bringing authenticity to our churches, to our witness for Christ in this world. That begs the question: what is meant by authenticity? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, authenticity is: being worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based upon fact. Conforming to, made or done in the same way as an original, reproducing essential features. In music it means progressing from a dominant chord. It also means being true to one’s own personality or spirit. Authenticity implies being fully trustworthy and painstakingly faithful. Interestingly, an “obsolete” meaning was that of being authoritative. In struggling to come to grips with the whole “emergent/emerging” church movement, I’m considering what it means to be authentic about my beliefs, my testimony for Christ, and how I live out authentic Christianity before my family, my co workers, my church and my neighborhood. But how do I go about it? Who determines if what I am attempting to live out is “true to the original” or not? Is it the post-modern world? Or is it the Word of God?

“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

James 1:26-27

God’s word tells me my faith/religion is worthless if I haven’t learned to “bridle” my tongue. In other words, I need to watch what I say (not so easy to do, for me). God’s word tells me that I’ll give an account for every “idle” word I utter (Matthew 12:36-37). It further tells me to season my words with grace, preserving and purifying all who hear them (Colossians 4:6). Finally (although not exhaustively) Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells me to let my words be few (I wonder if this applies to my written words too). Furthermore, James defines authentic faith as that which demonstrates my love and compassion for those who have no capacity or means to repay me. And these few passages just scratch the surface. I need to work on many things to demonstrate my authentic love and faith in Jesus Christ. How about you?


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