Author and minister R.T. Kendall addresses the stigma of being a Christian in his new book Unashamed to Bear His Name.
Unashamed is meant to help readers "accept the scandal that arises from following Jesus Christ,” Kendall told The Christian Post. “More than that, [they] should become willing to embrace that scandal, to take it with both hands and rejoice in the privilege that you are part of the greatest enterprise on the planet-namely, to be associated with the name Jesus Christ.”
The book addresses the stigma that many Christians face in today’s society – for their views on hell, the Holy Spirit, or even for saying that Jesus died on the cross.
The main reason he wrote it is because of the disciples in Acts. They were persecuted and put in jail for preaching in Jesus’ name. When they were finally released Kendall said, “They departed from the council (Sanhedrin) rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
“Most people I know avoid shame or stigma like the plague, but these disciples had to pinch themselves they were lucky to get to suffer for his name,” he told CP.
The problem with Christianity today, he said, is that it’s “all about the here and now. What it will do for you.”
“Watch Christian television – 90 percent of it is ‘Send in your money so God will bless you with your finances,’” he pointed out. He said much of Christianity today tries to appeal to people’s self-interests.
In his book, Kendall writes that the “absence of the understanding of God is one of the main reasons for the superficiality we see in today’s church.”
This superficiality, he elaborated, stems from the fact that “most Christians don’t know their Bible, most don’t have a Bible reading plan” or ask each other how much they read the Bible.
There is “not much interest today in sheer study of the word of God. It’s all ‘what’s in it for me?’” Kendall sees this decade as the “me decade” and said it is spilling over into the Church to where “people feel they are entitled to get something out of following the Lord.”
But he said he does have hope for the church.
“I think we’re going to see the greatest movement of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost," he told CP. “The Church will be awakened with massive numbers of conversions. I have great hope were very near that time.”
Throughout the book Kendall uses examples of men and women in the Bible who bore the stigma of obeying God, and he shares some of his own stigma-bearing experiences, such as when he – as minister of London’s Westminster Chapel – was required to go out on the streets to witness to unbelievers.
In Chapter 3 of his book, he also talks about what he believes is the most important question you can ask anyone, and that is: “Will you be in heaven?” It's a question he asks everyone, including the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, because he said the most important thing they can know is whether or not in 100 years they will be in heaven or hell.