The World Watches Believers Like a Hawk
Together with some friends, my wife and I are nearing the end of New City Catechism, a 52-question study about basic doctrines of the Christian faith.
Since we meet only twice a month, at one question per session it’s taken awhile to wind our way through. Yet, we have enjoyed going through it and reflecting on the scriptures.
Even though much of it would be considered basic stuff, we have discovered many fruitful hours of discussion as we explored the issues it raises.
A plus for tech-savvy creatures: the whole thing can be accessed online along with videos, music and other offerings. (Fortunately, it hasn’t been up to me to take care of the electronic portions of our evenings.)
The written portions that I’ve printed off the website have undergone a metamorphosis since we started.
In the past, I hadn’t been that wild about the commentary portion. Though there are now two, at first the only came from centuries past, when King James-style phrasing held sway.
I have nothing against the King James Version, but I much prefer the Modern English Version. It is based on the same sources as the KJV but uses 21st century English in instead of the antiquated-sounding 17th.
However, a recent foray through question 48 brought us to 19th century KJV-style comments from Charles Spurgeon. Known as the “Prince of Preachers,” the British pastor was influential in Reformed Baptist circles.
I’m not sure exactly when he wrote the following words, but since Spurgeon lived from 1834-1892, it’s safe to say they are more than 125 years old. Yet they still ring true today.
“The eagle-eyed, Argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us,” Spurgeon said. “Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, ‘It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me’” (the final statement a nod to Galatians 2:20).
The World’s Eagle Eyes
Until I looked it up, I didn’t know what Argus meant. Turns out in Greek mythology that Argus was a giant with 100 eyes.
Hera placed him over a girl named Io. With Argus on guard, the god Zeus couldn’t rescue her, because only some of Argus’ eyes would be closed in sleep at any one time.
How incredibly descriptive of Spurgeon! And how timely and relevant his words for today!
Even more than a century ago, Christians were under close observation by the world, waiting for them to slip up, make a mistake, or take the kind of rash or intemperate action that critics could seize on as an excuse to ridicule them or dismiss their words.
The same is much truer now, although sometimes I wonder if Christ’s followers are aware of how closely their words and actions are examined.
Our pastor has spoken often about the rants and diatribes he sees from various Christians on Facebook—comments that make him wonder if they realize what a bad witness they demonstrate to the world.
I don’t want to be too hard on Facebook users. I remember in its early days when I made a quick remark to a friend’s post and he shot back, “Watch what you’re saying. Everybody can read this.”
Still, I think it would do all of us who profess to follow Christ well to remember Spurgeon’s words. There are a flock of little Arguses all around, waiting to jump on our rash, inconsiderate or careless words.