A Hot Faith

by J. Randal Matheny, editor

I noticed my phone bill was due today (18th actually, but still not past due), so I walked down the few blocks to the post where I normally pay it. Was just after 12 noon, and there was a line, so I walked back a block, ate lunch at a decent restaurant with lots of veggies and then returned to a shorter line. Still waited some 10-15 minutes to pay. Bearable.

Walking back, I passed by the local branch of the Igreja cristã evangélica (Evangelical Christian Church), a group of the Reformed branch of Protestantism. Reminded me of when they put up a sign a few years ago, with large letters of their abbreviated name: ICE.

The Pentecostals accuse the “traditionalists” of being cold. So I wasn’t surprised that the sign didn’t stay up long. English is not the language here, but enough people know enough English to make a joke of it. And I’m sure they did.

My lunch was cold. Has been nippy here, so even the stuff that was supposed to be hot — fried bananas, veggies in fried batter, gnocchi — was stone cold. Only the fried manioc was warm. I like my food hot.

I like my faith hot, too. Not the Pentecostal hot of whipped-up emotions. Nor the hot loyalty of the traditionalists, like the Presbyterian preacher in a Sunday non-Bible class, who declared that Presbyterianism was one of the essentials of the faith.

No, I like a hot faith that wants to learn more and more about every word and deed of the Lord Jesus Christ. “More about Jesus would I know.”

And I like the hot faith that refuses to compromise an inch with the truth of the gospel, even if it demands an in-your-face confrontation (Galatians 2:11).

I like the hot faith that can’t go without offering to tell someone how to draw near to God (James 4:8).

I also like the hot faith that devotes itself to the children of God, come high tide or landslide (1 Peter 1:22).

Some, mostly lukewarm folk, like to call such hot faith radical or extremist. Enthusiasm embarrasses them. Zeal puts them to shame.

So be it. Call me what you will. I serve the Lord, not back-peddling brethren afraid of making waves. What did Paul say? “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!” (Galatians 1:10).

So I’ll keep my hot faith, and keep stoking it, and keep feeding it the fuel of the word of God. And I’ll keep calling those who will hear to join me.

For, in the midst of paying phone bills and eating hot or cold lunches, we have a world to overturn.

“Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord” (Romans 12:11 NET).

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