I’m so old that I can remember back to a weekly game show on television called, “To Tell the Truth.” It was one of those shows where a panel of celebrities would be allowed to ask questions of 3 different people, each of whom was pretending to be the same person. I say “pretending” but, in truth, one was the “real” person and really was telling the truth about who he was.
Two out of three contestants on this game show were impostors.
That’s right. Impostors. Claiming to be someone, maybe having some of the right answers, but being outright phonies trying to stump the panel.
Just like Christians and Christ.
More than we realize, we who call ourselves Christians are really contestants on a stage with a panel of global citizens seeking answers. Who is telling the truth? Who is real? Who is phony?
In the old TV game show, it was rather obvious that the 3 contestants weren’t all giving the same answers or in agreement with each other on things. Somebody had to be lying, but who?
I thought back to this game just yesterday when I read of the voter demographics involved in Alabama’s special Senatorial election. I was struck by the contrast between white voters and black. While 70% of whites voted for Moore, 95% of blacks voted for Jones.
And here, in my mind at least, is what is most significant about that.
First off, whites make up the majority of Alabama voters. But the majority of Alabama’s white voters identify as evangelical, born-again Christians. While the similar if not even larger majority of Alabama’s black voters identify as………….ready for this?………….evangelical, born-again Christians.
Anybody besides me making a connection here with the game show yet? They’re both claiming to represent the real Jesus Christ. But they tell two different stories, don’t they? One or the other isn’t telling the truth. One or the other has no business claiming the name of Christian. They can’t both be Christian when it comes, at least, to choosing between these two radically different candidates for high office.
Not being from Alabama myself, I felt like a game show panelist when it came to Tuesday’s election there. And so here’s my pick. I believe the real Christian of Alabama is represented by the African-American voters who also self-identify as evangelical, born-again believers and followers of the Christ. The others? The white “Christians” who voted for Moore?
That’s my call as a panelist or observer. And yours may be different. But why it matters so much, especially in this season of Advent, is that we’re about to find out who the real God is.
That’s what Christmas is all about.
The real God stands up, as it were, and leaves the impostor “Gods” sitting down. The real God looks exactly like, talks exactly like, comes and goes exactly like, and is…………Jesus Christ. Not Abraham. Not Moses. Not David. Not Peter, Paul, James, John.
They may have good answers to panelist questions. But they can’t all be right. They may pretend to speak for God and seem altogether sincere. May fool lots of panelists. But there’s only one Christ. Only one who speaks for God in the first person. And Christmas is the day we find out who the real God is that has come into the world.
To tell the truth, all of us are really pretenders when it comes to speaking for God. Only the real Christ can do that. We can’t speak for God, but we can speak for the Christ whenever we claim the name of Christ alongside the large majority of Alabama voters. Are we going to tell the truth, or are we going to just pretend?
The world is a panel. And the panel is asking, waiting, watching, wondering……and guessing. The real God will soon stand up. That’s what Christmas is all about.
Then it’s up to us. Will the real Christian please stand up?