What is a Christian cynic? They are those who criticise everything while maintaining a degree of allegiance to Jesus but also often quoting Jesus’ harrangues against the Pharisees and religious leaders.
One of the descriptions Byers throws out about the Christian cynic was very thought provoking as well as troublesome. He writes “Christian cynics sometimes delight in watching fellow believers tread on life’s land mines, and their flaunted skepticism can even become the means by which the faithful forsake their faith.”
To be sure, Byers has called out a big issue in the life of the church.
Christians cynics are damaging the church. They are damaging the church because their disillusionment, whether with the world, the church, leadership, or because of doubts, has taken a hold of them and it has become the driving force of their nature and that is when you have cynicism.
It begins with disillusionment.
Now, Byers points out that disillusionment is not necessarily a bad thing. Disillusionment is often about reality – seeing the situation as it really is; that things are not going well; that we are struggling; that the future is uncertain. Saul, who became Paul, during the three days he was blind in the house on Straight Street was probably disillusioned; disillusioned that all that he thought he was doing was in fact wrong.
But Paul does not end up a cynic.
Disillusionment unchecked will end in cynicism. What stops disillusionment from becoming cynicism for a Christian is the Resurrection!
Again, Andrew Byers writes “we need to foster and teach a Biblical spirituality that embraces the grim reality of our ex-eden life along with the joyful reality that God is making all things new.”
We need to accept reality. But we do so in the reality and light of the truth of the resurrection because our sins and this world can only be dealt with if Christ rose from the dead!
Remove the resurrection of Christ and ALL that is left for a Christian is cynicism. Paul himself tells us in 1 Corinthians 15; “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.”
This is really an excellent book on a subject which is very rarely tackled.