Number 5

by MW Cook

5) Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality.
There’s no denying that the Bible gives special terms to the people who follow after Christ. Peter calls believers a holy nation and a people for God’s own possession. The Old Testament says that the people of God were his special people, set apart from the rest of the world. It’s obvious that there is something supposed to be special about the people who claim to follow God. But I think there are two big reasons why this should never breed arrogance or a chosen people mentality.

One, the reason God gives his people these names is not so that they feel good about themselves. Look at the context when Peter calls believers a chosen race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation: ‘that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.’ Believers are not special because of anything they have done, rather because of what has been done to them. Neither are they simply chosen and that’s the end of it. They are chosen to live holy lives and bear fruit. If a believer does not live a life of kindness, humility, mercy and love, then he has little reason to take pleasure in his election.

Secondly, the attitude of election should be a vertical one, not horizontal. That is, a believer should never say to himself ‘I am better than the rest of mankind because I have been chosen out of them. I am holy, they are not. I am elect, they are not.’ Rather he should consider his election in relation to God. He should be humbled that God would choose him and not cast him aside. If a believer’s election or position in Christ leads to arrogance he really does not understand it at all.

I cannot deny that many people who hold to Christianity are arrogant in their place and have a chosen people mentality. There is no excuse for this. But I need to point out again that this is a problem with the practice of Christianity, not with Christianity itself. Our position should make us humble, not arrogant.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?