'Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him' (1 Jn 2:15). This harsh warning makes sense when we realise that Christians need to be distinctive. For Jesus instructs us to 'let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven' (Mt 5:16).
Today's Christian medical students have plenty of opportunity to be distinctive. Every final year student faces the daunting prospect of applying for a job. The challenge is to balance humility with a truthful and realistic assessment of our God-given abilities. Believing in God means that we ought to take an eternal perspective, as medical school dean and CMF president, Sam Leinster, explains (pp30-33).
Our concerns are not to be confined to the lecture theatre, hospital ward, or local CMF group. We are made in the image of a God who cares about the wider society. Our God is distressed by injustice, poverty, suffering, and apathy. David Randall presents an excellent framework for engaging with society that is both biblical and practical (pp15-21).
When I was mistakenly sent the July issue of Cosmopolitan through the Nucleus mailing list, I tossed it into the recycling bin after the first few pages. I now wonder what Jesus would have done. Being distinctive involves resisting temptation and striving for a holy lifestyle. But we cannot isolate ourselves from secular media if we are to understand the mindset and needs of non-believers around us; Roxana Whelan discusses this tension (pp4,5).
The compatibility of science and the Christian faith is often challenged in the media. Richard Dawkins, champion of atheism, goes further to claim the scientific method as the only way to arrive at knowledge. James Paul considers the presuppositions underlying such a worldview. If these hold true, then everything meaningful in human experience is merely behaviour developed to enhance the survival of the selfish gene. The alternative, distinctive, explanation for life and human experience is the nature of God himself (pp22-29).
In this issue, you will also find a book review of a rebuttal to Dawkins' bestseller, The God Delusion (p41). While Christians disagree with Dawkins' views, we may have forgotten that God shares his hatred for religiosity. This is when we value appearances over authenticity, which is not the same as true religion that pleases God (Jas 1:27). In Jesus' words, 'Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God' (Lk 11:42). As we strive to be distinctive, let us work from the inside out, with the starting point of loving and fearing the Lord our God.