…according to the religion duly registered in their pay books, a majority belonged to the Church of England, with Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists following in order of numbers, also one Jew and one Atheist; none of them, however, as far as I could find out, had any strength at all of religious feeling; neither in behaviour nor in argument did anyone ever display any interest in matters of faith. They were not ignorant, for they all had had a religious upbringing, but so completely unconcerned that they could not legitimately be described as Christians.Peniakoff DSO MC, Lt.-Col. Vladimir. Popski’s Private Army (p. 499). Lucknow Books. Kindle Edition.
The quote above is from “Popski’s Private Army”, a book about the adventures of one Vladimir Peniakoff and the “private army” that he raised and fought with against the Axis powers during the second world war. Recently I read the book for the second time and this quote stuck out to me. It is from a place in the book where he was reminiscing about the kind of men that made up his unit. Just previous to this quote he was talking about their political outlook, but then he drifts into his observation about their religious outlook, which independent of their upbringing did not seem to impact their daily lives very much – if at all.
This lead me to consider how his observations are valid when considering the majority of “Christian” peoples today. His comment, “They were not ignorant, for they all had had a religious upbringing, but so completely unconcerned that they could not legitimately be described as Christians.” rings true for many today, with the clarification that many ARE ignorant, for the level of religious teaching in most homes and churches today is far less than in the days in which the members of PPA were raised.
Unfortunately, the concept of living daily for Christ and of not allowing the world to direct our thoughts has been lost on most of the current generation of people who are called “Christian”, but who do not live out their supposed convictions.
Romans 12:1-2 really needs to be taught to our people, and not by rote but by deed, example AND by word. “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”