The Ichthus (also Christian fish, Jesus fish) is a symbol of Christianity from the early days of the church. In short, “ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthys) is an acronym for ‘Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ’, (Iēsous Christos,Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as ‘Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior’ “. -Wikipedia; more here. The symbolism is still used today on everything from youth group t-shirts to church websites. A common usage is the auto decal ichthus, and it is the pro’s and con’s of this phenomenon I wish to examine here.
Some Christian leaders do not believe a public declaration of faith is necessary. If we live our lives as “people of the book” then others will see there is a difference in us. If you arrive early for work, aren’t stealing the office supplies, and take responsibility for your own mistakes, then you may very well stick out like a sore thumb. The argument is that if we as Christians conform to the image of Christ, and walk circumspectly of the world, then we don’t need Christian t-shirts, auto emblems nor anything else to announce our presence. If we need to wear signs identifying ourselves as Christian, maybe there’s a problem.
On the other hand, there are those who believe we should not be ashamed to identify ourselves to the general public as Christian. Wearing a mission trip or youth group t-shirt is easy on Wednesday night when everybody has them on, perhaps it’s something else to wear one at school. True, it may be shameful for a driver with a Christian fish to cut people off in traffic or blow their horn in a fit of rage. On the other hand, if we took just a second to think about the presence of the symbol we may try just a little harder to be the kind of witness we should be. Rather than pull off the decal, maybe we should just drive better.
What do you think? Should Christians display this and/or other symbols of our faith? Anything can be taken to an extreme. I listen to Christian music but didn’t go out and buy a cross shaped mp3 player. Is wearing your church t-shirt in public a good witness, or is that just a way of saying “Look how religious I am?” There must be a line somewhere between not being ashamed of the Gospel and making a spectacle of one’s self; where do you believe it is?