Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
This was the front page story in my local Dallas Morning News. According to this information, many Christians, not to mention mainstream Americans, no longer accept basic tenets of Christianity as absolute truth. Surprising? Well, no. I find it interesting nonetheless....
"As other surveys have indicated, the Pew study indicates that America has drifted slightly more secular over the decades, but overwhelming majorities continue to say they believe in God OR an "impersonal force" (92 percent), heaven (74 percent), hell (59 percent), and angels and demons active in the world (68 percent)."
Here's the interesting part:
"About seven in 10 of those surveyed said they believed that many religions can lead to eternal life and that there is more than one true interpretation of the teachings of their own religion."
SEVENTY PERCENT of CHRISTIANS think that there is not one way to eternal life. Wow. Wouldn't have guessed that. Sorry, I forgot that everyone can be right these days, except those who belief in Truth...
If this question were addressed to everybody, then I'd expect a higher percentage of universalism. But I absolutely don't understand how a majority of all the Christian groups represented (Evangelical, Southern Baptist, mainline denoms, United Methodist, historically black churches, Catholic) can believe multiple religions can lead to eternal life.
42% of the 36,000 interviewed said they believe that "Scripture is the literal word of God." So, let's turn to Scripture for insight, shall we?
Jesus said in John 14: "Trust in God; trust also in me...I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well."
That's pretty clear to me. I don't see much room for wavering or waffling. Jesus was pretty good about making distinctions and drawing lines in the sand. Just ask the Pharisees...
I don't know how we, as the American Church, have strayed so far from this foundation of Christianity. But if I may speak bluntly to my brothers and sisters in the Church, I think we must examine how we approach teaching Truth.
1. Preach the basic foundations of Christianity. PREACH THE GOSPEL! Why would anyone want to come to church for a watered down self-help course when they can get that on Oprah every day, with a lot more entertainment and from the comfort of their own couch? Please, preach the gospel! It's worked pretty well the past 2000 years.
2. Once one knows the Gospel, there is not any doubt as to the fact that Yahweh is the only God, and He manifests Himself in three persons. The only way to the Father is through Jesus the Son, as we are drawn by the Holy Spirit. I repeat: Jesus is the only way to the Father. However, there is NOT only one way to Jesus.
The way I read Scripture, Jesus came to abolish religion (man trying to please God/work his way to heaven). He did not abolish the Law, but He fulfilled it, ultimately by dying on the cross and being raised again to life. Through this, we can have a relationship with the Living God. God as the Holy Spirit lives inside of us when we have accepted Jesus as Savior and King. The point of Jesus coming to earth is to tell us that we no longer have to jump through hoops and follow rules to know God.
So this means that I can come to know Jesus in many ways. I can know Jesus even if I'm not in church every Sunday and Wednesday and Tuesday prayer meeting. I can know Jesus even if I don't sing hymns or the latest 7-11 (7 words sung 11x) chorus. I can know Jesus even if I don't know the catechisms, but I do listen to rock music. In fact, I can find Jesus by being influenced by music, friendships, literature, other people, nature and creation, science, world events, the arts, and just about anything and everything else.
God is not limited in His power! God can do, and will do, things in ways we would not expect!
I'm not asking the Church to compromise doctrine. I'm not asking the Church to water down its message to be seeker friendly. I am asking the Church to reach out to a lost and dying world by every means possible. Don't limit yourself to influencing non-Christians by handing them a track or dragging them to Sunday School.
I believe with all my being that Jesus is the only way to Life and Salvation. I also believe with all my being that Jesus should be found outside of the walls of the Church and the pages of the Bible. Therefore, you and I, Christian, must live the Gospel. We must radiate Truth and Love in our relationships. We must be Jesus to a world that sees no need for Him.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The call, "For NARNIA!!!" sends chills down my spine and makes me long for a sword in my hand and clinking mail to shield my heart.
I long to ride behind Thomas of Hunter, waging war against the Horde, defending the Forests for Elyon.
Even lesser things -things with no resemblance to my true Home- make me swell with patriotic pride and a longing to fight and defend. Remember the Alamo! Give me liberty or give me death! Truth, justice, and the American way! No taxation with representation! The South will rise again! To infinity and beyond!
Okay, I kid. In fact, I completely lied on the last few...
My point is stories inspire me and impact me on a deep level...which is a good thing. Yet my loyalty and longing to fight for Narnia doesn't carry over to the war in which I'm currently engaged...which is a bad thing.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. I Corinthians 10:3-6The struggle to wake up early, read my Bible, make my little brother a sandwich, then go study invisible lines and imaginary numbers and unknown letters while being nice to the jerk sitting next to me isn't nearly as appealing as the clash of swords and the thunder of hooves driving the enemy from the field to defend my home, family, and freedom.
Obedience. Attitude. Prayer. Thoughts. Words. Perseverance. Perseverance in the little things.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8The Christian life certainly has the big battles, the glorious charges, the moments on the mountaintop when the enemy is clearly defined and victory is in sight. But a lot of life is in the standing, in the waiting, in picking up the cross again each day. These "little" fights are often harder, in some ways, than the big campaigns. These build endurance amidst suffering, and perseverance and character and hope.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then. Ephesians 6: 12-3
Stand. My youth pastor reminded me of this today. "If you're not intentional about your spiritual walk, you'll suffer - but you won't stay the same." I fight to be able to stand- fighting may not seem like I'm moving forward or gaining ground. But if I cease to stand, I fall.So may the stories remind us that we are called to fight each day, even when it doesn't seem like we're fighting anything. And may the battle cries dim in comparison to the encouraging call and command of our Warrior King.