Sunday, June 04, 2006

Future Topics - part 2

Here are more topics for future posts. Of necessity this will be brief, and I know that may leave room for misunderstanding. Consider that if what I say makes you angry - you may want to just wait till later when I develop the topic. Then, you can unload with both barrels! Still, I welcome feedback on these topics. Your feedback will influence which one I write on next. There is no significance to the order of things in this list - they are just products of a disorderly brain.

Stuck in the 50's. When it comes to witnessing our Christ to others verbally, it looks to me like most churches (at least my own denomination, Southern Baptist) equip members to witness in the culture of the 50's (1950s). All the programs and methods assume an open, if not friendly, culture that believes there is a God and is willing to give fair and open consideration to claims of God's word. Ha! "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto." The church has failed to equip believers for today's anti-God, quick slogan culture. No wonder witnessing and baptism rates are abysmal. No wonder our youth are so susceptible to humanistic college professors.

When someone says, "Well, all religions are really alike, aren't they?", quoting John 3:16 is a totally inadequate response.

All religions claim to be True. A religion is a system of belief - that includes humanism and atheism as a religion. To believe something is to hold that it is true. BUT religions believe contradictory things - Jews say Jesus was not God; Christians say He was. All religions may be wrong, but all cannot be right. Even those who say they are tolerant of other religions are intolerant of those who actually have the temerity to say their religion is true and the others are false. But even this - tolerance of all - is a claim to exclusive truth because it says the intolerant are wrong!

Someone sneaks in every night and replaces pages of Webster's. When God thought man was getting too uppity at the tower of Babel, He confused man's language and split him up into different people groups. Well, the devil is trying that, too. Perfectly good words are getting changed under our noses. Words like gay, faith, hope, love, etc. When we in the church use these words, the culture is hearing and seeing something different.

To Boil a Frog, Put him in Cold Water -- or -- If you Think things are Bad, Wait till you Open Your Eyes! Inch by inch; bit by bit. Every tiny step downhill is calculated to not disturb the feeling of normal. An old Chinese proverb (aren't all Chinese proverbs old?) says, "If you want to know about water, don't ask a fish." However, the perspective of decades reveals just how radical the cultural transformation has been. The times in which we live are anything but normal. And let's not call it progress - outhouses to indoor plumbing is progress. The ideas of the culture we live in are intended to mold and shape people after man's image - not God's. These times are evil and wicked, and we (the church) should not be comfortable here in the least.

If there is no God, then why apologize for Despair? Bertrand Russell, the prominent atheist of the last century, said life has to be lived in unyielding despair. I think Russell was giving an honest evaluation of atheism in answering the universal soul-cry of man for meaning and significance. The late evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould likewise betrays his belief system when he uses words like "superficially troubling, if not terrifying," to describe man without higher purpose or meaning. If the hearts cry for meaning and significance has no fulfillment, then a cruel joke has been played on man. But who do you blame? Not God, He doesn't exist! It must be time + matter + chance.

A Twist - Are the Jews responsible for Jesus' death? On one hand, it definitely was Jews who held an illegal trial and condemned an innocent man. Jews handed Jesus over to Pilate. It was Jews who chose Jesus to be crucified rather than Barrabus. Technically, it was the Romans who executed the punishment, but the punishment never would have happened without the Jews calling for it.

Here's the twist. Christians know Jesus to be God - part of the Trinity. How can God be killed? He can't. So, in this Christian understanding, neither the Jews nor Romans present in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago killed God. It is simply impossible for man to kill God. In fact, Jesus Himself absolved them of guilt when He said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." As God, Jesus had the authority to forgive sin. Then Jesus gave up the spirit and died. He was not killed.

Bottom line: If a Jew accepts Jesus as God and savior, then no guilt remains. If he doesn't, it still is not the Christian who could condemn, but his own religious system for the illegal aspects of what was done. Ultimately, Jesus hanging on the cross was the best gift ever given to this world, but, like every gift, it has to be received.

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