Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Standing for Truth

"Thank you for encouraging me to stand up for my faith." This was a young Christian lady's commendation to a national Christian radio network. I'm not sure this Christian radio network explicitly teaches Christians to stand for their faith or this is just the yound lady's summarization. Still, I think there is a much more effective way of communicating this idea.

Rather than teaching to "stand for our faith", I think we should be explicitly teaching to "stand for Truth". Here are several reasons this is a better way to express our Biblical mandate to be salt and light both inside the Church and to the unbelieving culture.

Faith, when Biblically understood, is a perfectly good word, but, we (the Church) have allowed the word to be misunderstood and marginalized by our culture. The first or "common" definition most people think of is the ability to believe in something that has no proof, or, perhaps, even to cling to a belief in spite of apparent contradictory proof. Blind faith. Is this Biblical faith? Absolutely not! Using the word, faith, just tells the world you are part of a marginalized minority and should be ignored.

Another common perception of faith is that it's more like flavors of ice cream than insulin. Our relativistic society sees faith as a personal preference, not a truth claim. You can have your faith and I can have my faith ... whatever works for you. To claim to "stand for your faith" is to start off swimming upstream against public perception.

Truth has been relativized, too, but nowhere near the degree of misperception of faith. Everyone, even the relativist, lives as if there are some moral absolutes - i.e. truths - and it's much easier to tackle this with logic and reason than to set everyone straight on faith. Claiming to "stand for truth" has a much greater potential for starting out on more common ground without having to fight the battle first over misunderstanding of the word, faith.

Ultimately, you have to talk about Truth, anyway, so why not just start there.

I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me. John 14:6 (NASB)

I would even go so far as to say there is just as much confusion over faith inside the church as out. Using words like truth and trust can enable us to bring clarity to the murky waters.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Tempted to Do It Your Way

Saw the connection last Sunday between the insults hurled at Christ on the cross -

Mark 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. (KJV)

and those hurled by the devil -

Matt 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (KJV)

Even on the cross, the devil tempted Jesus to acomplish the mission of salvation in his own way rather than according to God's plan. Jesus refused. So should we.

When human understanding is lacking, stand on the certainty of God's Word.