Posts tagged christianity
The Lord challenges us to suffer persecutions and to confess him. He wants those who belong to him to be brave and fearless. This is the testimony of the apostles and in particular of the representative, administrating Spirit. A Christian is fearless.
Christian themes don’t have to mean right wing influences. Being from a Christian background doesn’t have to result in the stereotype of Christianity and faith that so many people automatically assume.
I love my wife very much, but after 26 years together I still don’t pretend to understand her. That’s true in marriage, and it’s been true in my walk with God: clueless, committed and willing to live with occasional tension when my limited intellect bumps up against the most revered document in Western history.
We’ve all met people who lie about their faith just to go along with the crowd and end up with neither honesty nor faith.
The Christian’s life in all its aspects - intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness - is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate and sustain it. So apart from Him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.
God calls us to pursue Him, not what He might do for us or even in our midst.
While browsing through some blogs pertaining to the recent firestorm revolving around Rob Bell, I came across this quote. It is a short dissertation pertaining to how deeply we should take sin and how we should react to God’s reaction to sinfulness. It’s quite thought provoking… and it’s truthfulness left me a bit shell shocked as to how complacent I become toward my own sinfulness. Read:
“Sin will always appears as a trifle to those whose view of God is small. If you were to discover a little boy pulling the legs off of a grasshopper, you would think it strange and perhaps a little bizarre. If the same little boy were pulling the legs off of a frog, that would be a bit more disturbing. If it were a bird, you would probably scold him and inform his parents. If it were a puppy, that would be too shocking to tolerate. You would intervene. If it were a little baby, it would be so reprehensible and tragic that you would risk you own life to protect the baby. What’s the difference in each of these scenarios? The sin is the same (pulling the limbs off). The only difference is the one sinned against (from a grasshopper to a baby). The more noble and valuable the creature, the more heinous and reprehensible the sin. And so it is with God.
If God were a grasshopper, then to sin against Him wouldn’t be such a big deal and eternal punishment wouldn’t be necessary. But God isn’t a grasshopper, He’s the most precious, valuable, beautiful being in the universe. His glory and worth are infinite and eternal. Thus to sin against an infinitely glorious being is an infinitely heinous offense that is worthy of an infinitely heinous punishment.
We don’t take sin seriously because we don’t take God seriously. We have so imbibed of the banality of our God-belittling spirit of the age that our sins hardly trouble us at all. Our sin seems small because we regard God as small. And thus the penalty of hell—eternal conscious suffering under the wrath of God—always seems like an overreaction on God’s part. If we knew God better, we wouldn’t think like that.” - Denny Burk
“Judgmentalism is a sin and Calvinists can be jerks. But not every judgment is sinful and not every truth is cruel just because Reformed people teach it.” - Kevin DeYoung
True, however, how do we stand up for truth and judgment without becoming judgmental or a jerk? It’s such a hard line to balance on!
“ I begin by saying I believe in hell, but I want to believe in hell the way Jesus does. And I believe in heaven, but I want to believe in heaven as Jesus does. What Jesus believed about heaven and hell diverges at times from what many Christians think about heaven and hell.” - Scot McKnight
How does Jesus believe in hell? How does He believe in heaven? How could we possibly know without studying, for ourselves, the Scriptures. I think so many times we put all of our trust in an author or preacher… or a writer. Am I prepared if Rob Bell is a teacher of heresy? Am I prepared to put him in the same category as Ghandi or other spiritual writers/speakers/teachers who do not espouse to a Christian faith (which I believe to my bones to be truth)? That category being great people who have deep insight into spirituality… who teach many good things, yet also teach things that are contrary to Biblical Faith. The category of, “read with a filter.”
This debate is starting to fire up in me a realization that I haven’t been diligent enough in knowing what I believe and why. This has all became a huge challenge to me. For that, I love this… and you should too!
“Then there’s the traditional view: those who reject Christ, and some believe God’s mercy will be wide enough to include those who have never heard of Christ but have responded to the light they have comprehended (inclusivism)—and there’s latitude here for variations of several sorts—will be judged on the basis of that light. For traditionalists and some inclusivists their number is few so that billions who have not responded to Christ will suffer eternal and conscious separation from God. Some inclusivists would contend that many, if not most, humans will be finally saved.” - Scot McKnight
I shudder when I hear the term “traditional”. For I find myself to be less and less “traditional” as I grow up. But the thought of inclusivism? How is someone held responsible who has NEVER heard the name of Jesus… completely ignorant. I mean like, seriously has never entered their realm of reality? What’s more tough to answer is, what if that person believes in God? Or a Higher Power? Or (if you’re a World of Warcraft toon) The Light? And you desire to know Him and follow Him and be with Him? Yet… you never believe in Jesus, because you’ve never once heard the name or what He’s done? Is it lights out for that person? I’m not sure! How could I be?
Thoughts that prove I don’t have all the answers. And you know what? That’s ok. Here’s what’s important for me: I know there is a God who made all things including myself. I do know that on my own, my sinfulness keeps me from an eternal harmonious relationship with my Maker. I do know that Scripture is truth, inerrant (without error), and authoritative. Therefore, I know that there is Heaven (eternal harmonious life with God) and Hell (eternal separation from God). I do know of Jesus. I do know of His Divine nature. I do know that God realized a perfect (clean from all semblances of sin) death is all that could pay the price for sin and rebellion that has marred all of humankind’s character. I also know that God chose His Son, Jesus, (Himself by following logical trinitarian belief) to be that perfect death. I, therefore, know that Jesus’ cleansing death covers my sin and I must reach out to Him in faith… slaving myself to Him.
Because I know these things, I am at a crossroads. Do I accept? Or do I reject? Heaven (eternal harmonious life with God) or Hell (eternal separation from God) hangs in the balance. I choose accept.
Guess what? If you’ve read this: now you know too… do you accept or reject? Take a deep breath. Don’t get anxious. If you accept, but don’t know enough, contact me! I’d love to talk. If you reject, or you’re not ready to decide your spiritual road, it’s cool… it’s not like a lightning bolt is going to zap you out of existence. Just… don’t write off your decision forever… because forever is indeed the cost.