Monthly Archives: January 2017

Is God’s Word Antiquated?

Let’s be clear, the Bible is old!  Some estimates have the first book of the old testament being written as long ago as 3,000 bible-1068176_640B.C. but even conservative estimates have its first book constructed no later than 1,500 B.C.  Nearly all of the New Testament was written in the first century A.D. nearly 2,000 years ago.  So, not surprisingly, opponents of the Bible declare it an old relic with antiquated values no longer relevant in today’s society.  The age of the Bible is actually not at all relevant.  If you believe the Bible is the true inspired Word of God, then acknowledgement of its timelessness must be recognized. If you do not believe in God, then once again its age is irrelevant because you are unlikely to believe it whether or not it was written with today’s social mores in mind.

And yet opponents of the Bible, often those who do not even believe in it, declare it to be an outdated relic which should not be obeyed.  In a debate with his brother, the late atheist writer, Christopher Hitchens, described God as a celestial North Korea who removed our freedoms with his laws.  How odd to compare God to an atheistic state! Regardless, the notion that God is a great oppressor and his Word is better left to gather dust on the shelf, is permeating the ranks of both non-believer and believer.  What specifically has become so antiquated?  Let us review a few of God’s overbearing rules:

Don’t kill each other – While I think this one is still valid for the existence of our race, I suppose serial killers, mass murderers, and terrorists to name a few, find these rules a bit rusty.  I believe the majority opinion is that murder is still BAD so thank goodness for that, but hey, those genocidal dictators and suicide bombers appear to be gaining ground.

Don’t commit adultery – Even though a good portion of the population, both men and women, engage in extra-marital affairs, most believe it is wrong especially when they are the victim.  Adultery doesn’t just harm marriages, it wrecks families and your children.

Don’t lie – Lies are like mosquitoes.  They seem small and harmless but the havoc they wreak is devastating and widespread.  A lie may be the easiest sin to commit but no one likes to be accused of telling one.  Will a time ever exist when lying is universally accepted?

Love your neighbor as yourself – As forward thinking as this sounds, few of us practice this, and here may be where our resentment forms.  When God asks us to do what displeases us, such as loving those we hate, we tend to re-write God’s rules to excuse our shortcomings.  We erase the moral line in the sand declaring such extreme morality is needed no further.  Living life without hardship is after all much easier.

Don’t have any extra-marital sex – Now we are warming up to the real problem  and that is sex .  Adultery may be the sexual escapade we still frown upon due to its real and recognizable damage but we still indulge upon other fleshly pleasures whose immediate harm is less apparent.  The late evolutionist, Julian Huxley was allegedly asked years ago on the Merv Griffin show why the scientific community jumped on Darwin’s bandwagon and he responded, “I suppose the reason why we leapt at the Origin of Species was that the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” Pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexual sex, pretty much any intimacy outside of marriage is prohibited and boy how does this frustrate us humans!  The notion of abstaining from sex until marriage was laid to rest by society decades ago.  We re-wrote the rules to serve our own desires and the costs of our lusts have abounded in the form of broken marriages, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, disease, relationship problems, financial problems and so on.  If our sin makes us feel good and we don’t see it harming anyone, we stuff God in the trunk, turn up the radio and ignore the thumps.  Finally when we are destroyed by a failed relationship, the financial burden of an unwanted child, or even a contracted disease, we shake our fists at God.  Proverbs 19:3 says, “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” Amen.

G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and find wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Are God’s rules truly antiquated or are they too difficult to follow? Life is tough and so we seek temporary pleasures such as food, drugs, sex or gossip  to numb the pain and we don’t want God prohibiting the very things that help us survive this world’s struggles.   And yet every instance we indulge ourselves in pleasure we  not only remain unfulfilled we feel convicted by our conscience (Holy Spirit) and the cycle repeats.

Chesterton also wrote, “Meaningless does not come form being weary of pain.  Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.”

If you are weary today, if you feel life has little meaning, pick up the Bible.  Read God’s Word.  He is not trying to take anything from you.  He is trying to get something to you.

 

 

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3 Ways To Bridge the Gap Between Believer and Non-Believer

How shall we bridge the gap between believers and non-believers in the New Year? How bridge-53769_640shall we bridge this gap in any year. Year? Perhaps the word “year” gives the believer too much time.  As believers we should question rather how we will bridge the gap this month, week or day?  Yes, why wait?  How shall we bridge the gap between the believer and non-believer today?

What causes believers to wobble on the edge of this chasm? Why do we not build bridges with our fellow brothers and sisters?  Are bridges even necessary?  Is the chasm really so wide we can’t simply cross the divide with a step or a hop?  We tremble with the thought of reaching out to a stranger or friend, fearful our word, even when kind, will be met with scorn or in the least, displeasure.  And yet is this fear unwarranted?  If as believers we truly believe anyone’s life is truly at stake, why do we waiver? Do we not truly believe? Do we feel there is always more time?  Do we leave salvation in the hands of another we feel is more competent to deliver the message?

Penn Jillette, one half of the illusionist team, Penn and Teller, is an outspoken atheist.  However after he was presented with a Bible by an audience member after a performance, he had this to say, “I’ve always said I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

The gap perhaps is not as wide or deep as we convince ourselves.  Many non-believers may not want to raise their hand waiting instead to be called upon.  And that is fine if we are up to the challenge.  As teachers of the word here are a few ways to bridge the gap.

Show them Jesus – Do you remember the King in Braveheart commenting that the problem with Scotland is that it is full of Scots? The same can sometimes be said for Christianity and Christians.  The problem with Christianity is that it is full of Christians not practicing what they preach.  Win non-believers by showing them Jesus not just by telling them but when you do tell them, do so with gentleness and respect.

Always have an answer – 1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to always have an answer for the hope that you have. If a non-believer approaches you with a tough question about the Bible especially if they are sincere with their curiosity, you need to provide evidence, not a feeling.  Validating God’s existence based on a dream, your family’s prior relationship with God, or wishful hope, exposes you to skepticism or worse, ridicule.  Atheist Christopher Hitches once wrote, “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”  As believers can we afford to be dismissed? Study Christian Apologetics.  It will equip you with evidence to prove that your faith is not blind.

Share your testimony – How has prayer, attending Church, your fellowship with other Christians and your belief in God helped you? Has an ailment vanished? Have you escaped the clutches of an addiction?  Has hope sprung anew in your bad marriage? Do you finally see a light in the darkness of abuse that has smothered you your whole life? Your testimony can open ears. Your story instills hope.  Your victory wins hearts!  Sit down with a friend or loved one and tell them about the effect Christ has had in your life.

Nothing above guarantees salvation and certainly you will not always receive a warm welcome, but if you can give hope to one person, they might take that first step towards Jesus!