Welcome to tomthinking.com Saturday, June 23 2018 @ 05:54 AM UTC
I have to love him, but it doesn’t mean I have to like him! Have you ever heard anyone express this idea? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself? I know I certainly have. The problem with this statement is that it has no foundation in the Bible. In fact, this kind of statement actually contradicts what the Bible actually teaches.
- I don’t give the homeless money because they might spend it on booze
- The Bible says I have to love my neighbor, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him
- I don’t have the gift of evangelism, so I don’t have to witness to people
- Tithing is part of the law, and I’m not under the law, so I don’t have to tithe if I don’t want
- Love is a verb
Have I got your attention?
Recently I've been reading the book, "How The West Really Lost God," by Mary Eberstadt. The book makes a strong case for the Western decline of Christianity being tightly related to the decline of the traditional family. However, one quote caught my attention. It is a summary statement of the position atheists have about Christianity. It is that, "Christianity is rooted in fear and superstition. Its purpose is to serve as a giant pacifier against the hunger pains of mortality."
I'd like to address this statement's four assumptions and show why from scripture and common sense that these are false assumptions. That they are assumptions is clear since none of them are predicated upon either doctrinal or historic facts about the faith.
What do you think of yourself? How do you define your humanity? Do you think of your limitations, your flaws of character, your sin? What do you call yourself? Adulterer? Thief? Prostitute? Black? White? Asian? Sinner? Worthless? Are these labels you can apply to yourself?
These labels, and others, may be true. But there is a greater truth to your existence. And it begins with this: Labels dehumanize because they relegate us to limited or no value.
What value was a slave, or a criminal, or an adulterer, or a liar? Some of these labels are true descriptions, but they also dehumanize because they offer no solution to the problems they describe. Sin always dehumanizes because it is a way of living contrary to our design of dignity. But there is one thing that wipes all of this away.
The incarnation humanizes.
For many years there has been the notion among some people that American Christianity is too concerned with doctrine and theology and less concerned with helping the needy and oppressed of society. This narrative, to a degree successfully promulgated, was fostered by those with a liberal mindset toward Christianity. More importantly, within the church community this narrative has been embraced by what has become known as Progressive Christianity. Progressives, both secular and religious, have effectively controlled the narrative that conservatives lack compassion, care for the poor and oppressed, and that they are too focused on morals and values issues that they ignore critical human needs. But is this narrative really true, or is this an argument developed by Progressive Christianity in opposition to the church’s historical emphasis on right beliefs?
If you've ever been confronted by a Mormon at your door, or spent time listening to a Buddhist talk about enlightenment, or sat in a church service of progressives, then you may have wondered to yourself if what was being discussed was true. Maybe your own faith has shaken a bit as you considered the claims of a competing worldview.
Today, I want to set your mind at ease. I'm going to give you ten brief characteristics of Christianity that will enable you to instantly recognize whether what you are hearing is true or false. That's right, I said instantly. Once you understand these characteristics, spotting a spiritual fraud will be easy, and you'll be able to begin holding your ground against a false religious claim. So, let's get started.
All false religions deny, redefine, or supplement some or all of the following truth: