My Other Blog
Blog Schedule
Past Blog Posts
Various &
a Sundry Blogs
My Stuff
On The Web
This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Friday, July 21, 2017

Is The Gospel Me-Oriented?

R.C. Sproul (click here for bio) gives an answer to why unbelievers who are happy should believe in Jesus. He gives this answer in a short article on his Ligonier ministries website.

Sproul gives a very orthodox reason to those who are already happy as to why they should believe in Jesus: one should believe in Jesus in order to escape God's eternal judgment. And though Sproul notes that he has other reasons why we should believe and the answer Sproul gave is correct, there is something missing in his answer that kind of confirms a stereotype of many Evangelicals. It's not that that stereotype doesn't have other confirmations. For example, the tendency for religiously conservative Christians to refuse to provide business services to same-sex weddings because of their personal beliefs fails to account for how such refusing to serve at those events are experienced by the participants. There is a marginalization experienced by those who are refused services. In addition, there exists a possibility that people who are married in such weddings could suffer from a significant or even total deprivation of goods and services if religious beliefs can excuse one from, in a business setting, providing goods and services to same-sex weddings.. But how others are affected rarely crosses the minds of evangelicals.

When unbelievers don't feel the need to believe because they are happy, one problem is that their lives are too much about them. So though Sproul is correct and gives quite a biblical answer, he misses an opportunity to address the real problem. For if I believe in Jesus solely because I want to escape hell, then how is my faith changing me from being self-centered? And how different is a self-centered Christian from a self-centered non-Christian? If we are honest, most of us religiously conservative Christians would answer the last question saying, 'not much.'

What is another reason why we should believe in Jesus? Jesus says it very clearly in several places that how we react to him is how we react to God. Note what Jesus said in John 12:44-46 (click here):

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
Yes, a legitimate reason for believing in Jesus is for ourselves, our own salvation. But we can't afford to stop there if we are going to escape the self-centeredness that permeates our society. How we react to Jesus is how we react to God. To not believe in Jesus is to reject God. To say that there are other ways to connect with God denies the basic truth seen in Jesus's words above and below from  John 14:5-7 (click here):
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

So the Christian faith is about far more than what we want for ourselves. It is more about how do we want to treat God. Now if only we could live out that truth in front of our friends and others, we might show that we are about more than just ourselves. And if we want to treat God the way we should, we place our faith in Christ. However, if we do not place our faith in Christ, then we have rejected God the Father as well.

No comments: