Being Loose

Christianity is necessarily true. Without the Person and Work of Jesus of Nazareth, we are left in our sin and without hope. But aren’t all religions true in some ways? Aren’t there many paths to God?

Is it easy? Not always. Will you receive everything you ever wanted in this life? Most likely not.

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Maybe you’ve heard the parable of the six blind men and the elephant. In this parable, six blind men feel a different part of an elephant and come to different conclusions regarding what the elephant is actually like. One blind man grabs the tusk and says, “An elephant is like a spear!” Another feels the trunk and concludes, “An elephant is like a snake!” The blind man hugging the leg thinks, “An elephant is like a tree!” The one holding the tail claims, “An elephant is like a rope!” Another feeling the ear believes, “An elephant is like a fan!” The last blind man leaning on the elephant’s side exclaims, “An elephant is like a wall!” This parable is often used to illustrate a view known as religious pluralism. Like the blind men, no religion has the truth. Rather, all religions are true in that they accurately describe their personal experience and the spiritual reality they encounter, given various historical and cultural backgrounds. There are various types of religious pluralism, but one way to define it is as follows: “the view that all religious roads – certainly all major or ethical ones – lead to God or to ultimate reality and salvation.” This idea is commonly reflected in such statements as “All religions basically teach the same thing” or “All roads lead to the top of the mountain.” The elephant parable, while attractive to many, suffers from a number of problems.

  • Problem #1: The parable is an analogy, not an argument.
  • Problem #2: Religious pluralism is patently false.
  • Problem #3: The parable begs the question.
  • Problem #4: The parable commits the self-excepting fallacy.
  • Problem #5: The parable is self-defeating.
  • Problem #6: The parable is radically skeptical.
  • Problem #7: The parable proves the opposite.

Read more of the explanation here: The Six Blind Men and the Elephant: A Case for Religious Pluralism?

Jesus said in John 3:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 ForGod did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Do you understand that to be a Christian, you must only believe in Jesus? That He is the Son of God, sent from the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17).  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Jesus fulfilled everything required of us by God the Father, and even though He did everything perfectly and without sin, He died to save us and was treated as one who broke the law — in our place.

We call this vicarious living and dying.

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Think of it this way. What other religion or religious system allows for someone else to fulfill every requirement necessary for 1) salvation 2) entering into Heaven / Paradise? And thereby, through faith in that one person, you are saved to the uttermost?

Not only this, but if God is your Father, then you will love Jesus (John 8:42), and if you love Jesus, you will keep His commandments (John 14:15).

But you will be hated by all for my [Christ’s] name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my [Christ’s] sake will find it (Matthew 10:39). For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my [Christ’s] sake will find it (Matthew 16:25). And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my [Christ’s] name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:29).

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The Christian life is hard. But unlike Islam, we are saved first through faith in Jesus, whereby we know beyond a shadow of a doubt we will be raised at the last day, therefore, we live our lives in thankfulness and gratefulness to the Lord. Islam and other religions do not have a guarantee as this. And not only this, we receive the promised Holy Spirit by Whom we are sealed — and no one can snatch you out of the hand of the Father nor out of the Son’s hand (John 10:28-29).

Why do I bring this up?

In Christianity, sin is sin. All sin and any sin is enough to condemn us to Hell. Why? Because we are sinners. We sin because we are sinners. So, in one sense, no sin is any worse than another. However, without believing in Jesus as your only Hope and Savior, you will die in your sin.

As Christians, we struggle and fight to do what is right and good. Not to gain God’s favor, but because Jesus has gained the Father’s favor for us. We struggle and fight in thankfulness for what Christ has done for us.

It is only reasonable.

Therefore, we are to be strict with our bodies and loose with our money and possessions. The world believes we should be tight with our money and possessions yet loose with our bodies. And the world will go to great lengths to present the perception we can change the meaning and message of words. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap (Galatians 6:7).

Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us burst their bonds apart

and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;

the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King

on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;

today I have begotten you.

8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron

and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,

lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,

for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

(Psalm 2)

In other words, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Otherwise, God’s wrath is kindled upon you. It will be only a matter of time before your time is up.

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Starbucks and Gospel Reactions

I’m sure you’ve heard about the “boycott Starbucks!” debacle, right?

We, as Christians, need to think twice, research first, and respond in grace and not in haste.

Here are three articles discussing what really was said by Starbucks’ CEO:

  1. Starbucks, Same-Sex Marriage and Getting Facts Straight
  2. Did Starbucks CEO Really Say, ‘We Don’t Want Your Business’?
  3. Beware Before You Share: Starbucks, Worldviews, and Jumping to Conclusions

 

Update – 3/27/2013

The Christian Bandwagon Effect

Signs of the Times: 5 Gay Marriage Myths

Gay is Not the New Black

Should Christians Boycott Starbucks?

If you are going to boycott Starbucks, do it for the right reasons.

Don’t forget to read the fine print.

When Did Idolatry Become Compatible with Christianity?

Tim Keller – Evangelicals Face Growing Tension Between Political And Personal Views Of Gay Marriage

The Truth About Christianity

Jesus Ruined My LIfe is a great little post about the meaning of being a Christian.

Everyone is all for the pop-cultured American (small ‘c’) christianity. Instead of lifting Jesus up as our glorious Savior, he’s a used rung on the ladder of success to step on so those who step on him can be seen from a farther distance.

Albert Camus nails it when he wrote in his novel, “People naturally tried to get some help from his death. After all, it was a stroke of genius to tell us: ‘You’re not a very pretty sight, that’s certain! Well, we won’t go into the details! We’ll just liquidate it all at once, on the cross!’ But too many people now climb onto the cross merely to be seen from a greater distance, even if they have to trample somewhat on the one who has been there so long. Too many people decided to do without generosity in order to practice charity.” ~The Fall, p.114. “We long to be immortal. We are too much in love with ourselves not to want the precious object of our love never to disappear.”

Do we want a relationship with God or simply the assets He provides? We often oscillate between being both prodigal sons (Luke 15:11-32). They both want the Father’s assets at the expense of a relationship with the Father. The tale of the Prodigal Sons describes American christianity.

Michael Horton wrote, “I would argue that the reason so many unbelievers can sit comfortably in our churches and even call themselves born-again Christians is that we give them very little to deny. The offensive message of the cross has been replaced with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” with the cross tucked somewhere underneath it.”

This American christianity is a lie of the Devil. We must be watchful. Satan comes in like an angel of light and departs with a fiendish cackle over carcasses strewn in the wilderness – 1 Corinthians 10:5.

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“As a poor wicked sinner, I cannot but indulge the hope that God will save me from eternal death, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~John Cruver –1862.

God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself.

Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. ~T. F. Torrance, “The Mediation of Christ”, 94

That is the truth about Christianity.