Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Faith in Christ - Merry Christmas

I heard a preacher say "Even if God did nothing more for you then create this world, and send his son to die for your sins, that ought to be enough for you to praise him, to worship him and to serve him. Amen?"  

I thought about that. Then I thought about it some more.  Then I realized that pretty much sums up my beliefs and my faith and 99% of what I have been blogging about since August. Nothing I can "attack" there. No arguments I can think of.  And since I do believe that God created this world, and I do believe that I am a sinner, and I have faith that Jesus was who he said he was, and I am trusting in him for my salvation...well then, it makes sense that I should worship him, praise him and serve him.

That is why I am not an atheist or a Deist.  That is why on occasion I get angry, or sad, or frustrated, or discouraged or fired up by those fundamentalist, extremist Christians that say I am not a Christian if I believe those things, but don't also believe every other thing their theological views say I should believe.

Or they tell me that they are "concerned" for my salvation if I am not buying everything else they try to add on to that simple message, no matter how I live my life.  Actions do NOT speak louder then beliefs in their world.  For example, the gospel says nothing about putting your faith in the Bible itself. My faith is not based on what is written in some ancient "sacred and holy" text. For example, I believe there are Jews because I have met some and have seen Israel in the news and seen pictures of the place. It is crazy to think that I believe there are Jews just because the Bible speaks of the Jews. Much of the Bible, thankfully, includes some verifiable people and places and history in the real world. I believe those parts not just because the Bible says it. Another example is this: I don't believe the Roman Empire existed and crucified people just because the Bible says so.  So I DON'T need a belief in the inerrancy of scripture to believe there were Jews under Roman rule and that they crucified people. I can believe that even if I were indeed an atheist.

And please consider this the very few of you who are fundamentalist zealots about your holy book: If the scriptures had been completely lost, but the stories of Christ had been passed down for centuries, I could have faith based on that and the Holy Spirit's work in my life and my grandparent's influence and my parent's influence, or because I heard Billy Graham preach or because a friend shared Christ with me. It's not just about believing a holy book. I never placed my faith in a book. I placed it in Jesus Christ.

As a matter of fact, I believed and put my faith in Christ long before I was even aware of what was in the book!  It was later that I learned what the book even said. So I can, and do have faith, without a total reliance on any holy book. Let that sink in brother. And more importantly, doesn't that PROVE that God is real better then religions arguing about which book is the truth?  My God gets his message to his people without the need for reliance on a holy book.  There should only be one religion since there is only one God and he calls his people. But when we rely on holy books, we get wars over whose book is the real truth.  Think about it.

But yet, atheists and fundamentalists will both continue to argue to me that it is impossible and illogical to believe in Jesus unless and except you believe in the inerrant Bible that tells you about him.  I get the philosophical arguments they make. I understand the logic. But it is a false and dangerous logic and a destructive philosophy. The same one the atheist uses to explain why they don't believe in God.  Both reason that you can't pick and choose to only believe in Christ if you don't believe everything else. To the atheist, that proves that the entire book is to be dismissed, not trusted and thrown out. But the fundamentalist makes the same argument to me. They tell me to throw the whole thing out if I find any part I don't believe.

Why has belief and adherence to an ancient holy text become more important then loving God and praising him for life, creation, and salvation?  Why are we more devoted to our beliefs, then we are to Jesus?  Why is what we believe "about" Jesus more important then the faith we have "in" Jesus? It's NOT. Unless, you are one of the few remaining fundamentalist that doggedly cling to this harmful view.  And the church and gospel continue to decline in number and influence. 

You do understand that, thankfully, you are in a very, very, very small percentage of the Christian world that holds to such cult like beliefs don't you?  I've said this before: you don't believe everything the Jews or Catholics or Protestants or Methodists or Baptists or non-denominational groups believe do you?  But you don't throw out everything they believe do you?  You pick and choose don't you?  I hope so.

So this Christmas, I am going to thank God for sending his son to die for my sins, I am going to accept through faith, the free gift of salvation he offers, and I am going to continue to try and serve Him (not the local 501(c)(3) or the guy they pay thousands of dollars and benefits to preach there) the best I can while loving and providing for my family and those in need with my time, talent and resources. And I am going to enjoy the Christmas decorations (both the secular and biblical ones), the Christmas songs and music (both secular and biblical) and spending time with friends and family during the holidays.  And if someone gives me a pair of shoes for my feet, or puts a roof over my head, I will thank them for that.  And I will thank God for his creation, love, and salvation. Amen.



13 comments:

The Govteach said...

Man, my thoughts are so close to your's...it is spooky...keep up the good work sir....

Arce said...

Amen.

bobfelton said...

Nice distinction between religion and religious. Heavy-handed denominations like the SBC don't seem to 'get' that, or to be thoughtful enough to grasp it anyhow, but it's real and a more widespread appreciation of it would be a good thing.

Two worthwhile books which take it up in depth: "Jesus for the non-Religious," by John Spong, and "A Common Faith," by John Dewey.

And a Happy Solstice! to you, too, Dawg.

Ramesh said...

Religion turns poetry into prose and insists that the beliefs have to be THIS way and not THAT way. But then they lose the focus from the Savior or central truth. Such is life.

All is not lost. Just some are deluded. That's all. :-)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. BTW holidays are holy days. But we know Christ was not born during Christmas. He is born every day or every day aught to be celebrated as Christmas.

Ramesh said...

A minor but important quibble which a very few would claim it is major.

well then, it makes sense that I should worship him, praise him and serve him.

The beauty of faith in Christ is one does not have to do anything. As in Nietzsche mentions in "three transformations of the spirit", the dragon " Thou shalt" after it has been slain one is freed of law and "no more rules to obey". Including that one should worship his creator. And this dragon was slain by Christ.

But the hardest thing for a Christian is to come to this realization and be at rest in Christ. No more "shoulds".

The impulse to worship comes free from within that is free of all bondages. This sadly is very difficult to be appreciated by following law and rules and ones own performance to become a saint and failing all the time.

Alex said...

I don't follow this post at all. Muslims do not believe that Jesus died. You do. That's because you believe the Bible not the Quran. You seem ashamed of the Bible but if you add up all you know about Jesus from other sources there is nothing much to believe in and certainly no salvation. From other sources he was a radical rabbi who was bumped off.

What is more, you have ignored the resurrection which was the basic message of all the first apostles (according to the Bible - and some other sources). I don't know where you got your knowledge of Jesus from, but if it was in any way from a Protestant preacher or book then it is from the Bible indirectly. You are trying to separate the inseparable and you are part of the proof against yourself.

I hope that, being true to your philosophy, you are not celebrating Christmas which is a very Biblical event.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Alex - I just wrote an entire post that responds to you. In reply to your post, I would just ask that you reread it. And no matter what you, or the atheists tell me, I'm going to celebrate Christmas. Peace.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Alex - I also believe in the resurrection. Should I throw that belief out too? My atheist friends say I should and have to if all the bible is not believable to me. Do you agree with the atheists? Should I denounce my faith this Christmas and join the atheists?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I've never even hinted about being embarrassed by the bible! Why would you say such a terrible thing? I think you are projecting your insecurities onto me. Merry Christmas.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Christmas is NOT the celebration of the Bible as the infallible, inerrant word of God. Yet some can't seem to distinguish between where they have placed their faith. They follow a book, and the men that selected the writings and letters within the book, more then they trust Jesus. Sad. Alex CANT believe in Jesus without total faith in a collection of ancient writings. That sounds no different then the Mormon or Muslim. They HAVE to rely on ancient texts or otherwise their faith and religion can't stand up to scrutiny. I guess that's why so much blood had to be shed in wars over religion. And why we had an inquisition. To defend the sacred book.

Ramesh said...

This discussion begs the question of how the early believers before the bible was put together believed in God and Christ. My suspicion is that early believers were more alive to the spirit than later believers. In spite of Greek, Latin and English versions we are blinder now even though we can read. Early believers though many could not read were more vitalized by the spirit. This is all a reflection of the pygmies that we are, though no insult to the pygmies. I am just talking of the spiritual pygmies that we are.

Billy said...

(I sincerely hope you'll print my post this time---you've chosen to not post 3 of mine lately though I have no idea why. I'm NOT your enemy. But...)

These are my 2 celebration songs for the Christmas season for you and your readers.

First, A Season of Hope (with words) by Don Moen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKT1VUj5Qrs

Second, It's Raining Again (words to follow) by The Imperials:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wAeLhyRswI

It’s Raining Again (as recorded by The Imperials from the album “Love’s Still Changing Hearts”)

We've gathered in the Name
The Name that is Love
We've come with our hearts and our prayers
We've lifted our offerings up
His touch is all we desire
We prayed that His Spirit would rain down like fire
And it's raining again
Mmm, the Spirit of heaven is falling on men
It's raining again
Mmm, and all of our heartache soon will be cleansed
For His love is a consummate shower
Ooh and it rains down glory and power
It's raining again
It's raining again
Yeah, yeah
Oh, we’re washed in the blood
The blood that defies, mmm
Any hold that sin may have
Any one of the enemy’s lies
Hey our lives are safe in His grace (safe in His grace)
And our spirits are strengthened each time that it rains
And it's raining again
Yeah the Spirit of heaven is falling on men
It's raining again
Hey and all of our heartache soon will be cleansed
For His love is a consummate shower (shower)
Ooh and it rains down glory and power
It's raining again
Again! And again!
Ooh and no love
No love is like this
And no love (no love) is so true
Whoa, and no feeling
No feeling compares
When it's raining on you (you)
Whoa yeah it's raining again (raining again)
Oh the Spirit of heaven is falling on men
It's raining again (raining again)
Ooh and all of our heartache soon will be cleansed
For his love, ooh, is a shower (shower)
That rains down glory and power
It's raining again
Ooh, it's raining again (raining again)
Mmm, yeah
Raining again
Raining again
It’s raining again
Mmm, it’s raining again

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Merry Christmas, Billy. I don't view anyone as an enemy. But sometimes I don't put up posts that are off topic. Sorry if this happened to yours once or twice. :)