Slave to the King

Unworthy rebels, redeemed by the King of Kings and made servants fit for His use.

Month: April 2014

Aren’t We All Just on Different Paths to the Same Place?

the-pathIt is a very common belief these days that people of different faiths are really just taking alternate routes to the same destination. Often, those who propose this concept cite similarities in the teachings of these faiths in the areas of love, charity, good works and forgiveness as proof for their argument. After all, the argument is made, the different religions really just point out the fact that we need to cease from selfish acts and work to love and accept one another. That being the case, people need to understand that, no matter how different the doctrines appear to be between these religions, these differences can just be explained as cultural idiosyncrasies. If it is nothing more than our cultural understandings that influence our religious beliefs, then there is no reason to support the notion that one religion is superior to another. And if people stopped trying to one up each other in the area of faith, then we can start working together to solve the problems our world faces. Sounds simple enough, right?

The stark truth of the matter is that this line of reasoning, no matter how pleasant it sounds, crumbles under the weight of honest examination. The only way that this concept works is if one of two things are true: first, that religion is an entirely personalized experience with no actual eternal consequences; or two, that universalism is true and everyone goes to Heaven, despite what they have done in this life. Unless either of these points are true, the hypothesis above cannot be accurate. If there is an ultimate end to our faith, an afterlife that results in heaven or hell, then the competing dogmas of the various religious belief systems are contradictory and cannot be equally true. Someone is right and someone is wrong. Alternately, if universalism is the ultimate end, then doctrine and dogma are pointless because we all will enjoy eternal life despite what good or evil we do. No forgiveness or atonement is necessary. Therefore, by necessity, the thesis is wrong, but what is the true answer?

Jesus Christ taught His disciples saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6). This is a very dogmatic and exclusivist statement. There is no means by which the Christian faith can be opened up to include competing faith systems. It is often for this reason that Christianity is so hated in our culture today. Post-modern tolerance teaches that all competing views must be given equal weight and acceptance. Any worldview which is exclusive cannot be tolerated because it wars against this core belief and must be, by consequence, excluded (which is in itself exclusivist, but that discussion is for another time). Christianity, because of its exclusivist claims, is in direct conflict with post-modern tolerance. Therefore, it is often seen as the perfect example of conflict in our world and is attacked virulently by those promoting tolerance.

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The Significance of Good Friday

croix-en-contre-jourToday, around the world, millions of Christians are recognizing this day as “Good Friday.” It is the date on which we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as He willing allowed Himself to be placed on the cross, to suffer a torturous and humiliating death, reserved for only the worst of criminals. This is an important day in the life of every Christian, but the question but be asked: what is the significance of the death of a humble carpenter from small town in Israel nearly 2,000 years ago?

The death of Jesus is only significant if He was more than a humble carpenter. The scriptures teach the Jesus is God in flesh, the Son of God, second Person of the Trinity. Jesus has existed from eternity past and there was never a time in which He did not exist. He is the Creator of all things, and all things are in submission to Him. His death is significant because the God of the universe willingly died at the hands of His own creation.

His death is only significant if Jesus was both God and Man. Jesus Christ took on humanity at His incarnation. He took on the frailty of human life, with all its weaknesses and temptations. In doing so, He became our perfect representative, so that His life and death could represent us before the Father. If He were only God, He could not identify with our humanity and He could not be tempted in all ways that we were. His perfect obedience could not be accredited to us because it would be the obedience of the perfect God alone.

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Can People Really Just See Jesus in You?

im-listeningEvangelism is the proclaiming of the gospel to the unsaved world. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ, the perfect God-Man, came to the world to redeem sinners through His propitiatory death and resurrection. People who recognize their sinful state before God, repent of their sins and trust in the completed work of Jesus Christ are made new creations in the Lord. They become born again Christians who are commanded to share this glorious gospel message with other sinners so that they might find salvation in Christ as well.

When it comes to obeying the Great Commission, not all Christians are in agreement on how one should proceed. Some believe that you should ease your way into the issue, being careful not to offend unbelievers. Others make the case that the message in itself is offensive, so the direct approach is necessary to confront sin hardened hearts. In truth, while the latter argument may rub us the wrong way culturally, it is the most biblical approach.

Romans 10: 14-17 tells us, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Paul makes it clear that the gospel message is one that is spoken so that it may be heard.

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“But He Remained Silent and Made No Answer”

5-christ-before-pilate-munkc3a1csy_krisztus_pilc3a1tus_elc591tt_mng“And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?’ But he remained silent and made no answer…”  (Mark 14: 60 – 61a)

As Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin in a mock trial, many false witnesses testified against Him, seeking to convict the Savior with lies.  However, no witnesses could be found whose stories agreed.  Finally, two witnesses testified that Jesus said He would destroy the temple, the center of Jewish religious worship, and rebuild it Himself in three days.  Yet, even this perversion of Jesus’ statements – He had actually stated that the temple of His body would be destroyed and He would raise it in three days – did not find full agreement among the witnesses.  Jewish law required that no man could be convicted unless there was agreement among two or three witnesses.  The trumped up charges of the Jews were rapidly failing under the weight of the false testimony of these revilers.

Seeking to ensure something could be salvaged in this mockery of justice, the High Priest sought to compel Jesus to answer the charges brought by the witnesses.  “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” demanded the priest.  Yet Jesus was silent.  At this point, Jesus would have had more than ample opportunity to defend His innocence.  He could have clearly stated His own true statements, contradicting that of the witnesses.  He could have sought to have witnesses of His own confirm His own actions and words.  He could have challenged the illegality of the trial as it was being held at night.  He could have pointed out that, as the defendant, He was not required to testify in the trial.  All of these things Jesus could have done, yet, “he remained silent and made no answer.”

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Before You Write That Blog Post…

computer-keyboard-1380475577zZM“Should I consider blogging?” It seems like something of a no brainer to answer that question. As Christians, we have the words of life given to us in the form of Scripture. We have been commanded to share the gospel, to give an answer for the hope that lies within us, and to defend the doctrinal purity of God’s word. Therefore, if we are commanded to do these things, then it makes sense to use any and all available means to do so. This would include writing blog articles on the internet. With its vast resources and ability for people to immediately access any form of media, the internet provides the Christian with access to potentially millions of lost souls for the sake of the gospel. A well written article on a high traffic blog could potentially affect unknown numbers of souls for the sake of the Kingdom. So blogging is almost an essential for a follower of Christ to have these days. Isn’t it?

The first time I sat at the keyboard and wrote an article, I wrote about evangelism. When I did so, I wrote in the manner as virtually every other evangelist I had seen on the internet. I shared about the need for evangelism, I wrote about recent encounters with lost souls and asked for prayers, and then I wrote virtually the same article the following week. And the week after that. And the week after that. The details changed, but the articles were the same. I wanted to share the need for the gospel and I wanted to convey to members of the body of Christ how desperately we needed to preach it. The truth was, however, I was merely mimicking what everyone else was doing.

It took a while before I started to understand that sharing the same stories week after week, while often informative, did little to actually educate and edify the body of Christ. I began to seek out different subjects or events to highlight the need the church was, in my estimation, ignoring. I wrote about tragedies, newsworthy items, and public events to show the thinking of the unsaved, secular world. I implored my readers to see these things as evidence of a world falling further into the abyss of sin, a world which could only be rescued by the gospel.

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