Issues, issues everywhere and not a drop to drink! Ok, not exactly true, I’m guzzling sugar free iced tea right now… But where to start? Hell or the imminent second coming of Christ? Let’s start with hell!
These days the idea of hell seems a non-starter with most. In fact, as a society we are in the midst of concluding that the idea of a God who sends people to hell is simply dangerous. Unfortunately, the “Church” has not always helped. Instead of actually following the teachings or example of Christ (Christians right?), the “Church” has sometimes burned people at the stake. It’s a past that contributes to a dangerous image, one that is often exploited today by those who oppose Christianity. That’s to be expected of course. It’s just a fact of life that when some of those who claim to follow Jesus do such horrible and anti-Jesus things, Christianity itself gets associated with evil.
It has come to the point in our culture, that make no mistake, basic Christian beliefs are being looked upon with suspicion. No longer are heinous acts of the Dark Ages being blamed on a corrupt church or power-hungry leaders, now it’s the Bible itself, the traditional religion itself. Maybe it’s imbedded in our belief system? Seems silly to most Christians who regularly give to help the poor, or work in the soup kitchens and slums of the world. But nevertheless, despite our actions we are being painted as something more sinister, even by those who call themselves believers. As Rob Bell said in his book “Love Wins” :
“Inquisitions, persecutions, trials, book burnings, blacklisting – when religious people become violent, it is because they have been shaped by their God, who is violent.” (For you Kindle users, that’s at 88% through the book, chapter 7)
Don’t miss the logical conclusion of such reasoning. In that one sentence Rob says that taking the Bible literally in regards to God’s judgments, God’s punishments, or the reality of hell is what led the Christians to kill people. In other words ladies and gentlemen, it’s not just Bill O’Reilly, Robert Reich, or your friendly neighborhood atheist who believes Bible-believing Christians are extremists. Popular pastor and teacher Rob Bell does too. The framework for a partnership between secular atheism and liberal theology is forming to unite in opposing traditional Christianity.
In lieu of membership cards, perhaps they will opt for a mark on the hand or forehead?
Anyway, this is happening, you may have noticed, at a moment in history when it actually seems prudent to seek some understanding, and give some consideration, to what the Bible says about the judgments of God. Of course, at just the right time, here comes Harold Camping and his organization to say that the “Bible Gurantees” the world will end on May 21, 2011. If that’s the case, this article has less than 24 hours before the world-wide earthquake hits…
Does the Bible guarantee anything like that? Nope. Not even close. Harold is looking for some sort calculation based on various symbolisms while the Bible explicitly says that NO ONE knows the day or the hour. But thanks to unBiblical teaching such as Harold’s, besides dismissing the idea of hell as dangerous, we can now also dismiss the idea of taking a plain sense understanding of Bible prophecy as foolish.
It’s a twofor! Considering the state of the world lately, what timing that is…
I’m sighing now and taking another drink of tea. Good stuff.
So I suppose I can condemn, or rant against the Dark Ages, the end of the world predictions, and many other wrong things that Christians say or do. Problem is, I’m not anywhere near perfect either, and I just read another blog post by an older, wiser guy… I think it was RC Sproul… which reminds me…
As we all run around sure of our own opinions, filled up with the importance of whatever temporary issue we are worked up over, -there happens to be a God who created a universe that silently displays beauty all around the world t0night. There are precious, and yet far from perfect, human beings all over the world who will reach out to that God, seeking to know and understand the One who created them. There are incredible truths of God’s desire for mankind to turn to Him in humility and surrender, taking hold of the grace and forgiveness through Christ. Today people will find that grace, they’ll find an answer, they’ll find some comfort, they will know the love of God as it surrounds their soul…
In other words, there’s a lot of more important things going on tonight, than Harold’s crazy prediction, and an incredible work of love happening in the lives of countless people, no matter what some evil hypocrite did in 1123.
If it’s all the same to you, today I’m going to insist that Christianity is not the caricature the world paints it as, or the evil that someone perpetrated in the name of Christ. And Christianity is much bigger than our mistakes, our silly predictions, or the pride we sometimes have in our knowledge. Christianity is God reaching out to imperfect people through the sacrifice of His Son.
And oh boy are we imperfect. Amazing that He loves us anyway.