Tag Archives: romans

“Belief-less” Christianity? Don’t buy it!

John Shuck believes that religion was invented by humans; he believes that faith is a product of evolution; he believes that Jesus might have been a historical figure, but stories about Him are legend; he believes that God isn’t real; and he believes that there is no afterlife. Up until now there was a name for that, “atheist.” But Shuck has made news lately for demanding another name, ”Christian.” 

The reason this is news is because Shuck is a Minister with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), yet he doesn’t believe in God. And while a minister losing faith is nothing new, Shuck has an interesting twist. Losing faith didn’t cause him to leave the ministry. Rather, he glorifies a new gospel that he calls, “Belief-less Christianity!”

Now, at its root, this is just the logical conclusion of what C.S. Lewis bemoaned when he said that the word “Christian” had become meaningless – merely a “good person.” But there is something far more sinister at work here. Can one be a Christian and have no faith in Jesus? No faith in God? No belief in the afterlife?

Most Christians realize that the Bible exclusively teaches a faith-based religion. It always has been and always will be. There is no other way to practice it; and there is certainly no other way to be saved by it.

In the New Testament (ie., Romans 4, Galatians 3:6, Hebrews 11:19, and James 2:23), physical lineage is shown to mean nothing without faith. It is by faith that Israel has always been Israel. It is by faith that Israel was pleasing to God. It is by BELIEF in ACTION.

Christians are believers. Peter spoke among those who believed (Acts 1:15). At Antioch, believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). Salvation, belief, and Christianity are intertwined (Acts 15:11, 16:31; Romans 10:9). There simply is no such thing (in scripture) as an acceptable and “belief-less” Christianity.

Yet, Shuck doesn’t appreciate being told that he isn’t a Christian. He doesn’t appreciate that “Christianity has placed all of its eggs in the belief basket.” In his congregation, people are encouraged to “bring your own God” or “none at all.” But he insists it is still “Christianity!”

Friends, I hope you see that the two positions are incompatible. The clearest teaching in scripture is that salvation is based on belief in Jesus, joining in his death, burial, and resurrection through baptism, and living a life in enduring faith. Shuck claims that “belief-less” Christianity is thriving, but don’t be duped. “Belief-less” Christianity…it is no Christianity at all.

I’ll keep my “eggs in the belief basket” over Shuck’s new gospel any day!

Have you Been Exposed? It Spreads More Easily Than You Thought!

Ebola

The Ebola virus has everyone scared these days. Just what is it? Is there a cure? How do we stop it? As Dallas, TX becomes a city on edge, people everywhere want to know: How does it really spread?

Up until now, health officials have said that Ebola spreads through physical contact or bodily fluids only. But many health workers and scientists are now saying that those statements might have been premature. Ebola might travel through the air too!

For example, recently, Tribune News Service quoted Dr. C.J. Peters (who “led the CDC’s most far-reaching study of Ebola’s transmission in humans”) as saying that there is a possibility that Ebola spreads through air. “We just don’t have the data to exclude it,” said Peters. Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC in Atlanta, agrees that the spread through coughing or sneezing can’t be ruled out.

The bottom line is: the disease might spread more easily than we knew. This happens all the time though. Scientists think they know how a disease spreads and then find out it is worse than they thought. Perhaps it happens in the church too. Are you aware that you might have been exposed to a far deadlier disease?

The Bible warned us a long time ago about a far more deadly disease that spreads easily through entire cultures. It began all the way back in Genesis. God told Adam & Eve, “You shall surely die,” but Satan said, “You shall surely not die” (Genesis 2:17; 3:4). The disease is sin, and it is the cause of our physical and spiritual deaths (Romans 6:23).

For far too long, people have felt immune because God has not caused physical, immediate death like an Ebola virus does. But as Peter reminded us, God is not slow in bringing punishment, but is patient, wanting us to repent of our sins (2 Peter 3:9).

Sin is a deadly disease. And it spreads more easily that you thought. Have you been exposed to the virus? Are you infected? Did you think you were immune? There is only one cure for sin: the forgiving blood of Jesus. Come to know Him today. Jesus gives us victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57)!

Feeding the Enemy

Iraq-e1412157860901-665x385

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (Proverbs 25:21, NASB).

It seems the Iraqi army took Proverbs 25:21 literally a couple of weeks ago…accidently that is!

According to recent reports, “Iraqi military pilots mistakenly gave food, water and ammunition to enemy ISIS militants instead of their own soldiers.” Apparently, Iraqi pilots mistakenly dropped supplies over an area controlled by ISIS and not to their soldiers who are currently fighting ISIS.

When asked about this mistake, a member of the Iraqi parliament said:

“Those soldiers were in deadly need of these supplies, but because of the wrong plans of the commanders in the Iraqi army and lack of experience of the pilots, we in a [sic] way or another helped ISIS fighters to kill our soldiers.”

In explaining the event, a brigadier-general in Iraq’s Defense Ministry said, “Yes, that’s what had [sic] happened,” some air force pilots “do not have enough experience… they are all young and new.”

When the Apostle Paul quoted Proverbs 25:21 in Romans 12:20, this isn’t exactly what he had in mind. Feeding one’s “enemy” is a noble idea, when done on purpose. It is a sign that you are not going to take vengeance. Rather, you trust that the Lord will work out everything properly in His time. It is an act of grace and mercy.

But accidentally feeding your enemy, because of carelessness and a lack of planning, is a serious danger. Children of God must take great care to ensure that they are dropping resources in the right places. This is especially true in training the “young and new.”

Satan is prowling about, like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Give it some thought…where have you been dropping resources? Have you been feeding the Lord’s army or sending supplies across enemy lines?

Every time you feed Satan, he grows stronger and is able to devour more souls of soldiers in the faith. Beware; his next meal might be one you dropped his way!

Stabbed in the Back

Have you ever been stabbed in the back? Of course, I don’t mean literally. I mean when someone abuses your trust and friendship for personal gain. We call this “getting stabbed in the back.” And if it has happened to you, you know how difficult it is to rest easy with a “knife” in your back.

But apparently sleeping with an actual knife in your back isn’t nearly as difficult! According to recent news, a New Jersey man slept soundly for about 10 hours until he awoke complaining about a pain in his back. He called his brother and asked him to take a look. That is when his brother told him he had a 5” blade stuck in his back!

The wound had been the result of a struggle the man had that evening with someone on his front porch. His attacker had walked up asking for a cigarette, there was an argument and fight between the two, and then the attacker ran off. The man thought he had won the fight and decided not to chase his attacker into the night. He awoke the next morning to find quite a surprise!

If you have ever felt “stabbed in the back,” then you are in good company. Did you know that Jesus was stabbed in the back once too?  It is true! No, it wasn’t a literal knife, but Jesus’ close companion, Judas Iscariot, stabbed Him in the back. He betrayed Jesus for a small bag of money – hardly worthy of putting a knife in the back of the Son of God.

Despite having been betrayed, Jesus loved and prayed for His enemies, and He taught His disciples to do so too. And when He had the opportunity to have retribution on Judas…He just let Him go off into the night. Do you “chase your attackers into the night,” or love and pray for them instead?

If we trust people, we might occasionally take a knife to the back, but we do well to remember that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19). When I follow Christ’s example, I sleep better…how about you?