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Monday, September 20, 2010

"I Belong to the Christian Faith" and Other Stupid Books

A book title in the children's section of the public library caught my attention today: I Belong to the Christian Faith (PowerKids Press, 2010). I decided to check it out and see whether the author of this secular book actually understands the Christian faith.


Here's what I encountered:

Jesus taught us to try to be good people (p. 18).

Oh really? If that's the case, I officially resign as a Christian. Religion teaches us to try to be good people. I'm done with trying. All my attempts at trying to be a good "Faith" have failed miserably. I fell in love with Jesus because He came along and said, "Just rest in my love and let me change you. As a matter of fact, if you'll allow me, I'll come live inside you and shine right through your frail humanity." What a relief!

Jesus taught us that if we believe in God, we will also be given new life and will be with him when we die (p. 9).

"The devils also believe and tremble" (James 2:19). Furthermore, define "God." Jesus said that He Himself is God incarnate. But believing in Him is not enough. It's a matter of what you believe about Him. Eternal life is only promised to those who confess their need for a Savior (repent of trying to do life "my way"), and "believe on the  Lord Jesus Christ, that God has raised Him from the dead" (Romans 10:9).  A changed life is the evidence of such a confession.

We go to church to worship God (p. 5).

Wrong again. We go to church to complain about the worship.

(That was a joke).

Actually, we can and should worship wherever we are--any place, any time. My personal favorite places to worship are: in the dentist's chair, at the tax office, and in rush hour traffic.

But there is a lot to be said for corporate worship. That's why I think the more important reason for going to church (and more biblical) is for fellowship. We need to rub shoulders on a regular basis with those who, like ourselves, know their desperate need for God.

Perhaps a more appropriate title would be, I Belong to the Christian Religion. But of course that would be an oxymoron to those of us who understand that this is all about a relationship. (Christianity is the unreligion!) But there the book was--displayed right next to I Belong to the Muslim Faith:

One day, Allah will choose whether I go to Heaven when I die (p. 16).

Yikes! Now, this author may be as uninformed as the aforementioned one, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But if that statement is indeed true, then Allah and Jehovah can't be the same God (So don't go giving me that "all-paths-lead-to-the-same-god" nonsense.). My God chose me (and you) for Heaven long ago. But it's up to us to accept that invitation. Today. We get to choose-- today.

Now lest I be labeled a bigot, let me close with  a quote from the great Christian missionary Brother Andrew: "We must see that the word ISLAM stands for 'I sincerely love all Muslims'." 
 

8 comments:

gigimae101 said...

wow! crazy people who wrote that , they were trying to be politically correct or some other bunk i'm sure..

Anonymous said...

Brilliant site, I hadn't noticed www.thenonreligiouschristian.blogspot.com previously in my searches!
Keep up the excellent work!

cacia said...

Good one Faith(they are all good BTW) but this one reverberated with my spirit.....I find it wonderful and a little amazing that Across thousands of miles and denominational lines he is helping us become real, real , real people.....not just robots programmed by whatever leader(thank God, because they are all flawed!)is the "thing" of the moment, in the christian world!

Anonymous said...

"this author may be as ignorant as the aforementioned one"

"to those of us who understand that this is all about a relationship"

LOL!  

Faith said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for pointing out my inconsistency in the area of relationships. If only I was as gracious with people as God is. We are working on that!
Be blessed.:)

Faith

HenryZ said...

So then, how do you explain the following verses:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10

Aren't there many more verses about being good and doing good than there are about a "personal relationship with Jesus"? Although I'm sure that is important too, doesn't the bible have many more verses about good works than it does a personal relationship?

Here are some more:

Matthew 16:27: "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done."

Matthew 19:17: "'Why do you ask me about what is good?' Jesus replied. 'There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.'"

John 5:29: "And will come out--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."

Acts 26:20: "First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds."

Romans 2:6,7; 13: "For he will repay according to each one's deeds. To those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; for it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified."

1 Corinthians 13:2-3: "And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

1 Timothy 6:18-19: "That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."

Hebrews 10:24: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."

James 1:22: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

James 2 "... What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? ... Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? ... Ye see then how that by works a man is justified."

James 2:24: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone."

Revelation 2:23: "Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds."

Revelation 20:13: "All the dead were judged according to their deeds."

Revelation 22:12: "Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds."

There are many more. Can you list any verses that talk about a "personal relationship" with Jesus? If so, what would be the criteria for knowing that you have a personal relationship and are not deceived into thinking that you do?

Faith said...

Dear HenryZ,

Thank you for pointing out the importance of proving our faith through works. This was the main point of James' epistle ("Faith without works--good deeds-- is dead."). And the verses you listed certainly speak to this. But let us not forget, as Paul taught through his writings, that WORKS MUST FLOW FROM FAITH (or our relationship with God.) We do good deeds out of love for Him, not out of religious duty.

You asked for verses about the importance of knowing Jesus personally. Here are a couple (and I'll explain why I'm only listing two):

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? (GOOD WORKS!)And I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me...." Matt. 7:22-23 (Wow! What a sobering thought, that one can be active in the ministry at that level, and not even know God.)

In Phillippians 3 Paul tells us that he was a top seminary student, zealous for obeying religious law to the hilt (WORKS!). Yet he says it's all "rubbish" if he leaves this life not knowing Christ.

But honestly, there is danger in building a belief or doctrine from isolated scriptures. The Bible must be understood as a whole. Scripture must support scripture. When you put it them all together, you don't have "contradictions"--you have BALANCE. James said prove your faith by your works. Paul said we're saved by faith, not works. Both are correct.

So I can't list more scriptures. There is simply no room. The whole of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is a loud cry from our Maker, begging to know us and be known. From Adam walking and talking with Him in Eden, to the Song of Solomon's portrait of God as the lover of our soul, to King David's heart-felt rantings, to Jeremiah's quiet waiting to hear His voice, to Hosea running to rescue his unfaithful wife (as a symbol to God's spiritually adulterous people), to John the Beloved literally hearing Jesus' heart-beat.... All of scripture screams "relationship." It's the essence of life. It's what we were made for. We can't grow in proper relationship with each other, I am convinced, without a proper relationship with our Creator. It is the message of the Bible--God's love letter to us.

Finally, you asked "what would be the criteria for knowing that you have a personal relationship (with Jesus)?"

If God (Jesus) is a person, as the Bible teaches that He is, then I would answer your question in the same way I would answer it if you were asking how I know I have a personal relationship with my husband:

Is there open, honest communication?

Or is it all scripted, rote, ritualistic. (Can you imagine that kind of marriage? He comes in the door and I read off a greeting, the same one I repeat every day. That's how "religious" people relate to God.)

Are we in love? Can we not be apart from each other without longing?

Am I affected--changed--through knowing him? Do I listen, allowing him to shape into a better person (abundant in good works!)?


Do we enjoy quality time together? Are we comfortable being quiet and still in each other's presence, without the "need" to always say something?

Carla Anne Coroy said...

Thank you, Faith, for an excellent post and a very excellent reply above. May the Lord continue to give you His wisdom and strengthen you for the work He still has planned for you and you revel in your relationship with Him.