This morning I woke up with ideas of thrillers and captures, fully planning to write up a delicious new story. I had watched something thrilling, broken, and breathtaking. But something on the radio woke me up, and now I have something else to write, something much more important than an adventure story to give me an adrenaline rush. I need to write something with a purpose.
The story on the radio was about our culture and how foreign the most basic of biblical information is to those who call themselves Christians. Questions like “Who built the ark? What was the name of Adam’s Wife? How many disciples did Jesus have?” could not be answered. People are convinced that Poor Richard’s almanac quotes are scripture.
This is our fault.
It’s really all of our faults. We cell ourselves up in little communities and don’t tell others the truth. We make little evangelism attempts but don’t tell people the whole scripture. We tell people that God loves them without telling them what he did in that love, and why. Kids grow up with the songs and the stories and then leave it all behind. And things aren’t changing.
Christians, what are you doing?
What am I doing?
Who I am.
I’m a Christian and a Bible Scholar. I read the Bible every day and I memorize scripture for my private use. I’m homeschooled and have been taught to think for myself and use logic to discern the truth in a maze of lies. I try to engage in discussions and tell other people what I know, but I’m discouraged by my own fears and sensitivity. I can talk to a boy about coin collections, or teach a little girl Spanish, but I can’t seem to tell someone stories from the Bible, the most important story of all time.
That needs to stop now.
Any storyweaver who can’t tell that Story is not worthy of the title. And I put myself on that list foremost. I am ashamed of this failure. But I am also grateful to God for convicting me of my failure. Now I can move on. Now I can turn around. Now I can make a difference.
In my Sunday School class we have interesting, intellectual conversations about government, history, science, and cults. But I don’t know if my teacher has once asked us a question from the Bible. We’re smart kids! If we don’t know enough about the Bible to answer questions from it…teach us! We need to know. If we don’t know now, we’re in trouble.
What I believe.
As a millennial, I’m in the minority. I believe that God is real, powerful, loving, and the creator of all creation supernaturally and out of nothing. I believe that Jesus Christ is Fully God and Fully Man, who was born of a virgin and lived and taught and did miracles and was unjustly accused and murdered, and who rose from the dead. I believe that when Christ died, the just for the unjust, he not only destroyed Satan but he also took the sins of the entire world; past, present, and future; and he has called us to live a holy life in remembrance and obedience to him. I believe that he truly came, and I believe that he’s coming again. I believe that the Bible is true, that what it says is true, and that everything that disagrees with it is error and and a lie.
And I’m not compromising on that.
What is your Foundation?
If we compromise on any of the things I just stated to accommodate our friends or neighbors, even for evangelism purposes, we sacrifice our foundation for the sake of the building. Where does a building go without a foundation? Straight down. Christian, where is your foundation?
In Geometry, there are three tools you can use to prove a mathematical enigma. These tools have special names: Postulates, Theorems, and Definitions. Postulates are universal rules and truths who have stood the test of time and are still true, self-evident truths. Definitions are clear statements of being and nature, which do not change and identify a thing for what it is. Theorems are built on the foundation of the Postulates and the Definitions. They are the weakest, but they are many. Postulates do not change. Definitions do not change. If they do, they threaten everything that relies on them.
If someone were to take out the postulates, and change the definitions, what would happen? If you change a triangle from a three-pointed shape to a four-pointed shape, would it make a difference? If you built your theorems on other theorems and broken definitions, will what you decide be truth or fiction?
How can we truly search for truth when we can’t even decide what it is?
Illiterate, and proud of it.
Christian, wake up! We’re dealing with an epidemic of illiteracy! We can’t ignore this! What if everyone in a city couldn’t read? What if they couldn’t read street signs or notices? What if they didn’t understand speed limit signs? What would you do? Would you dumb down drivers’ tests and school assignments and give them orally? Would you turn the street signs into pictures? Would you accommodate the illiterate? Is that really helping them? What is better for the person who is illiterate? Isn’t it to teach him to read?
Learning to read is hard! Learning to read isn’t fun! Learning to read is tough! But learning to read is essential for life! Why is the first response of our society to be sympathetic and accommodating? If a person is a disability, yes, we do help them and make things easier for them. But we also help them learn how to live normally! We work hard to help people learn to read, speak English, get jobs. We are passionate about helping them because we love them and are concerned for their physical success and welfare.
When did it become ok in our culture to accept ignorance and error? Why is it our natural response to tell them that they’re right, and that we won’t bother them or try to change their minds? Why do we accept what we know isn’t true? Why do we accept disabilities and handicaps that we don’t need to bear? If your arm is broken, do you just accept it for what it is? No! You take it to a doctor and have it taken care of. You heal it. Then you put it through physical therapy so you can use it again.
Why do we do differently in the Church?
Candy vs. Cardboard
Church for the most part is spoon-fed in feel-good doses. We assume that people aren’t smart enough to learn the hard things so we just give them platitudes and pats on the back and illustrations. We tell them nice stories and don’t ask them hard questions. We are sweet like candy; pleasing, but not substantial. We are kind to a fault, like fluffy pillows with no support. Where is our foundation?
I’ve been in both situations. I’ve been to a church where we had “bare boards” theology, where we were very clear about what we believed and we bordered on the legalistic. I’ve been to a church that was fluffy and sweet, kind to everyone and comfortably confusing. This doesn’t have to be an either-or, hard or soft.
Our church experience doesn’t have to be either candy or cardboard. It doesn’t have to be bare boards or fluffy pillows. There is a happy medium, a place where we tell each other the truth in love, not compromising on what we know is true from scripture, but not being divided on silly little things. We don’t have to sacrifice the truth to be kind.
This is the church’s call.
What should we do?
We need to be kind and helpful and inviting, but we also need to be firm and sure on what we believe! Do the people in your church know why Christ died? Do they know why sin is a problem? Do they know about Hell? Do they know about Satan? Do they know the place of pastors? Do they believe in the Holy Spirit? Do they get their information from God’s Word, or from their pastors, or from books, or from television? Do they know how to tell their neighbors about Christ? Do they know that God loves them? Can they trust the people in their church? Can they trust God?
Do you know the answers to these questions?
We need to talk to our friends about Spiritual things. We need to talk to them about these things like we do about other things. We need to be able to talk about them to our families and not feel strange! We need to be confident in God’s word, which means we need to know it! Studying scripture needs to be our priority. Prayer needs to be our priority. Witnessing needs to be a priority! These things go together!
Our sunday classes need to be informative and helpful. Our studies need to be based on fact instead of emotion and celebrity writers and cool graphics. Kids and adults need to be taught truths, not stories and examples, straight from God’s word and from the words of the saints through history, not just from the last ten years. We need to have a firm grasp on reality and truth and history even in the youngest classes. For a college-age class we should have college-level study. If the kids don’t know the Bible, then help them learn, and encourage them to read it!
Our sermons need to be full of God’s word, using not just emotion and wit, but also truth and history. Our pastors shouldn’t be afraid to speak the truth, nor should they worry that they will lose listeners if they talk about painful topics. Our people need to be loving, and to encourage each other and their leaders. This is our call. This is our prerogative.
Why am I so insistent, all of a sudden? What has changed? Why am I so suddenly worried? The answer is in statistics.
Walking with our Eyes closed
We are running into a bloc of children who are growing up with their heroes all following secular scripts. We are growing up and discovering that our parents’ worldview and the worldview of our friends are not compatible. We have no postulates in our culture so all truths are based on emotion and mob rule. We are being fed lies all day, and we’re beginning to repeat them in our sleep. Propaganda from the media, propaganda from the schools, propaganda from our entertainment, propaganda from our books and paintings and music, propaganda from our celebrities.
We are becoming strangers in our own country. We have won an election but we have lost a generation. We have compromised on the truth and we’re reaping the results. It is going to be very dangerous for churches in the years to come. We the Children will either be Giants of the Faith in an Era of Persecution, or we will fall away and quietly join the others in our generation, who believe everything and nothing.
We’ve been walking with our eyes closed as Christians. We have separated our faith from our lives. We live like faith is only a small part of us, like a hobby. We don’t commit to growing the church and discipling our friends, but instead spend our time growing our own little empires of education, fiction, or industry. And as we walk with our eyes closed, others are setting traps all around us, waiting for us to fall.
What can we do? We must know our Bible! We can’t fight this blindly! We need our pastors to speak the truth no matter what people think. We need to teach our children to know their faith and defend their faith, to know God and serve him and love him! We need to speak out. We need to be ready to defend. We need to know the truth. This is a problem with our churches, our families, ourselves. Do I know the Truth? Does my Family? Does my Pastor? Do my Friends?
When our modern heroes fail us, we need to know the stories of the faith! We must learn the stories of the martyrs and heroes who God used to do amazing things. We need to make Christ our example, not fictional characters or celebrities. And this life is going to have consequences.
John 17: 14-19 says “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” Christ came to us and taught us His Truth, a truth that will never change or decay. He died so that the blood-guilt of every sin from Adam on would be covered by his perfect blood. And because we guard the truth, the world hates us. They’re not going to stop hating us if we forget the truth or are careless in guarding it.
It’s time to fight, guys. It’s time to fight, Christian. Get your Bible. Get in the Word. Talk to your pastor. Get involved. Don’t be satisfied with what is! Let’s be the soldiers we are. Run the race given to you. Fight for the Truth. Love others and talk to them. Don’t be satisfied with a lie. Don’t tolerate heresy. Understand what is true and what is a lie.
It’s a lonely world out there for the truth. And if we don’t open our eyes, we’ll be swept away. Stand your ground on your faith. Figure out what that is.