Dec 9, 2014

The Lack of Love in Our Arguments

As a person that is interested in defending the Christian faith, a part of what I am trying to grow in is sharing arguments for different aspects of what I believe, from the existence of God to why we can believe that Jesus really did rise from the grave.  Here is my problem: I am not much into arguing with anyone.  Honestly, I try my best to avoid confrontation.  Now, that is not to say that I will not speak my mind if I need to and I do not allow anyone to step over me, but I like to hear people's ideas and beliefs, then share my own in a calm conversation.  I have watched some debates between Christian theists and atheists and I have seen comments that may something similar to: "These debates will not change anyone's mind."  But I am not sure that I would agree completely because I believe that a major part of debating is to hear other sides looking at the same issue.  Who knows who will hear something that they might not have heard before and they go back to the "drawing board" and take time to rethink their position on some things.  You never know.  Plus, if public debates are ever shut down completely, then those in the Christian faith should worry all the more because that will close the door on any kind of open dialogue with the world (those who do not adhere to the Christian faith).

I must say that disparaging remarks made about another's worldview is never helpful when anyone's presenting their polemic against that worldview.  I look at some YouTube videos and think how sad it is that many of the "performers" have what appears to be a strong desire to belittle those who do not share their view on anything from religion to science.  It does happen with those who call themselves Christians, but many more times, I find that videos made by the "YouTube atheist" tend to be about showing very little care about being respectful in disagreement, but strives to be sarcastic and insensitive to the believer. Yes, I know that someone might see me as being a bit too sensitive, because of the whole "sticks and stones" philosophy, but I think sarcastic tones of speech or degrading and demeaning vocabulary does nothing for anyone to "win" an argument.  After hearing Dr. Richard Dawkins say that he believes atheists should ridicule and mock others for their beliefs at the Reason Rally held back in 2012, it makes sense to me why many atheists would feel the need to go this route.  But the Christian has no excuse to use this kind of a behavior as a means to get across a point of view, even if the nonreligious person is doing it to you.

Love should always be our motive to explain why we believe to others what we believe as servants of Jesus the Christ.  I think it will be essential to sharing our faith (evangelizing) to remember that we want to see this person accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  We will need to accept that some people will not want to hear our points of view, or they might be so captivated by their own intelligence that they cannot hear anything you are saying to them about faith.  I believe, as Christians, we ought to learn ways in how to bow out of an argument gracefully, without appearing as if we have lost just because we could not give great premises in our argument and we lacked some key foundation in our logic.  God's existence is not based on how well we deliver intelligent ideas of reason or profound, rational and cohesive points of natural theology, God's existence is as unmovable as the gravity that keeps our feet firmly in the ground and He does not vanish (as some sort of hypothesis) when we can no longer bring other 'evidences' of Him to the table.  God is Love and His existence is steeped in love, along with judgement and His other attributes, and He desires that we share His Love with those around us in the presentation of ourselves.  Therefore, we are to present ourselves in a Christ-like manner, and let God do the rest.

One must ask himself/herself: is it possible to love the very person that I am in heated disagreement with?

Sep 7, 2014

Why You Should Watch Your Theology? (The Reason for This Blog)

I believe that the study of theology has become more important to my life in the last three years than its ever been.  The older I have gotten, and the more I have grown in my love of Jesus Christ, the more I see how important it is for people to "watch your theology."  When I re-titled this blog, "Watch Your Theology," it was because I have seen too many times and I still see that people have this view of God (of the Christian faith / the biblical God) that is not in alignment with what the Bible says.

It saddens my heart to see many people facing issues and not knowing what to do because of bad theology. I have a family member right now going through a terrible issue with her child and hoping that praying to God will just end it all and make everything go away.  Now, yes, I believe God to be all-powerful and capable of any feat He sees fit to perform, but I do believe that the same God who can bring you out of trouble can allow you to go through trouble.  Will Job please stand up?  [Please review Book of Job in the Old Testament]  Yes, the problem of pain and suffering seems to come up a lot when people present their ideas on who or what God really is, or is all about? Your theology might point to a "god" that gives only the good things of life and blesses you as soon as you accept Christ, but that would not be the God of the Bible. Unfortunately, many people (and I am sure that I have been one of them) base their thinking on God on one or two verses that seem to confirm what they thought all along.  I've seen atheists and Christian theists do this.  There might be some folks who believe God to be a good God that would never punish the human beings that He created and they use verses to support that. Others might see God as a "moral monster" and find verses that confirm that as well, but I must throw in that if this "God" is a moral monster, then shouldn't there be additional "evidences" for this assumption.  In many cases, people have a view of God (when I write of God, I do mean of the Judeo-Christian worldview) that is not logically founded on the Bible anyway, but a mixture of things that they have heard and decided to put together to suit what works best for them.  I think we all (especially Christians) should strive for a "full" theology; meaning one that encompasses a well-thought out, Bible-based view of God (prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit) that truthfully expresses who God really is.  I do not want some watered version of what God is, to be portrayed out in mass media and causing people to live a life that is not in step with how He would have us live.  (Of course, if you watch a lot of televangelists, then you can tell that my hopes are already too late.)

Theology matters because it helps those of us, who adhere to a so called religious belief, systematically break down what we say we believe.  In my opinion, I believe a lot of young people end up not believing the Christian faith because they were fed some bad theology while they were growing up.  All the more important, they saw people around them living out a "Christian lifestyle" that was not parallel with what they were learning in Sunday School or at church.  People's ignorance of the truth reflects in the way that they view things and what they choose to and choose not to pass on to their children or the next generation.  I do not want to be ignorant of the one, true God or any aspect that is true of Him.  If I am to pass on the Gospel, doesn't it make sense for me to have a full understanding of what it is that I am hoping to pass along?  How sad it is that many folks don't know wolves in sheep's clothing when they see one.  Many false teachers get away with selling "bad" theology because those in their "flock" don't know that.....THEOLOGY MATTERS!

Jul 10, 2014

To Minister Full-Time or Not To Minister Full-Time?

A few weeks ago, I went to the 2014 Ravi Zacharias Int'l Min. Summer Institute, at Wheaton College, outside of Chicago, Illinois.  What a time it was connecting with other brothers and sisters who wanted to go deeper in their faith.  Also, it was spiritually refreshing because each morning started with Praise and Worship songs and a study on the Ten Commandments.  Even with all of these special moments that were a part of the week's events, I left with an interesting feeling that I still was not clear on what God has for me next.  The one thing that I had learned growing up is that if you are going to do the work of Christ, it is not to be played with because we knew of many that called themselves "ministers" but did not truly live it out.

Now, I do know that we are all to be ministers of the gospel after we come to Christ, so in that sense, I am a minister (and I take it very seriously).  But I am thinking of devoting my entire life to ministry and all that would entail (visiting the sick and shut-in, counseling, preaching, teaching, managing a ministry's funds, etc.). This I take seriously because the God that I serve will not allow for me to continue in being a false teacher and I believe the consequences are big for those who do such things, whether in this life or in eternity. Therefore, I am continually thinking over what it means to me to want to see transformed lives in Christ.  At the same time, I guess that it is a 'good' thing that I am weighing things outs spiritually when it comes to this particular issue.  Whenever I have spoke to my pastor, my uncle, the man who married me and my wife, and other ministers (including a surrogate mother), I have found that many men and women of God have taken time, years even, to come to the right decision led by God.

There is so much to think of being a full-time minister for the Lord that seems exciting to me and, at the same time, it is a bit nerve-wracking.  I think of the moments when I might inspire others to desire more of God, spark something in someone else or that God would use me to be a part of some kind of spiritual awakening. Whatever is to happen in my ministry, I hope to maintain that God is to be praised and given all the credit and I can remember that ministry has its lows as well.  I have found out from others that you can have some dark days in ministry and people can break your heart.  At the same time, I have come to see through Scripture, how God can use those times in His Will too (I believe one can look at the ups and downs in the life of Moses).  Also, Jesus is always the example of how to go about life in general and ministry specifically. So, when the days are great and other times are depressing or bad, I should hold to the God that sits high and looks low.  He Will see me through whatever it is that He has for me or will allow for me because He is all-knowing and has Providence in all matters.

At the end of the day, I just hope to grow in seeing lives changed in Christ, which expresses that I am a minister, one who is waiting for God to change the number of hours of my ministry as He sees fit.

Amen!