C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Monday, November 30, 2009

One’s Faults Are Not Another’s Excuse

As Christians, our beliefs and actions in regards to those beliefs, seem often called into question by those from without as well as those from within the church (and by church: I mean both the local congregation, and universally all who profess Christ). Once again, such relevant questions, which should cause us to examine ourselves, are brought to our attention by vjack at his blog: Atheist Revolution.

Vjack draws from the thought of another atheist blog, The Secular Thinker, who observes ‘as an atheist attending a Catholic college, noting that it was difficult to distinguish Catholic students from non-Catholics,’ and therefore poses the thought, ‘I know so many people who believe that the God of the Bible (which one?) actually exists, yet they break the 10 Commandments all the time. Honestly, if you believe this all knowing, all powerful, ever present being exists, then shouldn't you be doing everything you can to do what he/she/it says?’ From such thoughts, vjack declares, ‘nobody is perfect and that these students cannot be expected to never violate god's laws’ is not a good response to the rendered question, and further proposes that, ‘if one really believed that one's eternal soul was in jeopardy, wouldn't one be able to avoid breaking whatever version of the 10 Commandments one was taught?’

And, whether he realizes it or not, vjack’s conclusion is precisely the point every Christian and non Christian should take note of: ‘Observations like these lead many atheists, and more than a few Christians I suspect, to question the sincerity of the beliefs professed by some Christians.’

First, considering the Christian, the fact is many times we do not live up to the standard we profess to believe, wherein we draw the claim: ‘sola Scriptura – namely, that the Bible, as the inspired Word of God, is our final and solely infallible authority for faith and practice.’ [r] Vjack acknowledges (possibly somewhat sarcastically), there are those who profess Christ, but do not actually know Him nor are known by Him. There is also the realization that genuine Christians are not sinless (nor is any man, even by common consensus), nor will we be till we are glorified, but this does not excuse us from our responsibility to live a life according to the teachings and examples of Christ in Scripture. We must earnestly contend for the faith, by mediating on and obeying the Word of God in everyday life (both openly and in private), while finding ourselves quick to repent when we are found in error (i.e. sin).

Secondly, considering the non Christian, one is not justified by the failure of professing Christians to adhere to the teachings of Scripture through their actions in everyday life. Although, vjack declares the observation of professing Bible Believers often causes atheists ‘to question the sincerity of the beliefs professed by some Christians,’ the non Christian must realize that One’s Faults Are Not Another’s Excuse; meaning, though one may judge one’s fruit (as to claim one is not living as they profess to believe, which can be done both inside and outside Christianity), the authority and authenticity of Scripture is not and cannot be based on an individual’s lifestyle in conflict with it. Truth is not made null by one’s actions, but rather one’s actions are either justified or condemned by truth.

Thirdly, as considering an atheist, one should find it rather odd that any would assert that their belief/or non belief of Scripture is based on whether or not the professing Christian ‘walks the talk;’ for to be an atheist one expresses a denial of the existence of God (or gods), and therefore must also reject any trust in the written Word of God. So, any dismissal of Scripture based on the actions of a professing Christian appears to only be an excuse in search of justification of one’s lack of belief. For the unbelief comes not from the action of others, but from the heart of the one who does not accept God and Scripture as true. If Scripture be true, its truth is not based on man’s interpretation or actions, and therefore a professing Believer’s failure to adhere to Scripture in every detail does not and will not justify the sinner in his unbelief before God.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Observations Regarding Halloween and Fall Fest

As a status line in Facebook, I posed the following question:

Is having a fall fest in place of Halloween a good substitute, a compromise, or hypocrisy for churches/Christians?

In asking such a question, I expected to receive many different responses, based on numerous lines of reasoning. From those who contributed answers, I believe all are professing Christians, though the ideals regarding the stated question appears to differ some more than others. Following the nature of my initial request, be it for thought and not to determine one to be right or wrong, I would like to post my observations of the input here for persons to ponder to themselves; as it may contribute wisdom as to how we view Christianity and its principles as a whole.

Here are my observations in no particular order:

Observation 1: Some avoided the question, whether willingly or unknowingly, by giving a reply that did not directly answer the question at all.

Observation 2: Some stressed they had previously allowed their children to take part in Halloween, yet not to the extent other parents had allowed their children to take part in.

Observation 3: Some expressed their dislike of Halloween, but that it really wasn’t a matter worth much of their concern.

Observation 4: Some felt Fall Fest was better, for it gave the children a safer environment, allowing them to miss the more sadistic side of Halloween, but did not make them feel as though they were missing out on something others were enjoying.

Observation 5: Some chose their answer based on childhood experiences, based on their participation or lack thereof, as to what they would allow their children to take part in.

Observation 6: Some appeared to justify the celebrating of Halloween (though the question did not approve or condemn the holiday), by declaring that the church celebrating Fall Fest was neither better nor any different in principle.

Observation 7: Some believed that none should judge nor be judged in such a matter, but to allow each one’s own conscience to approve or condemn them.

Observation 8: Some mentioned that persons should study the birth of Halloween, which would lead to a further understanding of its roots, and possibly enlighten others as to why it should not be celebrated.

Observation 9: Some asked persons to seek God, to ask Him as to the holiday of Halloween, regarding whether or not it glorified Him to be celebrated.

Observation 10: Some admitted the celebration of Halloween was merely for their children’s enjoyment.

In conclusion, I would like to ask for us all to consider the following. Regardless of how we may deem such a question, in reality it does fall into relevance regarding Christian living. It cannot be simply passed over as having no merit, for all that we say and do leads us (along with those who observe us) either closer or further away from God; and all that we declare by word and deed ultimately shape and mold our children into what they become.

Note: I am still not declaring for you whether Halloween/Fall Fest is right or wrong, but merely stating the reality that the question itself cannot be avoided as having no merit. Consider the fight for the foundational principles of the gospel and Christianity. How would have the above observations aided or hurt the church in its battle of truth, if you replace Halloween/Fall Fest with the many battles Christianity has had regarding doctrines and beliefs? Where would we be had not men and women stood firm upon their beliefs, grounded in Scripture, willing to give their life for the cause of Christ over compromise, indifference, and being men pleasers in both great and small matters?

Judge thyself each matter, laying it hold upon the purifying fires of Scripture, giving opportunity to the Holy Spirit to cleanse us all of sin that we may walk diligently in His ways, teaching them unto our children, that we may all be conformed into the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us not wavier in our service to God, but be found to be a good and faithful servant.

God Bless!

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.