Tag Archives: good news

Remember, it is called the Good News for a reason

It is bad enough that Christians aren’t more intentional about sharing the Gospel. But in a twist that Screwtape would be proud of, countless people who profess to follow Christ are actually proud about not sharing the Good News.  Michael Moore gave a good example of this when he said:

I have always believed that one’s religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private.

I’m not sure where he came up with that belief, but it isn’t in the Bible.  Since Moore was claiming to speak for Jesus, perhaps he should tell us how the Bible teaches that we should be private about our religious beliefs.  That would make it hard to fulfill the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

A commenter named Joanne noted that:

Progressive denominations have stopped trying to proselytize with their missionaries YEARS ago. Look at Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples of Christ). They make no efforts to convert people.

She’s right, and it is pathetic that those organizations who willfully withhold the Gospel call themselves churches or “disciples of Christ.”

A regular commenter (“Sunday School Teacher”) noted this:

Our church is currently having a sermon series on Wesley’s “Three Simple Rules”.

The 1st rule is “Do No Harm”. Some people are trying to use this rule to argue that we should not try to change the religious view of others, as this could lead to conflict and thus harm.

I’m glad that SST is trying to lead his church in the right direction, but it is amazing that people learning about John Wesley would ever imagine that he’d discourage people from sharing the Gospel.  They couldn’t be more wrong.

As Paul said in Romans 1:16:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

From the Newsboys song, I’m Not Ashamed:

What are we sneaking around for?  Who are we trying to please?

Shrugging off sin, apologizing like we’re spreading some kind of disease.  I’m saying no way.  No way.

I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show. I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

This one says, “It’s a lost cause.  Save your testimonies for church time. ” Other ones say, “You’d better wait until you do a little market research.”

I’m saying no way.  No way.

The Gospel can and will offend people.  We don’t want to add to the offense with our own style, but that is no excuse not to share it.  The bad news is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.  The Good News — and it is still good news worth sharing — is that there is a Savior.  He is Jesus, and He is the only way to salvation.

Hear the Good News, believe the Good News and share the Good News!  But please don’t identify as a Christian if you think it is bad news and refuse to share it with others.

There is another way: The Christian way.

If you came into church shaking your metaphorical fist at God and insisting that we teach that homosexual behavior isn’t a sin, that Jesus is OK with killing unwanted children up their first breath*, that Jesus doesn’t have a divine nature, that the Bible is full of mistakes and was written by blasphemous liars**, etc., then I’d say, “Sorry, but you’ve come to the wrong place. The United Church of Christ building is up the street.”  The “Christian” Left is all about rebellion against God and that won’t turn out well for you now or for eternity.

But if you came in and said that you are tempted by same-sex attraction, or had an abortion, or pressured someone to have an abortion, or spent time in prison, etc., but were a Bible-believer or wanted to know how to get right with God on his terms, then I’d have lots of time for you, and lots of Good News.

I repeat: Lots of time, and lots of Good News.

Most people can see the distinction between the two scenarios. The “Christian” Left can’t — or, more accurately, won’t. They pretend that you are either pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQX extremism like they are or you are like Democrat Fred Phelps. But there is another way. The Christian way.

I’ve seen it work spectacularly well in pregnancy center ministry and prison ministry.  You can reach the “least of these” — the ones rejected by society and even their family and friends — with the love and truth of Christ and see remarkable transformations.  It works with regular people, too.

All grace and no truth makes no sense, because you don’t need grace if you aren’t a guilty rebel against your creator.  And all truth and no grace will just leave you crushed under the weight of a hopeless works-based righteousness system (i.e., every system besides Christianity, which has a monopoly on grace).

Jesus had the perfect balance of grace and truth.  Strive for that every day.  I absolutely love this verse:

John 1:14 (ESV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

—–

*The “Christian” Left is far more extreme in their pro-abortion agenda than the average pro-choice person. They insist that life begins at the first breath and insist that Jesus is fine with killing unwanted children until that point.  I realize how ridiculous their views sound and how many people must think I’m making a straw-man argument. But that is just because their own words are so clear and extreme: “According to the bible, a fetus is not a living person with a soul until after drawing its first breath.”  More here about how to respond, with full, in-context quotes from them.

**Rachel Held Evans: “God never told the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. The Israelites believed that God told them to kill the Canaanites.”  Sure, Rachel.  Should I believe the authors of the Bible or the ones who call them blasphemous liars and just happen to agree with the world on all major issues?

Reverse missionaries & the Great De-Commission

u-turn.jpgA favorite updated for your reading pleasure.

Typical evangelism for any religion involves someone going out at some degree of expense and risk to share what one believes to be true.  It is a pretty simple and logical concept: If you think you know the true path to forgiveness, joy, peace and eternal life and you truly care about others, then of course you’ll want to share the Good News (regardless of how you define it).

However, some people hold the view that all religions are equally valid paths to God.  As I was reflecting on the discussions on the Jesus is still the only way thread, I was reminded that people who hold the “all religions are valid” view should have a completely different model of evangelism.  Wouldn’t it be most loving for them to send “reverse missionaries” to encourage everyone to follow their local religions?  After all, consider the persecuted people around the world who could avoid pain, suffering, economic loss, prison and even death if they just held beliefs more palatable to their culture.

For example, you’d want to send people to Christians in India, N. Korea, China, all Arab countries and more to explain to them that Hinduism/Islam/Buddhism/etc. are just as good and that they should leave Christianity to maximize their comfort and happiness.  If you follow any organizations like Voice of the Martyrs you are probably familiar with how much Christians suffer for their faith in many parts of the world.  Why suffer like that if other religions are just as good?

And loving universalists (those who believe everyone is going to Heaven, regardless of what they believe) should go to China to encourage people to be atheists.

What a tragedy that hundreds of thousands or even millions of Christians died unnecessarily for their faith over the centuries.  They should have just recanted and gone with the local religion, right?

What I’ve found is that religious pluralists and universalists do no such thing. They typically think their “home religion” is correct (why else would they belong to those denominations?) but are afraid to offend someone or risk rejection for sharing their view, or perhaps are unwilling to work to learn their beliefs well enough to defend them.

Shouldn’t false teachers who insist that all religions lead to God lend their time and money to being reverse missionaries?  Yet I never hear of them undertaking such efforts to reduce the “needless” suffering of Christians around the world.  Real faith is behaving as if what you say you believe is true.  Yet these folks don’t follow through to the logical consequences of their worldview.  This is one of the easiest ways to spot false teachers.

Of course, since I hold the view that Jesus is the one way to salvation then it is on my heart to share that with people.

If you encounter “Christians” claiming that other or even all religions are valid paths to God, ask them simply and politely if that means we should end Christian evangelism efforts and “evangelize” people to follow whatever “valid” religion will result in the least persecution for them.  It will help expose their false view and hopefully encourage them to think more carefully.  They shouldn’t judge God for “only” providing one way to salvation, they should be eternally grateful that He offered a way at all.

Reverse missionaries

u-turn.jpgTypical evangelism for any religion involves someone going out at some degree of expense and risk to share what one believes to be true.  It is a pretty simple and logical concept: If you think you know the true path to forgiveness, joy, peace and eternal life and you truly care about others, then of course you’ll want to share the Good News (regardless of how you define it).

However, some people hold the view that all religions are equally valid paths to God.  As I was reflecting on the discussions on the Jesus is still the only way thread, I was reminded that people who hold that view should have a completely different model of evangelism.  Wouldn’t it be most loving for them to send “reverse missionaries” to encourage everyone to follow their local religions?  After all, consider the persecuted people around the world who could avoid pain, suffering, economic loss, prison and even death if they just held beliefs more palatable to their culture.

For example, you’d want to send people to Christians in India, N. Korea, China, all Arab countries and more to explain to them that Hinduism/Islam/Buddhism/etc. are just as good and that they should leave Christianity to maximize their comfort and happiness.  If you follow any organizations like Voice of the Martyrs you are probably familiar with how much Christians suffer for their faith in many parts of the world.  Why suffer like that if other religions are just as good?

And loving universalists (those who believe everyone is going to Heaven, regardless of what they believe) should go to China to encourage people to be atheists.

What a tragedy that hundreds of thousands or even millions of Christians died unnecessarily for their faith over the centuries.  They should have just recanted and gone with the local religion, right?

What I’ve found is that religious pluralists and universalists do no such thing. They typically think their “home religion” is correct (why else would they belong to those denominations?) but are afraid to offend someone or risk rejection for sharing their view, or perhaps are unwilling to work to learn their beliefs well enough to defend them.

Shouldn’t false teachers who insist that all religions lead to God lend their time and money to being reverse missionaries?  Yet I never hear of them undertaking such efforts to reduce the “needless” suffering of Christians around the world.  Real faith is behaving as if what you say you believe is true.  Yet these folks don’t follow through to the logical consequences of their worldview.  This is one of the easiest ways to spot false teachers.

Of course, since I hold the view that Jesus is the one way to salvation then it is on my heart to share that with people.

If you encounter “Christians” claiming that other or even all religions are valid paths to God, ask them simply and politely if that means we should end Christian evangelism efforts and “evangelize” people to follow whatever “valid” religion will result in the least persecution for them.

Lessons from the Titanic

RMS Titanic
Image via Wikipedia

None of these are nautical suggestions, but I’ve come across several interesting items about the Titanic.

1. Just because there are differing accounts of an event doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  Some eyewitnesses thought the ship split in two pieces before sinking (they were ultimately proved right) and some claimed it did not.  But what did they all know with certainty?  The ship sunk.

The application to challenges to the accounts in the Bible is this: Even though there are, in my view, satisfactory explanations for alleged discrepancies in eyewitness accounts in the Bible, even if they were truly different it wouldn’t mean the event didn’t happen.  Even if two people gave slightly different accounts of the post-resurrection events it doesn’t mean the resurrection didn’t happen.

For example, one Gospel account mentions a single angel and another mentions two angels.  But there is no contradiction, because one doesn’t say there was one and only one angel at all times with the other claiming that there were two angels.  Perhaps one account just mentioned the angel that spoke, or there was just one angel present at the point in time being described.  But even if the claims were contradictory it doesn’t mean the tomb had a body or that there were zero angels.

And of course, if eyewitness claims were identical in all reported details then people would assume that collusion was involved.

2. A book titled The Wreck of the Titan was written 14 years before the Titanic sank but had some remarkable parallels.  But that doesn’t mean the Titanic didn’t really sink.   This analysis of the Zeitgeist movie (a film with many spurious claims, such as that Christianity was just borrowed from other religions) notes the following:

Did you know there’s a book that was written around the turn-of-the-last-century about a ship that was an unsinkable ship, which hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank?  The name of the ship was the Titan.  This is remarkable because some 15 years later the Titanic sunk on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg.   Now what if you had read the novel and then later heard that a ship called the Titanic had actually sunk?  I’m sure you can see that rejecting the story of the Titanic on its face would be foolish only because you’d read a novel similar to the actual event.   Whether or not the Titanic sank is determined by the evidence for its sinking, unrelated to any other fictional stories that were like it.

By the same token, the story of Jesus described in the primary source documents, the historical documents we know popularly as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, stands alone on its own merit.  The story stands or falls on the strength of the historical evidence.

There are many other reasons to dismiss the copycat religion claims leveled at Christianity.

3. John Harper was a real hero from the Titanic, calling out, ” Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!” and sharing the Gospel with people up until the time that he drowned.  How many Christians work to share the Gospel with the lost even when times are comfortable?

Hat tip for items 1 & 2 — Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason

Remember, it is called the Good News for a reason

It is bad enough that Christians aren’t more intentional about sharing the Gospel. But in a twist that Screwtape would be proud of, countless people who profess to follow Christ are actually proud about not sharing the Good News.  Michael Moore gave a good example of this when he said:

I have always believed that one’s religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private.

I’m not sure where he came up with that belief, but it isn’t in the Bible.  Since Moore was claiming to speak for Jesus, perhaps he should tell us how the Bible teaches that we should be private about our religious beliefs.  That would make it hard to fulfill the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

A commenter named Joanne noted that:

Progressive denominations have stopped trying to proselytize with their missionaries YEARS ago. Look at Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples of Christ). They make no efforts to convert people.

She’s right, and it is pathetic that those organizations who willfully withhold the Gospel call themselves churches or “disciples of Christ.”

A regular commenter (“Sunday School Teacher”) noted this:

Our church is currently having a sermon series on Wesley’s “Three Simple Rules”.

The 1st rule is “Do No Harm”. Some people are trying to use this rule to argue that we should not try to change the religious view of others, as this could lead to conflict and thus harm.

I’m glad that SST is trying to lead his church in the right direction, but it is amazing that people learning about John Wesley would ever imagine that he’d discourage people from sharing the Gospel.  They couldn’t be more wrong.

As Paul said in Romans 1:16:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

From the Newsboys song, I’m Not Ashamed:

What are we sneaking around for?  Who are we trying to please?

Shrugging off sin, apologizing like we’re spreading some kind of disease.  I’m saying no way.  No way.

I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show. I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

This one says, “It’s a lost cause.  Save your testimonies for church time. ” Other ones say, “You’d better wait until you do a little market research.”

I’m saying no way.  No way.

The Gospel can and will offend people.  We don’t want to add to the offense with our own style, but that is no excuse not to share it.  The bad news is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.  The Good News — and it is still good news worth sharing — is that there is a Savior.  He is Jesus, and He is the only way to salvation.

Hear the Good News, believe the Good News and share the Good News!  But please don’t identify as a Christian if you think it is bad news and refuse to share it with others.