“Does it really matter?” I have heard those words multiple times over the last several weeks, usually in conjunction with something about the Christian faith.
Reflecting upon the question, I remembered something that happened to me when I was in eighth grade.
I had been working all night with my dad, stripping and waxing the floors in a branch of Seattle First National Bank. As we were finishing the last section of floor, I decided to take a short cut. “It won’t matter,” I said to myself, as I was laying down a second coat of wax in that area.
Yes, it did!
I was ashamed every time I went into the bank over the next several weeks. That section of the floor had little to no shine. It always looked dirty. Even more important, it was not the standard of excellence for which my father was known. It amazed me what a difference that one little step made. It mattered!
How much more significant are those “little things” in our faith.
If they believe in Jesus and believe He died on the cross, does the “other stuff really matter?” the obvious question is, “What other stuff?”
I am hearing questions like:
“Do they have to believe the Bible is absolutely infallible?”
“What if they have another book, besides the Bible, they believe in also?”
“Is it essential to believe Jesus Christ is God, in the flesh?”
Is it essential to believe that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man?”
“If they believe in Jesus and have asked Him into their heart, does it really matter if they are living together or if they believe in homosexuality?”
I understand the unchurched or pre-churched asking these questions. I can even understand the fairly new believer asking those questions.
I am deeply troubled to be hearing those questions from supposedly grounded Christians; even some pastors.
Those things, once understood to be foundation points, even anchor bolts of the Christian faith, are now being questioned.
Does it matter?
Each of those questions is a theological treatise of their own.
While that is not the pursuit of this blog, although, I would cherish the opportunity. It is concerning that the “faith, once-for-all delivered to the saints” apparently is not being adequately passed to the next generation with clarity and certainty.
Of even greater concern, it is being attacked from within the very bastions of faith that once knew with assurance and proclaimed with affirmation the very points being questioned.
Jesus Christ is honored by most religions as a prophet; a righteous man; a great figure of history; an excellent model by which to live.
What distinguishes Him from all other religious leaders?
He is God!
The prophet declared and the angel Gabriel confirmed, He is Emmanuel, God with us. There is no other name on earth that brings salvation to mankind.
God honors His Word above His name. Forever, His Word is firmly settled in Heaven, inerrant and infallible, and is not up for debate or rewrite.
It is by God’s written Word mankind learns the identity of the true Living God; knows how to worship Him; understands His ways; and is taught how to live a holy life.
The Holy Bible is written by God.
It is penned and published by men but no human has the right or the authority to alter, rewrite, add to, or take away from what God, alone, has written.
Born again believers, are called to live a holy life. The Apostle Paul wrote to believers in 1 Thessalonians 4:7, “God did not call us to uncleanness but in holiness.”
He was specifically referring to sexual immorality.
The Apostle Peter said, “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
Who says what is holy?
What is holy to you may not be holy to me.
Jesus gave us the standard in His Sermon on the Mount. It is for all cultures, all people groups, and for all times. He said, “Be perfect just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
It is critically important the foundation stones of faith remain firmly cemented in place. That is why Jude called to “earnestly contend for the faith.” King David asked in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The carpenter ants of deception, tolerance and relevance are eating away at the church’s foundation.
Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are facing the same dangers the churches were dealing with at the turn of the twentieth century with higher criticism.
Fearing the loss of the younger generation, we seek to make our message relevant to a hedonistic culture; all the while, removing the very truth that will set them free.
Not wanting to appear ignorant, illiterate, or backwoods, we have allowed the Word of God to be subjugated to the latest research, while we embrace the medical and psychiatric models of behavior. Then wonder why the Gospel does not have the power to transform lives in the same manner as our fathers and grandfathers.
Many preachers seem paralyzed by the accusation of being intolerant, bigoted and homophobic.
Tolerance is simply, “Allowing others to believe a lie; while you give up the right to speak the truth.”
The consequences are eternal. Don’t go there.