Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

The WAY

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14:6-7

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I was sadden by a case where a Christian pastor was called up by local authority after receiving complaints about online video clips claiming insensitive comments made by him about a certain major religion; a front page news no less. The videos were recorded during services in his church, interviewing present Christians who were ex-followers of that religion on its doctrines and practises; interjecting comments, teachings and viewpoints from that pastor. It was, in my humble opinion – extremely unwise, to broadcast the videos online on their church website. Consequently, followers of that religion were ignited in anger, and a tsunami both online and offline soon followed. Complaints were lodged, and last night, the said pastor posted an apology on the church’s website, promising to respect other faiths and ‘not ridicule them in any way, shape or fashion’.

I have watched the videos before the backlash had happened, and although I understood where the pastor was coming from, I recoiled at the potential aftermath which eventually birthed. While I will not link the videos as not to further propagate the commotion but I want to explore where the Christians’ stand should be; between the truth and religious harmony, sensitivity or even tolerance.

Truth and Religious Harmony, For 2009 in the Year of the OX and To All My Friends on Flickr: Peace and Harmony

My believe is that unless it is a mandate impressed by the Lord or the Holy Spirit, nothing very much will stand against the opposing tide.     Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalms 127:1     In this unfortunate incident, instead of people being saved or believers being empowered, the opposite happened; people got grossly repelled and believers have to fire fight negative sentiments that are demolishing relationships and trust within the community.

The truth is our Christian faith is not all inclusive, that is, eternal life only by knowing the Father through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, nothing more-nothing less and unapologetically so.     And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.   John 17:3     While we must not be muted of this exclusiveness of our faith in the name of religious harmony, on the other hand, we need to address the nature of the exclusiveness of the Christian faith that may lead to a lack of tolerance and respect towards those of other faiths.

Trying to make sense of all these, God showed me something in His Word. In Luke 10, Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples for the harvest; obviously to the people of different beliefs and practises. Jesus told them to proclaim peace to them (v5-6). To heal, stay and eat with them, and to proclaiming the gospel to them. If the disciples are unwelcomed, leave graceful with the proclamation that the Kingdom of God is near; “wipe the dust off your feet” and not inciting anything else (v10-12), leaving the judgement to God.

Further down the same passage, we see Jesus speaking on the the Parable of the Good Samaritian to a Jewish audience, in response to “And who is my neighbour?”. To quickly understand, a Jew was robbed and was laid there to die. Fellow Jews, a priest and a Temple Levite, both highly regarded, came and walked pass without helping. Then a despised Samaritan came along, felt compassion for the Jew and acted. Worth noting that Samaritans were despised tremendously by Jews because of their difference in race, in religious worship and beliefs; but mostly because of  long-standing bigotry, prejudices and intolerance between the two. Nevertheless, the good Samaritian was the one who was able to rise above the bigotry and prejudices of centuries and showed mercy and compassion for the injured Jew after the Jew’s own countrymen pass him by. It was with those centuries of opposition and hostility between the two groups as the backdrop that make this parable divine. And to answer the first question of who is the neighbour, the obvious answser would be the good Samaritian who showed mercy. In closing, Jesus gave instruction to go and do the same, refering to the good Samaritian even if the ones helping maybe of different race, belief  or opinion.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Living with Religious Harmony, Time to see

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.   Romans 12:14-19

I guess that is a big framework for us to live and conduct ourselves.   We are living in a small world and modern technology made it even smaller, more than ever we need greater discernment and wisdom to live among us.

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!     1 Peter 3:13-17

The Mark Of Love and Truth. The Mark of Christ and Holy Spirit, A reflection of innocence

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who keep his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.   1 John 3:16-24

The mark of Jesus Christ when He laid down (give up willingly) His very life for us is love. Not of words but of action. Not of pleasure but of suffering. Not a golden crown but of a crown of thorns. But by His strips, we can then be healed.

We know that we belong to the truth Jesus proclaimed not in labor but in rest because Christ had finished all there needs to be done on the cross. Even if our own hearts and flesh condemns us, we are to stand firmly in His finished work! We have nothing to add onto His finished work, nothing we can do to “redeem us further”, because God in Jesus is greater than our own hearts and flesh. Only in Christ is there life, in flesh there is always death and condemnation.

The Mark Of Love and Truth. The Mark of Christ and Holy Spirit, A reflection of innocence

The confidence we have to come before a great Almighty God, and simply ask and receive from Him like little children comes from the mark of Jesus Christ which is love and truth. We can because we bear the mark when we believe in the Son of God, that is Jesus Christ. We love and keep his words because He love us and live in us, empowering us to do that. He lives in us by the Holy Spirit in us, we too bear the mark of the Holy Spirit. The beautiful mark or fruit of the Holy Spirit in us; see here.

Do you have that mark?

God's Creation vs Evolution's Godlessness

Many people believe in both God and evolution without much of a thought. The term theistic evolution is the idea that God used evolution to create the world. Life supposedly originated from non-living chemicals, just as the atheistic evolutionist says it did, and all modern forms of life are thought to have then developed from the first one-celled organism by mutation and natural selection. The difference is that God supposedly created the initial materials and set up the natural laws, then guided the whole process. Theistic evolution has enormous appeal. It seems to offer the best of both worlds. It is convenient and offers the comfort and fulfillment of believing in God, and at the same time the security of fitting in with the major scientific consensus.

However, in accepting evolution, we are also rejecting key Christian foundations. We thus reject the traditional date and authorship of many books in the Bible, which in itself represents an undermining on the confidence of Scripture. If we cannot trust the Bible when it makes straightforward-simple claims, then can we trust it when it makes much more important-invisible-spiritual claims? Any book with chapters one and two disputable, the integrity of the entire book is invariably condemned.

If the Genesis’ account is NOT “dot accurate”, whatever that is written then: the trinity of God, the direct power of God into the reality and materials, the relationship between man and God, and more importantly, the Fall of Man are all questionable. And if that is the case, God’s grand plan for the redemption human race prophesized throughout the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, the purpose of salvation found in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross falls part; together with all the love, faith, hope, and the promised future. The entire Bible will then fall apart!

To all believers there is another major contention: Jesus treated Genesis as though it actually happened, all the apostles do, there is no accounts in the New Testament that they refuted Genesis. In fact, quite the opposite as we will see in the Scripture later. So looking at the Bible, Genesis 1-2, God made plants, trees, water creatures, birds, livestock, land creatures, wild animals, individually => according to its kinds. And finally God created man in his own image (note: its singular). There is neither evidence of macro-evolution of cross species, in the bible nor in fossil records nor in human history.

God's Creation vs Evolution's Godlessness, cloudscape2-low

The Bible is not silent about these false teachers and their teachings, See Simon Peter’s full letter here.   But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.   2 Peter 2:1-3

There will be scoffers at the last days to ridicule the bibical accounts. Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.   2 Peter 3:3-6

God is made know plainly, His eternal power and divine nature is obvious, there is no excuse and no doubt about it. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of human beings who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal human beings and birds and animals and reptiles.   Romans 1:18-22

Therefore I believe you can only accept the biblical accounts of God’s Creation or man’s account of Evolution’s Godlessness, there is no in-between.

Living as Children of Light

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.   Ephesians 5:7-10

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  

Ephesians 5:19-21