The following stats left me bewildered:
Eighty-two percent (82%) of those polled believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is found in Scripture;
Twelve percent (12%) believe Joan of Arc is a biblical figure;
Fifty percent (50%) of high school seniors believe that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife;
Thirty-four percent (34%) believe that the Sermon on the Mount was taught by Billy Graham.
In a recent George Barna poll, most don’t believe in Satan or the Holy Spirit, and 32% believe that Jesus sinned.
Those polled called themselves Christians.
This begs the question – based on what? If it’s because you place a bedazzled tree in your home every December or hide treat-laden baskets in the spring, understand those cultural practices have nothing to do with genuine faith.
Many are quick to identify as Christian, yet they have no knowledge of or interest in the study of Scripture – the foundation of the Christian faith and the recorded message of Christ to His followers.
Many attend church but never take a serious look at the text on which that church was founded. Oftentimes they are simply entertained or presented with a social message from the pulpit that bears no resemblance to the passionate and sacrificial message of the original church.
I have known folks who call themselves Christian but question or deny the authenticity or reliability of the Scriptures. Some say the Scriptures are outdated. If they own a Bible, they see no need to open it.
So then I must ask, “Unless one chooses to define ‘Christian’ simply as ‘good person,’ what could possibly be the basis for claiming faith?” One doesn’t need the Word of God to be a good person, but you absolutely cannot be a true follower of Christ without taking Him at His Word as found in Scripture.
Now I understand that one can have an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and reality just through observing nature. In Romans 1:20 the Scriptures say, “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.” (NIV) But calling oneself “Christian,” bearing the name of a Christ follower, assumes an acceptance of the very text that details the life and purpose of Jesus Christ.
The truth of Jesus Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection is revealed to us in Scripture. His character, will, and plans are revealed to us in Scripture. There would be no Christian faith without the revelation of Scripture. The two are inseparable. If you separate the message from the messenger, you invalidate the messenger!
He has written a love letter to you. Have you pondered it? It is alive and powerful. It is real and relevant. It is life-changing.
Faith is not a feeling. Faith is not a hunch. Faith is not something you inherit from your parents or by default (if I’m not Jewish, Hindu or Muslim, I must be Christian). And the Scriptures are clear that faith is not being a good person.
So, help me understand. What is the basis of your Christian faith if you reject the Bible?
Of course, only God knows who walks in genuine faith. So please know my heart. This is simply a desire to clarify what has long been a mystery to me.
I welcome your comments (public) or emails (confidential).
Joy in Jesus,
(For more on identifying genuine faith, see “Think Titanic,” posted 2-26 or “Birthmarks,” posted 3-21 in Miscellaneous Musings.)