Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Arrogance of Evangelism

Are we arrogant, as Christians, to say we alone have the truth? Should we really put our time, effort, and money into convincing people nearby and around the world that Jesus is the only way? I ask this because I think sometimes, as Christians, we can have a subtle doubt about this in the back of our mind. Should we really be bothering people, particularly people in other cultures, who seem perfectly happy in their beliefs? Underlying this is the idea that all faiths ultimately lead to God. But is this believable? As we look at real life, we notice there is a right and a wrong way to do things. If I try to put water in my car’s gas tank, it will not have good results. Nor would it matter how sincere I was when I did it. What basis do we have for believing things are different in the spiritual realm? The whole idea of relative truth is inconceivable and unlivable. And no one really tries to follow it except in certain areas, like theology, where they find it convenient. But is there something in Christianity which is different from all the other faiths?  

Some beliefs offer gods who are basically human beings writ large, often with the foibles of human beings. Other concepts of God limit Him to being some vague force or unmoved mover that works behind the scenes but is not really involved in our lives. This kind of God is one we summon when we want Him to start the universe or lay down a moral code and then dismiss when we are done with Him. There is no reason to believe a real God would abide by these restrictions. Or if we hold to a significant God, we can hold to one who is strict and measures us entirely on our performance. The problem is, if we look honestly at our performance, it does not really measure up. Or we can believe in a God who is a soft touch, who pats us on the head and approves us no matter what we do. This God might seem at first more comforting, but there is a problem. We live in a world that is full of real evil, and it is difficult to see how a vaguely approving God can deal with that and correct it. I am convinced the only real answer is the Christian one. The real God, who is too just simply to let wrong go unpunished and too loving not to become a man and take the punishment Himself. This is the only answer that really fits. And if we have that answer, we have an obligation to make it known to those who do not. If we see a man’s house is on fire, we are no friend if we refuse to wake him for fear of upsetting him. 

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