Musings on Christianity 47

Musings on Christianity 47

It’s As Simple As A Choice

The purpose of this chapter is to remind readers of the choice they made. It’s the same, ultimately-simple choice we discussed a few chapters ago. You can choose to be Christian, or you can choose to not be a Christian. If you choose to be a Christian, you have chosen to live a Christian life by Christian values. 

What happens is people get angry at those Christian values or rules. That’s always confused me. If you’re not Christian, you don’t have to follow the Christian rules. 

One possible explanation though is that some Christians strive to ensure all humanity follows those values. Christians believe certain things, and they vote in accordance to those beliefs. They support causes according to those beliefs. Some of those beliefs are in direct contrast to the way of the world. 

A major source of conflict is when people support their beliefs and others don’t. I was playing a video game one night. I didn’t do very well. This particular game requires teamwork. One of the people I was playing with didn’t feel as though I did a particularly good job. He sent me a message using language I won’t repeat. I don’t honestly remember all the details, but he eventually asked what my deal was. You see, he kept trying to get me to lash out in anger. On another night, I might have, but that night, by the grace of God, I didn’t fall for that temptation. In some mocking way he asked why I wasn’t shooting insults back his way. I told him, “I’m a Christian.”

His next message declared all kinds of things. I received things like “I’m a terrorist” or “666” (I remember that last one clearly). It dawned of me.

“This guy is just doing all he can to make me mad for the sake of making me mad.”

That’s when I realized that people sometimes get angry just for the existence of a different opinion.

I won’t pretend Christians don’t fall for this temptation. I see plenty of things that I fervently disagree with, and sometimes my anger gets the best of me. But this is where things come to a head.

I can tell you what I know (and I’ve never pretended to be more than just some guy working to understand the truth). You can choose to accept what I say, or you can choose to reject it. It’s ultimately that simple. Neither of us needs to loose our heads about it. When I say, “I believe this is wrong.” You have every right to say, “I believe that it’s right!” 

For Christians, we don’t judge the situation by our own reckoning. We believe humans are flawed creatures to begin with. What can my mortal mind reason out that the Almighty doesn’t already know? This, in my mind, should eliminate much of the debate. 

If you’ve rejected Christianity, you’re going to live the life you’ve chosen to live. I’m not able to stop you. I can, and will, continue to proclaim Christ, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His commission. You can choose to listen or not. 

But if you are a Christian, we have a standard to turn to, to test and judge rightly (John 7:24). Christian debates, in my mind, should always end with the disputing parties looking to scripture. 

If someone shows me in scripture that what I am doing is expressly forbidden by God, then I need to stop. The person pointing out the scripture to me isn’t making me stop; God’s commandment is ordering me to stop. 

Yes, some people are out there twisting the word of God to make you do things or not do things you have every right to do or every right to refuse to do. I can’t stop them from speaking, and neither can you. But we don’t listen to men, at least not just any man. I’m a member of a church. I give deference and submit to their leadership by choice. I chose to submit to their leadership because I believe that they understand God’s word better than I. If there’s ever a question or a doubt, I can bring the matter up to them, and we discuss it with love and respect. We look to God’s word for clarity. 

What happens though is pride gets in the way. I see it all the time in all sorts of situations. Maybe I’m a work and someone says, “You’re supposed to document this interaction with a student.” Someone get’s called out, and rather than just accept the information and move forward, they get defensive. I’ve done it. 


I believe the desire is to elevate myself (when I do it). Ask yourself how often you’ve said something like, “Everybody does it” or “Nobody else does it.” 

That’s lowering the standard from God’s commands to that of the other mere mortals around you. Ultimately, who cares how you look in comparison to those around you? 

If you combine all the religions and philosophies of the world, you still only come to a possible three situations when you die.

  1. You go to Heaven, where there is only joy, love, and peace. Who cares how many people are in paradise with you? I’d be a bit more concerned with who isn’t in paradise if I’m concerned about anything at that point. 

2) You go to Hell, where there is eternal pain and torment. We’ve talked about this situation already, but if you’re suffering unimaginable pain and torment, I’d imagine you’d be more angry about those who influenced you than those who tried to convince you to resist temptation. Why do I believe this? I’ve been in trouble before. I’m sure you have too. That’s when I hear, “They did it too!” I’ve even said it myself. I’ve been so mad at people who showed me the wrong example. I’ve been angry that I never saw the right example. But even in times when I wasn’t punished alone, I wasn’t comforted. If all my brothers and sisters were right there with me while I was being punished, I wanted my punishment to end. I’d even turn in someone else just to end my punishment. We see it in court. We see it at work. We see it everywhere. Readers, if you’re suffering in Hell, the chances are, your biggest concern will be the fact that you’re suffering in Hell. No amount of others around you will ease your pain. 

3) Nothing happens. 

Those are really the only three things that could happen when we die. You ultimately believe in a Heaven, Hell, or both, or you don’t. But how you compare to other mortal people around you is meaningless in all three of those situations. If you’re in Heaven, it doesn’t matter what those who were with you on Earth did because you’re in Heaven. If you’re in Hell, it doesn’t matter what those around you did because you’re still in Hell. And if nothing happens, no one cares about anything because you’re dead.

So there’s no scenario when comparing yourself to another person really does anything for you. Whatever religion you follow, you should submit to the rules of that religion. Then, when we all die, the correct religion will be proven one way or another. Just remember it was you who chose that religion. If you don’t have a religion, then live as the Israelites in the time of Judges lived, doing what is right in your own eyes (Judges 21:25). Then, when we all die, we’ll find out. Just remember, you choose to live that way.

Why am I spending so much time on this topic? Because people want to argue, debate, or fight over beliefs, and it’s just not profitable in any respect. Sure, if someone asks why I believe a certain thing, I tell them. Every now and then, I see a meme that honestly hurts my heart. I might send a message to the person privately and ask, “May I explain why that hurt me?” or “Would you like to understand how a Christian sees that?” If the post is just there to anger Christians, I don’t bother. People who do that are seeking anger and argument, and I don’t have time for that in my life.

But we’re about to talk about Christian law, and I need you to remember something.

Do you want to be a Christian or not?

If you don’t want to obey Christian law, then don’t be a Christian. It’s that simple. You don’t need to fight about it. You don’t need to argue. You just choose.

However, if you choose to be a Christian, you then must learn how a Christian should live and behave. These rules shouldn’t burden you; they should set you free. You just can’t have it both ways. 

You can’t say, “Well, I’m a Christian, but I’m going to go ahead and lie to my father.” You can’t say, “Well, I’m a Christian, but I really feel I should spend my life with this person instead of the one I’m married to, so I’m going to divorce my spouse so I can spend my life with this other person.” 

But here’s the beauty of being Christians. For those who truly repent and seek forgiveness, we are already forgiven! The price is already paid! 

I’m indeed Christian, but I’m as far from perfect as I could ever imagine. I have sinned. I will sin again. I won’t do so blatantly and without remorse, but I’m going to mess up so long as I’m in this cursed flesh. But I won’t do so habitually. I won’t pick “that sin I’m going to do because no one is perfect.” I’m going to do my best to live as Christ wants me to live, appreciating the forgiveness and Grace He gives when I stumble. 

So when I talk about Christian law, I’m absolutely saying these are things Christians should strive to do (or not do) at all times. I don’t present them to accuse you. I don’t present them to condemn you. They’re simply the ways a Christian should live. They’re not presented as I think they should be. They’re presented from the Bible as the standard and word of God Himself. It’s not my opinion, God never asked for my vote or input. They’re just the rules I’ve chosen to live by, and you can choose to live by them too. If you choose not to live by them, well, I can’t make you. We don’t need to argue or debate. 

Some may want to. I can imagine someone asking me, “Who are you to tell me how to live?” Nobody! Again, I’m not the one who made the rules. God made these rules, and He’s the creator of the Heavens and the Earth and all the host of them (Genesis 2:1). How do I know what God wants? I study the Bible, to learn what He wants.

Again, I’ve answered the debate about the mortal authors of the Bible. I’ve answered the debate about those Christ chose to lead the early church. I’ve addressed all the conditions that apply when one ultimately chooses to obey Christ or not. That is the choice. If a person can actually choose to turn from God (and they can and do), then I’m certainly not going to make you listen to my mortal mouth. 

But it isn’t my goal to get you to listen to me. It never has been. My goal is ultimately to get you to listen to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who created the world. The God who loved us so much, He sent His only Son to die for us so that those who come to believe in Him can have eternal life (John 3:16). If you’ve already rejected that message, then go on about your life. But if you’ve chosen to believe in Christ, I urge you then to look at the things He’s told us, He’s telling us, to do. 

For our panel: Do Christians have the right to tell others how to live? How should a Christian respond to one who’s rejected Christ’s commandments?  What do we do when a conflict presents itself because of our faith? Why is it people react so passionately to Christian values (both believers and unbelievers)? How can one best present their viewpoints for mutual upbringing without turning it into an argument?

Musings on Christianity 45

Musings on Christianity 45

Why Should I Listen To A Book Written By Men?

The next conflict we must resolve before we can truly look at obedience to Christ is that of the men who wrote the Bible. Perhaps you believe in a God. Perhaps you even believe in Christ, but you draw the line there because the Apostles, prophets, and other Biblical authors were mortal men.

The Christian belief is that the truth is God wrote the Bible. He filled His mortal authors with the Spirit who put the words of the Bible in the minds of His instruments.

But what happens if we don’t want to accept that in faith.

That argument doesn’t actually have merit. If you believe in a God who created the Heavens and the Earth and all the host of them (Genesis 2:1), you then have to acknowledge that God can also place words in the minds of His chosen. Moses, credited as the author of the first five books of the Bible, even argued that he was unfit to lead Israel because he wasn’t so good with words.

God replied, “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak (Exodus 4:12).”

The Bible is no different.

Even if one insisted on believing in God as He is portrayed in the Bible, but refuses to acknowledge the authors of that same Bible, one must remember that those authors were still chosen representatives of God.

Moses, Samuel, the judges, the prophets, David, and Solomon  were all chosen by God to be His representatives. He attested to many of them through prophecies, miracles, or both. Therefore, even if those men wrote the Bible as men, they were still the men God chose to spread his word.

So we return to the fundamental choice. You either believe, or you don’t. If you, then, choose to believe in God, you must then respect and submit to those he selected as His representatives, even as mortal men. God would not choose men and then allow them to speak falsely of Him. He certainly wouldn’t endorse those men with miracles if they were not indeed speaking truth on behalf of the LORD.

The same is true of the new testament. Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul were all personally chosen representatives of Christ, Apostles. Mark was essentially Peter’s biographer, and Luke was a historian, documenting the actions of brothers. James and Jude were Christ’s biological brothers.

One can not acknowledge Christ as their lord and master and then refuse to acknowledge the authority of the Apostles Christ commanded to establish the body. The temptation is to refuse that authority so they can reject the commandments established by scripture. To want to follow Christ, but refuse to follow His very first disciples, is simply hypocritical.

Those who choose to follow Christ, submit to Him, and through Him those He appointed to lead and teach the gospel on Earth, must submit to the commandments left by Christ through his Apostles regardless of their humanity. Christ named Peter as the stone on which the church would be built. If Christ chose to build his church on Peter, who then are we to ignore that stone?

My theory is that those who want to take this path do so because the Apostles categorically deny actions and lifestyles that today’s society wants to embrace. How can someone reconcile religion with today’s tolerant society? The only way to do that would be to try and deny the words of those God the Father and God the Son chose to minister to humanity, and we simply can’t do that. This means we must acknowledge their authority.

There may be debate over translations. There may be arguments over application, but there can not be any denial of their authority without also denying the God who gave such authority.

One may rebut this assertion by saying anyone can do anything and claim it is in the name of God. That happens all the time. I don’t deny that happens, but I remind you that the Biblical authors were all authenticated by prophecy, miracles, or both. Indeed anyone (just look at this very book) can write whatever they want. Some may even go so far as to say they’re writing the words of a God. The Bible even tells us the Antichrist himself will come and perform miracles and wonders. The difference there is the Bible warns us about these individuals. When Christ returns, everyone will know in that moment. He’ll come with the army of Heaven like a steak of lighting that stretches across they sky (Matthew 24:27).

Christ’s chosen were authenticated by Christ Himself, and Christ authenticated their ministry with miracles and wonders, many of which occurred even before the Passion.

This brings us back again to the ultimate yes or no question. You can choose to believe in Christ and submit to Him, and in doing so, His chosen Apostles, or you can choose to reject Christ. Once more we see that one can not try and do both. There is no middle ground in this respect.

For our panel: What other reasons would there be for people to want to believe in Christ but reject the Bible? Are the words of the Apostles (or other Biblical authors) truly trustworthy even though they are only men?  What evidence is there that those who wrote the Bible truly did so while filled by the Spirt of God Himself? What if someone today started writing, proclaiming to be doing the same thing? If the Antichrist is said to come and perform miracles, how can we trust the miracles of the Apostles and other Biblical authors?