Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

Hanging Christians. . .

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 16 September 2008

"Still, accepting God's existence is one thing; honoring His command is another matter entirely. . . "
-Liz Curtis Higgs
from Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible

Remember this?
Is it a vote? Not a vote? If yes, is it for Bush? Gore? Wait, let's attempt to interpret who the voter meant to vote for . . . Oh, wait! You can't make that call, you have political bias! Do you remember this? What a circus!

Same thing happens in Christian circles:

Do you think he's really a Christian? I just don't see any fruit in her life. I wonder if she's even saved. Wait, you can't make that call, you're no better than she is. How can you judge? . . . "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)

Is it wrong to look around and wonder if people who claim to be Christian really are what they profess? Is it wrong to presume that they are simply acknowledging His existence without honoring His commandments? How about questioning and evaluating our own lives? . . .

Here's an example from Christ's own ministry:

"Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men." (John 2:23-24)

Jesus knew the difference between the small-minded, shallow faith of the religious people and the saving faith of a true believer. And in the following verses of John Chapter Three we read about Nicodumus, who was almost certainly the most religiously qualified person in the crowd. Yet, he was lost. Is there a correlation here?

According to Christian pollster, George Barna, there's little difference between today's Christian and non-Christian. You don't have do much research to see the startling similarities between today's lost and "saved." Except for the fact that the "saved" people attend church, there appears to be very little difference at all. The churchgoers think the same, talk the same, look the same, act the same and go the same places to do the same things non-churchgoers do – except that they go to church on Sunday and act religious. And, many churchgoers attend church just to give God (or the pastor) another chance to stir up their emotions. This is the same shallow faith that Jesus did not trust. Correlation? Yeah.

Accepting God's existence and actually reading and embracing His Word are two entirely different matters. Without a love for -- and a living out of His commands -- we are like the hanging chad: We're questionable, undefined, scrutinized, and -- probably and ultimately -- not counted.

Even Hollywood embraces Christ. It is unquestionably a politically correct, new age, designer Christ. What you won't see or hear from Tinsel Town is an endorsement of God's Word. You won't see any Hollywood celebrity honoring His commands. And that is the proverbial line in the sand that separates God's enemy from God's own: His Word – you either believe it, or you don't. Merely calling oneself a Christian does not make it so.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." – Matthew 7:21

"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." James 2:19

The world has no problem with silent and submissive churchgoers who merely acknowledge God's existence. And this is comforting to the silent and submissive churchgoers.

But, let the Word of God pour out of their lips and challenge anyone based on Scripture. . .

Let the Word of God pour out of them to confront a the secular worldview or a political theory (oh, lets just say. . . pro-choice, e.g.) . . .

. . .and you'll see a hatred come out of people's hearts like nothing you've ever witnessed. This is what marked a true believer in the new Testament Church. And it is what still marks a true believer in the church today.

Acknowledging God's existence is pointless. If you don't believe in God -- know God -- and study His Word, your passion is pointless and it will inevitably do more harm than good. Remember, Satan prizes a lukewarm religious person far more than a cold hearted sinner. He can do far more damage to God's Church with these kind of "Christians." You're no more recognizable in God's Kingdom than countless other hanging Christians.

Question yourself.

"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." – 1 John 2:3-5

- Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
See more "In Other Words" at Miriam Pauline's Monologue
For More Information on Knowing God AND Living out His Commands as a True Beleiver, Visit NeedHim.org

13 comments:

Michelle Bentham said...

Esthermay,

What an insightful and thought provoking post. I think of Micah 6:8 (Hoping that is right off the top of my head) where God tells us to "Do justice and love mercy." I interpret that as doing justice in my own life and loving mercy toward others.

We landed on one point that is the same... That it takes more than a professed belief in God to attain the promise of the Savior. And, then your post goes in a deeper direction than I could even muster this week! You have blessed me indeed and I will be back for a visit!

Many blessings to you,
Michelle

MiPa said...

Esthermay, you are so right that there is little difference today between those in the church and those outside. Oh how I want to be one of those that it is said "they turned the whole world upside down." I want my belief to matter! Thanks for sharing your thoughts today!

Karen said...

The looking does start with us, looking to see what we are doing with our knowledge of God in our lives. Our we recognized as the one who is "following" God or one that simply knows God exists. There is a difference. Thanks so much.

Joyfull said...

Wonderful post! How true that we need to be different and shining with love for our Savior. Thanks for sharing today.

Laurie Ann said...

Great post! Leaves me much to think on...

sara said...

Esthermay, thank you for your prayers! We still don't have power but are doing fine....so blessed with unusually cool weather and great neighbors helping us out! Plus, I have a great church where I can do laundry and get internet!!!

CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE said...

What an awesome post! It is sad today that there is little difference between those in the church and those outside.

Thanks for stopping by my site today.

Blessngs!

Rachel said...

I like how you made the point that some Christians and non-believers think alike. Because we can be all pretty and polished on the outside and filthy dirty in our minds.

What a challenging post! I tell the girls in my youth group all the time it's time for them to make a choice: either they believe the Bible is the word of God and they are going to follow it with their lives, or they aren't and they will follow whatever mixed messages the world is selling.

Thank you for this today. :)

Patricia Warren said...

The truth of your post is profound. I live in an area littered with small churches. I say "littered" because no real change in lifestyle is seen between most who attend and those who don't. The biggest distinction is appearance...hairstyles and clothing styles distinguish who attends which church, yet most congregations only grow when a member has a child. And sadly, 70% of our county is unchurched. Why should they go to church when it makes so little difference in the lives of those who do go?

Thank you for your words of wisdom.

Kat said...

To hear that little difference is seen between believers and non-believers only makes me sad. It makes me want to work harder to produce more Christian fruit in my life so that others can see Him in me. To produce that fruit though I must always remember to be in the word and in prayer constantly. Thanks for the reminder on how not to turn lukewarm, an easy thing to do if not monitored. Great post, thanks for sharing :)

Bonnie W said...

So true, Esthermay. May our Christian lives contain more than enough salt and light to set us apart from the tasteless twilight of the world.

Thanks for your post today.
Bonnie

Sherry said...

Amen! Well said.

What God wants from us is to have a relationship with Him! The entire Word of God is like a "manual/handbook" on how to have a relationship with Him AND each other.

It doesn't come by sitting in a pew anymore that standing in the garage makes us a car! It comes from spending time with Him and in His Word then applying it and putting it to practice.

One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 3:10a (AMP) "For my determined purpose is that I may know Him that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him perceiving and recognizing and undertanding the wonders of His person..."

Blessings,
Sherry

lori said...

Estermay,
WOW...that is a WONDERFUL post that you brought to the table today...
WOW!
Jesus DID see it and I can only imagine what HE thinks of what HE sees today. I imagine we don't look much different than those folks of His day.

Wow...
Believing IN God...that's one thing...
Moving and accepting what HE asks is an entirely different thing...

Thanks for posting this one...lots to chew on!

peace,
lori

Page Navigation