September 18, 2008

To Believe or Not to Believe?

Thank you all of you who commented and emailed me yesterday. It was nice to "meet" some of you for the first time and hear from friends I didn't know were reading.

Yesterday I touched on the responsibility I, and really all of us, have as Christians to use the gifts God has given us to honor Him and point others to Jesus.

To that end I wanted to share something based on a book I read the other day.

Many people believe Jesus was either a great teacher or wise prophet but they can’t accept He is the Son of God. They think Christians are out of their minds and that no thinking person could see things otherwise. They poke holes in the Christian faith and argue against it. Bystanders follow the vocal minority and discard or discredit Christianity as myth or fallacy without ever investigating its message. This describes my point of view for many, many years.

Josh McDowell was also such a person—until he accepted a challenge to rigorously and intellectually examine the claims of Jesus. And he found his supposedly well-formed arguments didn’t hold up. His quest resulted in the book, More than a Carpenter. Here’s an excerpt:

Jesus claimed to be God, and to him it was of fundamental importance that men and women believed him to be who he was. Either we believe him or we don’t. He didn’t leave any wiggle room for in-between, watered-down alternatives. One who claimed what Jesus claimed about himself couldn’t be a good moral man or prophet. That option isn’t open to us, and Jesus never intended it to be.”

As C.S. Lewis, a former agnostic, wrote in Mere Christianity, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His fee and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He as not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Lord, liar or lunatic? Jesus didn’t leave us any choice.

Are you skeptical about the claims of Jesus? Do you accept Him, but still have doubts? Or would you like to be able to concretely explain why you have the hope in Jesus you do? Check out More than a Carpenter, The Case for Faith or an Alpha course near you.

7 comments:

Runner Mom said...

Good morning, Kelli!

I read today's post and yesterday's post as well--I don't have time to read and comment on my favorites each day! I read about 1/3 of my blogroll a day :). So...I just wanted you to know how much I value your posts! They are insightful ones from an extraordinary girl!!! I love them! You make me ponder and pray about things. I want to check out that program you mentioned as well--after I get in my run for today.

Hope that you have a great day, chickadee!
Love ya,
Susan

PS--Please tell Debby "hey" for me!

Chanda said...

I love that CS Lewis quote. He minces no words! You have the cutest blog...I'll have to keep up with you!

And thanks so much for your encouragement on my blog...I'm actually pursuing some freelance work, so you can pray for me when you think of it!

Grace and peace!

Justin said...

Hey, Kelli!

Love this blog entry! Christianity is not "just close your eyes and believe" as many think it is. No, the claims of Christianity actually stand up to the most rigorous intellectual examination that the world can offer.

If anyone wants to hear more, I would suggest the authors you recommend -- McDowell and Lewis. And I would also highly, highly recommend the preaching and writing of a pastor in NYC named Tim Keller. He's the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. He recently wrote a book called "The Reason for God" which is excellent!

Have a great week!

Justin

PS: I'd love for you to post some pictures of Tess on your blog! I miss her!

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Hi, Kelli. I just left a comment on your previous post but wanted to stop by here, too. :)

CS Lewis and McDowell are both excellent authors. We had the pleasure of meeting Josh McDowell at COTW a few summers ago. He hung out all day with everyone at camp.

Great books to recommend on this post! :)

On the same subject, a few entries ago you mentioned "censorship" and it being "ridiculous".

On the other hand, stewardship is precious. Often my church pastoral staff reviews current popular "faith" books to see if they line up with scripture. If they find the book to be "off", they lovingly give us (the staff) the heads up. I appreciate that so much as my reading time is valuable and I don't want to waste it on a "faith" book that doesn't line up with scripture. Our pastors loving go ahead for us to help us stay on the narrow road. I so appreciate their stewardship.

Time to bring food from afar and feed the cherubs! :)

Thanks for your hospitality during this blog visit! We'll see ya again next week! :)

Warm and sincere blessings,
Sharon

Kim Kasch said...

Okay, this was a coincidence. I popped over to your blog and saw that it had a post with a similar title to one of my very first posts.

http://kimkasch.blogspot.com/2008/07/shakespeare-to-be-lieve-or-not.html

Maybe we have more in common...

chaigirl said...

Nice Post!
Another GREAT book along these lines is "Letters From a Skeptic". Highly recommend....

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

No doubts about my Jesus and who he IS. Questions, confusion over my life...perhaps. But never about the Savior of my soul. He's invested far too much grace on my behalf, and I am undone with gratefulness for the gift.

When you've tasted the sacred pulse of our Father, all doubts fall to the shadows.

How I love Him more with every passing day. How I long to get home to my forever!

peace~elaine