‘Unplug from the System’

I’ve found that most Christians are uncomfortable with the word theology, and even more uncomfortable with the science of systematic theology. People do this for various reasons but the fact that most people want nothing to do with theology is evidence that theology has fallen on hard times in our generation. In fact, systematic theology used to be called ‘dogmatics.’ Today the word ‘dogmatic’ is used to describe someone who is close-minded, arrogant, or opinionated.

This mindset is so prevalent right now for three reasons.  Today I’ll give the first, and pick up with the next two on Monday:

Reason 1: The first reason people reject systematic theology is a reason that largely comes from outside the Church. This reason is the philosophy known as existentialism.

Existentialism believes there are certain truths we can know but there is no one absolute truth for all mankind. This is where the phrase ‘There are no absolute truths’ comes from. You’ve probably also heard someone say, ‘What’s true for you is true for you, that doesn’t mean it’s true for me.’ Existentialism also teaches there are many purposes man can discover but there is no one grand purpose for which all mankind was made. Rather, the world is full of one thing – chaos.  And because the world is full of chaos, no one can find a true, genuine system that makes sense for everyone. Because of this ‘systems’ are frowned upon, or thought of as inauthentic, suspicious, or fake.

Well, as you can imagine the Bible strongly disagrees with this reasoning.

The Bible does teach that there is an absolute truth, and that this truth is not relative to each person, which makes it true no matter where you are or who you are.  The Bible does teach that there is one grand purpose for all mankind. The Bible doesn’t teach the world is full of chaos, but that the world (though fallen) is full of order.

Because of these things, Christians throughout history have been eager to put the truths of Scripture into a system in an effort to understand it’s teaching better. But when Existentialism came along, and gained its massive influence, systems fell out of favor. Yet you and I can see the irony here because we live in world where we’re surrounded by systems. Computers wouldn’t run without operating systems, cars wouldn’t take us to dinner or take us to the mall if it weren’t for detailed mechanical systems. TV’s wouldn’t work if it weren’t for their intricate electrical display systems. We are constantly plugged into this system or that system.

It’s ironic that we think ‘systems’ are inauthentic because we’re always interacting with systems. Without systems life couldn’t function as it does now, and without systematic theology we couldn’t make sense of the all the information the Bible gives us about God.

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The Biblical Meaning of Foreknowledge

Many people deny the doctrine of predestination because of the word in Romans 8:29-30, “foreknew.”

Here is the passage, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

Those who deny predestination based on this have one thing right, and one thing wrong.  The one thing they have correct is that predestination is indeed founded upon God’s foreknowing those whom He will choose.  What they have wrong is their definition of what it means to “foreknow.”  To “foreknow” can be defined in two ways: the philosophical way and the Biblical way.  The philosophical definition of foreknowledge or “foreknowing” is simple.  To foreknow means to know something beforehand.  Therefore when you bring this philosophical definition to Romans 8:29-30 it means this: God, before the world was made, looked down into the hallway of time and saw those people who would choose Him.  Based upon the foreknowledge of these people’s choice of Himself, God chose, or predestined them.  This manner of defining foreknowledge and predestination is not Biblical.

The Biblical definition of God’s foreknowledge is different.  Rather than meaning God’s prior knowledge of decisions man will make, it means a specific and intentional act of God loving certain people and setting His affection on them alone.  Confused?  Therefore when you bring the Biblical definition to Romans 8:29-30 it means this: God, based solely on His sovereign grace, chooses (elects) to set His affection on some men, regenerating them and thereby opening their heart to His truth.

Look at Amos 3:2 “You (Israel) only have I known among all the families of the earth…” Does God only know of Israel on the planet?  Is he ignorant of all other people?  Of course not.  God knows all people, there is nothing hidden from Him (Heb. 4:13).  So what does it mean when it says God only knew Israel out of all the families of the earth?  It means God chose to set His favor and affection only upon Israel out of the all the families of the earth.  This is portrayed for us in the word ‘know’ throughout the entire Bible.  To know someone is to set a very intimate affection on them.  This is why the Bible refers to Adam and Eve’s sexual intimacy as ‘knowing’ in Genesis 4:1.

So what does “foreknowledge” mean?  It does not refer to God’s actual knowledge of anything beforehand (though He in fact does have that knowledge).  Rather “foreknowledge” refers to God’s setting His affection upon His people before the world was made.  God intimately chose and knows His people, just as a husband intimately chose and knows his wife.  It is true that this foreknowing is the foundation of predestination, and the Biblical definition of it makes this so much clearer.

Thus, if we were to translate the Biblical meaning of foreknowledge into Romans 8:29 it would read like this, “For those whom God intimately set His affection upon beforehand, He also predestined…” This meaning is in sync with the rest of the Bible.

Labor to rid your mind of philosophical definitions for Biblical words.  Let the Bible define words for itself.

Human Faculties 101

I have often found it fascinating to read vivid and plain descriptions of ordinary things.  John Calvin does this very well in most things, especially regarding the faculties God has given man.

Thus let us, therefore hold – as indeed is suitable to our present purpose – that the human soul consists of two faculties, understanding and will.  Let the office, moreover, of understanding be to distinguish between objects, as each seems worthy of approval or disapproval; while that of the will, to choose and follow what the understanding pronounces good, but to reject and flee what it disapproves. (Institutes, 1.15.7)

How does the mind play into these faculties?

God provided man’s soul with a mind, by which to distinguish good from evil, right from wrong, and with the light of reason as a guide, to distinguish what should be followed from what should be avoided. (Institutes 1.15.8)

So you see, according to Calvin, the way the God-given faculties work together.  First, our understanding distinguishes between the goodness or badness of an object.  Second, those things the understanding finds worthy of approval the will chooses to embrace while those things the understanding finds worthy of disapproval the will chooses to turn away from.  Here in Calvin, the will and the mind almost play identical roles.  I think the difference is that the mind, or the thinking part of man, is what houses both the understanding and the will.  How then is this compatible with the soul?  The mind is not merely the brain, but the whole faculty of the awareness present in man.  Thus, the soul of man (which some could rightly call the “heart”) includes the mind, the understanding, and the will.

This is all brought back to prominent focus when we linger over the thought of what God does inside a person in the salvation of that person.  He changes the nature of our soul so that all within us (heart, mind, understanding, will) no longer sees Jesus Christ as foolishness but for the first time sees and savors Jesus Christ as worthy of infinite worship.  He makes all of us new.  Praise God for His work in man!

Being and Becoming

In philosophy the common distinction of “being and becoming” has been made over and over in different ways throughout history.  Each time a new philosopher addressed this distinction it seemed to grow in its scope.  For example Parmenides was known to often say, “All that is, is.”  Pretty short and simple statement right?  Wrong.  Heracleitus took this idea one step further by saying “All that is, is changing.”  Can you see why he was the one who coined the famous phrase “you never step into the same river twice?”  Cratylus went even further with this distinction by saying “you don’t even step into the same river even once; not only is the river flowing, but so are you.  This means the you who stepped into the river is in constant flux and is not the same you who stepped out of the river.  Fascinating discussion isn’t it?

Ever since these three raised this distinction philosopher’s have been discussing it ad nauseam but it is a curious thing to me that no one ever mentions the Apostle Paul along with them.  After all he said some stunning things about this distinction as well.  He mentions in his letters to the churches that by faith in Jesus we were saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.  We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings, we have been adopted and made heirs of the great promise, and will one day become what we are being made into now.  We are perfect in Christ, and are being made perfect in this life.  We have been made righteous by Christ’s imputation of righteousness, and we are being made righteous here and now.  What does all this mean? Paul had lots to say about being and becoming, and it is my opinion that no one in history made more headway into this distinction than he did.  In Christ we are, and in Christ we will be.

What a wondrous and mysterious thing it is to live the Christian life.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

The philosopher Gottfried Leibniz describes many things about God that I find very correct and intriguing. If you were to think over his arguments in his “Discourse on Metaphysics” you would end up with the conclusion that God has created the best of all possible worlds, because of Leibniz’s view of perfection.

Leibniz says that God possesses infinite wisdom, therefore when God does something He always does it in the wisest, most perfect, and most desirable way possible. Therefore, when God created the world that we see before us today, we can know that this world exists as the best of all possible worlds, because it was made in the wisest way possible. If we were to say that God did not create the world in the wisest way possible, we would be saying that God could have created the world in a wiser or better way. To say that is to find fault with God, and this clearly cannot happen according to Leibniz; and I agree wholeheartedly.

Leibniz is on to something here that many in our modern day do not embrace; God’s love for His own glory over all other things. Leibniz says God “does nothing for which He does not merit being glorified.” This means that God’s greatest desire is to be glorified, and because of this, everything He does serves the end of His own being made much of. Therefore if God were to create a world in which He was not fully glorified or treasured, that world would be lacking in the most vital way possible. Therefore the logical conclusion of this thought is that God is fully glorified in this world, because this world exists, knowing that this world would not exist unless it was the best possible of all worlds, because God does all things in the most perfect and desirable manner possible.

But this brings up the question of evil doesn’t it? Yes. If God created this world as the best of all possible worlds, and everything serves the purpose of glorifying Himself, than what do we make of the evil in our world? Does that evil serve God’s glory? If God made the world in the wisest way possible was the evil we see everyday part of His “wisest way possible” plan? Leibniz says rightly that God must be glorified more because of evil in the world, “than if none of the evil had (ever) happened.” Again the logical conclusion is this: we know God acts for His own glory in the most perfect and desirable manner possible. Therefore everything that was made was made in the most “wise way possible”. Therefore if evil (or anything!) exists we know that God had a wise purpose and design in allowing it to exist.

Therefore, I agree with Leibniz, that we do live in the best of all possible worlds. Everything that exists serves the purpose of God’s glory. If anything didn’t serve the end of God’s glory, God wouldn’t have allowed it to exist.

Do You Know John 15:11??

I know I have written a lot recently about the German Philosopher Immanuel Kant and his categorical Imperative, but I saw something this morning that stunned me from John 15:11 and I must tell you about it.

For those of you just coming into this discussion, Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative is this: an action can only be moral and virtuous, if the person doing the action gains nothing from it. So, to the degree that you gain anything, from doing any action, to that degree, it is an immoral action. If Kant had his way, he would have us all be disinterested in the things we do. This is not Biblical, but I am writing about this again because I think so many of you believe this! Now to John 15:11.

John 15:11 says, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” This statement gives the purpose for the previous 10 verses. That means 15:1-10 were spoken by Jesus for our joy. Think about how the purpose statement in 15:11 applies to 15:9-10. Jesus says, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Jesus clearly teaches that keeping His commandments is the way to remain in His love; this is describing obedience.

TOO OFTEN, Christians think of obedience to God in a KANTian manner. We say, we think, we believe, and act upon this thought: “If I am to obey God, I must put pleasure and delight aside. If I am to have pleasure and delight, I cannot obey God.” Does Jesus believe this? NO! John 15:11 teaches us that this idea about putting pleasure aside to obey God is a lie. Rather, Jesus told us that obedience to His commandments (15:9-10) for the purpose of making our joy full (15:11). What does that mean? Jesus told us to obey Him so that we could have the fullness of joy! This means that obedience to Jesus is the fullness of joy, not the absence of it. Kant’s imperative is again….wrong. Pursue your joy in Jesus with all the might you can muster, by obeying His commandments.

How Philippians 3:7-8 Blasted Kant Out of My Soul

Yesterday I told you that Kant’s categorical imperative (his rule that an act can only be moral if you gain nothing from it) is not useful for anyone, especially Christians.

Recently in my morning devotions, I pondered over two verses that blasted Kant out of my soul once again! The two verses were Philippians 3:7-8, which state, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

Before I tell you why this was so refreshing to my soul this morning, let me first say that most people already think in Kantian terms with regards to their faith. Too many of us think that religion is only about doing our duty to God. We think that in order to do our duty to God we must put pleasure aside because obedience to God is always unpleasant. We think sin is always pleasurable and obedience to God is always unpleasurable. To put it another way, we think this: “If it’s enjoyable, it’s wrong!” Therefore an implication which comes from this is that we have embraced the idea that going to church is not about having fun, going to church is about putting fun aside to do our duty! We must put fun and pleasure aside in order to serve and worship God! O’ how wrong this is! Let us wake up from our Kantian coma’s!

Phil. 3:7-8 blasts Kant out of my soul because those two verses say everything which is gain to us (health, money, cars, computers, houses, wives, husbands, families, children, books, status, riches extraordanaire, etc) should be counted as loss. If we stop here we may prove Kant more than disproving him, but thankfully the verse keeps going. We’re to count those things that are gain as loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. Why? Because His worth and His value far surpasses all other things! So, if we pursue those things only, we do not pursue our joy rightly! We only pursue our joy rightly by leaving what is less pleasing and going after that which gives us the most pleasure, JESUS!

According to Kant I cannot pursue my joy in Jesus, because that would not be a moral action for me to do. BUT according to the Bible, I am called to pursue my joy in Jesus with all my might! That is why I read my Bible, that is why I pray, and that is why I go to church, to be satisfied in Jesus above all things! Is that why you do those things?

Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Biblical? Useful?

Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative is his moral compass which says the morality of an act decreases to the degree that we enjoy it or gain any benefit from it. Actions are only good if the actor is disinterested in the act. Therefore to the degree that we are disinterested in our actions, we are virtuous people doing our duty. If we seek any type of reward, joy, or gain, (in any way) from the act itself, we are not moral. Ayn Rand stated it like this, “An action is moral, said Kant, only if one has no desire to perform it, but performs it out of a sense of duty and derives no benefit from it of any sort, neither material or spiritual. A benefit destroys the moral value of an action.” It should be stated that this mindset has become the mindset of Christianity to a large extent, so much so that Christians today see this ‘disinterested’ mindset as Biblical to the core. The question of its usefulness comes down to this; is it Biblical? If it is, let’s use it! If it’s not, let’s stay away from it! Well, which is it?

I think it is unbiblical and therefore useless in acting as our moral compass. Jonathan Edwards thought the same, he said in Resolution 22, “Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.” C.S. Lewis agreed and said, “It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can.” What caused these two prominent writers think this way? Two massive reasons, at least.

First, all throughout the Bible God is portrayed as having one motive behind every action; His own glory. If we follow Kant’s reasoning God would not be doing His proper duty by pursuing His glory in His works. But, it would be evil of God to not express His glory to us. If God withheld the expression of His glory and beauty to us, the foundation of our joy would be lost! For when His glory goes public, His people are filled with infinite delight! This was David’s desire in Psalm 27:4 when he yearned to see the beauty of the LORD. God commands that we be happy in Him in Deuteronomy 28:47-48. This was the very reason Jesus became human in Romans 15:8-9, so that God would be glorified for His mercy. If Kant is right, God is wrong to seek His own gain in all His works. If God is right, we get delight and God gets the glory He seeks! The application of this truth is that God is not glorified where He is not treasured and enjoyed! Thus, when we seek God for our satisfaction in Him, He is more glorified than if we we’re merely disinterested in coming to Him.

Second, many passages tell us to seek our own gain. Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” If we come to God not seeking a reward from Him, we do not come to God rightly! 1 John 1:4, “These things we write, so that our joy may be complete.” John wrote his letters so that his own joy would be made complete. God loves cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:7), not disinterested givers. Okay, but didn’t Jesus tell us to deny ourselves? Yes He did, in Mark 8:34-35. But do you see that in this charge to deny ourselves there is an appeal to do it for our own good, even for our own happiness? If I want to save my life, I must lose it!

Is Kant’s categorical imperative useful? If it is, I lose my happiness in God, therefore it is not. If we are to obey Scripture, and feast on the God who is a river of delight (Psalm 36:8), which is the most moral act we can ever do, we must drop Kant’s categorical compass and take up God at His Word, coming to Him for own gain and benefit.

Christianity is Utter Reason and Rationality

In our present-day, non-Christians (especially well-informed intellectual non-Christians), claim that Christian belief is not rational.  They make this claim not based on examination of the alleged facts of Christianity, they just throw out the facts as not worthy of true investigation and claim it’s absurdity.  They usually say something like this, “Christianity is similar to belief in the tooth fairy.  Belief in the tooth fairy is good and could even be useful, that is, for a child.  But eventually a child must grow up and come to face the facts of reality.  The tooth fairy doesn’t exist.  It was only a scheme created by mothers to help kids sleep through the night, giving them little coins every now and then to make them feel special.”  People who hold this view usually carry a sort of triumphalist mindset over Christians, because in their view they have “grown up” intellectually while Christians have remained intellectual children.  Are they right?  Is Christianity really a fairy tale?  Do you have to put your mind on the shelf to be follower of Jesus?  Paul didn’t think so.  Listen to what he says before Agrippa in Acts 26.

So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.  For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death.  So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”  While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind!  Your great learning is driving you mad.”  But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, what I am saying is true and reasonable.

Paul, in sharing his own testimony to King Agrippa, claims that his Christian belief is reasonable and rational.  This means that it is rational to believe the gospel.  It is rational thinking to believe the gospel is greater than you could have invented, that the Bible always seems to resonate as true in your life, that you cannot deny the clear testimony of the gospel power in your own life, that you now know Jesus because of His work!  Bottom line?  I agree that Christian belief isn’t rational, it’s super rational, it’s beyond reason!  Take heart Christian, what you believe is true and reasonable.

What is Philosophy?

For those of you who don’t know, I was a philosophy major in college, and despite now having little time to delve into such weighty and fascinating issues, I still love pondering in this realm. What you’ll find below was recently on the Philosophy Bytes podcast, and I enjoyed it so much I thought I’d reproduce it here for you. One question was asked to a numerous amount of professional philosophers. Forgive me if any of the names below are butchered.

“What is philosophy?”

Don Cupitt: “Philosophy, for me, is critical thinking, trying to become aware of how one’s own thinking works, and (something that too
many take for granted) the way in which their own thinking shapes what their thinking about.”

Alexander Nahemas: “I can’t answer that directly, but I can tell you why I became a philosopher. I became a philosopher so that I could
talk about many, many things, ideally with knowledge, but sometimes with not quite the amount of knowledge to be a specialist about these
things. It allows you to be many different things, and plurality and complexity is very very important to me.”

Bowie Smith: “I think it’s thinking clearly and well about the nature of reality and our place in it. So as to understand better what goes
on around us, and what our contribution to that reality is, and its effect on us.”

Wendy Brown: “Philosophy asks about life’s meanings, philosophy asks about who we are, what we might be, how we conceive ourselves, and how
we can even think these questions.”

Leigh McCoise: “I’m afraid I have a very un-helpful answer, because its only a negative answer. Philosophy is a way of trying to be a
systematic spirit without having a system.”

Sebastian Gardner: “Philosophy is the attempt to unify theoretical and practical reason.”

Sorna Dickinson: “It is refusing to accept any platitudes or any accepted wisdom without examining it.”

Chandra Cutas: “Thinking systematically about the presuppositions of a given topic, to try to understand that topic in its fullness.”

Kate Sopa: “Respecting the cultural relativity and historicity of our ideas, while at the same time teasing out what might be more the
trans-cultural, trans-historical truths.”

Robert Rowan Smith: “I think the Greek term has it exactly right. It’s a way of loving knowledge.”

Ray Metalles: “Trying to see how things in the wider sense hang together in the wider sense, making the universe mind-portable so that
rather than being possessed by it, we possess it.”

Keith Ward: “Philosophy includes the pursuit of wisdom, even spiritual wisdom. Asking questions about the nature of life and reality and how
that effects our life and practice.”

Claire Carlisle: “Well, most simply really it’s about making sense of all this. Making sense of the reality we find ourselves in.”

Terrence Owen: “It starts with claims that are quite familiar, raises certain kinds of difficulties with it, and tries to achieve some kind
of systematic understanding of them that will give insight into the claims that originally seemed plausible, and remove objections that
came up when we began thinking about these claims.”

Alan Buchanan: “Being critical and reflective about things that most people take for granted.”

Sean Zon: “It used to be an inquiry into what’s true and how people should live, but the distance is now growing rather than narrowing.”

Bo Slogen: “A collection of questions we give to issues we deeply want to learn from.”

Emma McCaid: “Thinking about thinking.”

Anthony Grailing: “Inquiry into the unknown, or all those things we don’t yet and properly understand.”

Richard Bradley: “99% about critical reflection about issues we’re interested in.”

Jeff McMan: “I have no idea.”

Ortensen Armstrong: “The search for a coherent and justified worldview. Finding out how all things fit together into.”

Anthony Kenny: “Thinking as clearly as possible about the most fundamental concepts in existence.”

Tony Cody: “Not only analyzing concepts, and making arguments, but aiming at large scale questions and critiquing main influences on
life.”

John Armstrong: “The successful love of thinking.”

Alex Neil: “Thinking that’s obsessed with clarity.”

Tim Krane: “The attempt to understand how things hang together.”

The Best of all Possible Worlds

The philosopher Gottfried Leibniz describes many things about God that I find very correct and intriguing. If you were to think over the arguments he puts forth in his “Discourse on Metaphysics” you would end up with the conclusion that God has created the best of all possible worlds, because of Leibniz’s view of perfection.

Leibniz says that God possesses infinite wisdom, therefore when God does something He always does it in the wisest, most perfect, and most desirable way possible. Therefore, when God created the world that we see before us today, we can know that this world exists as the best of all possible worlds, because it was made in the wisest way possible. If we were to say that God did not create the world in the wisest way possible, we would be saying that God could have created the world in a wiser or better way. To say that is to find fault with God, and this clearly cannot happen according to Leibniz; and I agree wholeheartedly.

Leibniz is on to something here that many in our modern day do not embrace; God’s love for His own glory over all other things. Leibniz says God “does nothing for which He does not merit being glorified.” This means that God’s greatest desire is to be glorified, and because of this, everything He does serves the end of His own being made much of. Therefore if God were to create a world in which He was not fully glorified or treasured, that world would be lacking in the most vital way possible. Therefore the logical conclusion of this thought is that God is fully glorified in this world, because this world exists, knowing that this world would not exist unless it was the best possible of all worlds, because God does all things in the most perfect and desirable manner possible.

But this brings up the question of evil doesn’t it? Yes. If God created this world as the best of all possible worlds, and everything serves the purpose of glorifying Himself, than what do we make of the evil in our world? Does that evil serve God’s glory? If God made the world in the wisest way possible was the evil we see everyday part of His “wisest way possible” plan? Leibniz says rightly that God must be glorified more because of evil in the world, “than if none of the evil had (ever) happened.” Again the logical conclusion is this: we know God acts for His own glory in the most perfect and desirable manner possible. Therefore everything that was made was made in the most “wise way possible”. Therefore if evil (or anything!) exists we know that God had a wise purpose and design in allowing it to exist.

Therefore, I agree with Leibniz, that we do live in the best of all possible worlds. Everything that exists serves the purpose of God’s glory. If anything didn’t serve the end of God’s glory, God wouldn’t have allowed it to exist.

“All Religions are Valid” – Really?

Many people say things that resemble this statement, “There is nothing wrong with any religion.” My response is simple and at first sounds very arrogant. “Nope. Only one is right.” Let me explain myself.

I say this, and I want you to believe this too, because of a few reasons:

a) There is a difference between toleration and validity. Today many people are keen and quick to point out that we ought to tolerate all religions but fail to recognize that they move beyond mere toleration to believing that all religions are valid options. This is mere nonsense displaying one’s intellectual malfunction. To tolerate is to do just that, be okay with it’s existence. To believe something is valid is to embrace it as a clear and good option for life. These are two different things and ought not be confused.

b) Do you think it sounds arrogant for me to say that I am believing the right religion in believing Christianity while all others who believe in something else are believing in the wrong things? If you do, let me challenge you: do you think Jesus was arrogant to claim that He was God in the flesh? That He was and is and always will be the only way to God? Was it arrogant for Him to claim that He was the only One who could forgive sins? That He could rise from the dead? That He can save people from Gods wrath?

If you do, if you believe that these claims are arrogant your issues about the exclusive claims of Christianity are with one person only – Jesus Himself. If that makes you hate me, so be it. I stand with Him and I want you to do the same.