Dr. Erik Strandness says it’s not just historical facts that...
Are some Christians totally deluding themselves … and others?
It is clear that the mark of a Christian is not what he says, but what he does. So many folk know the lingo, can talk the talk, can give every impression they have regenerated hearts, but have they really? Just like the sophists of Ancient Greece, professional orators paid for their work, some are earning a nice living in the Christian world, particularly the media. Judging by the techniques used to fleece the flock and promote highly dubious theologies, it is highly unlikely that these folk have a real relationship with the Lord Jesus. The Matthew passage reminds us:
By their fruit you will recognise them.
This is important because, without any evidence of a regenerated heart, a life given over to God, the probability is that there is no regenerated heart.
Some people are Christians by name only, deluding themselves. For this, I put the blame on Greek thinking. When I was first introduced to Jesus, I accepted his claims on an intellectual level quite quickly. It made sense to me, even as I delved into the history and theology. I knew that Jesus was theoretically my saviour. I had a very Greek salvation, head knowledge, not heart knowledge. If I had died before this revelation had reached my heart then all this knowledge would have been absolutely no use to me. Theory doesn’t save souls, only practice does, making a decision of the will to allow the Holy Spirit to enter my life, sweep me clean of the rubbish and lift me up and partner with me on the greatest journey anyone can go on.
How many out there have a Greek salvation, who see their Christian convictions as just a system of philosophy, a source of good argument at dinner parties, a guarded position in heated debates? A Jesus of the mind but not the heart. If this is you, then get Hebraic, get on your knees and make the decision to allow Jesus to inform your actions and conduct and not just your thoughts.
So, what about Christian unity? Let’s remind ourselves:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Firstly, we have to be clear about who are our Christian brothers and sisters, disciples of Jesus. There can be no unity of the Spirit if we’re not all following the same Spirit. Unity for unity’s sake is no good unless it is undergirded by the truth. We have to get real here and consider that, as ever, the World is watching us. If we condone and support ministries that are clearly from another planet, then it makes us all look stupid and gullible and diminishes the Gospel.
Unfortunately, many Christians are gullible. Our fellowship certainly was when we actually ran evening meetings to plan for the “inevitable collapse of society” as a result of the millennium bug in 2000. How stupid did we look afterwards and what good did that do for the Gospel? What about those who follow prophets who are declared false by the mere fact that specific prophecies don’t come to pass? Do we stone them as false prophets? No, we carry on funding them and following them because we look up to them, we want them to be right eventually, otherwise we’d look foolish. Wake up! You have already demonstrated foolishness by your actions. What good did that do for the Gospel?
For the previous article in this series, click here.
For the next article in this series, click here.
To find out what is my favourite book of the Bible, click here.
You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.