Saturday, November 05, 2011

My heart's message for the day


I am a big fan of the book of Hebrews, although I am not sure who wrote it (why wouldn’t Paul have put his name on it?).  I took a class in it in college and we had to memorize about forty verses from it, so it’s in my head. 

The theme of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is better—than angels, law, high priestly system, etc.—than Judaism.  It’s basically about comparative religion for the sake of apologetics. 
Perhaps that is the way to approach evangelism.  Jesus is better.    Comparative advantages.  Why is Christianity, in its purest form (which I admit is sometimes hard to find) better than other belief systems, or no belief systems?

This takes it, for the moment, out of the realm of right-wrong and into a matter of good/ok vs. better/best.  Maybe that would give us a hearing.

How is Christianity better?  Well, start by reading the book of John and deal with the personality of the founder of the faith and how he deals with people.  Isn’t that in itself enough?  Just let Jesus speak for himself.  Then look at what it offers—wholeness, forgiveness, virtue, fellowship.  Now, I would be the first to say we fall short on that score, but it is what Christianity offers even if the church people mess it up and get in the way.

Then look at what Christianity says about our relationship to the sin of the world, about suffering, about helping the poor (again, we fall short, but I think all our critics are willfully blind to all the ministries run by Christians that are relieving suffering.)  It was once pointed out to me that Jesus was a-government, and if possible, Christianity is suspicious of government power.  There is really nothing in native Christianity about mixing our system with governmental systems.  The prevailing governmental systems of the time didn’t exactly treat our early brethren well, so there’s good reason for us today to be wary of government answers to problems.    The great Christian activists of the past have sought to mobilize the nominal believers of the church, not the government first, even if the government eventually was acted upon. 

I believe Jesus is better all the way around—in himself, in his teachings, in his glory, in his suffering, in what he does for his followers, in how his believers are encouraged, even commanded, to be thinkers and doers more than feelers, in so many ways.  I would encourage anyone reading this to find a good solid book, perhaps by John Stott or Tim Keller, and read what they have to say about the faith, and also to read John and Hebrews for starters in the Bible. 

Then you can move from seeing that Jesus is better than all the other gods and systems and religious leaders to seeing him as unique and worthy of your life.

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