Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time for Wisdom..and a Godly Response

It fascinates me how, in the last few years, more and more attention is given in our world to not just disproving Christianity, but Christ. Like the history revisionists who want to convince us the holocaust never happened, people are coming forward though the media, in books and films, claiming Christ never existed. The latest offering in this vein is a film, The God Who Wasn't There, from an "award-winning filmmaker (and former Christian)." As I read the description of the movie, and saw that it was awarded this Best Documentary at the Grass Roots Film Festival, I could only shake my head. Why do these people find it so imperative to disprove what ancient historians have already proven--even to the point of accusing said historians of being in cahoots with early Christians as they manufactured this false Christ? Even as I ask that, though, I know the answer. It's clear in what I believe is the greatest proof of Christ's existence: The Bible:

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first... Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you...They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the One who sent me. They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. Anyone who hates me also hates my Father...they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’" (John 15: 18-25)

So, then, what do we do in the face of such determination to deny not just our faith, but the very existence of a Man who lived and died (and--my vote here, because we all get a vote--rose again!) for the very people who seek to obliterate him from history? I can tell you right off what Christians too often do in these situations: Get angry. Open the door to outrage. Promote bans and boycotts. But generally that ends up being counterproductive, and too often fuels the fires of conflict.

Instead, how about a different tack?

1. Get On Your Knees. How often have you heard people say, "Is there anything I can do besides pray for you"? Friends, there's nothing more powerful, more life altering, than prayer. Take this whole crazy thing to the only One who truly understands it. Seek His wisdom. His guidance. Seek His mercy for these folks who--again, my vote here--are the ones who are truly deceived. Let time with Him fill your heart and mind with truth and peace and, above all things, His love and grace. Because those are your best weapons in this kind of battle.

2. Get Informed.
Find out for yourself what these people are saying, and then commit yourself to learning what is and isn't true. The truth is there, we just need to seek it out. To study both Scripture and other historical references to Jesus. One of the criticisms/complaints thrown at Christians most often is that we're a people of experience rather than study or knowledge. As much as I hate to say it, I've found that to be true, both in myself at times and in other believers. Too few of us really apply ourselves to study of God's Words or to study of history. So let's put that criticism to rest. Take the time, even if it's just a short time each day, to really educate ourselves on the facts. Because when you're armed with facts and truth, your response can be balanced and filled with grace. And that's far more productive and, to my way of thinking, godly than outrage.

Want a good place to start reading in Scripture? 2 Timothy is perfect for times like this. I encourage you to not just read it, but study it. Find the deeper truths not just for yourself, but for that dark and angry world all around us.

As for the historical support that Jesus lived, here are a few sites where you can find information about the historians and what they had to say. I don't agree with everything these sites say, but they do offer some good information for getting started.

Historical Proof of Jesus

Proof of Jesus' Birth

Historicity of Jesus

Josephus on Jesus

Exploring the Jesus-Myth rationale

Extra-biblical mentions of Christ

2. Get Ready. When your heart and mind are focused on Him, when you've done your part by studying and learning as best you can, be prepared. Odds are good doors to discussion will open. Whether with those you know or total strangers, take Paul's words to Timothy to heart:"

"I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you." (2 Tim. 4:1-6)

Peace, friends.



Rel said...

Great post, Karen. Your words both challenge and encourage :)


Robin Caroll said...

Thanks for sharing, girl. I've been feeling a "change" in people as well. One of the goals I'm reaching for in 2009 is to start every day not only in devotion and communication with Him, but also truly STUDYING His word every morning, not just reading and praying for wisdom, but actively seeking out His guidance in revelation of His word.

Kim said...

Thank you for posting this as well as the links. What a blessing.
In Him Who is My Joy,

Dineen A. Miller said...

Awesome post, Karen, and so true. Knowing God's Word has helped me the most in my unequally yoked marriage. Knowing God's Word helps me to show Christ, which speaks louder than defensive or angry words. It's not easy to be a Christian today and at times, it's discouraging and painful. I'm so glad God is bigger than all of it and sees it all too. He is our justification.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Karen, thanks for this post. I especially appreciate your emphasis on prayer and for the reminder of the John 15 passage.

I think it's important for us to remember that hatred for Christians (assuming we haven't done something hateful) is really hatred for Christ. But I don't believe He wants us to take up the sword to defend Him any more than He wanted Peter and co. to do it in Gethsemane.

Pray, yes, definitely. And speak the truth in love.