Why is There Confusion About Christianity
The other day I picked up a well known women’s magazine, curiously paging through the feature stories. Now, as a magazine connoisseur, I am well acquainted with the ever popular ‘spiritual’ articles they like to publish every so often. Most of the time it is completely misguided New Age drivel, but to be fair, it seems like the publishers and readers are truly searching for answers.
In this particular article entitled ‘What happens when we die?’, they interviewed a panel of ‘spiritual leaders’. The panel included: an Imam, a Priest, a Tibetan Buddhist, a Rabbi and a Sangoma. Initially I was excited they even consulted a Christian voice, as usually these secular publications tend to side line us completely. This excitement was short lived however, when I read the priest’s answer to the after-life question. In what was a perfect opportunity to present the Gospel, this prominent Capetonian minister in question was recorded as saying:
“The New Testament idea is that of reserrecution, which implies briging to life again in a new way. Paul in 1 Cor 15, a key chapter around the subject of life after death, uses the analogy of the seed – dying is like the planting of the seed. Another example, though it is not an ancient Christian symbol, is that of the butterfly: when it emerges from the chrysalis, those aspects of the pupa that are no longer appropriate to its ‘butterflyness’ have been shed. The same principle applies.
The point is you don’t have a soul, you are a soul that incorporates this physicality. Folk religion tends to make entry into heaven on good behaviour: you’ll be good, you go to heaven – you become the butterfly. If you are bad, you go to hell – and there you fry eternally. Again, the New Testament doesn’t actually say that. It talks about entering into the fullness of life, eternity and heaven as a result of our receiving love. And in receiving love, one’s relationship with God, and all that makes up all that is – people, the planet, oneself, one’s relationships – are put on a different footing.
Hell is the opposite – a state of alienation, of being out of sorts with yourself, with other people, with your environment, the whole works. It is our choice as to whether we are going to engage positively with the emergence of life and being, or whether we are going to withdraw from it.”
Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions – perhaps this mainline minister was misquoted, or taken out of context, but even so, his explanation of the after-life (and essentially the Gospel message) is terrible! It sounds so vague and new agey!
I am perturbed by his comments and further more, iritated by the ‘vague’ comments that are regularly quoted in the secular press as representative of the Christian world view. Whether it’s radio, television, newspapers, books or magazines, Christianity is constantly misrepresented and incorrectly ‘labelled’ by people who are ill-informed. Sometimes, it is a case of being ‘misquoted’ (as perhaps this minister was) or, most times, it’s a case of wishy-washy preachers being used as the voice and face of Christianity
Enough is enough! We have one Bible, one Gospel, one Jesus and one Salvation message. Please let us sing off the same hymn sheet, and if some choose not to – let them not be accepted as an accurate representative of Biblical Christianity.
When the ‘Da Vinci Code’ book was released, non-Christians buried their noses in its pages, hailing it as a “true reflection” of ominously organised Christianity. The fact of the matter is it is nothing of the sort – the book is a fictional compilation of the exaggerated musings of a disgruntled former catholic, author Dan Brown.
When a prominent South African Christian political figure recently expressed his dismissal of a God who rejects homosexuality, the world raised their voices in support, whilst true Bible-believing Christians shook their heads in dismay. The Archbishop in question was commenting on the 7pm BBC News in response to the Anglican Church who were debating ordaining Gay bishops. I could not believe what I was hearing when he stated, “If God, as they say, is homophobic, then I wouldn’t worship that God.” A few weeks later he went on to say, “Most of us think God is a Christian, but if you think that God is going to tell the Dalai Lama, ‘You’re a good person, but sorry you are not a Christian’, then I say rubbish!”
These comments are dangerous and misleading – though God is not a ‘Christian’ (after all, Jesus was Jewish) those who follow Christ (Christ-ians) will inherit eternal life (John 14:6). Good people don’t go to heaven, God people do!
The question I ask myself, is why all the confusion about the Word of God, the tenets of our faith and the deity of Christ? Well, we know that the first strategy the devil ever employed was to get mankind to question the Word of God. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Gen 3:1 In our post-modern world it is clear that he still uses these tactics today.
Secondly, in a society ruled by relativism and humanism (ie: “What’s true for you is not true for me”; “God is who I want Him to be”), questioning the deity of Christ and the unilateral way to God through Jesus is a given and even celebrated practice.
Thirdly, through a widespread lack of Biblical knowledge and holistic application of the uncompromised Word of God, the Body of Christ is fractured by differing belief systems and dogmas. Some Christian leaders believe in a literal hell, others don’t. Some condone homosexual relationships, others contend it’s not of God. Naturally the liberally minded secular media will always tend to publish the dissenting voices – let’s face it, Godly commandments don’t go down well in an anti-Christian culture.
It is our responsibility to protect the Gospel and uphold the Word of God at all costs. (xx) Do not accept vague descriptions or unBiblical comments about our faith. For ease of reference, I have documented exactly what Bible believing Christians should and do believe, so that we are all on the same page. If you have a problem with any of these points, please pray and ask the Lord to work in your heart as these points are all from the Bible.
God created mankind in his image. We are a spirit, we have a soul (mind, will, emotions) and we live in a body. When we die, our spirit either goes to heaven or to hell – both of which are real, everlasting places. (xx)
By disobeying God (through eating the fruit), mankind fell. Sin entered the world, separating us eternally from a Holy God who cannot face sin.
Even though this happened, God was not taken by surprise, and in His sovereign ways, He already had a plan of redemption in mind. (Gen)
Religion tries to reach up to God through good deeds and practices. God, with infinite Grace and Mercy, reached down to man through His Son Jesus, who was fully God and fully man. Jesus is God’s salvation plan.
Jesus died on the cross for our sins. After 3 days He was raised up to heaven and He sits at the right hand of God.
In order to receive forgiveness of our sin, to be reconciled to God and to receive eternal life in heaven (and so much more) we have to repent of our wicked ways, and accept Jesus as the one and only, final and complete sacrifice.
When we do that, we are born-again. Our spirit is renewed in Christ and we become a new creature with a new heart and new desires.
Jesus becomes our Lord and our Saviour. It is now our responsibility (through the power and infilling of the Holy Spirit) to become a disciple – one who follows Christ and His Word in obedience.
No one can be truly born-again and not change to be more Christ-like (xx). If someone says they are ‘saved’ but they do not obey God’s Word and do not live a life in line with this, they are deceived. (xx)
One day we will all stand before God and account for our lives. Those whose names are not in the Lamb’s book of life, will be judged and sent to hell. Those who are saved, will face another kind of judgement – for their deeds (and not for their belief in Christ)
NB – No one goes to hell because of their sin (hence refuting the argument of “how can a good God send people to hell because of sin”). People go to hell for refusing to accept God’s salvation plan – Jesus.
God promises that every person will have a chance to accept Jesus before they are eternally judged.
If you are not right with God, please say this salvation prayer now and after wards, go an find a church that will disciple you. Please contact our offices if you need any help in this regard.
“Dear God, thank you for your son Jesus who died on the Cross for my sin and my sickness. Please forgive me of all my sins and wash me clean. I accept Jesus into my heart and determine today to live a life pleasing to you. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who now lives in me and helps me walk in your ways. I love you Lord. Amen”