Archive for July 2018

Jesus Christ – The Only Way To God?

July 28, 2018

Jesus Claims About Himself   Is jJsus the only way to God

Jesus lived on earth about 2,000 years ago. He made some incredible claims about himself. One of the most noteworthy was when he said: “No-one can come to God unless they come through me first.” He might as well have said “I am the only way to find God.” And so, Christians believe and teach that Jesus Christ is the only way to find God.

How Can Christians Say This?

The short answer is that the Bible teaches it, so we believe it. The longer answer is that it makes a lot of sense. Here’s what we mean…

Your Friend Turns Out To Be God

Imagine that your best friend comes up to you one day and confidently declares that he is God. This person is your friend! He’s not a casual acquaintance whom you barely know. He’s someone you’ve grown up with. And now, it turns out he’s God. Or so he says. Your first reaction is probably to wonder what medicine he’s taking. But how do you know? Maybe he is God! How can you tell if he is or isn’t?

You decide to look at it from a common sense point of view. There are only two options:

a) He’s telling the truth

b) He’s not telling the truth

If he’s not telling the truth, then there are another two options:

He knows he’s not telling the truth

He doesn’t know he’s not telling the truth

So ultimately, there are 3, and only 3, positions for your friend:

1. He’s not telling the truth and he knows full well that he’s not.

This makes him a liar

2. He’s not telling the truth, but he honestly believes he is telling the truth.

This puts him on the same level as a fruitcake.

3. He is telling the truth.

This makes him God

No doubt, you would soon convince yourself that your friend was not, after all, God.

But What About Jesus?

We can apply exactly the same reasoning to Jesus. In other words, we can say for sure that Jesus was either…

Liar (he knew he was deceiving everyone)

Lunatic (he had no idea he was completely mistaken)

Lord (he was who he said he was)

There are no in-between options here!

Jesus cannot merely be a “good moral teacher”. A good moral teacher would not make false claims about himself…A good moral teacher would not completely deceive a group of his closest friends…

When we look at the records of his life and words, found in the Bible, we see neither a liar nor a lunatic. Jesus spoke of truth and light, and said that the truth would set people free. He modelled integrity of character. He never showed favouritism or hypocrisy, and often turned the accepted, but wrong values of the day, on their head. His life completely matched his claims.

In the same way, Jesus was most definitely not a lunatic. Lunatics have unbalanced minds, and live erratic lifestyles. Inconsistencies are a hallmark, and they can be mental and emotional wrecks. Jesus was a man who displayed calm under pressure, a sound mind, and a balanced and consistent lifestyle.

We are left with only one option: that Jesus is who he said he was: God.

Christians teach that Jesus is the only way to find God, because Jesus taught that he is the only way to find God. His life and his claims go hand in hand.

 

Author: Rupert Lineage

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What If Christianity is Wrong and Atheism Is Right?

July 28, 2018

what if Christianity is wrong and atheism is rightChristians believe that Christianity is the only spiritual path that leads to God. More accurately, a relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to know God. Of course, we try to provide reasons and honest reflection on why we believe this; yet ultimately, it’s what we believe. But……

What if we’ve got it all wrong? What if we’re horribly deluded and deceived, and in fact, Christianity has as much chance of leading to God as crawling over broken glass for 70 years? What if Christianity is just plain wrong? It’s certainly worth thinking about…

Is it Feasible that Christianity Could be Wrong?

Definitely! Christians have the same evidence in the world around them as do other people. They see the same sun rise and set; they see the same common human traits – good and bad. And they have access to the same human mind to think and reason. The difference is in how Christians interpret the evidence around them. In other words, there is no 100% “scientific” guaranteed method of “proving” that Christianity is right.

We trust that God has revealed truth in the Bible, and we trust that he has given us enough information to take him at his word. We trust him, when he promises things like “If you really search for me, you will find me”. But the bottom line is that it’s still trust. Christians don’t have some secret piece of evidence that conclusively “proves” that Christianity is right.

How Would it Affect the Here and Now?

So, if Christianity was in fact wrong, how would that affect the lives of people right now? From the perspective of Christians themselves, it would mean that their attempts to live a life of trust in God would be utterly pointless. After all, if there was no God, trusting in this non-existent god would be useless and silly. Yet, this would be a fairly harmless delusion. For the most part, we would attempt to live morally upright lives, and to contribute positively to society and culture. In reality, we would be kidding ourselves, since there would be no reason to do this, but it wouldn’t really hurt anyone else.

From the perspective of those who were not Christians, it might be a welcome relief. Sure, Christians would still keep talking about weighty matters, like heaven and hell, sin and judgment, life and death; but these would be delusional beliefs. Those who followed the spiritual path of atheism might well view Christians as a nuisance; or as an annoying but harmless itch. (No doubt, this is how many people do view Christians!) Ultimately, they could rest secure in the knowledge that these beliefs were indeed mistaken beliefs, and had no bearing on anything whatsoever.

How Would it Affect Life After Death?

But what about when we die? What difference would it make if Christianity was wrong? Well, largely, the joke would be on Christians. Instead of finding the heaven we had believed in, we would find…nothing. We would die, and that would be the end. We would simply cease to exist, just like everyone else. No God, no afterlife, no heaven – nothing. Those who were not Christians would be in exactly the same position.

What if Christianity was Right?

However, it’s equally worth considering what it would mean if Christianity was right. If the things spoken of in the Bible, and by Christians, were in fact completely true, where would this leave those who were not Christians?

In terms of life after death, it would leave them separated from God forever. Rather than simply ceasing to exist, they would continue to exist, but would know fully that there were no more opportunities to find God. Theirs would be an eternity filled with regret and remorse.

Furthermore, anything done during their lives would be completely pointless. No matter how great the achievement, it would be meaningless in a neverending existence separated from God and all that is good. The Bible refers to this neverending separation from God as “hell”.

While on earth, Jesus often spoke about hell. To describe it, he used the terms “fiery”, and “unquenchable fire”. He spoke of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, and said that those who wanted to cross over from hell to heaven would not be able to. The Bible also warns of avoiding hell, since those who go there “pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of God”. It is clear that hell was, and is, a place to be avoided at all costs.

Is it Worth the Risk?

So, the question is: Is it worth the risk of not considering the possibility that Christianity is right? In other words, if Christianity is wrong, then Christians have lived around 70 years of a life, which ultimately, is pointless, but harmless.

However, if Christianity is right, then those who are not Christians will face a neverending existence of pain, penalty, regret, remorse, and overwhelming sorrow, away from God, and away from anything good.

Is this prospect worth the risk of not looking carefully at Jesus, and the good news He provides?

Author: Rupert Lineage

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

July 28, 2018

The first point to note is that God is definitely powerful. In fact, he has all power. So don’t let anyone tell you that God simply isn’t able to stop the suffering in the world. who does god allow suffering

The second point to note is that when people ask this question, they usually include pain, suffering caused by people to other people, and all kinds of “natural” disasters – the whole works. That’s the assumption we’ll make here.

This begs the question: “if God is able to stop suffering, does that mean he doesn’t want to?” Not at all. In fact, there will come a time when God puts a stop to all evil. Obviously, that time has not yet come. In that case, the even bigger question is this: “why hasn’t God put a stop to suffering and evil yet? What is he waiting for?”

And the answer: He’s waiting for as long as possible, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to make their peace with him. To put it another way:

“God is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance”

That’s the bottom line. God could quite easily put an end to all suffering and evil now. Instead, he’s waiting to give all of us an opportunity to respond to him. In any case, what if God decided to stop all evil at 5 pm today. How many people would be left living at 5.01 pm?

What Would God Have To Do?

Just think for a moment what God would have to do to get rid of the painful consequences of human choices:

Every time someone used a weapon for violence, God would have to make the weapon harmless. He would have to turn bullets into paper, knives into plastic, and grenades into polystyrene beads.

Every time someone drove a car out of control, God would have to intervene, somehow interrupting the laws of nature to protect that person.

Every time a parent yelled at a child in anger, God would have to mute the sounds, and somehow turn the expression on the parent’s face to an expression of care and love.

How Did It Start?

Evil and suffering made their appearance when the first humans, Adam and Eve, chose to disobey God. In a garden of every imaginable delight, they ate the one and only piece of fruit that God had told them not to. That was the first human sin. Since that time, the world has seen a lot of pain and suffering, but it was never God’s preferred option. Natural disasters are all part of the suffering caused by sin.

Sure, God could have removed the option of choosing to disobey him, but he wanted people who chose to love him. Love is never forced. And so, God put in place a plan to rescue humans from their own self-destructive ways.

Here’s a story to make the point:

A vicar and an atheist barber were walking through the seedy part of their city. As they saw the suffering around them, the barber said “This is why I could never believe in a God of love. If he is as kind as they say, why doesn’t he do something about all this crime, disease, poverty, drug-dealing and vandalism?”

The vicar said nothing until they came across an unkempt and filthy man with hair down his back and far too much stubble on his face. The vicar said to the atheist: “You can’t be a very good barber, or you wouldn’t let people live around here without a haircut and a shave.”

More than a little offended, the barber answered: “Why blame me for that man’s condition? I can’t help it if he’s like that! He’s never given me a chance! If he’d only come to my shop, I could fix him up and make him look respectable.”

The vicar replied: “Then don’t blame God for the condition of these people. They’ve never given God a chance. If they would only come to him, he would fix them up and turn their lives around.”

Even though God is completely powerful, he has not yet removed suffering and evil from the picture. He’s waiting…waiting for as long as possible, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to make their peace with him.

Thoughts and Prayers For Lonely Times

July 27, 2018

pile of books  A woman with children came for help and while she was waiting to be dealt with she picked up a small book called: “Thoughts and Prayers For Lonely Times”. She seemed interested in it, so I said:”you can take it away with you if you like – it’s free. She replied :’yes please it looks interesting’.  Like all other clients who came today she also received a Christian newspaper with a gospel message inside it.

I also had a chat with one of our new volunteers today. In explaining the wider context of what we do, I told him it included praying for people for healing. He was bought up as a churchgoer, but no longer attends. I gave him a few testimonies of how some people had been healed while they waited to be seen. I hope my chat with him gave him a wider perspective on Christianity – namely the exciting life possible when compared to the passivity and inactivity of dull times in the pew listening to a dull sermon.