Jesus Christ Exiled From Most Christians

Take Jesus seriously

The title of this post is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer came from a family of geniuses. His father was a professor of psychiatry and neurology. His brother Karl Friedrich was a professor of physical chemistry and discovered the spin isomers of the hydrogen molecule.

In college Dietrich was known for disagreeing with his professors, most of whom didn’t accept the Bible as revelation from God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his family were German citizens but they opposed the Nazis. His brother Klaus was executed for his part in the plot to assassinate Hitler. His brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi was also executed by the Nazis. Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself wrote several books and influenced the Christian faith while he was still in his 20s and 30s. He died at 39 years of age in a Nazi prison camp. He was executed just two weeks before the prisoners in his camp were liberated by the Allied forces.

Bonhoeffer was a pastor, a theologian, and a Nazi dissident who refused to compromise his faith, even when it meant his own death.

He once penned these words:

“One admires Christ according to aesthetic categories as an aesthetic genius, calls him the greatest ethicist; one admires his going to his death, as a heroic sacrifice for his ideas. Only one thing one doesn’t do: one doesn’t take him seriously. That is, one doesn’t bring the center of his or her own life into contact with the claim of Christ to speak the revelation of God and to be that revelation.

“One maintains a distance between himself or herself and the word of Christ and allows no serious encounter to take place.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer



Live for Christ.

References:
Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Thomas Nelson, 2010

[Image via Lance Catedral - Creative Commons]

How an Atheist Came to Know Christ

How Atheist came to know ChristThe following is a guest post from a friend and former atheist.

I was raised going to a Greek Orthodox church all through my childhood, and even began to attend Sunday services by myself when I was able to drive. When I got to college, I stopped going to church and slowly turned away from God over the course of about three years. I began to adopt an agnostic worldview–thinking God may or may not exist, but either way I needed to live my own life and look out for myself. Through my senior year of college, my weak agnostic stance turned into a firm atheistic stance on life. I was certain that God did not exist, and that Christianity was simply just one more religion in the world that was formed on stolen ideas and stories from ancient myths. Continue reading

RC Sproul on Truth and the Age of the Earth

So R.C. Sproul stands in front of a seminary class and asks the question, “How many of you believe God’s revelation in scripture is infallible?” They all raised their hand.

Then he asked, “Well how many of you believe God’s revelation in nature is infallible?” Nobody raised their hand. “How can that be?” Sproul asks. “It’s the same God giving the revelation.”

All truth is God’s truth.

You might want to check out the video. Sproul says it so much better than I can.

Profile of a Doubter: Genuine Seeker (Part 9)

Profile of a Doubter

Let’s Also Go, So We Can Die With Him

So you’re a doubter. Or maybe you know someone who is. You might be interested to hear the story of a doubter in the Bible.

Here’s the scene: The Jews tried to kill Jesus in Judea near Jerusalem. So Jesus is hanging with his disciples a safe distance away in the area of Jericho. It’s then that Jesus hears about his good friend coming down with a fatal illness. People are begging him to come and help because things have gotten to the point where he’s the only possible solution. The only problem is Jesus’ friend has fallen ill near Jerusalem. So if Jesus goes to help, he’ll have to return to the same area where the Jews just tried to assassinate him. But Jesus says, without any apparent concern, “Let’s go there again.”

The disciples react, they say, “The Jews just tried to stone you, and you’re going there again?”

And it’s at this point that Thomas, commonly known as “Doubting Thomas,” says something amazing. He says, Continue reading

Charles Manson, Books, and Christ: Genuine Seeker (Part 8)

Why do I doubt God

The Book That Changed The Lives of Charles Manson and Warren Buffett

Before he became a mass murderer, Charles Manson was in prison for grand theft auto. He needed something to do to pass the time so he took courses based on a book. The book showed him how to get people to do what you want (even if it’s a heinous act of bloodshed) by convincing them it was their own idea. Lee Iacocca credits the same book for launching his career. So does Lyndon B. Johnson. So does Warren Buffett. A psychopath, a president, and one of the richest men in the world: they all say their lives were changed dramatically, by the same book. Continue reading

The Angry Crowd (That Really Happened), Freakonomics, and Doubt: Genuine Seeker (Part 7)

Why do I doubt peer pressure

The Angry Crowd (This Really Happened)

Imagine you’re sitting in class with thirty-five other people on a Friday. It’s late afternoon and before your instructor dismisses you and your fellow students, he makes an announcement. He warns everyone to avoid downtown this weekend, because there’s a large (we’re talking hundreds of thousands) pro-life demonstration occurring there.

But just as soon as he says the words “pro-life,” there’s an overwhelming eruption in the classroom. It seems every student stands up from their chair and jeers and boos and hollers against the pro-lifers. You’re new to the group and their reaction takes you completely off guard. You’re shaken–because you’re pro-life.

From the moment the class booed and hissed at the notion of a pro-life demonstration, it felt almost impossible for you or anyone else to voice a pro-life point of view. The derision in the room was palpable.

Like most people, you like to think of yourself as independent and unconstrained by the thinking of people around you. But you’re sitting next to a good friend who knows you’re pro-life. And in the moments following the contemptuous crowd reaction you find yourself hoping he doesn’t say anything to tip off your sentiments. Continue reading

Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham, Evolution, and Doubt: Genuine Seeker (Part 6)

Bill Nye Ken Ham Evolution Doubt

Doubt and Evolution

I know it bothers some Christians that some of their fellow followers of Christ don’t believe in evolution. They’re embarrassed. They hear the new atheists in the media dogmatically insisting that if you’re a Christian who doesn’t believe in evolution you are delusional, or imbecilic, or loathsome. Richard Dawkins and other new atheists encourage people to ridicule and mock those who disagree with their views. (Hamilton, Dawkins: Mock Them. Ridicule Them. In Public. With Contempt.) Unfortunately that approach has trickled down to too many people. The result is some Christians hear disparaging comments from friends or coworkers who have been influenced by Dawkins and other new atheists–and they feel intimidated.

Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Continue reading

Firefighter Kills Mother and Unborn Son in Head-on: What Happened Afterwards is Astounding

In Dacula, Georgia a twenty-year old firefighter named Matthew Swatzell just finished a 24 hour shift. While he was driving home that morning he fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the center line, and drove head-on into an oncoming car. That car was carrying the wife, unborn son, and daughter of a youth pastor named Erik Fitzgerald.

Erik’s wife and son were killed in the crash. Only his nineteen month old daughter survived.

What happened afterwards is astounding.

[HT Irene, longtime loyal reader.]

The Practice of the Presence of God

Remember what I advised you to do: Think about God as often as you can, day and night, in everything you do. He is always with you. Just as you would be rude if you deserted a friend who was visiting you, why would you be disrespectful of God by abandoning His presence?

Do not forget Him! Think of Him often. Adore Him ceaselessly. Live and die with Him. That is the real business of Christians. -Brother Lawrence

References:

Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

Why Do I Doubt? And Why Did Peter Carry That Rock? Genuine Seeker (Part 5)

Why do I doubt?

Former Human Genome Project Leader Dr. Francis Collins

Why Did Peter Carry That Rock?

Elizabeth Elliott tells a parable in her book These Strange Ashesand it goes like this:

One day Jesus said to his disciples: “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” He didn’t give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find. After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulation for weight and size! So he put it in his pocket.  Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey. About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down. He waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread. He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.” In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over.  When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up. He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!” So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger. But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.” Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.” They did. Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk. Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded.  Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do?  Who were you carrying the stone for?”

Why Are Christians, Christians?

Most Christians would like to say they believe in Christianity because of the evidence for the truth of the bible, or because they’ve lived with Jesus a few years and have come to know him and trust him and love him. (see previous posts J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts and Why Do I Doubt? Genuine Seeker (Part 4)) And while these are reasons for many, the reality is, people become Christians for all sorts of reasons. Some became Christians because of the inertia in their family. Their family members are Christians, so they just went with the flow. It just made sense so they could keep good relationships with mom, dad, and their siblings. Some others became Christians because in their part of the planet it’s what people do. So they also went with the flow. And they find acceptance with their peers and with the culture they live in. Some others become Christians because of the benefits of the community. Maybe where they live it’s good for business to belong to the local church. Or maybe they like receiving support from church members when times are tough. Or maybe they enjoy the friendships formed. Often these reasons are present at the subconscious level.

Most Christians would like to say they believe in Christianity for unselfish reasons, but sometimes the reality is different. There are social reasons, and selfish reasons.

An Agnostic Historian and Faith

I have a friend who is an unbeliever and also an amateur historian. I once asked him to recommend some history books about Jesus Christ so I could Continue reading