Over the years, Dean and I have had challenges to our faith from different avenues. Some of these challenges were simply life issues such as financial difficulty, job loss, deaths of loved ones, interpersonal and relational issues, etc. Of these, the most illuminating challenges came from family members who either left Christianity altogether, or embraced an alternative gospel while proclaiming it to be Truth. These claims were confusing because we could see they were in error but didn’t know how to refute them accurately.
At that time, our relatives presented to us a Jesus whose character and work was only partially represented. He was described to us to be a non-confrontative moral example who loves people just as they are; He loves by affirming people in their brokenness rather than by offering a way out of sin and judging it. They believed the destiny for all is Heaven because Jesus died for all the world, but He didn’t die as a substitutionary atonement for sin. They argued that belief in Jesus wasn’t the only way to be saved, that there are many ways to gain the knowledge of God and to please Him (or Her). Faith was said to be important, but not the faith of the Bible. They asserted that scripture is full of flaws, a translation of translations that has been distorted by men throughout history. We were told that a person who uses scripture as the authority for all things pertaining to life is uninformed, narrow minded, and spiritually underdeveloped.
Out of frustration over my inability to articulate truth in a meaningful way, I began to dig into Scripture and to read books unpacking these false beliefs from a Biblical perspective. I learned that this system is an amalgamation of world religions such as Buddhism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Naturalism, and Humanism, repackaged in Christian terminology. It permeates our culture and has infiltrated the Church as Progressive Christianity. It takes bits and pieces of Scripture to support its claims and ignores large parts that contradict them. The mosaic of Jesus it pictures is not the Jesus of the Bible.
The Jesus of the Bible is a member of the God-head, the Creator, the Word from the beginning who became flesh, He is the Supreme ruler of all the kings of the earth, the Savior, the Faithful Witness of God, the First Born of the dead, the Last Adam, the Conqueror of death and the grave, and the Promised Seed. He is the Way, Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Him. His love confronts our sin and it demands the death of our flesh.
Dean and I are both learning that our understanding of who Jesus is and His finished work of redemption affects everything we believe, what we do, and is the basis our worldview. We are learning how to love those who disagree with us without condoning and affirming their sinful behavior and beliefs. This isn’t easy, it’s impossible without much prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are looking forward to digging into the book of Luke along with all of you so we can be better equipped to bring the full picture of Jesus Christ to those we love.