Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Credibly seeing.

I saw a comment on a blog recently about credible Christians leading by example -- if someone says that hating people is wrong, then we would see the Christians consistently try to not hate. The whole idea of "walk the walk, not just talk the talk."

A comment in response to that essentially said that Christians cannot that credible, because they're as sinful as everyone else. The real focus should be on announcing Jesus and what Jesus has done for everyone -- that would be much more valuable than trying to be credible.

I didn't post a response on that blog, as my response would've been a tangent. Yet this idea I see - Christians as sinful as everyone else - is the same problem I had with Tim Keller's book. Mr. Keller was going with the idea that you should actually expect non-Christians to behave in a better fashion that Christians. The idea in this comment is that Christians will behave no better and no worse than non-Christians. An idea we all certainly see in everyone we encounter ... yet then where's the validity behind the conversion experience? Not only that, what's the value in the salvation? There's no evidence at all of this "healing" in this life? Then what confidence does one have for something in the next life?

If someone says that Jesus saved them, gave them a new life, a new mind or a new heart ... shouldn't we see evidence of any of this? Otherwise, how can you back up your claim? It would be like an overweight person claiming that drinking Slim-fast would help you lose weight, just like it helped him. However, a year of Slim-fasts later, the overweight person still weights 300 lbs. You'd have no "faith" in Slim-fasts ability to do what was claimed.

Plus, isn't the whole idea of what Jesus did tied to making the believer the "new man?" That we would know his disciples based on their love for people, that there the fruits of the Spirit that should be evident in believers. I mean, if one is going to proclaim that Jesus has done this great thing, that claim has to be backed up with credible support.

But if becoming a Christian means that they won't be credible in their message, that the message in fact doesn't deliver upon what it says ... why would anyone become a Christian? It becomes empty rhetoric.

10 comments:

Tit for Tat said...

You know, the truth is some people do act better than others. Not perfect but better. So I would assume that when some people get saved they do act better. Its just not exclusive to Christians.

societyvs said...

“The real focus should be on announcing Jesus and what Jesus has done for everyone -- that would be much more valuable than trying to be credible” (OSS)

Those same people are denying the basics of reality (in my opinion). They try to tell me ‘faith is justification’ – and I think ‘faith + works’ is what Paul really meant there (or his version of faith includes one’s actions tied into the meaning).

To think we are worthless then all we have to do is believe in some events and – ‘poof’ – everything changes is just not realistic. Change takes work – at least this has been my experience. If I want to be more loving or heal from past hurts – no prayer or worship service is going to do that alone (it helps in some ways) – I need to start living my life by such ideal (ie: love my neighbor by helping him/her out; dealing with issues of hurt by learning to forgive).

“There's no evidence at all of this "healing" in this life? Then what confidence does one have for something in the next life?” (OSS)

I agree – what the hell does salvation mean to them (that’s my next big question)? Nothing changes here – nothing is required of us - just have some faith and all is well. I wonder what they mean when they mention salvation – from what and for what?

“If someone says that Jesus saved them, gave them a new life, a new mind or a new heart ... shouldn't we see evidence of any of this?” (OSS)

I agree. What’s the use of following something that offers nothing?

“why would anyone become a Christian? It becomes empty rhetoric.” (OSS)

Cause the promise sounds toooooo gooooood toooooo beeeeee true. The struggle is on of futility – Christians are changing theological positions because ‘work’s is a problem for them (based on a few passages) – therefore in the theological equation of things – ‘works’ is the idea that gets scrapped. I think they do it out of bad interpretation.

Good to see ya around OSS – you disappeared for a while there.

Luke said...

great to see you posting again! this is a doozy.

the question then comes, why believe? Believers, in short, are terrified by genuine expressions of religion, and respond to them by vigorously ignoring them. They take refuge in agreement,solidarity of membership, and the sense that they belong to something that exists independently of their participation in it.

as Rabbi Heschel said "Trying to pierce the mystery with categories and systems is like trying to bite a wall."

am i credible repeating or saying things... i dunno, but my actions should provide it.

Steve said...

GREAT post!

Jesus sets us free and gives us a new heart. The fact that many don't live accordingly - that Western Christianity has largely lost its emphasis on holiness - is a tragedy.

I agree that we still sin, but we're fundamentally changed!

Preach it!

Steve said...

HOW do you get the "recent comments" widget to work on your blog? I cannot figure it out! Please let me know!

OneSmallStep said...

TitforTat,

**So I would assume that when some people get saved they do act better. Its just not exclusive to Christians.**

I don't think it's exclusive to Christians, either. But I don't think there's any justification in the idea that Christians will behave the same as an unsaved person, or that we shouldn't expect better behavior from Christians, when the claim is that there's a regeneration through salvation.

Society,

**Those same people are denying the basics of reality (in my opinion). They try to tell me ‘faith is justification’ – and I think ‘faith + works’**

Not only that, but I think you also brought this up on your blog: the world doesn't function that way. It can't, if we're to have a meaningful relationship with someone, or even interact with someone. So much of what happens is based on what we do, not what we believe. We can even see this in the Tanakh itself.

**Nothing changes here – nothing is required of us - just have some faith and all is well. I wonder what they mean when they mention salvation – from what and for what?**

I would say this type of salvation is completely hell-focused. Salvation is only about escaping something in the next life.

**The struggle is on of futility – Christians are changing theological positions because ‘work’s is a problem for them (based on a few passages)**

And, in my book, overlooking a lot of "work" based passages.

Luke,

**the question then comes, why believe? Believers, in short, are terrified by genuine expressions of religion, and respond to them by vigorously ignoring them.**

Do you think the terror might be connected to the idea of perfection? If you're already told that no work will be good enough, no matter what ... there'd always be an element of fear in even trying. There's almost a security in telling yourself that you can't be a credible witness. It's impossible to even try and be accountable for one's actions when one's actions are worthless.

Steve,

**The fact that many don't live accordingly - that Western Christianity has largely lost its emphasis on holiness - is a tragedy. **

It is, and it's incredibly frustrating, because I just see it as an excuse. An excuse that wouldn't fly in anything I read in the Bible.

OneSmallStep said...

Steve,

Try this link for the recent comment option:

http://www.bloggerbuster.com/2007/08/recent-comments-widget-update-this.html

I had to update mine in Internet Explorer 7. I'm not sure if that's a criteria.

Steve said...

Thanks!

Pastor Bob said...

Hmmm Those who think that believing isn't supposed to change life have failed to read their New Testament. Jesus, "by their fruits you will know them." Paul, Romans 12:1-2 (can't quote it exactly right now but it ends, "be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you might know (do?) what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Anyone who argues that being a Christian should not occasion a change in life have failed to understand, (from a Protestant viewpoint), that justification must lead to sanctification!

A Calvinist/Evangelical viewpoint, BTW

Pastor Bob

OneSmallStep said...

Pastor Bob,

Thank you. That was pretty much my impression. As you can no doubt tell, based on this post.