I am curious by nature. I want to know. I want to figure it out. I don’t care if you have it figured out, I want to take a stab at it and see if I can digest the data and concur with the outcome or challenge your findings. My dad instilled this in me as a young man. He told me that I need to study the data myself and see if what I was being told was true. I think his biggest fear was that I would become an intellectual lemming, following the masses and drinking their Kool-aid. This backfired, or seemingly backfired on him a little, when I rejected my faith in God and ventured off to find “truth”. I began attacking everything that had the scent of Christianity or God. The cyclical questions I was asking actually became a sickle in my hand. I will post a poem called, “Lonely’s Friend”, following this post, to illustrate what I mean. My dad intentionally placed himself in my path and I cut him down. I am not sure if this wound ever healed.
Now, the thing to remember is just because an argument or debate asks you questions that you readily cannot answer with a perfectly timed retort, or if it takes your breath away, it in no way means that you are incorrect; it simply means that in this present moment you must digress. I was wrong in my actions toward him, as well as my conclusive arguments, and later I had to digress as I not only agreed with him but knew, and bow know, what he stated to be true. Why am I stating this? Why now? You may have noticed that I have written several apologetic or polemic essays of late. For some that is a turn off, especially when Art is desired, and I produce a good deal of it. A rhetorical, point and counter-point sound-off are not as palatable, especially when my target audience is Christian. As most Christians, people in general, don’t engage in topics that make them feel uncomfortable. So why do it? Because in doing so I challenge my beliefs. I place my beliefs side-by-side, unabashedly, aside another religion or philosophy for a measure. I don’t want to just spout off recycled, Christian speak that has been paraphrased and regurgitated for two thousand years. I want to see if I actually believe what I say I believe, or if I am just cowering behind misleading, fictional fairy tale because I don’t want to face the “facts”. I do it because God is Truth, and Paul instructed us to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He reprimanded the saints at Corinth, ” 1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. (I Cor. 3:1-3)” And to the Hebrews, “12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Heb. 5:12-14)” We are not robots or lemmings. We are intellectual, curious people and believing something because it comes from a pulpit is not a proper foundation of faith. It may in fact be correct and be Truth, but that method of testing such Truth is slothful and unrighteous. One must roll up their sleeves and prepare to get dirty. One must dig into the scriptures. Jesus tells us in John 5:39 to, “39 […] study[a] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,” And Paul urged Timothy to, “15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Tim. 2:15)” Why are we so afraid to challenge ourselves and our beliefs? We are afraid that we may find out we are wrong. In Romans 8, Paul tells us that “14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Rom. 8:14-17). If we challenge our beliefs and find them not only to be sound, but Truth, then what have we to be afraid of? I can assure you that if you ask a question, He will lead you to the answer. But there is a key component in this dialogue or relationship with God…you must listen for the answer. What good is a relationship if you do all the talking but don’t wait or give the other person a chance to answer. It makes us self-centered, erratic, neurotic and impulsive. I have found that if I give time to wait for the answer, I have never been left without response. I know that that is quite a declaration but it is one I stand by. Now, there have been times when I have waited years for the response. I spent my waiting time being diligent in the answers that I had, and by faith believed the answers I was searching for, hoping that the answer would verify what I knew in my spirit to be true. Before anyone runs away, or my verbiage runs away with my aforementioned statement, let me clarify that the questions in which I asked were not ground-breaking or new, and the answers I was given were not new or fresh. They are not only innate inside of Christendom itself but in the nature of God. I simply wasn’t going to take a man’s word for it. I had to solve the equation myself and see if our sums matched the answer in the Answer Book (Bible). I didn’t find or create any new dogmas, I simply found where my faith and beliefs were in relation to Truth. These are basic questions that every person asks. Some find the answers quickly and move on about their life with little struggle. Others, such as myself, wrestle and wrangle with bull that is Truth most of our lives, yet we hold on to the horns in abandoned faith and hope. I doubt that I will ever get it mastered, but for the modern world, 8 seconds on any bull is considered more than adequate, it is championed; especially if the strength of the bull is more infinite than space. In conclusion, I see apologetic essays and polemics as an art form. I love to write in a verbose and over-stated manner. I think you can say it so much more concisely by specifically using a more correct wording for a topic as opposed to just using vernacular; both have their place and I use both, but there are times when a good polemic hits the spot. So, I challenge you to challenge what you believe. You may find out that you aren’t sure of what you believe or that you believe something that is untrue. How can we be the Light of the world and the Salt of the earth, leading souls to Christ, if we don’t really believe that sin is real, or that repentance is necessary…or that Jesus is God? Remember that every thought, deed, or action can be traced back to a philosophical/worldview root. Maybe the reason why one won’t tell others about Christ is that they are not convinced that it’s true, and are afraid that they will be found out as a fraud. Or maybe we believe that everyone is good and not everyone needs to repent, people are generally good. Or could one be afraid that others will have questions they can’t answer and leave them more confused after talking to the other then they were before they shared Christ with the others. I have written two essays (Christian Stigma and Choosing Choice) so far it has garnered attention in the other camp, but I would like to hear from the Christian perspective. Any comments, suggestions, or corrections that you have would be much appreciated. This site is to share my heart, passion, and experience. I know that I am not the only one to think about such things. In Christ Alone I place my Trust, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself. p.s. Here’s a great way to share Christ, www.thegoodpersontest.com . It gets to the heart of the matter: sin is bad, sin carries punishment, everyone has sinned and all deserve to be punished, Jesus took that punishment for us, we can now find salvation through His sacrifice. People may have more questions after that, and it is fine to continue talking with them, even if they have questions you can’t answer. It will give both of you a chance to see if you really believe what you say you believe, or if you know why you believe what you believe. I have found that this is the best place to start a conversation with someone who is not saved. Evangelism is sharing the Gospel with others. Discipleship is walking with them as they journey. The Good Person Test fits the criteria for Evangelism, so don’t be shy. Enjoy the rest of your day.