Friday, December 14, 2012

1961 What is the main message of the bible?

I want to continue with the strain of thought from the last post.

But first- some politics.

Yesterday Susan Rice pulled herself out of the race for Secretary of state.

Obviously the president felt it would be bad to have her at the center of a huge nomination process- being she’s at the heart of the Benghazi scandal.

Okay- what’s the big deal?

Yes- once again- some on the left side of the aisle [not all] have accused the other side of not being ready for a Black woman secy of state.


Yes- the pundits were out saying ‘when will the Repubs ever be ready for anyone but a White male holding the office’.

You know- for the money these guys get [MSNBC] you think they would maybe educate themselves on the main subject of their job.

We haven’t had a White- male secretary of state for around 20 years [last one was Larry Eagleburger].

As a matter of fact- the last one a Repub president had- just happened to be a Black woman – with the last name of Rice! [Condi].

Sad- these race baiters are destroying the fabric of the country- and they are doing it on the altar of vanity.

Sure- they think [make it sound like] they are the defenders of the minorities- but they hold an elitist attitude- one that has scorn for the rest of the country [outside the media market of NYC].

At the end of the day- they misinform their viewers- they believe that their racist charges are true- and they incite a sort of ‘reverse racism’ by creating an underlying distrust of those who are not like them.

Okay- in the last post I discussed the main message of the bible- what the main purpose is.

Over the years- as Christianity developed- the church had councils and meetings to hash out various controversies.

Over time- these meetings produced the historic creeds of the church.

Now- as a Protestant- I am not an ‘anti- traditional’ one.

I have read- taught- studied the creeds and the councils- and I’m on the side of those who hold to the creeds.

But- this has tended to cloud the main message of the New Testament.

Which is called The Good News.

What was the message  the Apostles preached in the book of Acts?

The bible says they ‘preached the word’.

This was not simply a ‘bible message’ per se.

That is- they were not doing what many modern preachers do- simply going thru the bible to find various verses- about all types of subjects- and then making application.

No- they were preaching Christ- they were telling the world of their day that Christ came as the promised Messiah and died and rose again.

Then they told the people if they had faith- and they became followers of ‘This Way’- they would be justified by God- in a way that the law would not be able to do.

This is the heart of the New Testament message- that people are now saved by faith in the death and resurrection of Christ- as opposed to the old way of Law.

This is the basic message- what we call the good news.

But- like I said above- in the world of politics and religion- this simple message has been obscured.

Many people reject Christianity because of the hard line creeds and statements that came out of the church councils.

Many object to the way the Church has defined the doctrine of the Trinity.

Now- I’m with the creeds on this- but I do understand how Muslims- Jews- and even many Christian ‘groups’ have also had problems with the historic definition.

A friend asked me the other day about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Now- at first I had no idea why he asked- but I told him I try and take a much more gracious position then you might hear from the average Christian teacher.

I told him they did break away from the historic position of the Trinity- but I also told him there have been many believers- all thru the history of the church- that have done the same thing.

I did a quick review of the Arian controversy [not Aryan- like the racist group].

In the early centuries of the church there was a famous Catholic bishop by the name of Arias.

He held to the same belief that the present Jehovah’s Witnesses do- that Jesus was not God- in the same sense that God the Father is God.

Okay- eventually the church overruled him- but there was a time where this belief was widely accepted- and taught- in much of the church.

Till this day there are entire groups of Christians that never rejected this initial belief- and they have been around since the days of Arius.

So- when discussing this with my friend- I tried to say I do understand how other religions have a problem with the historic way we have defined the Trinity.

He then told me his dad- who was a heathen his whole life- married a wonderful Jehovah Witness woman later in life- and he has become a devout believer.

So- in a way he was glad to see that even though the church does not believe the same way his dad believes- yet at the same time- there have been- and continue to be- many sincere believers who have had the same ideas as his dad and step mom.

Okay- said all that to say this.

Many good Muslims- who try to serve the Lord to the best of their ability- they see this doctrine as the major point of Christianity.

That is- they do not see the main message spoken about in the New Testament as the simple truth that God sent Jesus as the Messiah- more than a prophet- though a prophet he was.

But he came as the fulfillment of the promise that God made all thru out the history of Israel.

That someday a Messiah would come and he would not just die for the Jewish nation- but for all people groups.

And that all those who are struggling to please God thru their own obedience to the law- they are now free from ‘the law’ and can come to God based on the obedience of Christ.

Now- this would later become a debate- both in church history- and in the pages of the bible itself.

We read in the New Testament that some were accusing the apostle Paul of teaching that we can go out and sin- break the law- because we are now under grace.

Paul defended himself against this charge- and said we- as children of God- do God’s will.

He did not teach it was okay to break the commandments.

But- he did teach we are not justified- made acceptable in the sight of God- thru our doing of the commandments.

He taught that this system of trying to please God thru the obedience of the law was flawed from the get go.

Simply because all men are sinners- and no man could ever keep the law 100%.

Therefore God made a New Covenant with man [as opposed to the Old Covenant which was based on the law and works].

In this new ‘deal’ Jesus dies for the sins of the whole world- and all who now believe are forgiven by God and have eternal life.

This is a free gift that God gives to man based on the death of his Son.

Jesus said ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life’.

This is the Good News- this is the main message of the bible.

When I hear people of other faiths- or even people who have joined various sects of Christianity- when I hear them have sincere objections to the Trinity- or to some other doctrine- I try and bring them back to this main message of the bible.

This simple message of Christ dying for the sins of men- and freeing man from the struggle of trying to please God by keeping the law- that’s the old Testament that is no longer in force.

Paul the apostle wrote the Corinthian church and he said he was worried that satan was blinding their minds form the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.

I have found this to be true over the years- many people have all types of objections to Christianity.

Some have to do with politics and the Western world.

Some have to do with the way the church has come to define certain doctrines.

But for the most part- many of these well meaning objectors have never really understood what I just showed you- that none of these things are the main message of the bible.

No- the main message of the bible is that because of Christ we now have a New Covenant with God.

Not one that is based on our ability [or inability] to keep the law.

No- that was doomed from the start- no man could do it.

But this New Deal we have is completed in Christ- we can come boldly to the throne of grace- because Jesus made the way.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.

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