Defending YOUR faith: Why It’s Important–Part II
by Tim Lajoie
Christians need to pick their battles. In part one of this series I mentioned minutia, and how we shouldn’t get caught up in it. Where did Cain get his wife? Why are there differences in Bible versions? How come Christians are such hypocrites? Or other trivialities. Critics of the faith will find something to dispute, no matter how strong your defense. It’s in their heart. They don’t want to believe, don’t want to be accountable to God, and will mount any argument–no matter how simple or ridiculous–to defend that position. In my Christian experience I have found these three things to be the most important points of contention. This is where most critics pitch their tents.
Jesus is merely a great teacher or prophet: I find this to be “hedge-betting.” I can “honor” Jesus without accepting His claims. I suppose the hope is that somehow this may earn them “consideration” before the throne of God on Judgment Day. C.S. Lewis aptly responded to this position. Jesus did not give us the option of accepting Him as a great prophet or teacher. His claims are well beyond anything “great” if He was not exactly who He says He was, the Son of God. He claimed to be God, He proved He was God with the demonstration of miracles among witnesses, even His critics, and proved His claims by rising from the dead. A teacher or prophet who claimed what Jesus claimed–and was not–is either lying or crazy.
Neither trait is worthy of “greatness” or “honor.” I will conclude and paraphrase what Lewis concluded: if Jesus was not lying or crazy, He must be the Son of God. If we allow Jesus to be framed a “great prophet or teacher,” we have allowed Him to be relegated to the level of any other religious sage, with a message no more or less important than that of Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, or numerous others–famous or obscure. The “truth” becomes simply a matter of personal pragmatism, if it works for you, then it is good for you. While this may work if we are only concerned with people governing themselves according to some moral guidelines, it cares nothing for the souls of men or their eternal future. This is not acceptable in the Christian faith.
The Bible is a human book, a product of the religious experiences of one people: The Bible is, indeed, a human book and the product of the religious experiences of one people. But that is only half of the explanation…