Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Gospel According to Thomas

I absolutely love the sermon topic of the Sunday after Easter!  Every year following Easter we read the story of "doubting Thomas".

As a pastor I have well meaning Christians approach me frequently asking for help in arguing their friends to Christ.  Now they won't put it that way but basically that's what they're trying to do.  A typical question may look like this: "So-n-so believes evolution disproves the Bible, do you have a good book you can recommend to disprove evolution?"

Now there is nothing wrong with that question, and researching the true "origins of species" is a noble pursuit.  But I'm not sure that's the path of great effectiveness.  I don't personally believe that the creation account of Genesis 1 ever converted anybody.  I don't believe that God requires perfect faith in all things scriptural to start a journey with Him.  The Gospel is what's needed to bring someone to faith.  And while there are many pastors/theologians that would hinge six day creationism to the Gospel, I believe that is completely unhelpful.  Let me explain why.

This should be obvious but quite often its not.  People need to encounter Jesus first.  Not creationism, not social conservatism, not social justice activism, not predestination, not any other pet project of the Christian Church.  People need to meet Jesus.  It is Jesus who calls and Jesus who saves.  It is Jesus' words we live by, and it is the work of Christ we hope in.  Everything about the church should include three topics; Jesus, Jesus, and don't forget Jesus.  If people meet Jesus they are more likely to follow him than if you try to explain how the Grand Canyon was created by the Flood.

How do I know this to be true?  Because that's how I came to follow Christ.  I was impressed by who Jesus was, and get this, when I became a Christian I was fairly liberal politically and I was studying evolution (and wholeheartedly believed in it).  I didn't become a Christian because I believed God created the world, I came to believe that God created the world because I believed in Jesus.  Dr. Dino and Ken Ham did not convert me, nor do I hold any respect for them currently (that's another topic).  I am who I am because I met and encountered Jesus.  Most of the changes in my life flowed from that experience.

I didn't try to eliminate all my doubts first, then place my faith in Jesus.  I came to Jesus with all my doubts and then I tried to walk with him.  You see in the story of Thomas, Jesus wasn't harsh and judgmental towards Thomas' legitimate doubts.  But as a good friend Jesus came to strengthen Thomas' faith.  Jesus understood perfectly well why Thomas doubted.  Then after Thomas comes to faith he says:
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
I think the scriptures are clear, God is bigger than our doubts.  He can handle them, and He has no problem working with you in spite of them.

So next time if your friends doubts the resurrection, instead of just jumping into Josh McDowell's 3 reasons why Christ rose from the dead...perhaps you can also find away to introduce your friends to who Christ is.  Let them come with their doubts, I think Jesus knows best what to do with them anyways.

2 comments:

  1. Evolution is the big lie of Satan. The complexity of the world is beyond comprehension when one understands that everything one see came from the earth, all living things, all the buildings materials, everything. Upon pondering how this wonderful system could exist and knowing the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics absolutely prevents this from occurring, I thought how could a Law of Science stop working? Did any other law of science cease to work ever? Did the Law of Gravity every cease to function? No!! Then why do people accept the idea that the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics cease to function? It didn’t.

    I believe that the Bible is the Spirit breathed inerrant Word of God. I believe that Genesis is the foundation of the Bible, and if you change the foundation everything after Genesis can be suspect and eventually will be changed by those who cannot believe in God’s Word completely. The world had done a good job in portraying Bible believing Christians as medieval in their mindset, foolish to believe the creation passages of scripture, and if only we were educated and scientifically minded we would realize what a bunch of nonsense Biblical creation is.

    What other Biblical events do these “Christians” do not believe about the Bible that the scientific community debunks? Is the worldwide flood of Noah true? Did God make the sun stand still for Joshua? Was Elijah taken up to heaven in a windstorm? Did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego really survive the fire furnace? Did Jesus really walk on water, raise the dead, make water into wine, feed the five thousand, die for our sins and rise from the dead on the third day. Consider Moses, he was not some rub from the back of beyond, but one of the most educated men of his time. He was a prince of Egypt, receiving his instruction as royalty in one of the most scientifically advanced civilizations known to man. He was a warrior, a great leader of men, and he had a direct encounter with the living God, the same God who directed him to write the Book of Genesis. It all comes down to this, either the Bible is the Spirit breathed inerrant Word of God or it is not. I believe with all my heart that it is the inerrant Word of God and we are not given the option of believing only those portions we can agree with or understand. God created the world in six days.

    In reality there is much evidence in the scientific community both Christian and secular that supports a young earth belief. As Christians we have allowed ourselves to be beguiled by the middle of the road, those hoping to have if both ways and avoiding the conflict and ridicule of the world for holding anything but the worlds sanctioned beliefs. There is much evidence for the young earth belief, but those who want to believe in the worldview willingly ignore the Christian Scientist facts that support the Biblical creation. There is a malevolent force behind the foisting of evolution and millions of years upon the minds of a generations of people around the world - Satan is alive and well on planet earth. Thinking they were wise they became fools.

    . The modern church has chosen to harmonize the Bible with the current accepted scientific beliefs of a godless scientific community. It has more faith in these godless scientists than in God and it saddens me that so many Christian are included in this category.

    Lee Strobles books (The Case for Christ, The Case for a Creator, The Case for Faith) are very good books and there are many others at Answers in Genesis (answersingenesis.com) and Creation Research Institute (cri.org).

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