Monday, February 6, 2012

Re-evaluating my faith

Recently I have had my faith challenged. This was not done by some stranger asking me questions. No, this was done by someone that I love. Someone who has loved the Lord for the past 16 years, but has decided lately that he no longer believes anything the Bible has to say. Will I be able to throw away my faith some day just as dramatically? I certainly hope not, but in the meantime I really needed to do some evaluating.

The other day I was reading the book of James. Early on I came across this well known verse: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5) I started praying. I prayed for wisdom concerning the doubts that have been thrown my way. I prayed with faith, not doubting that the Lord would answer my request. I did not pray for any selfish reasons and I did not pray for any signs or miracles to be given. I simply wanted peace and reassurance. Within 10 minutes the Lord had graciously answered.

I am going to state the doubts that were presented to me (as I understood them) and the answers that satisfy me at this time.

Doubt #1
Paul had radical ideas that weren't taught by the others before him.
Basically I was told that the gospel as we know it, wasn't preached until Paul came along with a bunch of radical ideas. The whole point of casting this doubt is to say that the Lord Jesus didn't expect to be given the title of Lord and that He was simply trying to show us the way to live in order to please God.

I'm not much of a salesperson, so you can probably read that and think that it sounds preposterous. However, the one who said it to me is rather convincing and speaks with conviction.

What did I conclude? I concluded that Jesus Christ really is Lord of heaven and earth, He is worthy of our praise and that Paul preached the true Gospel.

How did I come to that conclusion? When you want to share the Gospel with someone, what book do you ask them to read? Not Corinthians or Ephesians. Not even Romans, as good as that book is. Generally speaking you send them to John... one of the original 12 apostles. The Good News is clearly laid out in his gospel. If you want to see the Lord Jesus Christ being worshiped you can find that clearly in the book of Revelation, also written by John, not Paul.

Also, Acts, who was written by Luke, shows how the church began, even before Paul's conversion.

Yes, Paul did preach a radical gospel, but it wasn't conceived in his own mind, nor was it against God's will.

Doubt #2
Years after the Bible was completed people changed lots of words in order to make it seem like Jesus is Lord, even though He is not.

You have to remember that this claim is coming from a convincing source, so it can't easily be brushed off, unless you can come to another logical conclusion.

So after I concluded that Paul was not the only one who preached this "strange" Gospel, I then had to question whether it was possible that others had manipulated the Word of God years after the fact in order to change its message.

It didn't take long to realize how unlikely this situation is. There were A LOT of Christians all over the world by this point in history. Imagine someone or a group of someones changing the Scriptures?! There is SO MUCH in the Bible that points to Jesus Christ being called Lord. In order to manipulate the text, they could not have done anything subtle. It would've been a total over haul of the whole of it! Now imagine that happening... and no one noticing! Was every "Christian" in on this big secret, so no one bothered screaming: "SCANDAL!" No where in any history book are you going to find a time when this scandalous act supposedly took place. And what of all the previous copies? Were all of them magically destroyed?

So, this doubt left my mind as quickly as it entered it.

Conclusion
I am so thankful that I have a God I can turn to for wisdom. I'm thankful that all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God. And I'm thankful for this time in my life when I can reaffirm what I have believed for the past 15 years. Praise be to God!

4 comments:

Laura said...

Great post, Michelle! I've missed you!

Heidi’sbooks said...

Michelle, I would recommend that you read Total Truth and Saving Leonardo, both are written by Nancy Pearcey. They are really faith affirming and helpful for sorting out various beliefs. They may also give you many more ideas on the logical, reasonable nature of Christianity. I would highly recommend them. Your post is wonderful.

mjf said...

+1

Marko Crupi said...
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