Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question: “Dear Mr. Hunt and Mr. McMahon, I have two thoughts I would like to hear you guys comment upon. One, it seems to me that we shouldn’t be too surprised when we hear Christian leaders make statements that are so obviously contrary to the Bible, and for that matter, common sense. After all, it was the religious leaders of Jesus’ time who were saying things most contrary to the Scriptures. The other point I would like you to address is whether you are talking about what Catholics believe or what Mormons believe or whatever group, it seems the majority of those in such churches or religious organizations neither know nor care much about what their churches teach. They were born into it and have no interest in making any uncomfortable changes. Seems like these people are made-to-order for a one world religion.”
Tom: Dave, I think this brings to mind something really related to the last segment. People are coming up with ideas, some people are interested, and some people could care less. In other words, there’s such an apathy out there, and we find it in everything, whether it be religious leaders who want to be politically correct or just don’t care or people who follow them, would say, “O well…” For example, I know you are going to be addressing in an upcoming newsletter the whole issue with regard to the Episcopal Church and their having a bishop who is a full-blown homosexual and practicing.
Dave: Well, Tom, whether it’s the religious leaders or the people belonging to these religions who are following these religious leaders and who are happy to follow them, no matter what they say—“I was born a Catholic, I will die a Catholic, I was born a Hindu, I will die a Hindu,” you know, put the responsibility off on someone else. So whether it is the leaders or those who follow them, there is a disregard of truth: What does it matter? There is a seeming blindness to the fact that God created this universe, that God created us—He does have some rules. Doesn’t He have the right to make His rules? You can’t even play a game without rules, as we often say, and we are one day going to be accountable to Him. Regardless of what your church says, regardless of what your own feelings are, what you want to believe, what you want to do, don’t you recognize that one day you will give an account to God, and He has something to say about this—in fact, He has the final say.
So, we had better find out what He says, and let’s get back to the Bible, which claims to be His Word, and we can prove that this is God’s Word, okay?
But then you had this bishop, newly installed now in the Episcopal Church, and he said, “Well, just because the Bible says it’s wrong, that doesn’t make it wrong.” So he is completely disregarding what God has said. Then, of course, we have others who will, without conscience, make up their own interpretation and make the Bible say what it doesn’t say.
So, it gets back to authority, it gets back to truth, it gets back to…Do I think I am going to live forever? Do I think I am never going to be accountable to God? Maybe I had better find out about that and square this away right now. And yet, Tom, that seems to be the last thing people think of.
Tom: And prior to this coming before God, who is going to judge us, there is another aspect that—what about our lives here today? Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” So it’s not just a matter of “wait until the judgment,”; it’s a matter of correcting our lives, which only can be done by receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, by having Him changing our heart and our lives and doing the things that please Him. And what’s the effect? The effect is fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering…oh, you could go on. Why not, Dave?
Dave: Well, Tom, I think what Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly,” was primarily for those who believe in Him.
Tom: Of course.
Dave: AndI know that sometimes we try to promise that to ungodly people and…”Well, if you want the good life…” And that’s not what you were saying.
Tom: No, but it’s a reality of receiving Him, if somebody wants that.
Dave: It is a reality, Tom, but it’s very difficult to get someone to see…. “Wait a minute, I mean, all the fun I’m having—you want me to live this straight-laced, narrow-minded, sober and sad, self-denying Christian life? And you want me to exchange this for that? I want to have my fun!” So, it’s pretty hard for people to understand the difference between—what can I say? When I see some families, for example, that are just so wholesome, I don’t know any other word. There is such joy, they love one another, they care for one another, they help one another, and they just have an aura about them. The love of Christ shines forth, and they are living such a full life. And then I look at some other families, and the kids quarrel, they are into all kinds of problems, they are not happy really, but they are trying to find happiness, somehow, in the things of this world, which will never give them happiness. And yet, it’s pretty difficult to explain the difference, and maybe the fear of God and the fear of judgment lying ahead, ultimately is the best way. I don’t know, Tom.
Tom: On the other hand, Dave, I was thinking that my daughter mentioned the other day that she was trying to get together with some friends—she had just graduated from high school, and they were seniors and they were all going to go off to college and so on, and she just wanted to get together with them, and trying to contact them. In many cases it was “No, they are living with their father,” or “No, they are staying with their mother for a number of months,” and she said that’s the norm. How sad can that be?
Dave: Yeah, divorce when I was in high school—I think we had a high school of about 1,500 people—that was back in Riverside, California, back in the old days. I graduated in ’43. I think I knew two people in that entire high school whose parents were divorced. Now, as you said, it’s the norm. And the same rate among people who call themselves Christians as among the world, and it’s not good. It doesn’t bring joy and peace, it doesn’t bring fulfillment. And tragically, it takes two to tango, and there have to be two people involved. There’s selfishness, and Solomon said, “Only by pride cometh contention,” and if I’m standing up for my rights and demanding my rights and I’m not getting a fair deal, that’s going to lead to problems. But if I really love someone I’m willing to sacrifice myself for them. But Tom, we’re a long ways from that now and we’re heading down the road to judgment, I’m afraid, in this world, but we are going to stand against it and do everything we can to rescue people from it.