Archive for March, 2014

Hello friends,

This week’s evangablog is on the issue of absolute morality. As a religion major, this is one of those things that just comes up, and I would contend that if we can define morality, we can as a result define truth. This past week, in fact, a discussion occurred in my Religion 110 class on morality, and here are some questions that came up.

Is there an absolute right and wrong?

If so, where does this absolute morality come from?

Is there punishment for disobeying the good?

Answer one; yes, you can define morality. The idea that what is right and wrong is determined based on how you were raised or conditioned is Ludacris. Think about it, how can we have a justice system if there is no absolute right or wrong? The courts cannot very well prosecute murder if our idea that murder is wrong depends on the American worldview and not an absolute right and wrong. How can we punish war crimes committed by Nazis if there is no absolute morality? Surely Nazis will claim that they were conditioned to believe that genocide of an entire people is “good” as long as those people threaten the Aryan way of life. However, we would all agree that there acts are detestable. If there is an absolute right and wrong then why do some, like Hitler, believe it is “good” to murder millions of people? They may justify their murder as “good”, but turn it around and murder someone they love and you will soon realize that they too internally know that murder is wrong.  For you readers that have a significant other. Let’s say the unthinkable happens and you are unfaithful. When you are confronted, you should explain to your boyfriend or girlfriend that you grew up in a household where your parents had an open marriage, so cheating is not wrong. I’d be willing to bet you will still end up mighty lonely. This is because deep down we know cheating is wrong.

Yes, morality can be defined. So where does it come from? Moral law means there must be a moral law giver. There is something inside of us that determines right and wrong, a conviction that was given to us upon our creation. This morality within us points to a supreme being that must have put it there, because morality is not something that is determined by science or psychology, but is inherent. In simpler terms, God is the author of our sense of right and wrong. God is able to decide this because He is all good, and cannot be present with sin or evil. Since we are created in His image, we know what is right because He is what is right. And because He cannot allow sin and evil without judgment, we have an inclination to know and judge evil.

Finally, since God is the author of our morality, there must be punishment for wrongdoing. He is perfectly good, so when we sin, we openly act in a manner of opposition to our God. He cannot allow evil to exist in His presence, which is heaven. God is the just judge, so there must be a place where evildoers go for their punishment, which we of course know as hell. The problem we have as humans is this; we are all guilty of wrong doing. Since God knows no wrong, we are deserving of punishment for going against Him, and that punishment is hell. This is where Jesus comes in to play. We know right and wrong, which is determined by God, and we actively choose to oppose Him. But God in all His grace has decided to offer us a way out through satisfying His wrath on His Son. Since morality is definite, we have a duty to evangelize and share the Gospel. Our sin runs deep, but His grace is abounding.

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Let me start off by saying, I love evangelism. It’s terrifying to us, but glorifying to the Father all at the same time. That whirlwind of emotions is what keeps me on my spiritual guard. I always get so pumped to share the gospel, but every now and then, I’ll run across a question that will knock me off track simply because I do not know the answer to it.

A few weeks ago, my friend and I were sharing the gospel with a girl at USC. We were talking to her about her spiritual life when she told us that she didn’t attend any kind of church. Curious, I asked her why. My heart sunk when she gave me the answer that I so often hear. In fact, it’s why some of the people whom I love dearly do not profess faith in Christ. Her answer: “I find a lot of hypocrisy in the church.” Ouch. This is such a hard question and one that I find a lot of us come across when evangelizing. So what’s the answer?

Let’s keep in mind a verse that I hold dear to my heart. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This means, you, me, your mom, my pastor, the entire church, everyone. I think this is where a lot of people who make the argument about hypocrisy in the church get confused. I believe that there tends to be a major misconception about Christians. That we all walk around with self-righteous attitudes, believing that we are perfect. This may be true for some, but certainly not for all. Let me make this next point very clear: yes, all Christians are sinners. However, all Christians are not hypocrites. Christians are by no means perfect. In John 1:5-2:2 he writes about this very conundrum. He says that if anyone says that they are without sin, then he is deceiving himself and the truth is not in him. Christians are not without sin; that is why we need God. Further on in the passage of scripture, John points out that even though we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Secondly, the church is a work in progress, as are its people. Unfortunately, there will always be hypocrites in the church. There is no way around that. However, when we learn to separate sinner’s actions from the grace of God and the legitimacy of the gospel, I think we will begin to see that the church is not a bad place to be. Hypocrisy does not negate Christianity or the claims of Christ! As stated earlier, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Finally, I would like to end with an illustration I heard the other day that hits the nail on the head with this issue. Let’s say that there is a guy who owns a major car company. The type of car he sells is legitimately the best car ever made in this country. He makes it his goal to tell everyone else about how great his car really is. Then you see him around town driving another type of car from another dealership. You’re angry because you thought that his car was the best and after all, if he truly believed that wouldn’t he be driving his type of car? While that may be true, his own hypocrisy does not invalidate the truth that the car is still legitimately the best car ever made.

The same is true for Christianity. Even though people within the church can sometimes lead lives that are inconsistent with their claim about Christianity, that doesn’t make the gospel any less true. The beautiful thing about God is that he didn’t need us, but he chose us to be bearers of his witness and gospel. Our inadequacies will never change the legitimacy of the gospel or that Christianity is true. How awesome is that?

I encourage and challenge you guys to really pray about this issue this week and ask God to reveal to you the areas in your life that need to be voided of hypocrisy.

Don’t forget that Go and Tell is this Friday, the 28th, at 3:30 on the third floor of Russell House! Come on out and don’t be afraid of getting into a spiritual conversation that you may not know all of the answers to. God will still use you as long as you are obedient and willing!!

Praying for you all this week.

This week we are continuing the series of answering questions you may get while sharing your faith. While sharing the gospel, you may get asked how you know Jesus is God. Some may ask “Why do you believe that Jesus is God, He never even claimed to be God?” Not once in the scriptures does Jesus say explicitly that He is God. Maybe your thinking, this is ridiculous of course Jesus is God. However, Muslims and other religions claim that Jesus is not God. So why do we as Christians believe this? Does the Bible even prove that Jesus is God? Let’s go through three scriptures that points to this final conclusion that Jesus is God in human flesh.

1) John 1:1-2, 14-15

This passage starts in verse 1-2 that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” At this point, we can clearly state these observations: the Word is eternal and the Word was with God and most importantly that the Word was God. Now, if we go down to verse 14, we find out exactly what the Word represents. Verse 14 says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after mehas a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’”” No one fits this description but Jesus.  If The Word = God (vs 1-2), and the Word = Jesus (vs 14), then Jesus = God.

2) John 8:58-59; Exodus 3:14

Let’s look at two passages of scriptures that will come together to prove Jesus is God! We will start in John. John 8:58 says “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’” Then in the next verse “they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out the temple.” What exactly does Jesus mean by saying “I am” and why does the crowd get so angry? Let’s flip over to Exodus 3:14 and see. Here in Exodus, Moses has been appointed by God to lead His people out of Egypt, and Moses ask God who shall he say has sent him to Egypt. And this is what Exodus 3:14 says, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Here we can see that Jesus and God both refer to themselves as “I am.” The Hebrew word for I AM is the holy name of God, YHWH. So when Jesus says “before Abraham was born I am” He is calling himself God. The people who heard Jesus say this in John 5:58 knew exactly what He was saying, that is why they picked up stones to stone him because He was calling Himself God.

3) Mark 2:5-7

Mark 2:5-7says this, “ And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’” This scripture is very clear, Jesus forgives his sins, and the people realize the implications of this because only God can forgive sins. Therefore if only God can forgive sins and Jesus claims to forgive this man of his sins, then Jesus is saying He is God. This is one of the first instances where people begin to understand that Jesus is saying He is God. This and many more instances is why the Jewish people get so angry and end up crucifying Him, because of blasphemy.

I hope after reading this blog, you can clearly see that although Jesus never says explicitly that He is God, we can see by the scriptures that He is! Let’s be faithful to share the gospel this week and thanks for reading.