Saturday, August 05, 2006

Not Reasonable

Despite what we, as Christians, would like people to believe being a Christian is not reasonable. Christianity flies in the face of the wisdom of the world. To be a Christian doesn’t make sense based on the wisdom the world lives by. Even the Apostle Paul said; And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world (1 Corinthians 15:19; NLT). Christianity doesn’t make sense in the simple context of our physical everyday lives.

By saying this I do not doubt the truthfulness of God’s Word or the fact that God’s Way is the best way to live. What I mean is that Christianity seems to be foolishness to people who are not Christians. It doesn’t make sense apart from the love of God and the testimony of Jesus. To make Christianity seem reasonable in order to fit the culture is to dishonor what God has revealed in His Word.

Christianity is not reasonable because it is contrary to the wisdom of this World. I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18; NLT). Don’t think people are going to be overwhelmed by the truth found in Scripture, because it won’t happen. To them it is foolishness and a stumbling block. People do not need truth alone.

The foolishness of Christianity is seen in:
1. The God who becomes a man: If we were God we would have done things differently. Instead of being born in a manger we would have been born in a palace. Instead of a life of ministry we would have had a life of politics. Instead of serving we would have sought power. To have Jesus come like He did seems to be foolishness to us.

2. The Resurrection: The supernatural power of God seems to be so unrealistic when measured against our knowledge of science. From the Creation of the world to the miracles of Jesus the supernatural seems to speak more of myth than of fact. The Central Truth of Christianity is ridiculous: that Jesus would rise from the dead! It is foolishness to believe in such things when we have science.

3. The Concept of Grace: This is certainly something people have trouble with. The fact that we do not earn our way to heaven, but God gives it as a free gift. No matter who you are or what you have done God will forgive us if we put our faith in Jesus and give Him our love. This is foolishness for it means a person like Jeffery Dahmer can be in heaven. That doesn’t seem right!

4. The Call to Sacrifice: Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep you life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life" (Luke 9:23-24; NLT). God wants us to sacrifice our time, money, and dreams to follow Jesus. What about following my heart? This doesn’t make sense!

If Christianity is foolishness why should we be Christians? The way of the Cross, the symbol of the foolishness of Christianity, is “the power of God.” While Christianity seems to be foolishness to those on the outside looking in it has the power to transform lives. One of my favorite books is The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life written by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi who is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. One of the things I found interesting about the book was the open discussion of the transformation which took place in the life of C.S. Lewis after he became a Christian. C.S. Lewis went from a man who was arrogant and lonely to a man who enjoyed relationships and life. The difference was dramatic. The difference is also seen when compared to Freud, who was a life long atheist. A transformed life is what the foolishness of God brings to people.

Christianity might seem foolish to the philosophers and intellectuals of this world, but it does have the evidence of science, history, and philosophy on its side. When a person builds a faith on this evidence and begins to live a life of obedience and trust in God they begin to experience God at work in their lives. This experience helps us understand that the best way to live is by following Jesus.

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