Confronting False Systems
- Friday, June 08, 2007
Third, when we confront the false systems of the world, we do not vie for equality but exclusivity. Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of Baal. “’Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.’ So all the people answered and said, ‘It is well spoken (1 Kings 18:23-24).’” Elijah was not calling for God to be viewed as equal with the false system of his day. He was calling for the exclusive existence of the true and living God.
Let me offer four implications for us concerning the claim of God’s exclusivity as revealed in Jesus Christ.
1) God alone is God despite the claims of false gods. Baal was the storm god or the god of fire and rain. Elijah gave the Baal prophets opportunity to call upon their fire god to bring down fire knowing that he could not because he did not exist. Moreover, the people wanted to worship Baal along side God. Elijah would not tolerate such because God would not tolerate such. He vied for God’s exclusivity.
Why would those who claim Christ deny His exclusivity? Why would St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago invite Louis Farrakhan to speak in their services? Of course he claims to believe in Christ. But he does not believe in the Christ of Scripture. The Christ of Scripture claims to be the sole, sufficient Savior and Farrakhan rejects that. He and the church that invited him are no different than those Elijah confronted.
There are dozens of subtle ways that the culture seeks to undermine the exclusive claim of Christ. We must be aware of such deception and affirm that the Christ of Scripture is the only way to salvation.
2) God alone is God despite the appearance of spiritual power. As Elijah confronted error, not only were there four-hundred prophets of Baal, but, Elijah told them to call upon their gods. Multiple prophets and multiple gods certainly gave the appearance of spiritual power. But, there was none.
It is no different in our day. The world is filled with claims of spiritual power ranging from signs and wonders to the power of ecumenism to self-deifying new age theories. It doesn’t matter what we see or hear; we must have a source of objective truth that is itself objective. Hence, the apostle Peter notes that though he heard the voice of God, we have a more sure word of prophecy that we must heed (2 Peter 1:18). The bible alone teaches that salvation is by grace alone. We cannot save ourselves; we must have a Savior who is Christ the Lord.
3) God alone is God despite the confidence of pagan people. The Baal worshippers thought Elijah’s idea was a good one. They had great confidence in their idols. Their confidence was unfounded.
In 1985, Gorden Stein, the well-known atheist, was confident that he would embarrass Greg Bahnsen in a debate concerning the existence of God. It became known as “The Great Debate.” Bahnsen set forth the transcendental argument for God’s existence and Stein answered by setting forth eleven common arguments for the existence of God and attempted to point out why they were not good arguments. Aside from doing a poor job there, he did not answer the argument Bahnsen set forth, that is, the transcendental argument. Bahnsen pressed him on this point and Stein had no answer. It was Stein himself who was embarrassed. He admitted later that he was not prepared for that argument and over twenty years later neither he nor anyone else has set forth a satisfactory refutation. When we are called to stand, let us be undaunted by unfounded, pagan confidence.
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