Don't Abandon Outrageous Yet Important Truths
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2005 9 Sep
In the break room at work or at the neighborhood park, certain statements might sound outrageous. And people who dare to make these politically incorrect comments can be accused of being arrogant, bigoted, or even worse. But as controversial as they are, there are also important biblical truths that apply to life today just as much as they did in generations past.
Faithful Christians need to answer Jesus' call to stand up for these truths and make a positive impact on the fallen world in which we live. Here's how you can proclaim important truths that sound outrageous to some in our secular culture:
"Every other religion is wrong." Help people who object understand that their argument is with the Bible rather than you personally. Let them know about Scripture verses such as John 14:6. Emphasize that the exclusivity of Christianity is not the claim of Christians; it's God's decision. Explain that truth is exclusive by its very nature, and that everyone accepts the notion of absolute truth at some level. Just as mathematics, geography, physics, and many other realms have exact facts, so does the realm of spirituality. Encourage people that God wants to save as many people as possible - not as few as possible. Let them know that God loves all people and point them to Scripture such as 1 Timothy 2:4, which affirms God's desire for all people to be saved. Help them understand the Bible teaches that God will reveal Himself to those who sincerely want to know Him. Do all you can to get the Gospel message out to people.
"God is ultimately responsible for suffering." Assure people that God is in control of every circumstance in our lives. Explain that God assumes responsibility for suffering and evil in the world because He knows what's going to happen before it does and sometimes even plans to allow suffering in order to accomplish good purposes through it. Encourage them that God fully understands our suffering (when He came to Earth as Jesus, He suffered all kinds of pain). Affirm that God cares about what happens to us and will walk through any kind of suffering with us. Remind them that God has not yet revealed the final chapters in their stories, and that He promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him.
"God sends good people to hell." Point people to Scriptures such as Romans 3:23, which affirm that all human beings have sinned and fall short of God's glory. Help them understand the size and seriousness of the moral gulf between God and us. Explain that everyone deserves hell, but God offers the gift of salvation to everyone. Help them realize that people who reject or even neglect the Gospel are, in effect, rendering Christ's death on the cross (God's ultimate sacrifice because of His great love for all people) meaningless. Help them recognize that people who are in hell are their because of their own decisions to rebel against God; it's their choice, not God's choice. Assure them people will judged only according to their response to the knowledge they've received, so people who haven't heard the Gospel will be judged less severely than those who have heard it and not embraced its message. Help them understand that God is completely just and can always be trusted to do what is right. Assure them that nothing in heaven - not even the knowledge of loved ones from Earth in hell - will be able to extinguish our joy, because every believer in heaven will fully comprehend and agree with God's verdict against unbelievers.
"Homosexuality is a perversion." Don't shy away from the vital truth that homosexuality is a distortion of God's plan for human sexuality. Mix tender love with hard truth whenever you deal with this volatile subject by emphasizing God's love for all people, even though He detests the sins that hurt them. Point out what the Bible says about homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments. Help them understand the importance of sexuality the way God designed it, and recognize that homosexuality is neither normal, nor healthy. Explain that no scientific tests have conclusively proved that people are born gay, and that even if some genetic predisposition were discovered, every human being inherits some tendencies toward sin. Help them realize that, just as an alcoholic is responsible for his or her actions even if predisposed toward alcoholism, so a homosexual is as well. Tell them stories of people who have successfully been healed from homosexual relationships and gone on to fruitful lives as heterosexuals.
"Husbands are to be the leaders of their families." Emphasize that submission is mutual because husbands and wives alike should submit every aspect of their lives to God first. Explain that God has created men and women to be equal, yet play different roles that complement each other in His design for creation. Help them understand that submission is based on God-given roles, not on inherent worth. Help them realize that submission is a voluntary decision of a faithful person who is committed to live in ways that please God and work best in marriage. A faithful husband steps up to his responsibilities to lead the family and love his wife sacrificially (and never exploiting her), while a faithful wife chooses to submit to her husband out of love and respect for God, because He has given her husband the position of head of the family. But a wife is free to refuse to submit if her husband asks her to do something that is contrary to God's Word. Explain that submission is a way of expressing love and working together for healthy marriage that draws upon each spouse's strengths.
"Evolution is a myth." Help people understand that evolution seeks to explain the process - not the timetable - for the origin of life. Help them recognize that the theory of evolution requires major changes between species (macroevolution, such as a monkey becoming a human being) - not just minor variations within species (microevolution, such as the development of a leg). Explain that while the evidence for microevolution if plentiful, the evidence for macroevolution is nonexistent. Help them realize that it actually takes more faith to believe that the incredibly complex life in our universe resulted from random chance than it does to believe in the biblical truth of divine design. Point out that the theory of evolution has no scientific explanation for important questions such as: "How did protein molecules assemble from amino acids?", "Since a living cell could not have evolved but requires all of its parts to be operational at once, how do you explain its origin?" and "Why is there no fossil evidence to unicellular creatures evolving into complex plants and animals?".
"America is a Christian nation." Encourage people to study the ideas and influences that shaped our Founding Fathers' thinking so they can recognize that the Bible played a crucial role in the formation of our government. Help people recognize the biblical principles so clearly and abundantly expressed in our nation's foundational documents, such as the Bill of Rights and many others. Explain that the concept of the separation of church and state originated for the purpose of protecting the church from the state - not to protect the state from the church. Help them learn how early government leaders wanted to ensure that the government did not corrupt the church, and that they were comfortable with the church's values guiding the government.
Be wise when talking with people about these controversial issues. Be willing to get to know people and genuinely listen to their stories without judging them before you attempt to discuss or debate these issues. Show love, respect, and compassion for them, remembering that God has made everyone, and loves everyone. Distinguish between major and minor issues so you don't argue unnecessarily. Pray for people and know that there's always hope for them to discover the truth and the joy of connecting to God.
Adapted from Hell? Yes!: And Other Outrageous Truths You Can Still Believe, copyright 2004 by Robert Jeffress. Published by WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co., www.waterbrookpress.com.
Dr. Robert Jeffress is pastor of the 9,500-member First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, Texas. He is the Bible teacher on the internationally broadcast television program Pathway to Victory, seen on more than 900 cable systems and television stations. Dr. Jeffress is the author of 12 previous books, including When Forgiveness Doesn't Make Sense, The Solomon Secrets (2002 Gold Medallion finalist), and I Want More!