Pope Francis will be busy today. The 78-year-old pontiff meets with the United Nations General Assembly this morning. Then he will participate in a service at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, visit a school in East Harlem, lead a procession through Central Park, and hold mass in Madison Square Garden. Tomorrow he leaves for Philadelphia.
The pope is arguably the world's most visible Christian. However, there's only so much impact one person can make on the world. According to the New York Times, Google searches for churches are down 15 percent over the last five years compared to the previous five years. Pornography searches are up 83 percent. Google searches for heroin are up 32 percent. The top Google search including the word "God" is "God of War," a video game. (For more on this, read Ryan Denison's Searching for God on the Internet.)
It's easy to agree with the Times article's lead sentence: "It has been a bad decade for God, at least so far." But is this true? Has it been a bad decade for God, or for us?
When you run from God you run into him (just ask Jonah). So it must be if he is indeed the omnipresent Lord of the universe. Just as denying the sunrise doesn't affect the sun, skepticism about God doesn't change God. However, it does affect the skeptic.
A woman has started a Twitter campaign, #ShoutYourAbortion. Her reason: she wants everyone to believe that "abortion is just a medical procedure, reproductive healthcare is just healthcare, and it is a fact without caveat that a foetus is not a person." Really? Robert George, M.D., in his book Embryo: "Human embryos are what the embryology textbooks say they are, namely human organisms—living individuals of the human species—at the earliest developmental stage." In the case of preborn babies, what we decide about their identity is a life-or-death issue for them.
What we believe about God affects every dimension of our culture, from same-sex marriage to euthanasia to radical Islam. God is "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Timothy 6:15). When we reason against his existence, we use the minds he gave us. When we reject his help and deny his wisdom, we prove not his impotence but our folly. Like patients who refuse medical care, we harm only ourselves.
Everyone we know deserves to know what we know about Jesus. (Tweet this) I am praying today for Pope Francis and for Christians everywhere, that we would use our influence to show skeptics the reasonableness and relevance of biblical truth. We are each called to "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Like Pope Francis, we will each have opportunities today to advance God's Kingdom.
Charles Spurgeon: "If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
Suppose Pope Francis devised a cure for all cancer, a remedy for AIDS and Alzheimer's and heart disease, a solution to radical Islam and the immigrant crisis, an end to all war and suffering. All of that, combined, would not be as eternally significant as helping a single soul find eternal life.
Sharing God's word is not imposing your opinion on others. (Tweet this) It is offering those with a terminal disease (sin) the only cure (salvation). Is there a greater gift you can give today?
Publication date: September 25, 2015
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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