Look Outside!

One of my two blogging duties includes Triablogue, where we regularly engage skeptics. Some are just out and out apostates. I want us to pause here for a bit, and to do that, I’m not putting up the “more” tag, because I want this on the front page in full.

One of our interlocutors at Tblogue, Matthew Green from the Debunking Christianity blog, has stated:

“I have already spoken elsewhere what the personal consequences for me would be if I came to conclude the Christian gospel was valid: I would take my own life; I would see no reason to delay the inevitability of Hell. Never-the-less I enjoy a challenge and the more confrontational it is, the more I love to rise to the challenge, especially if answering it means putting confrontational Christian apologists in their places and just shutting them up!”

Yes, you read that correctly. Read it one more time and let it sink in really, really well.

Now, think about this y’all. This is what lurks in the human heart. He’s saying that if the gospel was proven true (and I would argue it has been from the beginning) he would kill himself in order to go to hell. Bluntly, “It ain’t without reason that the subtext about sin in the Bible is that it is insanity.”

Lest I sound harsh and unfair, this isn’t just Mr. Green or the average Village Atheist, this is you and me without the grace of God. This is the folks we work with every day that don’t know Jesus. This is why we pray for lost friends and family and other folks we love, some of whom we have never seen in person. This why we have an IMB and an NAMB. This is why in my church we’re going to the park on a regular basis this summer and fall to talk to the New Agers. This is why I write and do internet apologetics. This is why we are here on this earth and not taken to heaven as soon as God saves us.

Mr. Green just has the courage to say these things, which most unregenerate people would not dare to say. I have to applaud his candor, though his conclusion is obviously heinous and makes him truly worthy of the condemnation that he is heaping upon himself as not only an unbeliever, but an apostate at that. The more you know, the more you reject, the worse the judgment will be. Unfortunately, many rank and file atheists out there don’t pay attention to real atheistic secular scholarship (there is such a thing) and instead pay attention to people like Mr. Green who are often more radical in what they produce than atheistic secular scholarship. Green and the people at Debunking Christianity give them more information than Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and other skeptics, because these folks write material that appeals to their baser instincts, and in the unregenerate heart, that’s a persuasive argument…and believe me, the people that comment on that website pat each other on the back for this kind of statement, so the insanity is collective. Truly, the inmates are in control of the asylum.

While the SBC is parsing the finer points of the meaning of the “oinos” and questioning each others lineage inside the denomination, and while one side is inferring that Presbyterians and others who differ with them are sub-Christian, this is what’s going on in the real world. This is also why talking about the nature of saving faith and soteriology is significant too…because these things touch on the gospel, its presentation, the way we do church discipline, the way we live and worship, the very message that we take to the lost people around us, who, in Mr. Green’s words, would just as soon kill themselves if they found out that the gospel was true as have to deal with it. This, folks, is why I believe God must change the heart through the Word of God in order for a man to believe.

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11 Comments on “Look Outside!”

  1. GOWITHGOSPEL Says:

    Well stated…..

  2. Timmy Says:

    Amen Gene. The time is long overdue to carry the conversation to the real problems and challenges the church is facing today. Sure, while there are real internal issues from within the Church, we cannot ignore the reality of our world around us and the attacks from without.

    You said, “This is also why talking about the nature of saving faith and soteriology is significant too…because these things touch on the gospel . . .”

    Exactly. Imagine believing that Green’s salvation was dependent on persuading his independent, almighty will through silly tactics and emotive appeals. Imagine approaching his unregenerate state with the assumption that were he to be saved, he would have to have his own faith and enablement to choose Christ on his own.

    Because our God is sovereign in savlation, he can turn the most wicked heart stone into the most pliable heart of flesh. He can take a man dead in his sin and raise him to new life by the power of His Spirit. He can take a Saul who was a murderer and persecuter of Christians and make him the mightiest soul winner the church has known. Do we really believe that our God is that omnipotent and sovereign? Surely the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!

    Next week, I am writing on some things the Lord has convicted me of in my approach to my world. Central to these reproofs has been my lack of conviction in an indescriminate gospel mighty to save. I all too often seek to evangelize the “clean” and “good” sinners who are “close to the camp” and write off those who are seemingly damned beyond the gospel’s reach.

    Over the past six months, I have worked directly with several agnostics and athiests at work. It has been amazing to see walls come down and misconceptions erased. While they have not come to believe (yet), I am praying that their eyes will be opened to see the glory of God in the face of Christ.

    One last thing to mention. It has been argued by that for all intents and purposes, many evangelical Christians are functional atheists. By that I mean that we so live and operate as though God does not exist in the majority of our lives (except Sunday morning). Paul believed and hoped in the power of the resurrection and banked his life on it. One of my professors in college once asked me, “Timmy, would there be any difference in your life, or would your life make sense if Jesus Christ had not been raised from the dead?”

    After that, I prayed that the Lord would graciously allow me to experience that resurrection power in my own life and the lives of others. Inasmuch as Paul’s life did not make sense to the world around him as he fought “wild beasts” at Ephesus, so I pray that my life will so be lived on unassailable reality of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Indeed, if there is no resurrection, we of all men are most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:19).  May death be at work in us so that live can be at work in them.

  3. Josh Says:

    Thank you.

    Josh

  4. Allan Says:

    Quote:
    “One last thing to mention. It has been argued by that for all intents and purposes, many evangelical Christians are functional atheists. By that I mean that we so live and operate as though God does not exist in the majority of our lives (except Sunday morning). ”

    Timmy, AMEN! The Lord has been doing the same with me. Here is an excert from one of my personal quiet times:
    What do we fear if God is our God? Why fear which causes us to not follow him who sustains the qhole universe, and at the same time ready to run to us as we call on His name. Is our God weak, unseeing, without knowledge, and poor?! If no, then rise up and prove your faith in the Almighty Deliverer and stand fast to that which is true. Be a daily living declaration of the saving power of the One True and Living God!

    I was greatly convicted in my study when thinking about our churches and the personal lives that make up this body of Christ, and was grieved deeply that what most hold to be truth is nothing more than a floating shadow of who God truly is and His power to save!

  5. Kern R. Pegues Says:

    Amen and Amen. We spend to much time and energy discussing trifle stuff. Most churches spend to much time discussing trifle stuff instead of doing things that will have eternity consequences. We need to get back to “Kingdom Living”.

  6. Kim Says:

    Gene,

    Good post! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say, “I want to go to Hell because that is where all the fun people will be.” They have no idea what they are saying. I remember when I was lost and didn’t have a clue and I grieve for them.

    Blessings,
    Kim

  7. Jeffro Says:

    Gene,

    Great post. I am reminded of the words of Francis Shaeffer, “If Christians are to take advantage of the death of romanticism, we must conciously build back the mentality and practice of antithesis among Christians in doctrine and life. We must do it by our teaching and by example in our attitude toward compromise, both ecclesiastically and in evangelism. To fail to exhibit that we take the truth seriously at those points where there is a cost in our doing so, is to push the next generation into the relative, dialectical millstream that surrounds us.”

    It seems to me that the SBC is often not taking advantage of the death of romanticism, but rather trying to usher the romantic age back into doctrine and life. Hopefully, we will all one day learn that our doctrine should and does directly affect our practice.

    Blessings


  8. Excellent reminder of the mission and the world in which we live. Yes, the details of the gospel are important. The fear of God is impressed through sovereign grace like no other form of “evangelism”. The fear of God is what this fellow you quoted is missing. It is what all of the unregenerate are missing (Rom 3:18) but they need to be impressed with the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.

  9. tim brown Says:

    Gene,

    excellent post! I recall years ago when I was unregenerate and sat next to three practicing satanists as a concert. This was my first encounter with satanists and surprisingly they were very similar to me, it’s just that they were a little more blunt, like in your post. The leader of the group said, “If Hell were to open up right here before us, I would jump in.” That totally blew my mind. I could not imagine such a thing, until I came to Christ and read the Scriptures for myself did I realize that was the attitude of my heart: I was just to scared of hearing myself say it.

    On the last points. I think the SBC is showing forth now what is at its heart, at least in the majority: squeaky cleanness. That too must be confronted. Jesus didn’t back down from the scribe, Pharisees, or Saducees. Paul didn’t back down from Peter when he was being hypcritical, nor did he flinch in the face of the Jews. All of these claimed to be doing God’s will, but were in need of correction and rebuke and a call to repentance. I know your comments did not mean that those things are not important, but there must be that all important balance within and without. We must fight off the wolfish teaching that seeks to destroy men’s souls with self righteousness, as well as, the open rebellion of the creature who supresses the truth in unrighteousness.


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  11. 4ever4given Says:

    Reading that statement from that man was like a knife being thrust into my heart and then twisted. Why? Because “this is you and me without the grace of God. This is the folks we work with every day that don’t know Jesus. This is why we pray for lost friends and family and other folks we love, some of whom we have never seen in person.”

    Amen.


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