“Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” ~Mark 9:38-41 (NKJV)
“Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered…” ~Zechariah 13:7
This is, without a doubt, a war of spiritual and Armageddon-like proportions! And, more often than not, Christians are going after their fellow Christians to convert to their own denomination. While I disagree with many denominations and doctrinal positions, in general because they are for the most part non-biblical, we are attacking who should be seen as our allies! We need to take the message of Christ, and the charge and task the Christ has given us to those who are non-religious (aka, “nones”; i.e., NO Religious affiliation.)
Perhaps, just perhaps, we should embrace our Christian brothers and sisters, without embracing their doctrines and dogmas. Let us discuss among one another the tenets of the bible and our ability to and our charge to bring our “lost sheep” brothers & sisters back into the fold of Christianity. We also need to move back to some of the old ways of learning the bible, its tenets, as well as apologetics and evangelism within the congregations of America and throughout the world! Quite often our children go away to college and enter into their new lives only lose their beliefs and faith. And why you may ask…most of us are indoctrinated into our faith, as we had entered into it from birth (in most instances). That being said, we have a bigger problem of not growing our faith. Meaning that we need to learn more about our faith, our beliefs, and our Creator! In doing so, we should through reason be able to explain to those who ask us about our faith the why we actually believe what we believe.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” ~1 Peter 3:15
Most are losing their faith because they do not know why they believe and are being swayed by the relativistic nature of others who are better “non-faith” peddlers with a used car salesman mentality.
Our churches and parents need to take a greater hand in the building up our youth in our congregations. I was born into the Catholic faith; however, I left that belief system due to the fact that many questions went unanswered. And it didn’t help that the Priests actually believed, at that time, that we people of the congregation were “too stupid to understand the bible.” When the church leadership takes such positions, they actually do more harm than those of the new age movement and other religious beliefs. However, despite all that I have said and my position from my youth, I in my maturity have gained the ability to see beyond the “people” issue, stopped blaming God for their actions, and began to learn from not just the bible, the church fathers, and also the Catholic Church fathers.
Great resources for teaching and training our youth are Scott M. Sullivan (Catholic in Thomistic Philosophy) and Ravi Zacharias (Evangelical Apologist). There are many more, but these two stand out, in my mind, with respect to teaching philosophy, evangelizing, and apologistic ideas and argumentation.
I believe that the scriptural message at this blog post’s outset is quite telling of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I truly believe that despite their doctrinal and dogmatic belief systems, they are still brothers and sisters in Christ! I also believe that Jesus, the Son of the the One True God and the Christ for all said it best:
“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matthew 5:19-20 (NKJV)
I believe, as is indicated and inferred by this passage, that we are all at peril of being Hell-bound UNLESS we teach the commandments of God and to keep them. If we live and act in a manner of “do as I say, not as I do” we will be no better than the scribes and the Pharisees and will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven!
Beware my friends, we are but pawns in this game of life…if we permit it! Don’t hold against your Christian brothers and sisters their doctrine, but if they are teaching a larger doctrine or dogma against that of the bible then we are obligated to make them aware of their misunderstanding of the biblical truth. Something that averts them from the truth of the Son of God, Jesus, being the only way to God the Father! there are a great number of things that we get stuck on as “perfect truths”, but are, in my opinion, menial ideological thoughts. I believe we tend to get ourselves stuck on thoughts based upon misnunderstood scriptural interpretations, etc.
Don’t get stuck, do your homework! All of it by research & study!
May God richly bless you!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD