Standing Up To The World (IBTR #48)

ibtr48Does it seem to you that standing up to a questioning world, meeting their criticisms head on, and sharing Christ without fear, is what we are supposed to do? Surely, all of us Christians could agree with that. On the other hand, have you listened to those who speak of how bold they are in such scenarios, but their efforts are more the fiber of ridicule than persuasion? Having insults to mask cluelessness is a temptation for us all, but, perhaps, the Independent Baptist world has a large, ugly trail of it.

Isn’t it sad when a needy world asks tough, but legitimate questions and rather than dig or think, we attack? We say they are stupid, or how could they be dumb enough to misspell a word in their question (I just had to have “misspell” auto correct for me!). I have heard people called names, or that they had better just shut up and get saved or they will split Hell wide open (when the question just might be proof of their seeking itself).

That certainly slaughters the claim that we love souls. The truth is that our pride is held in higher regard than someone’s soul. We can’t appear to be anything less than an expert even if we could not answer the question and care little to dig it out.

Some say Jesus  spoke with ridicule at times. He did, but He also possessed perfect knowledge of the person he was speaking to. The other big difference was that He never did it to hide being found out for being uninformed. He never had need to hide lazy thinking and shoddy preparation. We would rather mow someone down than take a few hours to get a handle on the issues under consideration. The Bible has the answers but we would rather bark than dig.

Some go father than this and go for outrageous criticisms and insults. An opponent’s looks or weight are completely irrelevant and to use such statements as a Christian in a discussion is absurd. Besides the utter shamefulness of it, it likely drives the people we should reach as far away as possible.

Let’s you and me hold ourselves to far higher standard than that. Let love prevail, and work rather than run and hide. The stakes are too high.

Find all articles in the series here.



13 thoughts on “Standing Up To The World (IBTR #48)

  1. Christ did, in fact, ridicule, but as far as I can tell, only the self-righteous religious leaders–those who were supposed to be caring for the sheep–and never the “sheep” or people/sinners. In other words, those who ridiculed and belittled others for their lack of religiosity were who were the targets of Christ’s harsh language. These guys have it exactly backwards, IMO.

  2. Christ did, in fact, ridicule, but as far as I can tell, only the self-righteous religious leaders–those who were supposed to be caring for the sheep–and never the “sheep” or people/sinners. In other words, those who ridiculed and belittled others for their lack of religiosity were who were the targets of Christ’s harsh language. These guys have it exactly backwards, IMO.

  3. I have come under less attack when I stand up to the world than when I stand up, respectfully, within the church to some of the things you have covered in this series. People in the world call me angel, non-judgmental and even ‘good and faithful servant’, while people within the church have called me deceived and one even said that I was the most judgmental person he’d ever met in his life. Yep, I agree with krakowian; Jesus ridiculed the self-righteous, not the sheep or unbelievers.

  4. I also say “amen” to Krakowian’s reminder that Jesus only ridiculed the self-righteous pharisees. I also want to say that the third paragraph was to me the most important of all the content, especially the sentence: “The truth is that our pride is held in higher regard than someone’s soul.” Pharisee-ism itself is based on pride. We keep all the rules (that we ourselves adopt to fit our own preferences) so we can show how “spiritual” we are.

    I do want to say though, in regard to “caring enough to dig” the right answers to questions; I do not believe it’s a case of not caring enough. I think those who trust in their lists are AFRAID to dig for answers. It might make them have to change their position or practice. I also think there are those who DON’T KNOW HOW to dig in the word. Legalism is easy. Let someone else make the rules. You can adopt those you are comfortable with, then living for the Lord is a no brainer. You don’t have to learn to listen to the Spirit, you don’t have to worry about learning or studying the word, you don’t have to worry about getting to know your Lord. Just obey and blindly follow your earthly leader. Easy.

  5. Krakowian’s comment on Christ ridiculing the self-righteous is a great point, and a springboard to a similar conversation – you notice that for others, he did not ridicule them. But it doesn’t seem that he held multiple hour long conversations with them going around in circles about evidences and proofs and science. Not that he didn’t do that. But my point is, you see his dealings with the “sinners-etc” is that he came along side of them, showed compassion on them, and brought them up, not down.
    I fear that a poor reaction to the article of this topic is we’ll miss the great need to put the heart issue at first importance. A pendulum swing from ridicule is often just entertaining lots of lengthy conversations about evolution vs. creation, justifying the existence of evil via long theories and “what-ifs,” etc. To date, I have NEVER seen a person come to Christ via one of these conversations. I fear we are wasting everyone’s time by participating in conversations that go nowhere because we’re afraid to deal with heart issues, thinking THAT conversation will be too hard or offensive. Dealing with questions like “why did you become an atheist?” or “why did you turn away?” deal more with the root of it. I believe that many atheists, for example, are not atheists because of science, but because they don’t want to be bound by cultural theistic definitives. They want to be their own person without having to answer to anyone. Others are such because they cannot reconcile the existence of a “good God” with the fact that their sister died a tragic, painful death. All the science is just excuses. The real issue that needs to be dealt with is not what they present it to be. Many of the conversations we have with people merely get lost in the smoke-screen and nobody benefits. So in short, my concern is we’re doing too much surface-level talk and not enough life-involvement with people. For example, remember little Zacchaeus? Did anyone preach the Gospel to him? Why did he transform his life? Because Jesus was there. That’s all. Because Jesus invited himself into his life. There was no rebuke. There was no preaching. Zacchaeus already knew what to do. He knew the answer. He just needed His presence to give him that nudge.

  6. Sadly, i’ve seen more than one friend from my Christian home school group or my Bible college turned off of sound doctrine, or the faith altogether, because they got the impression Christians dont have good answers to difficult questions. I wish they could have been around the type of IFB leaders i know who have well reasoned and calm responses to those questions that get you labeled liberal and rebuked by other IFB leaders.

    • Caleb, I think the problem comes when we try to give crap answers to questions that actually don’t have answers, but we try to make it sound like they do. Like “why did my wife have to die?” – there is no answer to that that we will ever definitively know, and those are the type of questions that people get turned off to faith by, largely because we try to give them a smart or spiritual-sounding answer that just ends up making them furious, because our answer was actually pretty stupid and/or unhelpful. Sometimes the answer is none other than what God (in so many words) told Job – “Look at me. Can I fail? Then trust me. Stop looking for the answer in what you can see with your eyes.”

      • I agree with this and your last comment, but I was referring to our education of our own professedly saved. I have seen those truly saved turned away from doctrine and others, whose professed salvation I doubt but cant judge, turned off of faith. They’re still responsible for their choice. The ridiculing, by their spiritual leaders, of ideas contrary to Christianity made them think Christianity did not have viable answers to those ideas. They might have stuck around if those ideas had been taken seriously and intelligently, calmly refuted rather than ignorantly, inaccurately, and heatedly attacked.

  7. Pastor Reagan,

    This article seems like the fruit of a bigger problem. For example, you stated the following:

    “The Bible has the answers but we would rather bark than dig.”

    Herein is the problem. We are told to study to be approved unto God (II Timothy 2:15), but we don’t. Most Christians don’t study their own Bible. More rare is the Christian who studies what his pastor preached last Sunday to see if his pastor is telling the scriptural truth (Acts 17:11).

    When Christ was asked a question of a lawyer about what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, His first response was, “What is written in the Law? How readest thou?” (Luke 10:26). Most Christians don’t have good answers to questions because they don’t know what is in the Word of God.

    Reading and studying is required if we are going to have any answers at all (I Peter 3:15).

    Lastly, we say “the Bible is my only rule of faith and practice,” yet we live as if the Bible provides no answers.

    God’s Word reminds us of the following:

    “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3).

    The next verse tells us that this is possible by the promises of God which enables us to be partakers of God’s nature.

    So the reality of life is that by either precept or principle, God has an answer for every thing in life. Our darkness and even our gray areas must be conquered by study and application of the light of the Word of God.

    Anyone who claims to be a Christian and is “turned away” from their faith because of a lack of answers from others has only themselves to blame because they bear the responsibility of their personal growth. They must study for themselves.

    All people, however, need to hear Biblical answers delivered in meekness (II Timothy 2:25). This is truly a point of failure in need of revolution, and I believe it begins with daily personal study and applications of Scripture.

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