I recently had lunch with a dear friend, who has been in ministry for many years and has been a steadfast and dedicated disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has served in churches and community organizations; always with one prevailing objective—to further the Kingdom and bring people to Christ.
But, like many committed, Bible-believing Christians, he found himself at odds with the leadership of his church, because his church made the decision to embrace extreme, anti-Biblical beliefs. It wasn’t just his home church, it was the whole denomination. They took up their own beliefs, leaving the Bible teaching behind. God must be wrong.
A Theologian that doesn’t believe in God
His story reminded me of a man I spoke two many years back. He had a PhD from Harvard Divinity School, and was a self-described theologian. Interesting guy. As we spoke I came to the conclusion that we viewed God from very different perspectives, which is fine, except that one of us believed the Bible and the other didn’t.
One of us believed in the divinity of Christ. The other didn’t. We both had gone to seminary, although he went longer. The more I listened to him the more I came to think that he actually studied God to the point of not believing. God must be wrong.
I share this because the conversation gave me insight into how the truth gets lost in the pursuit of knowledge, or worse yet, social agendas. His experience with Scripture was purely academic, as his words bore no evidence of any kind of spiritual connection to God.
He was a pastor, yet he did not believe, and he admitted it. He was tolerant of my Christian stance, but we shared nothing in common outside of a few facts and such. But why was he a pastor? Simple. He told me that he liked the profession. He also was a part of a denomination that was comfortable with non-belief. We’ll leave that alone. God must be wrong.
Faith is our connection with God
I have always believed that religion is man’s attempt to be acceptable to God. The Bible teaches faith – faith in what God has already done to make man acceptable to Himself. Sure, there’s doctrine, because there needs to be a level of formality and standards of the faith. But true Christian faith has that all-important spiritual element to it.
It’s the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that transforms us into the likeness of Christ. This is possible because we were created as spiritual beings, in God’s image.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1: 26-27)
We forget who created us
Very early in human history, we forgot who created us and we decided to create Him in our image. Follow the Bible. I am not nearly smart enough to conjure up my own religion, so it is necessary for me to read the Bible and pray that God lead me down the right path.
It is also important for me to associate with other believers, to constantly check my opinions at the door and remain open to God’s truth. The Apostle Paul was keenly aware of this necessity.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1: 6-10)
Saul was a Jewish leader who hated Christian until he encountered Jesus
Paul, who described himself as a pharisee’s pharisee, was the former Saul, a very learned man, who took it upon himself to persecute Christian believers. He was filled with knowledge of the Scripture, but he was spiritually dead. He was convinced he was right and that the Scriptures were his to uphold, but God wasn’t a part of his religious mission. In his mind, God must have been wrong.
Man wants to create God in his own image. God must be wrong. Or could it be that man is mistaken?