Faith Issues - True or False
Keller (Tim Keller. The Reason for God) defines Paul’s approach to “being in the world, but not of the world” as objective idolatry. You can be present at the meal and eat the sacrificed meat, as long it is not a meal actively dedicated to another god. We are strong enough to understand how the idolatry is working but to remain uninvolved in it. He says, though, you cannot even be present at the sacrifice. By attending, you are showing support for worship of the other god. Is not this the same question I had for us a few weeks back? Should I not stay away from the gay marriage ceremony of my nephew?
We do have tremendous freedom in Christ. But the level of freedom depends on the level of maturity we have and the strength we have in our convictions and faith. I can have no fear of many other practices because I know, for sure, they have no power over me. Christ has victory in all situations. I do not need to stay away from individuals or communities I do not agree with. I can fellowship in love and in truth. I can speak the truth.
The entire goal in these considerations and the reason we contemplate how we should act is, as Keller says, “I might save some….. and “for the sake of the gospel.” With the Holy Spirit guiding my will, I am here on earth, helping build the Kingdom of God and my key desire is to witness to others about Christ.
Since we have the will of Christ in us, we do see wrong and criticize behaviors in others. Holiness abhors evil. He gives us this discernment as a gift and guides us to righteous anger in a few cases. But with these insights comes a responsibility; we refrain from certain behaviors and always respect the other person as God’s creation. And we desire to stay in relationship with others with Christ’s love; to care for and witness to those that the Holy Spirit prompts us to engage with. He will guide our hearts so we make the right decisions.
Black & White
Careful when you declare a statistic black & white. Like the well-"known" fact that churches are in decline. Instead we know that Protestant denominations are in decline and have been since the 1970s. However, there are still today more Protestant Christians than in the 1970s. Only 51% of the people in the US declare themselves Protestant but with the rise in population that still equates to a rise of 28 million more Protestants than in 1972.
For traditional conservative denominations, they continue to lose members too non-denominational congregations. However, comparing all liberal Christian groups to all conservative ones, conservative congregations increased while liberal ones are still in decline.
A few examples of liberal churches:
Reformed Church in America declined 62% from 1960s to now.
United Church of Christ (Congregationalist) declined 52%.
Episcopal Church declined 49%
A few conservative examples:
Assemblies of God increased 430%
Southern Baptist Convention increased 46%
Evangelical Free Church of Christ increased 749%!
Next, try my new books: A Searching Faith: Engaging Questions, Powerful Answers
All belief is being built on facts, faith, and authority; none lives on its own.
POINTS OF DEPARTURE
Here are the key questions addressed in this book.
1-How Do I Question Myself? Pages 8 to 22
What kind of faith is a searching faith
What do I believe?
What style faith do you have?
What’s an example of searching faith?
What is my story?
What does life expect from me?
Am I really a good person?
How do I measure up?
Am I that confused?
2-How Will Real Faith Impact Me? Pages 23 to 40
How is my soul?
How do we experience soul?
Are you experiencing a searching faith?
How do I know it’s true?
Am I spiritual or religious?
How do we define spirituality?
What about my higher power?
How do I practice my spirituality?
What is it about truth?
3-Which Truths Should I Follow or Not? Pages 41 to 54
What is it about truth?
What is secularism, really?
Are you hooked on modernism?
Is everything relative, really?
Do you disagreements as dangerous?
Is tolerance a Christian value?
Do you love truth or consequences?
4- How Do I Know It’s True? Pages 55 to 70
Do words carry any meaning?
How do we spot fake spirituality?
How do we spot fake spiritual sources?
Someone said faith is nonsense, so what?
What can we say with certainty?
Do you have a personal God?
5-How Do I Live with Faith? Pages 71 to 86
Do I hear God?
Is it paradox I am thinking?
Which creed do you follow?
Do you have a personal Credo?
What is maturing in faith?
How do I figure out if my faith is true?
Can you find that missing – It?
Do we live in a faith-filled world?
Is faith really real?
Faith and miracles too?
6-How Do I Walk with Jesus? Pages 87-105
How do I accept radical Christianity?
What does the Bible reveal?
What in the world is Bible inerrancy?
What must I know about Bible translations?
What are the different views of the Bible?
How do I deep read the Bible?
How do I create a devotional life?
Where does Jesus lead me now?
Does Jesus give me rest and peace?
FAITH FACTS STATEMENT: Christianity and other faiths need to rely on facts, history, authority, and credible sources. Our faith is built on thoughts, heart, and soul. Spiritual questioning is part of the faith journey.