Fighting Fire With Fire

abstract fire on black“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Aldous Huxley: Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

One of the most important things to a Christian is spreading the “Good News” of the Bible, or the Gospel if you prefer. However, it seems to me that many Christians go about this all wrong.  Instead of showing how Jesus is the answer to their questions about life and its meaning. They attempt to show how what others believe is wrong instead of showing how what they believe is right, complete and the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Instead of fighting fire with fire they attempt to fight fire with the inept smothering of the facts with Scripture verses, dogma, doctrine and tradition which for those that don’t believe in them in the first place is totally ineffective at best and totally offensive and repellent at worse.

I remember having lunch one Sunday after church with a group of my church friends and a visiting missionary-in-training. We were at the only Chinese restaurant in town, enjoying our meal, when the missionary, related a story about how he had visited another Chinese restaurant and had been highly offend by their Buddha statuettes.  He stated how he had just wanted to throw them on the ground and stomp them into dust. He then related a story about a group of missionaries in India who had taken all the idols from the local temple and made a huge bonfire out of them.  I was both appalled and disgusted. To me this was not only disrespectful but downright rude and not representative of God’s love and compassion toward all His creations.

The great Indian liberator and pacifist Mahatma Gandhi, said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  And, I believe that it is actions like the ones listed in the previous paragraph that caused him to make this comment.  So then how are Christians supposed to spread the “Good News” how do we tell others about God’s great love for us and the eternal life He has planned for us? It’s really very simple, you fight fire with fire.

One of the greatest teachers in the Bible the Apostle Paul knew this and he put it to practice when he preached to the ancient Greeks. He did not go to Athens and throw down their idols and make a bonfire out of them. Instead, he showed the Greeks how the god they had been worshipping, the one they called “the unknown god” was in actually our God, Jehovah, the god of the ancient Hebrew children, the god of the New Testament in His son Jesus Christ, and our same God today.  This not to say that he was not disturbed by their beliefs, rather he used their beliefs to show them how the Gospel fulfilled and perfected those beliefs.  He did not shove Scripture down their throats which they would not have believed in anyway. Instead, he took their beliefs and compared them to what had been written throughout Hebrew history. (Acts 17: 16-22) He fought fire with fire.

Jesus said this of His own nature when He stated, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matt 5:17) It is interesting that some of the meanings for the Greek word “fulfill” used in this translation mean: to complete, to consummate, to accomplish. And some of the meanings for the Greek word used for “law” mean any precept or injunction. Now, we have the natural law that which concerns the physical world and how it operates, and we have God’s law concerning how we act in the natural world, and most non-Christians frequently see these as being diametrically opposed to each other. But if Jesus came to fulfill the law, did He come only to fulfill the Judaic law of the Old Testament, or did He come to fulfill all law both natural law, the law governing all of creation and Judaic law? It seems to me that since all things came into being through Jesus, see John, Chapter 1, then Jesus came to fulfill natural law as well as Judaic law since He is the source of the first and the solution to the second. That being the case, then in order to spread the Good News we need to show non-Christians how Jesus is the answer to life’s physical riddles as well as spiritual ones.

Therefore, instead of quoting Bible verses to non-believers show them those things in nature that point to and verify God’s existence. We live in remarkable, amazing and wonderful times where a world of scientific evidence, daily discoveries and experiments, and an abundance of knowledge is available to each and every one of us with a few computer mouse clicks. Once you are armed with facts that they will believe then quote the Scriptures and show them how God is the reason for this world, its creation and its continuing existence. It will take a little time and effort. It will take some restraint and patience.  But, it will be much more effective and achieve greater results.  But above all preach with your actions first. Walk the talk because that will open the door for of reasoned discussions which will be based on mutual respect, admiration and understanding.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

Galileo

abstract fire on black

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