I've posted before, how years ago, Bay and I spoke in a church up in Denver where we were introduced to a young woman recently rescued from a cult.
For years her parents had no idea where she lived, after she had wandered off with this very persuasive, influential cult leader...
But, finally, with the services of a private detective, she was found living in an abandoned warehouse in New York City, where this cult based, and they brought her home.
After listening to her chilling story of how long it took to recover from the trauma she'd been under, and get her feet on the right path once more, I asked her what she would tell other young men and women, like herself, raised in a solid historically Christian home, a two-parent family, and, with a well-rounded education?
Her response struck me deeply, and I tucked it away for my own parenting knowledge:
"I always knew what I believed," she said, "I just didn't know WHY I believed it. We have to know why we believe what we believe!"
In these days, I'm reminded that I KNOW THE WHAT, but when it comes to new and subtle shifts in thinking that is Post-Christian, my WHY is lacking still.
I became vividly aware of it a little over a week ago, as I was researching one thing, and bumped into another on the internet: an article in the Huffington Post, written by a "Christian," to other "Christians."
The writer had a lot to get off of his chest.
As he closed his article, he declared, "Whew! I feel better.... Thanks!"
The title of his op-ed:
6 Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying
Out of curiosity, I read said article, with my mouth open, jaw hanging (this seems to be a norm of late).
I honestly can't seem to stop being a bit shocked by the new mandates, the new definitions on old words, and, in fact, the new gospel...
What used to be considered "normal," and agreed upon from the get-go, by all followers of Jesus is no longer so.
The explanations of the author's "6 things" lacked substance.
He spewed opinion, with no solid backing, but brought it with high emotion and passion (mean-spirited, but passionate).
He WANTED these things to be true. He LONGED to stop hearing these truths...
If he didn't hear them, the tension he felt would disappear - (it's the only reason I can think of)...
The voices like that of the young man who wrote the Huff-Post article (well, I'm assuming young, I don't know that for a fact...but, regardless, he's probably younger than I am) are getting louder and louder and LOUDER.
Meanwhile, I can't seem to get my mouth in place and my jaw moving and my head to stop shaking in a back and forth motion long enough to speak a coherent sentence out loud.
However, my fingers can still type; and, after contemplating for days, presenting snippets of this article to our life group on Sunday evening, and praying over it the last few days, I am here to say...
JESUS-FOLLOWERS, KEEP SAYING THESE 7 THINGS!
Every one of these are Easter-Truths, worthy of reflecting during this next week, as we bring a close to Lent and celebrate the most significant event in all of history. But, oh my, we better know WHY WE BELIEVE THEM...
There's no way to expound on these 7. Some of them overlap with the article, others are truths losing strength over time as we've stopped speaking them.
My hope is this whets your appetite, as it has mine, to dig in.
Know what you believe and why you believe it.
Let's learn to defend our faith well - yes, let's be smarter than those who are loud.
Not only smarter, but let's ramp up our voices, too.
Where the author of the "6 things" spoke critically and harshly, let's speak love and compassion.
Where he spoke ignorantly, let's be wise.
Where he grabbed the "sword" from our hands to stab and murder Jesus-followers with it, let's take the sword back, let it cut through, not the individual, but the heresy, and love those outside the fold with the sacrificial love of Jesus.
Let's let the Gospel do the work, and just simply be a mouthpiece.
Keep saying these 7 things!!!
1. The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible WORD OF GOD!
2. All of us are sinners and, as a result, separated from the Creator who made us.
3. God, the Father, loved us so deeply, He sent Jesus to be our Deliverer. Jesus is the only way to salvation, the only one able to free us from our sins, and the only way to Heaven! He was spotless, sinless, blameless, the perfect final sacrifice...
4. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ ALONE! Salvation is not Jesus + ANYTHING... Good works do nothing for our salvation...
5. As we received Christ, so we are to live in Him, through the fulness of the indwelling Spirit of the Living, Risen LORD. If we are walking by the Spirit, those good works will be a natural outflow... If we are walking by the Spirit, that natural outflow will produce love for our neighbor, care for the poor, help for the down-trodden, encouragement for those who have been treated unfairly, and hope for the depressed - all in tangible, touchable, practical ways... LOVE will be our guide, because He is LOVE living inside of us.
6. There is a hell...and those who do not receive Christ as their Savior will end up there... The most loving thing we can do is remind people of the BEST GOOD NEWS EVER!
7. Jesus is coming again...
Need some resources for study? Here are links to some excellent books. Don't just know the what, know the why, and SPEAK UP! Yep, let's get louder....but, remember,
LOUD DOESN'T MEAN MEAN
Another Gospel (Alisa Childers)
Mama Bear Apologetics (Hilary Ferrer)
Cold Case Christianity (J. Warner Wallace)
Tactics (Gregory Koukl)
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Norm Geisler and Frank Turek)
More Than a Carpenter (Sean McDowel and Josh McDowel)