Archive for the 'Theology' Category

19
Jan
10

Respond to top 10 Reasons why Jesus is not God…Reason #9

 #9 Reason why Jesus is not God

     According to those on the Deen Show, another reason why Jesus cannot be God is that there are no explicit claims to Jesus’ divinity, even in the Bible. The guest on the show quotes passages like Isaiah 46:9 which say, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me”. They would also have us believe that if Jesus did claim to be God that He would have done so and “not beat around the bush”. If Jesus thought He was God, He would have been clear. Jesus never stated, anywhere, that He was God.

Objection to Reason #9

     To start with, I am honestly not sure why anyone would argue this way. If you do not think that Jesus is God or ever claimed to be God, I personally would not use the Bible for grounds to make this argument, especially the New Testament. It is abundantly clear that the New Testament, and I would argue the Old Testament as well, teaches Jesus’ divinity with an overwhelming number of passages that would advocate such a belief.

 However, I do need to make a distinction on what I mean. Those who are on the Deen Show are quoting passages that come from the Christian Bible and my arguments are coming from a Christian perspective. I would handle this argument differently if I were responding to a Jehovah’s Witness or someone who has altered the text of the Bible claiming that their version is correct. I would like to remind everyone reading that I am not attacking persons, but a worldview that I believe is incorrect. Once again, I have a tremendous respect for those on the Deen Show who were very humble and careful not to offend anyone. I would like to show the same humility in my responses but be fierce in defending Jesus who is indeed God.

     Again, quoting a passage like Isaiah 46:9 is not going to defeat the Christian worldview. Simply because we would also affirm that God is one and there is no other gods but Him. However, once again, there has been a misunderstanding of the Christian doctrine of the trinity. Christianity teaches that God is one, but in three persons. There are not three gods, but only one in three persons. You can read the previous blog post for more on this issue.

     The guest on the Deen Show also stated that there are passages in the Bible that could be read and interpreted wrongly that suggests that Jesus is God. The gentleman gave John 1:1 as an example of this. “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God” (John 1:1). As we progress in the first chapter of the gospel of John, we find that the word talked about in verse 1 is none other than Jesus Himself. What is interesting however is that those on the Deen Show misquoted John 1:1 and substituted the phrase “was God” with “became God”.

     The problem with this substitution is that is falsely states what the Bible says. The passage in John 1:1 does not say that the word became God, but rather that the word was God. Whatever or whoever this word is, was already God and has always existed. In fact, if you read on for the next few verses you will see that everything in creation was made through Him. This absolutely corresponds with other passages found in the New Testament that say Jesus is in fact the creator (Colossians 1:15-20 and Hebrews 1:1-5).

     Where I think the confusion comes in is where John 1:1 does say that the word became flesh. This however does not provide a problem because all it states is that the word, who is Jesus, becomes man. Now we are back to reason #10 from before. Scripture advocates that Jesus, who is God, was born. I believe it is absolutely clear that Scripture affirms the divinity of Jesus.

     Now, I would like to state several other passages in the Bible that would affirm Jesus being God:

John 8:58-59: “Jesus said to them (the Jewish leaders who doubted His divinity) Truly, truly I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I AM! They took up stones therefore to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple”.

     This passage is huge because Jesus referred to Himself as “I AM”. This is the name that God gave Himself and told Moses to tell to pharaoh just before the Exodus. Jesus identified Himself as the God who appeared to Moses in Exodus 3:14. The Jewish leaders knew exactly what He was saying because they picked up stones to kill Jesus. They thought Jesus was blaspheming because He claimed to be God.

Mark 2:1-12. This is the story about the paralytic who was dropped in through the roof by his friends because there was such a large crowed that they could not get their friend in to see Jesus. However, when Jesus saw this, he decided to heal this paralytic, but the interesting thing to consider is that Jesus claimed to forgive this man’s sins. When Jesus did this, it made the Jewish leaders angry because once again they thought He was blaspheming, claiming to be God. “Who can forgive sins, but God along” they uttered? No one has the ability to forgive sins but God! This is the point. So in order to show the truthfulness of Jesus’ claims, he asks if it is easier to say that someone sins are forgiven or to tell the paralytic to get up and walk? So in order to prove that He is God, Jesus tells the paralytic to walk, and to everyone’s surprise, he walks! So once again, Jesus proves that He is God.

Mark 14:53-65. This is the passage where Jesus is questioned before the Jewish council. They ask Him to prove if He is the one who was to come. Jesus gave an interesting answer, “And Jesus said to them, I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven”. As a result, and should be no surprise, the Jewish leaders once more thought Jesus was blaspheming so they condemned Him.

 The reason why this answer was so important to the Jewish leaders is that Jesus was making reference back to Daniel chapter 7 where Daniel sees a figure that is given all authority and dominion. Jesus was claiming to be that figure that Daniel saw. This is why Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man. This reference comes from Daniel 7. Again, this is a third example of Jesus claiming to be God.

     Overall there are many more passage in which Jesus is portrayed to be God, but this post could continue forever. The point here is that the Bible does in fact claim that Jesus is God. God did not beat around the bush as some might suspect, but clearly presented this in His word. In the end, I am not so sure why people like to argue that Jesus never claimed to be God, because He in fact did do so. I would urge all those who doubt Jesus’ divinity to reconsider their thoughts on the matter because it is over abundantly clear that Scripture affirms this truth. In the end, every knee will bow before Jesus and recognize Him as God, even if you believe in His divinity or not. Now this is an interesting thought to consider. Click here to view the Deen Show video.

19
May
09

Habakkuk and the Character of God in the Bible

   gow         One of the most interesting books of the Bible would have to be Habakkuk. This tiny writing sits at the end of the Old Testament containing much detailed information about who the God of the Bible is and what He looks like in relation to the entire created universe. Discussing the character of God seems to be a major point of dialogue in most theological and philosophical circles today. There are many opinions about who the God of the Bible really is, and many differing views are being taught within the Christian church itself. The point of discussion in this article is to focus on the true nature of God based on Biblical evidence, but first it would be wise to consider other views that are being held in the church today.

     Consider this quote from a “Christian” theologian,

     “The future is determined not by God alone, but in partner with human agents. God gives us a role in shaping what the future will be. He is flexible and does not insist on doing things His way. God will adjust His own plans because He is sensitive to what humans think and do.”

     What is particularly interesting about this quote is that it quickly diminishes the completely sovereign aspect of God’s character. This is not too far off from what is known as Open Theism, the view held by people like Gregory Boyd and John Sanders. Basically, this position holds that God does not know the future exhaustively and that He can only know what is knowable. This seems to be taking a step away from the historical view of who God is in the Bible.

     Considering the book of Habakkuk would, in my outlook, absolutely decimate this view of God, and Habakkuk does it biblically. The whole point of the book of Habakkuk is that God is completely sovereign in every aspect of life. One quick read through of Habakkuk would quickly put to rest the notion that “God is flexible and does not insist of doing things His way and that God will adjust His own plans because He is sensitive to what humans think and do”.

     In fact, the opposite is true. In the narrative of Habakkuk, the prophet Habakkuk goes before God questioning why God has not done anything to stop the wickedness that the people are committing. God answers Habakkuk and says that He is doing something, “A work in your days that you would not believe if told” (Hab. 1:5). God was referring to the raising up of the Babylonians to judge and destroy the wickedness of Judah, the very place where Habakkuk was at this time. Habakkuk then questions God as to why He would do something like this, but God answers with a rather astounding remark.

     “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not right within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4).

     As Habakkuk is in immense fear of the Babylonian threat coming, but God answers by saying that the Babylonians will get their just punishment for destroying Judah, but the ones from Judah who have faith in the Lord of heaven will live. To me, this raises some considerable doubt about the nature of God as presented in the quote above. Will God really adjust His plans even if we humans do not think it is a good idea what God is doing? I think not, and Habakkuk clearly shows this.

     The ending of Habakkuk is what is truly amazing about this whole study. By the third chapter, Habakkuk is now singing a song of praise to God remembering all that God has saved His people from mainly focusing on the Exodus out of Egypt. Habakkuk concludes that though the army of the Babylonians is coming, he will rejoice in the God of his salvation because God still saves people. Clearly, Habakkuk did not want to endure hardship of war, but joyfully does because the true God, the Lord in heaven will deliver him.

     As for the character of God, we see that He works out all of history to His liking. Of course this does not mean that humans don’t have a free will, but rather that God’s sovereignty is compatible with the free will of humans. I think it would be wise to say that the God of the Bible is not the God of the quote from above. God does not dwell in systems of theology such as the Openness of God, but rather sits comfortably in the realm of biblical truth taught in Scripture. God is not a sucker sitting around for when we humans conveniently need Him, but rather God is actively working out all of history for His glory and liking. Truly we worship and amazing God that is still in the business of saving sinners from the just punishment we deserve.

03
Dec
08

Human Sin and Spirit Regeneration Pt. 2

ss     In part 1 of this particular study, the condition of our human nature was the focus. We now know that the state of the human soul before coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus is in fact dead. Part 1 ended with the discussion of Ephesians 2: 1-3 (for a reminder click here) where Paul talks about the state of our spiritual lives in which we once formally walked. We were by nature, “Children of wrath”. The question that will be raised and answered in this part of the study will be dealing with the role of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and our human role, if we even have a role in our own spiritual regeneration.

     For the sake of this study, consider Ephesians chapter 2 once more. Again, we find that in the first three verses of this chapter that Paul describes for us our spiritual situation. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (remember Paul is talking to believers now but was referring to before they were believers). Being spiritually dead means being totally cut off from the living God. Before salvation in Christ, we are spiritual corpses. However, Paul continues in verses 4-6 and shares with the reader this bit of important information from Ephesians 2: 4-6,

     4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

     Paul uses the word “but” (this one little word packs such significant meaning behind it. I am thankful for this little word) in this passage and then follows up with how the human spiritual condition of death can be atoned for. Paul says that because of the immense love that God shows for His people, even though we are sinners and are dead to Him, God still brings us to life with Jesus by the grace of God’s mercy and the work of Jesus’ death on the cross. Paul in this passage gives us great insight into why God makes humans spiritually alive, but Paul does not show reference to how God does it. This is where the role of the Holy Spirit comes in. Before moving on from this passage notice that Paul says that God Himself is the one who brings us alive. We have no part in coming to life ourselves. This will be an important fact to know as this article progresses.

     The argument must now be taken to an all new level because it as this point that I will argue the difference between monergism and synergism. These two concepts are crucial to understand when talking about salvation. Monergism basically means “one work”. At the point of an individual coming to the saving grace of Jesus, God alone, by Himself and without human aid, saves the sinner and brings the sinner to life. This is in direct opposition to what is known as synergism which means “two or more working together”. Those who hold to this concept say that humans work alongside God in obtaining salvation. The sinner must make a choice first before the Spirit moves to obtain saving grace from God. There are many who hold to this view in pertaining to salvation, but I am prepared to defend the idea of monergism. At this point, there may be some who will not take this seriously because sounds so far from what is currently being taught, but hear me out because this is important! (For more information on these two concepts, click monergism and synergism).

     To get a Biblical view of the monergistic position, turn to John chapter 3 and take a look what Jesus is saying there. To lay the foundation for what is being said, a guy by the name of Nicodemus, who was a “ruler of the Jews” approaches Jesus about the miracles that Jesus is performing and Jesus answers with this, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” What does this mean? Consider John 3: 4-8 for a better understanding,

     4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

     Clearly Nicodemus himself did not fully understand what Jesus was talking about. Jesus is saying that in order for a person to see the Kingdom of God, they must be born of water and the Spirit. Jesus is referring not to water in the literal sense, but in the sense of a cleansing by the Spirit. Jesus in this case is referring to a washing or spiritual cleansing of the human soul that is done by the Holy Spirit Himself. Notice then what Jesus says in verse 8. Jesus compares the working of the Spirit to the blowing of wind. To humans, the Spirit is unpredictable; He brings to life the spiritually dead. The Holy Spirit cannot be controlled or understood at times, but His work in the lives of people is evident and the Holy Spirit is saving people apart from human help.

     There is one last idea that must be discussed in order to fully understand the concept of monergism in the work of salvation. This idea consists of the idea of cannot vs. will not. This debate has to do with the very implications of monergism and synergism. Before a sinner is saved, do they have or don’t they have the ability to make the decision to be saved? I will argue that the sinner does NOT have the ability to make a choice to accept Christ without the Holy Spirit opening their eyes to the truth first, thus, the Holy Spirit must regenerate (to bring alive) the sinner’s soul first. So, logically, the Holy Spirit regenerating happens before anything else. Consider these two verses from John 6,

     44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

     65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

     As you can plainly see, even Jesus says that “no one CAN come to Him” unless the Father has granted it to them. In application, we as humans born into sin do not have the ability to choose life in Christ without His help first. It is when God does save sinners that He alone does it without help from us. We cannot provide help because we are spiritual corpses and with no spiritual life in us. Before God saves us, we are dead to Him. Consider this last passage from Ephesians 2: 8-10 as a helpful reminder,

     8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

     Please friends, take notice to this passage. It says that we have been saved by grace through faith and our faith is not even our own, but God gives grace, mercy, and faith as a gift to people who are undeserving. Our salvation is not a result of human works but of the work of Christ alone. That is exactly why we cannot choose Christ because before being saved, we were dead to doing good works for God. So friends, and specifically those I have written this for, please consider that God alone is the one who saves and that as sinners before a Holy and just God, we are in total need of His grace and mercy to be alive. I ask that for any of you who have read this to consider monergism too. If you do not agree with me, that is fine. We still worship an almighty God who is there and who is in control of everything. All the glory and honor be to Jesus Christ our King who is on the throne as we speak, guiding and directing all that happens!

For more information on this topic, click here.

26
Nov
08

Human Sin and Spirit Regeneration Part 1.

 mp    One word…Theology! Theology is absolutely important to every individual who has lived, is living now, and will live in the future. What we as humans believe about theology is what shapes us to what we become and how we live life. This may sound a little crazy since there are those who would say that all theologies are different or there are people who do not believe in a god of some kind, so how can they have theology? While I do not doubt that theologies are different, I do however say that all have a theology. There are the adherents of the Christian faith and theology (which I affirm) while others will hold to some other form of theological belief of other religions. These people are all theological in their approach to life. At the same time however, those who do not hold to an existence of God also hold to a high view of theology in that their theology does not allow for God to exist. So at some level, every person holds to some kind of theology and it affects the way they live there lives.

     This concept of theology affecting the way we live our lives is at the heart of my focus in this article. While I will not be talking about other faith systems, my intent is to focus on the Christian aspect of theology, especially the topics of the sinfulness of human nature and regeneration by the Spirit. But before we dive into these major doctrines, let me give you a break down on why I am writing on these topics.

     A few days ago, while I was sitting at work, one of my good friends came in to workout, but as usual before he worked out we decided to meet and catch up. As we started to discuss theology, in a little coffee shop theology kind of way, we got on the topic of total depravity. He then asks me to give my definition of what total depravity means to me as a Christian. Naturally, I took him to Romans chapter 5 and shared with him what total depravity means. It was at this point that our very enjoyable debate took off. Now remember, my friend and I are on very good terms still and this is not a bash against him, but more of an in-depth, friendly explanation of the issues we’ve discussed. I pray that this will clear up much for you my brother in the common faith!

     To understand the doctrines of human sin and Spirit regeneration, it would only be logical to understand human sinfulness and how we came to be sinful. For the sake of this argument, I will retrace the steps that I talked about in the discussion with my friend. Consider Romans 5: 12- 14:

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned- 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

In this passage we see clearly see the idea of what is known as original sin or a better term for it would be inherited sin. This doctrine is key in understand the sinfulness of human nature. This idea takes us all the way back to Genesis chapter 3 where Adam and Eve ate the fruit and cast the whole world into a sin state. In the passage above, it can be clearly seen that through Adam, all have sinned (click here for a full article on original sin). So what does this mean for us? It means that every single one of us who has ever lived, is living, and will live are born into a sin nature completely separating us from the one true living God in heaven. Adam was man’s representative and through Adam, all have sinned.

The objection might be raised, well why does God hold us accountable if Adam is the one who messed up? Again, because the Bible teaches that Adam was our representative before God. It is not hopeless however, because in the same passage we see that Adam is a type of Him who is to come. (For more information on the topic of death through Adam and life through Christ click here). Who is the one to come? None other than Jesus Himself! Just as Adam was man’s first representative, Christ is man’s ambassador now before the Father. In Adam, we have all sinned, but in Christ we now have reconciliation with the Father.

So now the questions can be asked, so what if we are sinners through Adam, what does that mean for us today? That is a great question and I was hoping that you would ask! Jump over to Ephesians chapter 2 and consider what is said in Ephesians 2: 1-3:

2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body [1] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Be reminded that Paul is talking to fellow believers of the faith, but this gives us great insight to what the implication of us sinning through Adam has. The passage starts off by stating that we were DEAD in sins in which we once walked. Later in verse 3, Paul says that we were by nature “children of wrath”. Notice that this is all before coming to faith in Jesus Christ. So, with that in mind, before Christ, how was our condition? We were dead! Spiritually dead in sins and trespasses! In fact, the Greek word for dead in this passage literally means corpse. Before coming to Christ, we are a spiritual corpse. The implication of this is that without the saving power of God, man CANNOT choose the things of Jesus Christ. We simply do not have the ability to choose life in Christ because we are dead spiritually. This is where regeneration by the Holy Spirit plays a tremendous role in our salvation. In fact, apart from God working by Christ and through the Spirit, we could not be saved because we cannot save ourselves.

Notice that I have tied this in with theology affecting the way we live. I believe this very strongly. In order to understand true Christianity, human sinfulness is something that we must get because it shows us our condition before a Holy and just God who controls everything. Understanding human sin is essential in understanding a Christian worldview and I challenge you all to consider what the Scripture is saying. I will however, leave this to the second part of this study which I will be writing and posting shortly. Thank you for your patience!

04
Nov
08

John Piper on the 2008 Election

     I would like to present everyone with this video from Pastor John Piper. In this video he talks about the 2008 election and presents issues and topics that are dear to my own heart. I would encourage everyone to watch this video and consider what Piper is saying. This video is not to support one candidate or the other, but to give a look at the election from the evangelical perspective on election day. Please consider Piper’s words and please…GO VOTE!!!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

more about “The 2008 Election“, posted with vodpod
31
Oct
08

Remember the Reformation!

     It was 491 years ago to the day that Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, posted his 95 thesis on a church door in the university town of Wittenberg. This would soon become the talk of the town and eventually lead into a dispute over the truth of scripture between these so-called “Protestants” and the governing Catholic Church during the 16th century. I just want to take this time to remind Christians and myself of the great heroes of the faith that God has so graciously raised up during in time past. Consider this list of people who have contributed to the faith tremendously:

1. John Wycliffe- lived almost 200 years before the Reformation, but his beliefs and teachings closely match those of Luther, Calvin and other Reformers. As a man ahead of his time, historians have called Wycliffe the ‘Morning star of the Reformation.

2. John Huss- was a religious thinker and reformer. He initiated a religious movement based on the ideas of John Wycliffe. His followers became known as Hussites. The Catholic Church did not condone such uprisings, and Hus was excommunicated in 1411, condemned by the Council of Constance, and burned at the stake.

3.  Martin Luther- was a German theologian, an Augustinian monk, and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions.

4. Huldreich Zwingli- was the leader of the Swiss Reformation, and founder of the Swiss Reformed Churches. Independent from Martin Luther, Zwingli arrived at similar conclusions in his own personal study of the Scriptures.

5. John Calvin- was a prominent French theologian during the Protestant Reformation and the father of the theological system known as Calvinism. Martin Luther and Calvin are arguably the most significant architects of the Reformation.

6. John Knox- was a Scottish religious reformer who was the leading figure in reforming the Church in Scotland in Presbyterianism.

(All these were taken from Theopeida’s website and for more information on each, click here)

     While these are just a handful of men, there were many faithful and loyal men and women who put there time in and supporte the Reformation. Along with great men, came great teachings that as Christians we should all be familiar with. As the Reformation progressed there were five Latin phrases that emerged to sum up the basic beliefs of the reformers. They are known as the “Five Solas of the Reformation” with sola meaning “alone”. All of us would do well to be reminded of them:

1. Sola Fide- By Faith alone. It is faith alone in Jesus that saves us. (Romans 1: 17 and Ephesians 2: 8-10).

2. Sola Scriptura- In Scripture alone. This is the teaching that Scripture is the Church’s only infallible and sufficient rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines. (Psalms 138: 2 and 2 Timothy 3: 14-17).

3. Solus Christus- In Christ alone. This means that Jesus is the exclusive mediator between God the Father and man. (John 14: 6 and Hebrews 12: 24).

4. Sola Gratia- By Grace alone. This means that salvation comes by Grace only and not by Good works. (Ephesians 2: 8-10 and Ephesians 1: 3-8)

5.  Soli Deo Gloria- To God be all the Glory! God is the one who has done all the work, we have done nothing to obtain salvation but it was God who worked through Jesus Christ and now by the Holy Spirit who is making us more like Christ every day. (1 Peter 4: 11 and Ephesians 3: 21).

     These five basic teachings go along way when talking Christian theology. I would encourage each of you to consider what the Reformation was about and study the important figures closely. Apart from all this historical and theological knowledge, we must remember one thing; even though, this is a basic outline of the Reformation, there is one person who no matter what gets all the credit. His name is Jesus. Jesus Christ is our Savior, Salvation, Mediator, High Priest, God the Son, our love, and our Joy forever! We must also remember that the entirety of Scripture is based around the person of Christ. Jesus is the one the Old Testament prophets and kings were waiting for. Jesus is the one who people from the New Testament forward is looking back to for our hope. I pray that as today progresses that you would consider the focus of the Reformation and the point of Scripture that lets us continually know that Jesus is our one, true, and living Savior!

For more information on the Reformation, please consider these websites:

www.theopedia.com

www.monergism.com

 http://www.fivesolas.com

                       

 

03
Oct
08

Bill Maher’s Religulous, A Bit Ridiculous?

     Indeed, I think it is safe to say that the time has come yet again for another documentary to enter the mainstream entirely with the purpose of making religious people look, shall I say, stupid! His name is Bill Maher and his brand new baby is called “Religulous”. He gets this word from combining the words religion and ridiculous to get a fictitious made up word that he has coined. While Maher himself says that this is not a full blown documentary but just a comedy film, he makes several outrageous claims about many world religions and specifically calls out Christianity.

     While, I have not actually seen the movie (its release date is today, Oct. 3, 2008) I have had the “honor” of seeing Maher in an interview with John Stuart on The Daily Show (for the link to the video, click here). I must say that Maher does know how to make a scene. Maher proceeds to make fun of just about everyone, including his own country. At times, he can be somewhat funny, but this is because he is so engaging and not afraid to say anything. In the interview with John Stuart, he makes the claim that when approaching religion, if you just explain different religions as they are, they sound “silly”. In the interview, Maher talks specifically about Scientology and Christianity. Now, while I will not go into the details with Scientology (that may be for a later theological discussion and I have no intentions of making fun of them, but a simple theological dialogue about that belief) I do however want to focus on the claims he makes about Christianity, which I think Maher has a poor theological understanding of, (you can see this in the interview with John Stuart). There is a video on Youtube that I think is a good one to watch to see what kind of questions he is asking (click here to see the Youtube video).

     The questions that Maher is asking really are not that difficult to answer from a Christian perspective, at least they shouldn’t be. He asks questions such as, “how important is faith?” or “If God and the devil are real, why doesn’t God just defeat him and make himself known”? To me, and I may be wrong, these questions should be fundamental knowledge to a Bible believing Christian. I am reminded of 1 Peter 3:15 where Peter states that we need to set Christ apart in our hearts as Lord and be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope we have in Christ, but do this with gentleness and respect. The Bible commands us to be ready!

     Although I think Religulous is itself a ridiculous attempt to discredit Christianity, there is a thread of truth that Maher makes readily apparent. While asking mostly fundamental questions to Christian faith holders, it may unfortunately portray the state of general Christian believers of today. One thing that you will see in several of these videos with Maher are clips from the film itself. When talking to Christians in the film you can see this sense of “Christian pop-culture” come out. I am not going to take center stage with the idea of Christian pop-culture, but I do want to mention it a little. I am deeply in love with the church of Jesus Christ and I pray and am a part of the universal church, but there are times when we do nonsensical things at times. It gets ridiculous to see the latest Jesus fads take hold in the culture. It seems that there are times when Jesus is considered cool because he can rap and spin disks on turn tables. Now know that I will be the first to admit that some of those “Jesus is my homie” shirts and things are really funny and cool, but is that the right presentation of Jesus? Are people going to be saved because of the message on the Jesus is my homie shirt? I’m not sure, but probably not. The gospel is not presented clearly enough sometimes. The Bible tells us that Jesus is our propitiation and our righteousness before God is totally on account of Jesus who died in our place (2 Cor. 5:21). As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to have a strong motivation to take the gospel into this world and proclaim Jesus as Lord while enjoying the fun and freedom we have in Chirst.

     In conclusion in all of this, I want to say that this film is something that Christians should take concern with. Not because it discredits our faith, but because it issues a challenge to the church. know that going into this film, Maher already has made this documentary to discedit religion and even more, Christianity specifically. It would be wise to see the film if you are interested and take into consideration Maher questions about Christianity and then compare them to Scripture. Maher clearly does not have a real knowledge of Christian theology. Remember church, Peter told us to be ready and that is exactly the challenge we have to meet. To Christ be the glory forever! If you have anymore questions on this issue you can check out the following resources:

 

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/10/02/a-religulous-movie

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religulous

 http://www.religulousmovie.net/