The God Of All Truth?

As Christians, we claim to believe we serve the God of all truth. I hinted at this in last night’s blog. (To which, I am writing this one early as I do work late tonight.) In fact, we also claim that the devil is the father of lies. However, it seems when it comes down to it, we are more prone to believe lies than truth. We believe that sin will bring us pleasure, for instance.

Now let’s tie this in with perfectionism. When we read Scripture, we read of a God of grace who has forgotten our sins. We read of a God who is faithful in his covenant with us. We read of a God who loves us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us. We read of a God who is preparing a place for us so that we might be with him.

Yet somehow, we think this God is watching us and remembering our flaws. He’s not. Where did we get this idea? Could it be that it’s the nature of grace? Grace seems too good to be true for any of us. Something in the human heart says “There must be a catch.” Imagine a wealthy man in your area you knew knocking on your door and saying he just wanted to give you a million dollars and then he’d be on his way. What would be your first thought? “What’s the catch?”

There are no strings attached with the gospel though. If anything, God is the one who wants to get us to Heaven more than we want to get ourselves there. It seems odd that we can think that everyone else could be making it and living the good Christian life, but when we examine ourselves, well we are so clearly falling short of the goal.

In fact, we are told frequently that we are worth more than many sparrows and it’s in fact the pleasure of God to give us the kingdom. (Luke 12:32) One of the most oft-repeated commands in Scripture is “Fear not.” It is one that if we could just obey that one command, how much our world would be transformed. To be blunt, all of us have an atheist/agnostic side inside of us.

Now what does this have to do with perfectionism? Have we considered how many times we’re slapping God in the face? The opening of Malachi has God saying to the people “I have loved you” and they ask “How have you loved us?” We’re stunned by what they say? Isn’t it obvious! Look at all he’s done! Now consider that this is also done before the cross!

Yet here we are after the cross and are we any better? Do we not sometimes look to God and say “How have you loved us?” If God says something about us in Scripture and we deny it, are we not telling God he is wrong in what he says? We don’t do this with just God of course in the perfectionistic mindset. We do it with everyone. We hear a compliment and then we think we have to explain it away somehow. The person is lying or kissing up or just doesn’t really know the whole story.

Could some good things about us be true?


The Approach To Perfection

Lately, perfectionism has been the topic of Deeper Waters. What is it with our desire? It is quite strange in light of the gospel of Christ. There is nothing strange about longing for perfection. We all do. The difference is, on what terms do we want perfection. Why do we also think it is needed? Are we determining our value based upon our closeness to perfection?

For some reason, we cannot accept ourselves if we find a flaw. If I look back over some life and find a past sin, and believe me, there is no shortage of those, I must systematically repent of it and go around in the sackcloth and ashes of the soul. It is often a wonder that I do not have literal sackcloth and ashes here to deal with my past sins.

How silly we are in that we forget that Christ already died for those sins and they’re already forgotten in the mind of God. I don’t think forgotten refers to a divine amnesia either no more than remembrance refers to regaining that which was lost in the mind of God or even in the talk of the day. Note that Joseph named one of his sons Manasseh because he had forgotten all the suffering he’d had in his father’s household. Obviously, he couldn’t say that if he had literally forgotten it. He had simply chosen to not focus on that suffering.

God chooses to not focus on our sins. Why do we? God wants to look at who we are. We look at what we do mainly, or in this case, did. Now there’s no wrong in remembering our past sins if we remember his grace with them. It’s when we don’t do that 2 Peter 1:9 even tells us that we should remember we have been cleansed from our past sins. Remembering the sins without remembering the grace is like remembering having a disease without being thankful today that you’re cured.

We all want this perfection badly and hate to see any reminder of imperfection. We must remember though that it is the plan of God to get us to be perfect. Remember what is said in Matthew 5:48. Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. It is commanded of us, and we should seek that which is commanded, but have we forgotten the method whereby God seeks to make us perfect?

Consider what is repeatedly said in Leviticus. “Be holy, because I am holy.” Can we be holy? The Israelites tried and when they thought they had holiness, that was when YHWH showed up in their midsts and said that they were anything but. They looked good on the outside, but in keeping all of the externalities of the law, they had failed to keep the heart of the law.

What does God do then? He comes himself and gives them his holiness. He is practically saying “I will make you holy if you will come to me. The way you get holy is that I come to you and make you holy.” I often ponder that one of the purposes of the old covenant was to make us have to keep falling before God until we reached the point where we would say “I can’t do it! I need you!”

I think the same thing happens with perfection. God gives us his and the way to get perfect is to draw close to him for that. If we want to be wet, we get in water. If we want to be hot, we go where heat is. Why is it when we want to be perfect, we don’t go to him who is? Because we think we have to make ourselves perfect first? That is the glory of his plan. He makes us perfect so we can be perfect before him. The more we approach him, the more we find ourselves growing like him. The deeper you go in water, the wetter you get. The closer you get to the sun, the hotter you get. The closer you get to God, the more like him you become.

Why do we forget? Why do I forget? Because we, to be blunt, are quite often stupid. Imagine what it would be like if we could grasp for even a second the wonder that is the gospel. We call it good news, but do we live as if it is? Do we live as if it is true? Are we more prone to believe the father of lies than we are to believe the God of all truth?

You know the answer for you and I know it for me.

Simple Things

I was talking to a friend recently about the blogs lately on perfectionism. She was telling me how she liked that what restored me to wonder in a time I mentioned was a simple thing. It was realizing that I have a good friend nearby who I can always count on. Indeed, as I write out that sentence, I do get a sense of joy thinking about the value of a good friend.

Much of that came from prayer last night and my prayer that God would bless my friend. I’d like to say things stayed that way but I’ll just confess that it didn’t take too long for me to be on my job before I had enough bullets come that knocked me into a melancholy mood again. There are many reasons I want to be in a new line of work until I get my own ministry and/or teaching position.

But my friend had earlier been saying it was something simple. That’s quite amazing that she noticed that. I believe we have a huge problem in our society today in that we expect God to act in huge ways to get our attention. In doing so, we overlook so many of the simple blessings that we can have in our life. To know that God is there does not require a miracle or a huge event. It simply requires opening your eyes and seeing what is there.

I already hear an atheist complaining about the Problem of Evil.

This is where something simple comes in.

Can the atheist tell me why there is so much good in this world?

Let’s go with simple things. This one might surprise some people, but I have an addiction to water fountains. If I’m out in public and see one, I have to get a drink. I just love the cool and refreshing taste. Each time, it is a testament to me of the divine. Water is essential for us, but I find it amazing that it’s cool, refreshing, and has a great taste.

While talking to my friend last night, I mentioned ladies again. She knows I have a great obsession there. The beauty of a lady is something astounding. I’ve written papers on beauty. I’ve used the argument for objective beauty. I still cannot tell you what it is that makes a lady so drop-dead beautiful. Now some might say “It’s her hair” or “It’s her eyes” or “It’s her figure” or “It’s her legs.”

Yeah yeah yeah. I’m hearing all that.

Why do we find those beautiful though? I can go into form and proportion and clarity like anyone else, but in the end, there is something mysterious about it but glorious as well.

The form of woman is just beautiful.

Where I work, I can often look up and see the name of the town that I live in at the store. It is amazing to me when I think about it. I am so far from where I was originally. I was born in one town and now my journey has taken me to another. I’ve left everything behind and I’m facing challenges here. Of course, I’m not alone in doing so, but that is still something amazing.

Driving in a new town is something interesting as well. There are so many roads that I don’t know where they go. You listen to radio stations and you realize with hearing about local politics that so much is going on and it was going on before you got here. You hear chatter in the workplace and know about friendships that have been here long before you got here. You see buildings on the side of the road and realize those aren’t the ones you grew up seeing.

It’s just incredible.

I also here can frequently talk to people that I only dreamed about having a relationship with one day. New friends entering the scene is incredible as well. All of these people are now becoming the focus in my life and in many ways, it’s like having a second family. Of course, I still have my family back home, but I now have new people I have to lean on and that are to be supportive of me as I am of them.

Those are simple things. They’re not miracles. They’re just little things that remind me.

It’s going out on the patio at night and looking up at the stars. It’s sitting down with my roommate to play some Super Smash Brothers Brawl. It’s surfing online and debating other worldviews. It’s turning on an episode of Smallville, Monk, or House. It’s going to the grocery store and realizing that I am facing my own challenges. It’s simple.

Maybe we get so caught up wanting big things we overlook those simple pleasures?

When was the last time you thanked God for those?


Doubt, Fear, and Perfectionism

There has been a favorable reply to my blog last night on perfectionism. Some of you have contacted me and said that I was talking about you. Let’s take the first good news then. We are not alone in this fight. If we work together, we can overcome this. However, I was thinking about this some this afternoon and thinking about it in prayer and came to some thoughts on the matter.

It seems that perfectionism begins with doubt. This is often doubt of ourselves. This doubt quickly leads to fear due to uncertainty. “Oh my gosh. What if I am not good enough? What if I really am a terrible person? What if? What if? What if?” Those who are familiar with perfectionism know about the “What if’s” and Gary Habermas in dealing with emotional doubt has said that “What if’s will kill you.”

This doubt causes us to overlook the things that we know. Consider if you’re doubting your faith for instance. You have all these arguments for the reliability of Scripture, the existence of God, the belief in the resurrection of Christ, etc. What are you thinking about? You’re thinking about some other minor issue? In fact, it’s one that really has no bearing on the Christian faith, if you’re even thinking about that! You could just be thinking “What if I’m wrong?” and your emotions take over. Doubt causes you to overlook what you do know and focus on uncertainties.

What’s the cure? I think I have a partial glimpse. It’s in wonder. Readers of my blog know that I am a strong advocate of wonder. There is one event in my life that really brings home to me the value of wonder. It was one night a couple of months into our move here. I was going to bed that evening and trying to find my way in the dark. That’s not the easiest when you’ve only lived somewhere a month and a half or so!

There was some light somehow I think coming from my roommate’s room who had already gone to bed so I thought “There’s light from his door.” (I thought his name of course, but I keep names secret on here generally.) The thought then struck me that it was his door. My friend is really there. That was when wonder seized me. I relished in the truth that is there and so many of my doubts and fears dissipated immediately.

That is the key. We must see things as they are and allow ourselves to be amazed. It is doubt that helps us to kill that wonder. Now doubt can be a good thing if we counter it with rationality, but not with emotion. If I think “I am no good” for instance, I need to counter and say “No. You are good. Here are the reasons why,” and then start naming them.

As I thought about that time of wonder, I prayed for that good friend of mine and for his blessing in all he does and saw my problems start to vanish. Now are they gone entirely? No. However, I started to see reality as it is and started to see how much I’ve been blessed. I got back to my computer to find my old pastoral counselor back where I come from had emailed me so I emailed him back and mentioned some of what I’m saying now.

Is that the total cure? No. It also won’t come overnight. It will take a lifetime of learning to recognize things as they are. I believe it’s a start though.


I really don’t want to write this blog.

I mean, I really don’t.

I’m thinking about a sermon we recently heard where the speaker said he didn’t want to give that sermon.

It was just so personal.

He wanted any sermon but that one.

Yet I think if I do not write this one, I will be being dishonest with myself and I do not wish to do that.

I’d like to talk to you about perfectionism.

As you’ve guessed from the introduction, I am a perfectionist.

So what is that?

Now some of us might think that it’s simply the goal to reach Christian perfection. That is a godly goal, but that is not the same thing. In fact, it could be that the perfectionism I am talking about is the twisting of that good perfectionism that we are to seek for. When I speak about perfectionism then from now on in this blog, unless otherwise stated, I am speaking of negative perfectionism.

This is the insistence that everything that the person does must be perfect. This is the kind that if one flaw is found in something the person does, it is cause for deep regret. Mistakes are not allowed. It is a constant critiquing of oneself. Now in a sense, we should all critique ourselves, but when the perfectionist does it, it is rarely if ever good.

Friends who come to see me and discuss apologetics with me are often quite stunned to see this tendency show up in me. It is the tendency that downplays everything positive about oneself. If there is anything good, “Well anyone could do that”, or “Anyone knows that.” If there is anything bad then, “Well that just confirms my fears that I’ve had.”

And yet, I’ve also found that many that I respect the most have the exact same tendency. The constant self-examination is hard especially since we are usually terrible at realizing things about ourselves. We are so caught up in the drama that we fail to see obvious fallacies in our thinking about ourselves. We can think well about things external to ourselves, but not things internal to ourselves.

I suppose this is one reason why one I know in this field and respect has told me about the value of marriage in that his wife is great at keeping things in perspective. It is one reason I believe my own counselor has told me that I have some issues in my own life that will not be resolved until the day that I get married.

And yes, let’s hope that day comes soon.

Perfectionism involves an inferiority complex as one constantly compares oneself to others, and it is, of course, rarely good. Everyone else is seen as normal and having a grip on reality and giving the “perfect answers” and not having any flaw in what they do. It is the perfectionist that is the lone freak of nature. Rationally, a perfectionist knows this is crazy, but perfectionism is not rational. Many of us are more emotional than we admit.

My own thinking many times can be hard even when studying a book. I can think “I won’t understand this” which results in my sometimes reading things and having no clue what I just read. Or something like, “I’ll never reach this level,” which results in my simply wanting to run away. The tendency to run is always there for the perfectionist.

It is very hard to be in a conversation and have someone say “I need to tell you something,” or say anything along those lines. The immediate thought is to prepare oneself for a threat. Whatever coming up will not be good. Ironically, I’ve had times where I have had such feelings before and what came up next was in fact very good.

The receiving of compliments is also hard for a perfectionist. On one hand when I receive one about, say, my intellectual ability, I will be thinking, “Darn right. You’d better believe it.” The other side though says “They’re just saying that to be kind. They don’t really believe that.” Unfortunately, I realize that saying such is often calling my friends liars. I’ve had to take the advice of Glenn Miller at the Christian-Thinktank and say accept the compliment and then say “Let’s go. We have work to do.” You can bask in the glory later.

It also involves this strange view we have today that feelings tell us about the external world. I feel inferior, therefore, I am inferior. I feel like X is looking down on me, therefore X is looking down on me. Feelings are magnified and every feeling must be examined. If you feel that you are not any good, well you must examine that feeling. What if that feeling is true? Of course, examining the feeling doesn’t make it go away.

What is the cure? I wish I knew entirely. One thing I have found that helps though. Good friends. I have several friends who know me well enough and give me a firm proverbial slap in the face whenever I get into a down mood and I finally let it out. (Sometimes, that can take months.) Little events can cause a huge ripple in the pond of the psyche and those must be worked through. It cannot be done alone. We perfectionists are not prone to share but it must be made known. This cannot be done alone.

Why do I state this also? Because like I said, it can’t be done alone. Also, because I believe there are some out there who do respect me in this field and have the same problem and need to know the truth. They are not alone. In fact, that is one of the lies of perfectionism as I’ve said. It is the belief that you are alone.

Fellow perfectionist if you are one. You are not alone. If you’re not, be kind to those of us who are. We want nothing more than to believe you. Please help us on the way.

Whatever Happened To Memorial Day?

Today was Memorial Day. From what I have seen in the world today, you wouldn’t know it. It seems lately that Memorial Day has simply been another day for people to have off from work and school. (Even though I did work today.) Do we hear any mention of what this day is about? Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I’ll also go on and confess that I didn’t think much about it today.

Men and women throughout several years have fought and died so that we can enjoy the liberties that we have today and we simply go and have a cookout or something and don’t say anything or do anything to honor them. I’m not against having celebrations on Memorial Day, but let us remember on this day that we are celebrating for a reason.

It seems we too often take so many good things for granted. Readers of Deeper Waters know that I frequently talk about wonder. Our age is an age where that is lost, but that is another blog. In our day and age, we don’t know though how to appreciate what we have. We can go to the grocery store and buy food not realizing what all it took to make it. We get water from a tap not realizing that in the biblical world, we would be considered heroes if we had that much water in ready abundance.

As I type this, I am thinking about what my ancestors did. Imagine how pleased Paul would have been to have such writing utensils at his hands. In the old college days, imagine having to write a Master’s Thesis by hand. If you wanted a book to be copied, you might just have to sit down and copy it. Today, you go to a library and put it on a machine and it’s done.

Think of Paul having to travel by foot to reach all those towns. Today, we can drive or fly and our sea travel is far better than Paul’s was. We don’t really appreciate it though. Paul would have had to have his letters delivered over a long period of time. Today, I can just get done writing this and click a button and immediately, I could send it to all the churches Paul wrote to if I wanted. (considering they had internet access, etc.)

Today, we take for granted that blood was shed for our freedom. We take the freedom lightly because we take the sacrifice lightly. I think war is a terrible thing. I am not a pacifist though. I think it’s sometimes necessary, but it should be a last resort and nothing that we gladly enter into. I’m thankful that men and women died so I could be free today. Do not think I am condemning the world for taking Memorial Day lightly while I am so much better. I am just as guilty.

Before you go to bed tonight, stop and think about those who died so you could be free. If you’re reading this later, take some time to think about that. If you’re not in America, think about the country you live in and the things you hold dear there and how people died to make that real. If it’s not what you’d like, think about how you can be the kind of person to make it what you’d like.

God bless America.

The Lordship of Christ

At the talk that I recently had at our church, someone asked us about easy believism. They were dealing with a church that said you could accept Christ and do whatever you want. It was producing people who were living sinful lives and doing so knowingly and just saying that they had prayed to accept Jesus as Lord and so it was no problem then.

My response was we have to be careful about such things. In a sense, easy believism is true. It is easy to be saved. You do just have to believe. You don’t work for your salvation at all. However, you must truly believe. If you truly believe, there will be some ramifications that follow. If I believe that there is a car heading towards me on the road, I will move out of the way. If I believe I am experiencing a hallucination for some reason, I won’t. The accuracy of my belief can be determined quite easily in the latter case.

My second part to this though was that we really need to consider what it means to say “Jesus is Lord.” The Greek word that is used is Kurios. it was the same title that would be applied to Caesar. In the LXX, the word is used to translate YHWH. It is an even higher title than Theos for deity which is why it comes after Theos in Hebrews 1. Hebrews 1:10-12 is actually a stronger statement of deity than Hebrews 1:8.

Consider what it would mean then to say that Jesus is Lord and not live it? I asked the questioner to put himself back in the time of the biblical writers. What would it mean to say “Caesar is my Lord, but I do not care for his commandments and I won’t follow them.” Caesar would not say to such a person, “Well, as long as you call me Lord, it’s good.” “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do as I say?”

Please note a distinction. I am not saying works earn our salvation. I am saying works show that we have salvation. In fact, this is what is going on in James 2. James is talking about justification before men and not before God. Why should I believe someone has faith if they have no evidence in their life that such a faith exists? It’s more a said faith than a lived faith.

For we Christians, it’s a time though to really examine ourselves. What do we mean when we say Jesus is Lord? Jude referred to him as our only sovereign even. Our common idea of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ has often lowered him in our eyes. Jesus is said to be God incarnate to us, but is more often in practice a quaint Jewish teacher who simply overflowed with love.

We need the biblical image of Jesus. Was he a teacher? Yes. Was his life love? Yes. There’s more though. He was an intelligent thinker who silenced all the opposition. He was the judge who came and said that the people of Israel had broken the covenant. He was the one before whom the demons tremble. He was the one that said all of Scripture revolved around him. He is the one who has promised to come again and judge the world. He is said to be carrying a sword and rest assured, he is one of justice also.

We need to examine in our lives how much he really is Lord. Now there are always pockets of resistance. We are still rebels in many ways. None of us will be perfect this side of eternity. We can be thankful that our Lord is merciful because of his great love for us. When we are not faithful in our part, he is faithful in his. It is his grace that he wishes to bestow on us.

The lordship of Christ is something that needs to be recovered. Pray of course and seek to know Christ as he is, but never lose sight that he is Lord and you are not. He is God and you are not. He is sovereign and you are not. While you can boldly approach the throne of grace, you dare not think for a moment that you can take that privilege lightly.

Ready For A Challenge?

I forgot to mention one other event that happened on our beach getaway. We stopped on the way back at a restaurant while we were there, in comes a church youth group. We’re just sitting at our table, but we get an evil idea. It’s a wonder of ours how prepared these students are for what lies ahead in the future when the onslaught from atheists and others that oppose Christianity comes.

So we decide to play Devil’s Advocate and see if anyone will respond.

Thus, at our table, the general conversation changes and the volume increases a little bit with things like,

“I can’t believe some people believe the Earth is 6,000 years old!”

“Well, look at what the church did to Galileo.”

“How can someone believe that a man died and came back to life?’

“Especially since there’s no evidence Jesus even existed.”

“I just don’t see how anyone can believe in a good God when natural disasters are taking place all of the time.”

“Besides, we know the Bible’s been changed so much.”

“It’s got those stories anyway of a talking donkey and a talking snake.”

“And have you seen God in the OT? He’s a mass murderer.”

“Evolution explains everything anyhow. You’ve read ‘The God Delusion’ after all. Right?”

And on it went.

And no one ever confronted us.

Now seeing as I’m the driver, I went back to the car earlier so I could get things unlocked. I don’t know the reaction when I left, but I’m told when my roommate left, that there were some stares at him as he went out the door.

I get concerned about our future honestly. I saw these kids and most of their talk seemed to be emotional and their clothing seemed to be emotional. It seems equivalent to me often of a lot of kids going to a retreat and getting a “Jesus high” where they get excited about their faith for a short while and then they go back to their regular lives. It seems Christianity is treated like a drug to make you feel good.

What’s going to happen to so many of these kids when they go off to college and face real challenges to their faith? A strong emotion is not going to be able to counter a rational argument. You’re not going to be able to talk about how Jesus makes you happy when you encounter the angry atheist who is dealing with the problem of evil after seeing a cyclone rip through a city.

Our plan next time is simply to find who the leaders are of the group and go up and start asking them why they’re Christians. Our hope is that we can get them to realize not only that there are questions out there, but that there are answers as well and the youth of the church need to be growing up and hearing the answers instead of just going to concerts, movies, and bowling alleys.

I do see many that give me hope for the future. The problem is, there aren’t many enough? Is the church ready for the future? Are you ready?

My Day At The Beach

Today, I took a long-needed vacation. I woke up and simply got ready to head out. I didn’t turn on the computer at all. No email to be checked today. I was going to relax and enjoy myself. My roommate and I and a friend of ours were all taking a drive to the beach and we were going to spend the day there relaxing in the sun and soaking up surf.

It took a lot to get us there. Apparently, the electrical aspect of my cigarette letter doesn’t work so my friend’s GPS couldn’t help us out. That’s great. So we have to rush by our seminary and print directions off of mapquest and use battery power on the GPS whenever we needed any more help. For those interested, we made it there and back and did not get lost once.

I rolled down my windows as we were getting close. If there’s one thing I like about the beach, it’s getting to smell the salty air of the ocean before you get there. I remember making the remark that I hadn’t been to the beach in a long time. My friend asked how long and I said a few years and he said “You’re in for a treat then.” Indeed I was, to see the ocean again.

Yet I wondered about that. Am I just in for a treat because I haven’t seen it in a few years? How long do I have to be away before I realize the joy that it is? If I lived near the beach and could see the ocean every day, would that make it less of a wonder? I can look at awe at the ocean, and I think that it’s right that I do so, but should I not do that with everything?

Shouldn’t I appreciate the sun that I see rise every morning? Shouldn’t I appreciate my roommate, my dear friend who I get to see every day? Shouldn’t I appreciate the moon and the stars that are there for me every night? Shouldn’t I appreciate the modern conveniences that I have every day that make my life so much easier? How much am I taking for granted? Most especially, what of the cross and the empty tomb?

Readers of the blog know also that I can’t swim a lick. However, I simply stand in the ocean when I go and feel the surf come and beat against me. It was such a rush of freedom as I’d stretch my arms out to my side and then I’d sometimes raise them up to experience the full joy of the surf and of the ocean breeze. The back of my mind is thinking, “Someone might walk behind you and think you’re charismatic.”

Oh well. I’m not, but I am simply enjoying that process.

It makes me wonder why I don’t enjoy life more. I believe that God is one who never experiences boredom and never can. He is more amazed and in wonder of the ocean than I am. Isn’t it odd that we live in such a bored society? We have more channels than we’ve ever had before and yet, more people are bored than they’ve ever been. We have people going to electronics areas buying things simply because they’re bored with what they already have. Some people have to go see a new movie every week.

Am I any better a lot of times?

Could it be we base it on our feelings so often? Am I any better then? I often don’t feel like doing what I do, but that is because of emotional drain from so many areas and that is the type of emotion that simply builds up and tears down every other area that it comes into contact with. Could this be why so many marriages end in divorce? One spouse gets bored with the other and goes off to find sweeter waters because they don’t feel love any more?

I thought when walking on the beach once that if I really believed what I said I believed, I’d realize the presence of the omnipresent God is all around me. Why didn’t I think about that more? Why didn’t I embrace the joy that that thought is capable of bringing? These are the questions I ask myself. What would it be like if we all realized that Christianity is true?

Our drive home was a drive of talking about apologetics, talking about girls, talking about friendship and our life experiences. It was the typical conversation of three ministry students who are guys heading home. My feet are just now starting to recover from that long drive, but it was a time of blessing as we shared many things important to us and many things I can’t go into. These are things among friends that those not in the circle aren’t privy to.

Naturally, our plans include going back before the next semester begins. My day at the beach is a day to think about so many issues in my life and in the world. There will be much to ponder and I hope somehow I can have work go easier so that I can have time to consider all of it.

Christians Who Doubt

I had a god friend contact me tonight who was struggling with something. He was saying that he wonders about how he got into his faith at times and that he was just struggling with some issues about that. Taking a cue from Gary Habermas, I asked him the main questions. Does he believe in the deity of Christ first off? I got a very affirmative answer on that. Does he believe Christ died for him? I got an affirmative. What about the resurrection? Sometimes doubts, but generally yeah.

My conclusion: I have no doubts this guy is a Christian.

Yet he told me he was concerned about those doubts. Despite all the reasons he has to believe in his faith, and he’s a great apologist from what I’ve seen, there are still times of doubt. It was at that time that I realized that I had come to a dread conclusion about him.

It sounded to me like…

He might be….


I kind of hate to say it…

It sounds so bad…


Here goes…

He might be a….

Normal Christian.

Scary huh?

Where did we get this idea that Christianity meant living your life in absolute 100% certainty every minute of the day? I say, thank God for uncertainty. In many ways, since Descartes, certainty has become a curse of our age. Can I, for instance, be absolutely certain that Bishop Berkeley was wrong in his philosophy and maybe the material world is really an idea put in my mind? Well, no. I sure don’t think it is though! I have some objections to his theory, but I can’t say I have certainty.

If the skeptic wants to say “Well I just don’t have certainty that the material world exists,” my thought now is “That’s your problem.” (I’m also tempted to launch a kick towards his face and see if he acts like the material world exists.) I have good reason to believe and I’m quite satisfied if I’m not absolutely certain on every issue.

Of course, I’m not pushing anything fideistic either. I think I have more than enough reason to believe in Christianity. If my emotions are strong one day while in a negative mood, then they are. I just have to wait through it often. If I have a real difficulty, I simply go and do some research. Every single time I’ve had doubt and worked through it, my faith has always been stronger in the end.

Let’s be honest also. Most of this is emotional. In our world today, we are much more emotional than we are rational. When someone wants to know your stance on a subject, they will ask how you feel about it. They will not normally ask what you think about it. My feelings can be quite different from my thoughts at times. With a lady for instance, my feelings might tell me pre-marital sex is a-okay. (For those wondering, I haven’t given into that temptation.) My rationality though which believes in the truth of Scripture says that it doesn’t. Naturally, when the lady is present, I have to be sure that feeling isn’t running ahead of the rationality.

That is a way to show feelings and rationality can definitely differ. We all have done things that we knew were the right thing to do when we certainly felt like doing otherwise. There are times I’ve felt like going to bed, but I knew I needed to stay up and help a friend. There have been times I’ve felt like telling some people off, but I knew I should refrain.

Friends. What you feel is not necessarily what you think. Sometimes the two can coincide, but it’s not a guarantee. The best thing to do with doubt is simply learn to get your emotions under control. I mentioned Gary Habermas at the start. Go to his website and read “Dealing With Doubt” and listen to his MP3s on dealing with emotional doubt.

And remember, you are not alone. Everyone in the body goes through this from time to time. When it comes, put your emotions aside and listen to just the facts.