Are We A Threat?

Do non-Christians view us as opposition in any way? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve started reading Eric Hernandez’s The Lazy Approach To Evangelism and while I have just finished the first chapter, I liked what I read. He describes in the chapter talking with Filipino students via Zoom who had 2,000 members in their Christian group wanting to learn apologetics in their country, while the atheist group had 20,000. Eric was asked if he would debate the leader of the atheist group sometime. He agreed and being diligent, went to watch some of his arguments.

He found them incredibly weak.

That got him wondering why is it that he is using such weak arguments? Is this the best that they had? Apparently it was, but the sad reality is a weak argument is far more powerful than no argument. This group was more persuasive to people because they were at least saying something the people thought was credible.

It’s a problem I have often thought about. Do Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons seem frightened to build their buildings near churches? If anything, they want to! Say what you will about these groups, but they are also dedicated to their missionizing work. I have been to services for both groups. The Witnesses certainly spend hours at a meeting being indoctrinated. It is false, to be sure, but they know what they are arguing and they go beyond a personal experience.

The problem is these groups are truer to a false gospel than we are to the true gospel.

Consider going through your Facebook feed. Atheists aren’t really scared to share nonsense in public. Keep in mind I’m not saying all atheists are like this. There are powerful atheist arguments out there that Christians need to answer. I’m talking about the people who just throw out cliches like saying “You’re atheists to a bunch of other gods! I just go one God farther!” or stating that Jesus never existed or any number of other claims.

More atheists would be willing to go to a Christian organization I suspect than Christians would to an atheist organization.

Why is this? Consider what is happening at your average church service. Take someone who has been in church all of his life. If he is in the pew as a senior citizen, what is he hearing?

All things being equal, the same thing he heard as a small child.

I understand some pastors saying we need to keep it simple so that our people don’t get overwhelmed, but the reason you start someone off swimming in the shallow end is so they can soon get to the deep end. If you are just leaving them in shallow waters, they will never go beyond that. You are the ones to take them beyond that. If they say “I don’t want to go any deeper than I am right now” then that is telling you how committed they are to their faith.

Would we do this for any other relationship?

“Yes, boss. I know I could learn how to be a better employee, but I’m fine with where I’m at right now.”

“Honey. I don’t want to do a marriage enrichment seminar. Where we’re at right now is good enough for me.”

“I don’t care about a financial planning talk. I have enough money right now. I don’t want to hear about earning more.”

Pastors. If you want to see your parishioners out there doing more, then go deeper with them. I love my Orthodox brothers and sisters, but I remember my ex-wife’s priest in the Orthodox Church talking about the God he was reading in the church fathers and telling a friend that this was a God he could get excited about. I’m glad he did, but we as Protestants need to realize that theological heritage is ours as well. Go look up some of the early Protestant creeds and confessions and they are rich in theology.

Look at people like Edwards, Charnock, and others in early America and they had deep theology and they were teaching it to laymen. In the early American Revolution, ministers were often targeted by the British because they preached sermons that could rally laymen to the cause of the revolution. Yes. Those were largely Protestant churches. When was the last time you heard about a rousing sermon like that? Most of us can’t remember what the pastor spoke on the next day if not within a few hours of when he said it.

In America, we live in a country where we have had marriage redefined, abortion become the law of the land, many of our men struggling with pornography and increasingly many women, and any other number of ills. Why does it happen today? Because Christians let it happen. Christians are not a threat.

That doesn’t mean that we go out and use physical violence, but it means we learn the reasons why we believe what we believe and why we behave the way we behave. As a divorced man now, if someone asks me “Are you going to move in with someone before you marry them this time?” I’ll tell them no and then I’ll give them a long list of reasons why I think moving in before a marriage is harmful and even why sleeping with someone before marriage is harmful. It’s not just going to be “Well this is the way I was raised.”

Frankly, if that’s still what you’re saying when you’re an adult anyway, you don’t have your own faith. You just have a faith you grew up with that you haven’t really made your own. It’s a sort of secondhand faith.

Pastors. If you think that could be too hard, consider then you can have classes on theology at your own churches. There are several people like myself who would be absolutely thrilled to get to go to area churches and speak with them about these matters. We want to see the churches equipped.

If anything, we should be the most equipped. Can you imagine what someone like Paul would have done if he had all the technological means we have to get the gospel out there? Look at all the books the church fathers and the medievals wrote when they had to do them all by hand. Even if they were using scribes, all the writing was still done by hand. Martin Luther was greatly helped in what he did by the printing press. We should have far more Luthers right now with all that we have.

When we look at the world, if we complain about the way it is, it’s not the fault of the world. The world does what the world does. It’s our fault for lowering our guard and not being the salt and the light that we were meant to be.

It was before the 2016 election when I had a lunch with my then father-in-law and we were talking about the upcoming election and he asked me my thoughts on the future of the country. I told him what I still stand by today. The gospel does not need America. The message of Christ will go on just fine if our country falls tomorrow. America, on the other hand, needs the gospel. Only the message of Christ can change the world and our country still today. If we are not seeing the change, it is because we are not speaking it or living it.

A childish theology will not stand up against adult opposition no matter what. We need to stop treating our church members like children. We need to treat adults like adults.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)