An Open Letter to a Critic

by Rod Davis No religion, just Jesus

The following is my attempt to answer a young man’s post where he was blaming the woes of the world on Christians and religion in general.

Nick,

I would like to address a couple of points that you’ve offered.

First, I appreciate the friendly spirit in which you voice your opinions. I love a good lively debate as long at it is done respectfully and you have done that. Thank you for your sensitivity.

I have no time to indulge in name-calling and the nonsensical chatter of fools. Proverbs 20:3 says, “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverb 23:9 says, “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” In scripture, Nick, a fool is someone who is misguided because they are ignoring God’s Word. Like I said, I love a lively debate as long as it is done respectfully. I believe it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

Now on to the discussion:

You made the statement that Christians hold the majority in America. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now, you may be correct in the sense that the majority of Americans may claim to be Christians, but just saying that you’re something doesn’t make it so. I can run up and down the streets of my neighborhood barking at mailmen, chasing cars, drinking out of toilets and urinating on trees, but that doesn’t make me a dog. Just because one calls one’s self a Christian doesn’t necessarily make it a fact. I could tell you that I’m a black man. However, if you were to meet me face to face you would clearly see that I’m your basic white guy. Just saying that I’m something doesn’t make it so.

The same is true for many who call themselves Christians. Jesus said, “By their fruit [the products of their lifestyle] you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16) One may go through all the motions of doing something of a religious nature and trying to live a moral life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that one has had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.

This encounter—being born again—will be evidenced by the righteous fruit one’s life produces. Jesus said that thornbushes do not produce grapes. They produce thorns. Grape vines grow grapes. I can point at a thornbush and keep calling it a grape vine until I’m blue in the face. It would still be a thornbush. Jesus said that one’s fruit is the test. The good fruit that one bears—love, joy, peace, the willingness tell other about Jesus—will prove conclusively that they’ve had a true born again experience with Christ.

Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day [Judgment Day], ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) It’s not how religious we think we are or how many good deeds we can perform. Just saying that one is a Christian that does not makes us one. One must have a sincere relationship with Christ that starts by surrendering your life to him and asking him for forgiveness of your sins.

So, apparently, it is much more than just religious hyperactivity that identifies one as a Christian in God’s eyes. To imply, as you did, that Hitler was a Christian or even that the crusaders were Christians plays into the dog analogy given earlier.

As far as Christians holding the majority in America, George Barna, head of Barna Research, stated that according to his research “America has more unchurched people than the entire population of all but 11 of the 194 nations.” He further stated, “About one out of four adults (24%) lean primarily upon religious principles and teaching or Bible content when making moral decisions.” Then he went on to say, “While many religious leaders propose that the Bible should be the basis of people’s morality, the survey showed that only four out of every ten born again adults relies upon the Bible or church teachings as their primary source of moral guidance. The percentage who identify the Bible or religious teaching as their dominant moral influence is noticeably lower among Catholics (16%) and attenders of mainline Protestant churches (25%).” [Barna Research -9/11/01] Now, I’m sure that you would agree that this hardly constitutes a majority of genuine Christians in America.

The next point I want to address is the notion that it is detrimental for Christians to be in charge of the government, that there is the risk of them not allowing religious freedom to others of a different faith. Nick, this nation was unquestionably founded on the principles of The Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The first American colonies were formed by those who wanted religious freedom. Bear this in mind; the freedom that they were seeking wasn’t to be free from the persecution of non-believers. They were fleeing the religious persecution from The Church of England! These early American Christians were trying to get away from religious people who claimed that they were Christians but displayed fruit to the contrary. Again, remember the “dog” analogy.

Anywhere that the influence of true Christianity abounds is the only place where real religious freedom is enjoyed. Jesus called us “the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13) Salt does basically two things: it preserves and it enhances flavor. This nation rose to the place of the only world supper-power because of the founding Biblical principles that were used to established this nation. Every major university in the nation, such as Yale and Harvard, were founded by Christians and started out as Bible schools. In fact, our Constitution was built on Biblical principles.

For you to make a statement like, “Hey, what’s wrong with ungodly rule anyway?” is beyond ludicrous. Every nation in the world that is ruled by ungodly men is in the troughs of civil war, poverty and famine. Take Haiti for example. In 1914 its people dedicated it to Satan. It now has the highest poverty level of any nation in the western hemisphere. It has 80% unemployment. For the few who do find jobs, the average income is $300 a year! They have a 50% death rate for children 5 and under. Parents literally put their children on the streets because they can’t feed them and the cities are overrun with homeless children. Many of them as young as 6 years old! And you ask, “What’s wrong with ungodly rule?”!!!

There is an expression that says, “Christians are not perfect—just forgiven.” I don’t claim to be without fault. Genuine Christians are still human and make mistakes from time to time. Any true believer in Christ will testify that it’s a daily struggle to serve our Lord and do our best to obey him in hopes of being a good example of a real Christian to those around us. However, we know that, as the salt of the earth, it’s up to us to help preserve it and help enhance life by getting involved in our communities. It’s up to true Christians to set a loving example for society to follow. That is to know Christ and to daily walk with him. It’s up to us, true followers of Christ, to set an example by sharing the GOOD NEWS about Jesus to those around us. It’s up to us to help preserve our freedoms by praying for our nation’s leaders and voting for honorable, godly people to lead us.

You are right when you say, “The leaders of the Al Quada are religious. The leaders of the crusade were religious. The formers of the Spanish Inquisition were religious.” And “Most of the fighting in the Middle East is caused by religion.” The key word here, Nick, is “religious”. The world is full of people who know their religion, but they don’t personally know the true God or their lives would be full of love, joy and tolerance for others.

Let me clue you into something. GOD IS NOT RELIGIOUS… HE’S RELATIONAL! God’s into people and having a relationship with them. That’s why God sent Jesus to show us that we could have a personal relationship with him. That’s why Jesus died on the cross. He died in order to pay for the penalty of our sinfulness and, thus, make it possible for us to have a friendship with Holy God. WOW!

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit… (1Peter 3:18)

You see, Nick. God hates vain, empty religion more than you and I do. Religion, not true Christianity, has caused most of the world’s woes. Terrorism, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and the holocaust are a direct result of misguided people who were dedicated to their religion but not to the true God. Consider these words that God said about religious people, “The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal [a Babylonian god], following worthless idols.” (Jeremiah 2:8) “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.” (Jeremiah 4:22)

Look at what Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day. “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” (John 8:19)

Religion in itself will not introduce you to God. In fact, it may take you away from God. It may help you to learn something about God, but it may also keep you from truly getting to personally know him. That is God’s deepest desire for us. Consider God’s words in Hebrews 8:11. Listen to the yearning in his heart. “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”

Nick, I mean no offence. I feel like you’re an honorable man and in your own way you’re a good man. But that’s not enough. Much of what you say comes from lack of knowledge of God, The Bible and his ways. It’s not enough to know something about God, Nick. You must KNOW God.

I wish you well, but more importantly I wish you Jesus!

This is God speaking, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jeremiah 24:7)

See a video of this message on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDufd0YBtpw

Look for new posts from The Mad Preacher on Saturdays. 

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