“That is your truth, this is my truth”.
“There are many paths to God. Many ways up the same mountain.”
“The times have changed. We must get with the times. We know so much more now than that antiquated wisdom of the past.”
These are common phrases that are said in post-modern society. With that thinking is a common error of modernism: the wisdom of the past is not wisdom for all ages and the wisdom of this age is inherently superior because it is modern. Where that mentality comes in with discourse in Christian circles can be stark in results. When there is pressure to bow down to something that is in direct contradiction with Christianity often the Christian who stands firm is considered “bigoted, intolerant” etc.
Or there is another direction of compromise. The professing Christian lets the drips of emotional blackmail to be “current” or “evolve” and gets their reward from man’s favor.
But Christianity is stubborn. Its ways are by design to be rooted in love and hoping for eternity and far beyond what is fashionable. St. Paul who was schooled in religion and philosophy testified to this. when he said, “But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
But this “pillar” is unmovable in calling by the nature of its Lord. And this is the truth about Jesus in how he was always an outsider of the world with the calling to be an insider to save it: Jesus is fully God and fully man. Theologians call the co-existing of Jesus’s natures to be the hypostatic union so that there was never a time when he was not. Sometimes the attacks on Christianity are vicious and sometimes flattering. Christians are called to be holy. The world would call us stubborn. Satan would hope to question the heavenly roots of Christian faith just as he would question the special calling of Jesus. With the case in point below, we can see the holiness of Jesus, the founder, ironically all the more clear under temptation.
Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written:‘You shall worship the Lord, your God,and him alone shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:5-8).
I shall give to you all this power and their glory— The critical force of evil here is the appearance of the legitimacy of evil to be a rightful status quo.
If you worship me— Notice that Satan does not tempt Jesus to worship only him. But worship is to God alone. All sacred service is unto the will of the Father. Jesus spoke this not as just a good Bible quoter but one who has an eternal love with the Father. What was on the horizon of this sacred and spiritual intimacy was to be shared later with a marginalized, sinful Samaritan woman.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;[i] and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24).
Before I unpack this passage I should point to the fallacy of infinite regression. If someone wants to argue that there is no God, they would point to the causality all in the universe. The lines of cause have to come to an end where one traces the origins of the universe back far enough. The stubborn atheist will even say “Well that’s just the way it is” (Bishop Robert Barron, Mystery of God, 2015).
But what about an infinite progression? If there is a God and He is personal, would he not be worthy of worship and service? And what could be considered a focal point for that worship and service to Deity that would be holy and personal? Paul stated that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
Jesus, though divine, is our means to meaning including truths when they are inconvenient. The gospel is really about service and inconvenience under the motivation of true love.
“[T]herefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested” (Hebrews 2:17-18).
Perhaps you are reading this and do not want to be all in to a Christianity that has Jesus as Lord with an extension of his nature through and identifiable body of believers. How about sampling some of the nice, cuddly Jesus with “suggestions” about discipleship? This will work with goosebumps or the set of an Oprah taping but it would not be the Jesus of the gospels nor the Jesus for whom many martyrs have died. Jesus is the Lord and Savior that calls all people to repent and be all in.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).
I’m all in. Come and join me. Come and follow Him.