Talking faith: Discovering truth
After being an Atheist for the first 18 years of my life, I realized my held beliefs needed to be thought through a little more. The belief that everything came from nothing, blew up, organized itself -- non-living matter into living matter -- and created everything, was a story that had no resemblance to science whatever. I then decided to go on a quest to find the truth. That led me to many religious writings and philosophies. My journey through Buddhism/Taoism lasted for three-and-a-half years until realizing it too was futile. After deciding to listen to the New Testament on CD, I found Christ to be absolutely amazing. He walked on water, healed every infirmity, commanded the elements, raised the dead, raised himself from the dead and taught as one with authority, just to name a few! This, taken as is, should be enough for us to take his words very seriously. He made the claim that he is the only way. How else are we going to be forgiven? Did Buddha, Zoroaster, Muhammad, etc. live a sinless life and die in our place for our sins? Did they rise from the dead and defeat death? No, they are still dead and did no such thing. What or who else is left to take our sins away?
The Bible is a fascinating and very controversial book. In it we find amazingly ordinary people that God did extraordinary things through. We find God himself interacting with his creation. Grace and mercy abounds to a sinful and fallen world. Christ's love shines in even the darkest of circumstances. And yet we find Jesus telling us that we should "Watch out for false prophets." They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves,"(Matthew 7:15) and "many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."(Matthew 24:11)
It is a wonderful thing to sit and ponder the depth, height and width of our awesome God's love. In the same light, it is a terrible thing to ponder the loss and eternal consequences of those who misuse God and his word. What is Jesus warning us about? Who are these false prophets and how can we tell? We can gain some more insight into who they are by reading 2 Peter 2:1-2, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them -- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute." That is some pretty serious stuff. What then is an example of "destructive heresy?" In John 14:6, we read a familiar passage to many: "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" Wouldn't it stand to reason then that if we follow Jesus, believe what he said and desire to live the way that he has shown and commanded that we should take this verse very seriously? If we deny that Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life," and, "no one comes to the father except through him"(emphasis mine), how can we be called anything but a heretic as noted above in 2 Peter?
I therefore, humbly ask you to consider carefully what you read and hear from "teachers." They are certainly not in short supply -- on TV, radio and down the street. Do we wish to follow man's philosophy, or what God has clearly told us?
Tom Dippel is a young adult ministry leader at Eagan Hills Church in Eagan and he co-leads a house church called Acts 2:42 in Cottage Grove and the surrounding area.