Beware of Conviction!

April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Atheist Richard Dawkins recently tweeted, “The only religious people I fear are the ones who take their religion seriously: the ones who really believe what they say they believe.” It was re-tweeted well over a thousand times.

It doesn’t mean much to be “religious.” Even atheists can be religious. Apparently the fear factor brings significance to religion. The goal of Jesus’s followers is not to instill fear in anyone. God does that through an awareness, sometimes through Christians, that we are all, including Christians, an impossibly long way from righteousness by ourselves. That fear serves to drive us to the righteousness of Christ.

But fear is often felt in the face of anything we oppose. Nothing opposes the apathy of atheism and post-modern belief in flavor-of-the-month philosophy more than a firm conviction of truth. Belief naturally scares unbelief. It is indeed something to fear when you aren’t sure what else to be afraid of.

There are a great many feared Christians in the public square some would like to see removed from the public square.

Current stories abound, particularly over the issue of gay rights, of fearsome individuals such as Pastor Louie Giglio, who was invited to pray at the last presidential inauguration, but was soon ousted out of fear that he may still believe what he did 20 years earlier when he preached a sermon on homosexuality. Or Pastor Greg Laurie, who now faces the same type of outlier status for holding to millenia-old Biblical teachings. ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Iowa Senator Dennis Guth, and Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Ben Carson have recently faced similar backlash for holding to the same unchanging truths.

Teaching the Biblical view of sex and abstinence is now a “hurtful” and “dehumanizing” dogma, and conservatives are often feared as extremists.

Teaching the Biblical view of Creation is nothing new, yet it is now a form of child abuse or Taliban-style indoctrination, according to physicist Lawrence Krauss.

Sadly, there is no shortage of professing Christians who are no threat at all, who proclaim His name in word when convenient and in deed when the coast is clear. They are safe choices for product endorsement, commencement speeches, and political candidacy, because they will bend like putty to the whims of secularism and bow to the new moral consensus. Their moral compass is more of a windsock, changing direction with the times as feelings “evolve“.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

If the world could hear you, would it fear you? Do you really believe what you say you believe? Will you still believe it 5, 10 or 20 years from now? Paul’s first century warning is realized. Morally compromised and doctrinally flexible teachers, preachers, presidents and CEOs are in high demand. We no longer want to be shocked, or have our feelings hurt, or have our ideas challenged by anyone who exhibits a consistent belief and unwavering stance on the Biblical truth that guided our predecessors.

God ultimately judges folly. Better to be firmly grounded in the truth and feared by some, than to preach on shifting sand and have God to fear when the foundation washes away.

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