Monday, March 9, 2015

Seven Lies Christians Tell (or not)

I read this article last week. Seven Lies Christian Tell. A friend shared the link on FB, and thought it was a good article, so I clicked over to see exactly what lies Christians tell.

The author starts out the article describing a session he is leading at a conference. He opens his session with the question:

How do Christians lie when evangelizing?

He goes on to share that after barely a pregnant pause, the lies start flowing.

The premise is not if Christians lie, but let us count the ways they lie.

The article annoyed the daylights out of me. Maybe because I am deluded by my own lies.

Actually, I think it was great simplification and it painted Christians with a rather broad brush. And I take umbrage at that.

Because I have a fundamental problem with lying. I do my best to always tell the truth. I don't truck with little white lying. I certainly don't bald face lie.

Two of the lies this author shares have to do with confidence. (#1, #3) There is a big difference between lying and having confidence in what you believe. I have convictions and beliefs about certain things in the Bible. I try to maintain a teachable spirit. That creates a certain tension. How to be confident without being a jerk. But, I approach the Bible as God's inerrant word. God cannot lie. One of Jesus Christ's names is The Truth. So, while my interpretation or practice is fallible because I am human, God and God's Word is not fallible. And I will confidently stand on that truth until the day I die. My confidence is in God-not myself or even my beliefs.

The second lie has to do with making inexplainable truths explainable. I can't explain the Trinity, but I sure believe it. Also, I believe the fact the God is infinitely wiser and bigger and greater than my finite understanding. His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts. But just because I can't explain something does not make it not true. Or just because I use a limited illustration to teach a truth to a child, does not mean I am telling lies.

His third point is that we lie when we don't acknowledge our doubts. But, what if we don't have doubts? What if we are resting on the truth that God is always just and always good? Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? I don't know the exact step by step outplaying of God's will and God's plan. I know the end product. I know that God is sovereign and God is faithful. I know that God and His goodness prevail. God is glorified. Not knowing the answers to difficult questions isn't a lie. And neither is not doubting God's unchanging character.

Also, not knowing all the details, doesn't mean we are lying, if in fact we simply are taking the Bible at its word. I think that has formerly been called faith. Not lying.

Supposedly we lie (#4) when we say the Bible doesn't say some really nasty things when it does. I agree, the Bible has some horrific happenings. Any one who can read must admit that. To deny it would be to lie. But, the narrative of these events does not mean that God promotes these wicked acts. I just read Mary Higgins Clark's newest novel. There are several murders in it. Because MHC wrote about murder, would we say she condones murder? Of course not. That is ludicrous. Why is it any different in the case of the Bible and the Bible's author? Actually, if you take the time to read the prophets, you will get the very definite picture that God does not condone violence, murder, rape, pillage, or any other sin. Even when God uses someone as a tool to accomplish His judgement on a person or nation, the person who committed the atrocities is still held responsible for their actions. It's another Biblical will.

We lie when we say we understand other religions. I've personally never said I understand other religions. But, I am also not going to point out the good points of a religion that is sending people to hell because they are believing something different than what the Bible teaches.

Tied in with this lie is the other lie that we lie when we say we love someone when in fact we don't. In our culture we have equated love with supporting every decision a person makes. This is not true love. Parents don't support their toddler's decision to run out into a busy road. That's foolishness. It is totally possible to love a person but not love or agree with what they are doing or are believing.

Most Christians are aiming to love both believers and unbelievers the way God loves them. (and we are failing miserably at it too often) God demonstrated His love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him wouldn't perish but have everlasting life. God loves the unlovable. God gave sacrificially the One Person who meant the most to Him. God gave His Son to die in order to save His enemies. That's how God loves. God sent His Son because there was sin to be dealt with.  God loved-not so that we would stay the same, but so that we would have new life. To make us different. New creatures.

Maybe our love doesn't look exactly like that (maybe it doesn't look much like that), but it's what we should be aiming for.

People aren't saved by arguing them to death. Christians should not be trying to share the gospel and Christ's love by poking holes in other religions. It is possible to be respectful and share the truth. The only truth. The only way to heaven. Christ.

There is definitely too much pride tied up in our responses to others. But, it's not all false bravado. Arrogance. Lying. Hiding behind Christian-ese. (Would we say Paul was lying or showing false bravado when he said, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ"?)

Maybe the reason this author (and his Christian audience) thinks Christians lie is that too many people call themselves Christians, but they've never really been saved. Maybe the reason this author thinks Christians lie is because we seem care more about what people think of God and the Bible than what God thinks of His creation and His creatures. Maybe the reason this author thinks Christians lie when talking about these subjects is because he is lying when he is talking about them. But, maybe he doesn't realize that some of us have actually put a lot of thought, Bible study time and prayer into these topics.

Maybe the reason this author thinks Christians lie is because

Truth, by definition, excludes. -Ravi Zacharias

Maybe the truth is that we aren't lying-we are telling the truth, but people don't want to hear it. Maybe the bigger and more costly lie is when we pretend all beliefs and religions are created equal in the name of love and tolerance.

So, what about you? Are you okay with being called a liar?