propose that what is considered Christianity by many in the United States
today would not even qualify as conversion in the first-century church. And
what is considered normal as far as a Christian was concerned in the first
century would be considered radical by today’s standards.
There are a lot of people running around today who could be described as
kind-of Christians. Now, that is not a theologically correct term, because
according to the Bible, you either are or are not a Christian. But I am talking
about people whom you are not really sure about. He or she is sort-of a
Christian or maybe a Christian or could be a Christian or almost is a
Christian. You see some things in their lives that make you believe they
might be followers of Christ. They attend church regularly and talk about
God periodically. Maybe they pray before their meals. But then there are
other things in their lives that seem to contradict this behavior.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people today who believe they are Christians
yet probably are not. And one of the reasons for that is a lot of shallow and
anemic preaching in our churches today. I fear there may be a generation
of people running around who believe they really know God when, in fact,
they don’t really know him at all.
One recent poll indicated that seven out of 10 American adults have no clue
as to the meaning of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his
one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life.” And barely one-third of all adults know the meaning of the
expression “the Gospel.”
I question whether most Americans have ever heard the authentic Gospel
message. I know we have heard a lot of preaching. I know we have heard a
lot of sermons. But have most Americans really heard the Gospel? And do
they have a basic understanding of it?
In their book, “unChristian,” David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons identify
behaviors that so-called Christians share with non-Christians. When asked
to identify their activities over the last 30 days, those identifying themselves
as born-again Christians were, according to the book, just as likely to gamble,
visit a pornographic website, take something that did not belong to them,
consult a medium or psychic, consume enough alcohol to be legally drunk,
use an illegal drug, or lie about someone to retaliate.
My question is not whether these people are Christians who are ignoring
God’s commands. My question is whether these people are really Christians
Someone once asked me, “What do you do when you come to a passage
in the Bible that you don’t agree with?”
I said, “You change your opinion, because you are wrong.”
It is as simple as that. It is not for us to disagree with the Bible. It is for us
to conform ourselves to what the Bible teaches about God. And we can
discover that the easy way or the hard way.
So what are we to do? Should we accommodate the Bible to our standards,
or conform ourselves to it? Some would seek to accommodate the Bible or
simply ignore it altogether and trust in their feelings or personal opinions
The Bible is the autobiography of God. It tells you everything you need to
know about God … about life … about yourself … about how to live … about
what to do … about what not to do. It tells you how to think, how to act and
how to react. It is all there in the Bible. And the person who wants to get
closer to God will need to study it.
You can read the writings of different people and learn about them. You can
read an autobiography and learn about someone. But God has given us his
Book so we can learn about him.
Last year, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial online auction offered various experiences up for bid, including tea with Alan Greenspan, a walk-on role
in a film starring Johnny Depp, or a tennis lesson with Andre Agassi. But
even better than spending time with a famous person, we have the Creator
of the universe who longs to spend time with us each and every day. And
best of all, it’s free. All we need to do is open up the Bible and spend time
Our emotions can mislead us. Our feelings can lead us astray. We cannot
base our decisions on whether something feels right or if it seems good.
We need a higher authority, and that authority is the Bible, God’s how-to
manual for life.
Believers do not need to be taught new truths all the time.
Often they only need to be reminded of scripture they already know.
ISA International Director