The greek word for thankful is eucharistos, which is comprised of two words: eu which means good or well, and charizomai which means to show favor or to give freely.
It's interesting to note that the word charizomai was used in the Bible most often as forgive.
What could I be more thankful for than God's forgiveness? Christ dying on the cross to take the place of my punishment for all my sins is the absolute best thing that could ever happen to me. Giving me the opportunity to spend eternity in His presence is a far greater blessing than any earthly gift.
This Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for Christ. Every day I will be thankful for Christ! I pray that this eucharistia would spread and all of God's people would recognize how great a work Christ has done for us. He is to be treasured above all else. Our desire should be Him alone.
Instead of being thankful for something temporary this season (family, friends, health, etc), I plan to be primarily thankful for God's work in my life (choosing a wretched sinner like me, gifting the Holy Spirit, forgiving my sins)! That is what I should be most thankful for this holiday season. Friends, family, and health never last; but God's love is forever. I will one day spend eternity with Him, and that is something to be thankful for!
My goal in these posts (really the purpose of this blog) is to reflect aloud the meditations of my heart. By doing that I hope to learn Godly truths, work through the difficulties of the faith, and see the relationship with my Savior strengthened. Only He can draw me closer to Him; and I pray He will produce fruit in my life.
This week, I'm going to talk myself through the following objection to the faith:
"How can you say Christianity is true and other religions are false?!"
Well, the easy answer is "because I can!" (Not trying to sound pompous).
And by this I mean I am logically justified in making this argument. Logic tells us that 'A' and 'not A' cannot both be true. Yet we still get the comment above from people who say we are being intolerant by calling others wrong. We all hold to our own opinions for one reason: we think they are true. Why would we believe them if we didn't think they were true?
In fact, that person is telling me that I am wrong in regards to my belief that I think I am right. Right there they are violating their own definition of tolerance.
When someone uses the word intolerant, the first thing I need to do is ask them what they mean by the word. It is important that I pay close attention to their definition. If their answer implies the idea that 'saying someone elses views are wrong' is intolerant, I will need to clarify with them the fallacy in their argument.
Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason explains how "tolerance is being courteous of another persons viewpoint, no matter what the view, not that all views have merit."
Saying that by disagreeing with someone's view I am being intolerant is completely absurd. In fact, tolerance implies an opposing view. If they held the same view, there would be no need to 'put up' with it! We would be in agreement! Tolerance implies a disagreement by definition.
I must be careful of 'strategically' used words like 'tolerance' and 'respect,' which no longer hold the same classical meaning in conversations these days. These words are used strategically so that the accuser is able to hide behind the accusation. If I take their respopnse at face value and buy in to their idea of tolerance I will quickly find myself far from the truth of my own faith; for how could I call myself loving and tolerant but say everyone elses views are false? They make it seem so horrible.
Just remember: WE CANNOT BOTH BE RIGHT! We can both be wrong, or one be wrong and one right. But in order to be intellectually honest, they have to admit this fact.
Chuck Colson said of this postmodern mindset: "Tolerance has become so important that no exception is tolerated."
That captures the fallacious ideology perfectly!
Lastly, and most importantly, I must remember to be Christ-honoring and respectful in my discussions (1 John 3:15-16). And remember what Paul said in 2 Cor 10:5, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. "
I need to be ready to answer these questions when they come up. And if I'm doing my job, they will!
The other day I received in the mail 4 cds of the Westminster Shorter Catechism put to song. I had borrowed them from a friend to check them out and loved them immediately. I have the first 7 questions memorized already. Easy!
For those who are not familiar with the WSC, they are an abridgment of the teachings of the Bible from a reformed perspective. They are long considered the best doctrinal statements to come out of the English Reformation.
The purpose of the WSC was to help educate the everyday person in doctrine and belief. They were and are traditionally used to teach and train up children, and are often given to new converts for study.
I can't wait until I can teach Emery these truths!
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." - 1 Peter 3:15
Word of the day: Apologetics - giving a defense
As Christians, we are told to be able to give answers for why we believe what we believe. That is a serious charge. Why? Well, because for one it's in the Bible. <= That brings us to some of the most common questions asked of Christians: Why do you believe the Bible? Why do you believe it is the inspired Word of God? How can you be sure it is accurate after all these years of translating?
If we actually stop and ask ourselves these questions, are we able to answer them? Even more importantly, are we able to answer them well? Let's think about why Peter would say what he said. There is a hint in the last part of 1 Peter 3:15: "But do this with gentleness and respect." Peter wants us to be a light (1 Peter 2:11-12) in the dark. Having a reasonable answer for what we believe may be all it takes for someone to believe!
I guarantee you, if you are doing your job (preaching to the lost and the unsaved) you will need to be able to answer these. If you haven't had to answer them, take a look at what else you could be doing to spread the Truth.
Peter speaks as if he is assuming we will need to be able to "give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." We should have these coming up in conversation daily.
So be ready! I challenge all those who call themselves Christians to find an answer to these common questions. Scripture demands it...so DO IT!!! (Acts 5:29)
Here are just a few to get you started:
How can you say that Christianity is true and all other religions are false?
How can the Bible be accurate after so many translations?
Why do you believe that Jesus raised from the dead?
Science and religion are not compatible!
Why is there evil in the world? (rape, child abuse, genocide) How could a loving God allow it?
Post your answer to one of the above questions, or another one you thought of/were asked recently! I'll answer some in upcoming posts.
Another reason we should be prepared to answer these and other questions about our faith is to teach, train, and equip fellow believers. We all go through 'long, dark, tea-times of the soul' and have doubts. Getting our questions answered in such a time is sometimes all it takes to strengthen our faith. So do your fellow brother and sister in Christ a favor and make like a Boy Scout and "Always Be Prepared"!
**Just a tip: don't use the 'burning in the bosom' argument that LDS use, it's a very weak argument and can be turned on you very easily.
If you need a jump start in the right direction, check out Stand to Reason. This is probably the best site I've found for apologetics resources. Also, the STR Android App has finally arrived! They also have an iPhone app (both are free) so check them out!