An alternate title, for any academics who might read this:
Do Not Disturb: An in-depth analysis of the deeper issues surrounding the validity of the Shroud Of Turin... and some other things that Christians deem as worth defending
OK, so the latest buzz in the news is that some Italian scientists have “officially debunked the validity of the Shroud of Turin”. If I were to thoroughly explain how this affects my belief in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, this article would be over… right… about… now. Nothing changes for me. I believe - period. It may be a fraud, it may be legitimate. I have not based my beliefs upon artifacts, religious relics or any other ideas, teachings, discoveries or doctrines of men. I know God personally. My relationship with Jesus, the Christ is as real as the one that I have with my wife. He is alive. He is LORD. He is all in all... I will never be swayed or need to defend His existence. He is... and that is enough for me. No “discovery” can sway me or get me all riled up. If you’re here to listen to someone rant and rave or boohoo about how America is losing its Christian heritage, you’re in the wrong place.
What I’d like to address is that I can almost hear the sound of Christians the world over getting all worked up – signs are likely being penned to picket. Articles are being written to be placed within major Christian ministries websites and magazines, etcetera. I can see it now, “The assault on Christianity continues!!!!” (cue dramatic music)
As cold as this sounds, and stick with me here, "so what?" The problem is that too many Believers still have Jesus back on the cross of Calvary or in His grave-clothes. I serve a risen LORD. He is seated now at the right hand of the Father – and I am beside Him there (Ephesians 1:20 and 2:6). He is not in the grave. Death could not hold Him so perhaps it's time we see Him as He now is! You see, this world hates Christ now as much as they did when He walked upon this earth Himself. There is absolutely no room allowed for His Kingdom here. We, as Believers will never be able to insert His Kingdom into this worldly kingdom! They are completely different and cannot be intertwined. That's why "the church's" fight to keep prayer in schools, the agenda to keep the 10 commandments hanging on walls in public places, the "Christianizing" of this culture will continue to be more and more futile with each passing day. It is not a matter of being a pushover or not, it is the fact that the system of this world can never look like the Kingdom of God. I will address this much more later as I want to stress that what Christians often push is a Christian agenda, not a biblical one. Sadly, few seem to know the difference and blindly assume they are the same.
Now I love a good hearty debate and squabble as much as anyone, but do we really need to stand up and fight against the evolutionists, doubters and skeptics? What is our agenda? What are we really defending anyway… Christianity or Christ? You may think that they are one in the same but they are absolutely not. I am not a Christian, I am in Christ. My identity is not in Christian functions, organizations and clubs – it is in Him – period. With this in mind, my offense and dreams of "Christianizing" everything fade. My goal is to do what I see my Father do and speak what I hear Him speak. Too many Christians desire a perfect make-believe world where everyone walks, talks and believes like them. This is why there is so much unrest and intolerance of anyone who ever believes differently. If the members of the Body of Christ cannot even overlook one another's faults and errors within their own Body, it's no wonder that She could never tolerate, let alone love, this "ungodly world". We can't even gather together in one accord yet! Perhaps if we focused on this issue (one of the real problems) we could actually be a light in this dark world. Perhaps if we loved and loved and loved some more, people would actually see Christ in us and not our "Christian" self-help programs, services, denominational divisions and selfish agendas.
The secular, evil, worldly, whatever you-wanna-call-it majority will be just that – majority. Why in the world does the Christian bubble world keep expecting a Godless humanity to be Godly? Sheesh, the Christian community can hardly even be easily pointed out. It is not that I don't believe God is capable of turning things around, it is a matter of knowing what the Word of God states as the future of mankind. It is not all rainbows and butterflies where we all hold hands and run down the streets singing Hillsong together. Much turmoil and troubles are coming… and I'm sorry to disappoint you but you and I will likely not be tucked away in "church" buildings listening to sermons about kingdom wealth or fruits of the Spirit while the rest of the world is in complete chaos.
I don't exist to fight and defend the name of the LORD. The battle is His, is it not? Yes, I am His Ambassador and representative, but I do not need to get all riled up and bent out of shape with every challenge that comes against Christianity. He is LORD and there is no debating that. Look, for example at Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Elijah allowed God to do the defending. He didn't argue and wrestle and fight with the prophets, did he? He said let your god show who he is and mine will show Who He is. We all know that there was no debate over Who was the One True God. (Yes I know Elijah slayed them all in the end but I hope this is not something we need to explain.)
I am here to proclaim the LORD is God, yes. I am here to declare His marvelous acts throughout all the earth. I don't believe that I'm here to argue and defend "proof" of His existence. Faith gives eyes to see. Need reveals the reality of the Father. I don't ever wrestle with whether God is really "out there somewhere". Why? Because He is not an "out there somewhere God" to me! He indwells me! He is my life! He is an active part of my every breath! He is my existence! He is my purpose! He is my everything!
If you've been "convinced" by outside sources that God is real, then you can be convinced that He is not. This is why we see such an innumerable amount of people "outgrow" their faith. They never possessed it for themselves. Jesus was like Santa or the Easter Bunny… just someone you "grow out of". It was just something they believed because they were taught it or because it felt good or because it was what their family did. Until one takes the time to personally possess what they believe, they will always be shakable – they will always waver. Several months ago, when President Obama stated that "this is not a Christian nation" didn't bother me. In fact, I'd agree. Either way, I wrestle not against flesh and blood anyway. There are deeper, darker forces guiding this nation than what most seem to understand. The issues with the 10 commandments being placed here or there doesn't hurt my feelings – why would they be displayed? No one abides by them. And now the shroud of turin may be a sham? Well so be it.
My faith, my beliefs, my life's purpose is not defined by what you, the media or any scientist that ever lived believe. My hope is in the LORD. My belief is set in stone - a Cornerstone to be exact. His agenda is far bigger than this American Christianity pipe dream that so many blindly seem to long for. Jesus was never concerned with the politics of men – that's why the Jews were so disappointed and did not embrace Him as Messiah and King. He said He did not come to sit on an earthly throne, yet time and time again, Christians are blind to this fact and attempt throughout the ages to place a political Jesus on the throne of America. Let me put it like this, an American throne is not big enough for my Jesus. He is ruler over all kings and kingdoms! We have somehow made patriotism and "God and country" such staples of American living – I just don't get it. Our actions say that we must somehow assume that God loves America more than other nations because of how blessed we are. I say we should be on our faces weeping and crying out to God for His patience and kindness towards this nation - pleading that He will show us mercy when it all comes crumbling down. We should thank Him for His outpoured mercy and grace that He has shown this great nation, for we are as undeserving as any. You see, America has a form of godliness. The Word often references such a term and I believe it is applicable here. We define Christianity by what "services" you attend and if you don't cuss or drink… much. We have "church" buildings every 100 yards all across this nation, so of course we're a Christian nation, right? (sigh) Don't even get me started about our "founding fathers" either – they were as vile and as corrupt as anyone. Just study it all for yourself, you will quickly see the ugly reality of the origins of this nation. I understand though, most would rather envision singing Puritans holding hands and carving turkeys with the Indians as Columbus sails in with a KJV Bible somehow in his hand. We are a feel-good people here in America. Ignore the truth and tell me what will make me feel at ease. This mindset has got to change in all who will be set apart in the days to come.
I say it is time to let the American form of godliness die and the let the real Christ followers who desire holiness and righteousness above all else arise!
Part 2 will be posted Friday morning.