I'm not big on flying. Yes, airplanes are one of the marvels of modern life, but the mystique of air travel gets lost on me after the first 30 minutes of the TSA security line. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm about to travel in 3 to 4 hours what two generations ago took MONTHS! As a current comedian put it "why are you whining! You are flying through the air in a giant steel tube! This trip would have taken your great grandparents months, and not all of them would have survived!" But I digress.
So, last Friday I'm standing in the line of fellow travelers waiting to board our giant flying steel tube, when I struck up a conversation with the man behind me. He was returning home to Colorado as I was, and we exchanged the usual pleasantries of "what is your town", and "what do you do." When I told him I was the pastor of a church up in the mountains (always interesting to see what happens when I say that), he replied "well, I used to go to church, but as of late my views on religion have become really inclusive. I mean, if what somebody believes helps them and doesn't hurt me, then what difference does it make?" The response in my mind was "it makes all the difference in the world", but all I managed was a smile as the line finally began to move.
The gentleman's assertion is of course the increasingly held, politically correct view regarding religion. The problem is that this 'tolerant sounding' assertion has two fundamental assumptions that most holding this view have not thought through. The first is that if all (or even some) faith/belief systems are equally 'true', then there can be no such thing as spiritual truth. If all streams of spiritual belief are equally valid, then it means that these belief systems are nothing more than moral coping mechanisms, untethered to any greater truth, because virtually all world religions contain teaching that diverge significantly from others. For example, the Hindu and Christian doctrines of the nature of mankind (as significant to God) are virtually diametrically opposed. As has been said, to believe that all faiths are true is the same as believing that no faiths are true. It is to abandon the concept of spiritual truth itself. The second assumption is that faith/religion is centered on 'the me' and what a person (or people group) believes to be true about God has no ultimate consequence, either in this life or after this life. If everything is true, then nothing is true, and therefore I am accountable to nothing other than myself.
In great contrast, the Biblical Worldview holds that there is such a thing as Spiritual Truth. Make no mistake- the popular notion that all 'truths' are equal is fundamentally incompatible with a Biblical Worldview. As followers of Christ, we hold that God revealed Himself to mankind through His Word, that the Truth in His Word holds inestimable current and eternal consequence, it is authoritative, applicable, and most importantly, that God's Truth to mankind, in every sense possible, at all times, is good. Hard to understand in places? Yes. Misunderstood at times? You bet. Requiring thoughtful interpretation that can be just plain difficult? Absolutely. Life giving and Good? Always!
It is in this conviction that we are launching ourselves into an in-depth journey through the majestic Biblical book of Romans. This new series will officially begin on Sunday, June 3rd, and this coming Sunday the 27th will be a 'preview to the intro' where we explore the essential principles by which we engage ourselves with this ancient text we know as Scripture. I promise that you will be blessed as you join with us in this journey, and this Sunday's talk will be foundational to how we approach Romans in the weeks and months to come. If you aren't in town, I sincerely invite you to listen to the message when I post it online Sunday afternoon.
Ts with a sense of excitement and yet 'fear and trembling' that I prepare to lead us through this study. I value your prayers, but most of all I anticipate growing with you as we open our hearts and minds to this amazing gift of God's Word.
Summer is here, and I am truly looking forward to seeing many of you as you come into the valley!
In Christ and to His Glory,
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah,
the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.