Yesterday, I began writing about The Alpha Series. Look to that post here for reference. I ended by asking, “Is there wisdom in making efforts to blur the lines so that all denominations may be united in an effort to share the gospel?”
If you believe that telling people about Jesus is all that is required for people to make a decision to follow him, then, yes, it would make perfect sense for denominations to abandon (at least from sight) their differences and have a united face of love which to show the world. Nobody wants to come into a home of bickerers, do they? We would be wise, therefore, to put forth the best presentation we can. Right?
But is that how people come to believe? Is it my presentation of the gospel that will serve to either motivate or discourage belief depending on how well I do? I sure hope not!
If I take this to extremes, is there anyone I cannot convince into belief? Can I hone my skills so that everyone will believe? On the other hand, can I so present it so that someone will NEVER accept the gospel? Can I condemn someone to hell simply because I messed it up and they never hear a good presentation again?
Neither of these is true because it is the gospel, not the deliverer, that softens or hardens hearts. While it is true that God uses people as a means of delivery, it is God alone who opens eyes, ears, and hearts. God is the one who draws whom he chooses to Jesus, not the evangelist (John 6:44, Romans 9:15-16). Jesus reveals the Father to whom the Son chooses (Matthew 11:27). And it is the Holy Spirit who gives new birth (life) to whom it wishes (John 3:8). And all three of these are always in agreement. Always.
Truly, you or I cannot save ourselves let alone anyone else!
But now I’m getting deep into Reformed Theology and dividing rather than uniting, or so one might say.
What about Jesus? Do we see examples of Jesus laying aside his beliefs to make a united front with the Jews to present the gospel to the Gentiles? Hardly! Yes, Jesus was a Jew and, like them, an ancestor of Abraham and follower of Moses, but this counted to them as nothing as far as Jesus was concerned. In fact, Jesus was extremely harsh with them (John 5:44-47). He went so far as to tell them this:
John 8:39-47 39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
This was just one time that the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus, but Jesus slipped away. So, no, Jesus compromised nothing, nothing at all.
But the Jews at that time didn’t believe that Jesus was their Messiah. What about after the resurrection? Indeed, we see lots of Jews becoming believers through the gospel preached by the Apostles. Furthermore, we see significant differences in these gospels over time. Do we have a record of the Apostles, even Paul, compromising their belief in the hope that a united, peaceful front will reach and convert more unbelievers?
No, we don’t. In fact, every book of the New Testament has explicit, harsh warnings about false teaching. It is no joke. For more on that, check out this post of mine that gives just a sample from each book. You’ll be surprised just how much the bible has to say about this topic. Click here.
Tomorrow, we’ll wrap this up, God willing.
Father, again, guide me in this teaching. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers