Is Jesus the real deal?
By Leigh Franklin Nygard
For many years in this paper "The Peever" has been attacking Christ and His followers. And the editor is tolerant of this hateful intolerance. There is one group of people who are open game for unfair shots – Biblical, evangelical, conservative, born-again Christians. I rise to defend the faith in just two areas where we have been maligned.
The first has to do with an attack on our Leader--the precious and powerful Lord Jesus Christ. The Messiah said of Himself, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Now Bruce Weik comes along, being smarter than Christ, and exclaims, “There are many ways to God.” Oprah and other liberal, self-styled, new aged theologians would agree with this feel-good religion. It sounds so generous, so accepting of various views and feelings, so unlike rigid fundamentalists. But the big question has to be: Is Jesus telling the truth? If not, He is either self-deceived or a deliberate liar. Which one do we choose to believe: the life of the Lord or the way of Weik?
Let's look at the "one way" concept. There is only one way for astronauts to go to outer space – up. Only one way for deep-sea divers – down. Only one way to travel to the North Pole – north (and south to the South Pole). There is only one way to be educated – Iearn (it is not by inheritance or osmosis). Only one way to win a game – score more. There is only one way to think – brain power. Only one way to maintain immediate life – breathe. There is only one way to true happiness – Iove ("God is love." see I John 3 & 4). There is only one way to God – Christ.
What is so unique about Jesus that He is the only way? That is a fair question that deserves an illuminating answer. Here are the reasons: 1) He is the only God-man, the only divine/human person. He alone is the complete picture of the spiritual and moral image of God. Only Jesus is the Son of Man and the Son of God at the same time. No one else has fleshed out God as He did for 33 years, and no one ever will. The Jewish leaders had Him crucified because He claimed to be God, to be one with the Father (and that He was, or else a blasphemer). Christians worship Jesus Christ because He is God.
2) He is the only perfect person, the only sinless human. He was tempted many times, yet He never yielded to the wrong way. All His motives were pure, all His actions right, all His thoughts correct. He always operated out of unselfish love and unvarnished truth. He was the impeccable human specimen – incomparable, unexcelled, peerless. Christians are extremely proud of their Lord Christ who surpasses all others.
3) He is the only crucified and risen Savior. Sin is the cause of all the pain in the world. An angry God hates sin because it severely hurts humans. A just God demands that sin, and the sinner, be punished. A loving God does not want anyone to go to hell. So God comes to earth in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who pays the penalty for our rebellion. The innocent One takes the rap, the punishment, for the guilty. Jesus is called the Lamb of God who atones for man's wickedness. He alone can fulfill this role because of 1 and 2 above. And to prove that He laid down His life willfully, He deliberately took it back three days later. He arose to show that He is the absolute victor over disobedience, death and the devil. No one else has raised him or her self from the dead. Christians put their trust in the conquering Messiah.
No other person can even make one of these three claims. That is why He alone is the way to God. Now, all who are truly in sorrow over their selfish nature and sinful ways and desire to go God's way; and all who trustingly yield their whole life to Christ (past, present, future) will be rescued/saved/delivered/accepted/forgiven/cleansed/renewed/enlivened. Besides the above, Jesus also excels as the greatest and best: intellectual, teacher, leader, communicator, visionary, humanitarian, healer, helper, counselor, psychologist, theologian, philosopher, miracle-worker, people-lover....
Secondly, Mr. Weik tries to malign conservative believers by calling them "Christian soldiers." I guess he is painting us as hard-shell fighters. Well, war terminology is often used in the secular world: the war on poverty (lost), the war on drugs (lost), the war on cancer (not won), the war on AIDS (not won). Liberals have engaged their own battlements: war on the traditional marriage and family (winning), war on the safety and sacredness of human life (winning), war on Biblical morality (winning), war on the United States Constitution (winning). Weik has this palpitating phobia that "dangerous" right-wing Christians are going to take over the country and force their morality on all sinners. But the truth is – the left wing is doing the forcing of their immorality on the majority (often using judges who overrule majority votes).
II Timothy 2:1-7 teaches that followers of Christ should have the self-discipline of a soldier, an athlete, a farmer. Metaphorically, they are also referred to as sheep, bride, stones, family, brothers and sisters, priests, rulers, servants, household, temple, lovers, branches .... Soldiers? Yes! We are definitely at war on three fronts: against Satan (Devil), sin (worldliness) and selfishness (lusts). Basically, it is a battle of who is in control: the Creator or the created (the reason evolution is pushed). And it is a war that is waged both inside and outside every human being. It is a battle in the spiritual/moral/mental arena (see Ephesians 6:10-18). It is a fight we have all lost to some degree – with one exception: the Lord Jesus Christ.
Liberal/socialist soldiers like Mr. Weik are part of the anti-Christian army. They would outlaw Biblical believers from being involved in the political process, or having home schooling, or praying in public. A profile in courage involves Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern (R), as reported by Family Voice magazine (May-June 2008): "She addressed the dangers posed to the moral fabric of society by the celebration of the homosexual lifestyle. A homosexual activist posted some of her comments on the Internet and a firestorm erupted. She received over 22,000 e-mails, many of them hateful and profane. She was attacked in the mainstream media, on Internet blogs and even received death threats." She said, "I will be praying.... But I will not and I cannot let fear overcome me"
More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all preceding centuries since Christ. Every day 465 believers in Christ are killed for their faith. In Nigeria ten people were killed and three churches set on fire after Muslims began a rampage in Bauchi City. Last year Rami Ayyad was martyred in Gaza, and three Christian leaders were killed in Turkey. In 2005 in Indonesia three young girls were caught and beheaded for coming from Christian families (for more see www.OpenDoorsUSA.org). The three most dangerous countries in the world for Christians are North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran. There is also severe persecution in India, China, Cuba, Egypt, southern Mexico and 40 other countries.
Back in the USA, can all good books be displayed in school or should some be banned? The American Family Association Journal (June 2008) reports: "A standoff may be unfolding between a public school teacher in Ohio and school officials, who ordered him to remove his personal Bible from students. John Freshwater has taught science at Mount Vernon Middle School for 20 years and last year was named Teacher of the Year. For the past 18 years, he has kept his personal Bible on his desk." Must a person forfeit his personal faith, his God-given rights, his constitutional rights to become a public school teacher? In support of their teacher students held a "Bring your Bible to Class" day. Praise God, they, too, are becoming soldiers for truth! With Christ, we will win this war against evil.
Bruce, I pray for you. Be smart. Yield to the strong and loving Jesus. Support freedom for all. And I hope you won't be too peeved.