Confronting indifference

A recently released study (Pew Forum: The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey) reported that:

  1. One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.
  2. 12 % of the overall population describe their religion as “nothing in particular”.

We are faced with a large percentage of the population that are spiritually apathetic. Religion is either unattractive or distractive to these.

The answer to these apathetic ones, is to lovingly confront them with the claims of Christ. Who did Christ claim to be? He claimed to be the Messiah. He allowed men and women to worship Him. He forgave men their sins. Additionally the “I am” sayings of Christ are convicting.

Seven “I am” metaphorical statements of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John

  1. “I am the bread of life.” John 6:35, 41, 48-51
  2. “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12, 9:5
  3. “I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7, 9
  4. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:11, 14
  5. “I am the resurrection, and the life.” John 11:25
  6. “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
  7. “I am the true vine.” John 15:1, 5

Additionally there is an 8th, “I am” saying that is not apparent in the English Bible. In John 6:20 Jesus states: “It is I; do not be afraid”. In the Greek His saying is “ο δε λεγει αυτοις εγω ειμι μη φοβεισθε” … literally “I am, be not afraid”.

C. S. Lewis’s Trilemma argues either Jesus was telling the truth or not.

Often summarized either as “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord”, or as “Mad, Bad, or God”, it proceeds from the assumption that Jesus claimed, either implicitly or explicitly, to be God. Therefore one of the following must be true:

Liar: Jesus was not God, and he knew it, but he said so anyway.
Lunatic: Jesus was not God, but he mistakenly believed that he was.
Lord: Jesus is God.

Lewis’s stated this trilemma in Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.

Religion is not the answer to the indifferent, Christ is!

Ed Gamble
Florida Times Union
Feb 28, 2008
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