When and how do we defend Jesus when we are with people from other religions?

Monday Musings for November 08, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

If Jesus’ is the only name under heaven given to people by which they must be saved — and that is our stand around here (Acts 4:12) — then we are the ones who have the metaphysical truth about salvation — and no one else does! So, shouldn’t we shout this from the mountaintops?

Sure we should! In fact, I’m doing it right now! People do this on television, radio and podcasts regularly... as do people who speak to large crowds. All those ministries take time, money and dedication, but it’s relatively easy to shout about Jesus under those circumstances. What’s hard is doing it in someone’s living room — because that’s where the rubber meets the road.

We human beings are essentially relational. God made us that way. But the manner in which we are relational is different from that of the higher animals. Although they are also relational, they are only instinctually so. As such, there is an ontological difference between their and our self-awareness. It is not a matter of degree; it’s a matter of type.

For example, we humans are the only ones who contemplate our metaphysical existence... our soulish self-awareness. We ask questions like, “Am I the only one who is self-aware... and all the other people around me are merely supporting me in that role? Am I in The Matrix?”

That’s not true, of course. We don’t subscribe to solipsism. So why did God make us so we could postulate something so seemingly narcissistic as to think the entire world exists for us?

God knew that most of us would figure out that we should live regular lives despite not being able to prove if reality is real. But if someone decides that life is not real — and sits there with their arms folded across their chests instead of living — they would be missing their whole lives... their one chance at life. Nobody does that… and there’s value in not doing that.

When we realize that other people’s experience is equal in value and equally representative of reality, we are more aware of what they mean to God. On the most basic level, this is evidence that — although we are designed to work for God as individuals — we should also do it in a community — and the Body of Christ is one of those communities.

However, the same shouting-from-the-mountaintops dichotomy exists within the Church. Now, we should take a stand as Christians and shout our message from the mountaintops. But we should not just do that. God’s objectives are too individually specific (John 3:3), so we must be involved in our local churches too. We cannot serve God apart from serving individual people.

When we declare God’s truth broadly, we serve humanity. When we declare truth to individuals, we serve humans… and Jesus did both. Jesus told everyone the truth — and earnest seekers loved him for it! But the people who had their own agendas hated the truth and the truth-teller.

That’s how truth works. It comforts and offends as needed. So don’t be afraid to tell it.

 

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