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Monday, June 12, 2006

Genuine or Deceived || The Facts

Last week, Linda asked me what I would call a person who chooses to believe in Jesus but believes there are other options out there as well. Also a week or two ago, Brad said it may be helpful if I start illustrating who I am talking about by false converts. This week, as I speak at a camp in central Ohio, I thought it would be best to allow my posts to mirror the direction of the messages...examining this slant.

Genuine or Deceived: The Facts

I do not believe it is possible for a person to have genuine relationship with Jesus Christ, yet to deny the facts of His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). Recently, NT Wright suggested it was possible to deny the resurrection and be a believer. However, 1 Corinthians 15:14 reminds us that without the resurrection, our faith is in vain.

I see this standard played out in two ways:

1. Denial of these truths.
    There are some, within the church, who will deny the nature of Christ's crucifixion or His resurrection. They believe either His death or resurrection were allegory to continue on with the teaching Jesus had already provided. They believe that we should all strive to follow Jesus' teaching, yet they ignore the essential element of His teaching...that an atoning sacrifice is needed for our sin. An examination of the Sermon on the Mount, will reveal that Jesus did not teach us we need to be better, but exposed the character of God, and how greatly we fall short. (Incidently, we should strive to please God, so there is a third purpose of the Law achieved in Matthew 5-7. But no one should miss the forest for the trees, and think that we can attain to that righteousness on our own.) By very nature, if a person denies the need for Christ to literally be an atoning sacrifice, they miss issues of their nature, the character of Christ. Too much is sacrificed by the person who sees any element of the passion week as fictional.
2. Acquiescence of these truths.
    Trickier yet, is the person who may accept the historical nature of the gospel, but does not think it necessary for others to do so. As I said before, NT Wright, around Easter, already went on the record stating he does not believe it necessary to believe in a literal, physical resurrection. Now, "Tom" is a very, very smart man (I typically have to listen to a message of his three or four times, just to understand what he is saying), therefore I hope that I just misunderstand what he was saying. But as I will share tomorrow, I believe an understanding of why the events took place is as critical as what events took place. If one chooses to believe the events took place, but does not think others need to believe so, I must question whether they truly understand the necessity of the events.

Why is this critical? Who appointed you to be the police of your church, deciding who is in and who isn't? you may be wondering. Well, as a shepherd, I have been called to guard the flock. Also, we must realize the concern is not for our sake, or even for the sake of drawing lines. The reason we guard is for the sake of souls. The soul of a person may be decieved, as they believe they know Christ, yet they truly don't (see Matthew 5). The souls of others in the church could be at stake as well, as they look to the church and hear people deny basic truths of the gospel, yet see a church respond as if that doesn't effect a relationship with God.

The gospel becomes distorted as we refuse to call sheep sheep and wolves wolves.


  • At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Brad said…

    I must know where you heard or read Wright making this statement.(By the way, any relation?)

  • At 4:45 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Unfortunately, I think Sharone Wright is in the same camp as N.T.

  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    no relation.

    check out this link to read all about it. it's where i first heard about this too.

  • At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Brad said…

    Why does he have to say stuff like that?

  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Remember when Knavel used to sing, "My Sharona"... in honor of Sharone Wright? (No relation to N.T. right, yet we are all related as sons of Adam)


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