By John Larkins
There are some things that I have taken for granted that may not be true with all readers. I am sensitive to this matter this week because of a friend’s comments. He remarked that he knew many people who were going to meetings broadly called “churches” but had no known connection with a Christian God.
I can sympathize with my friend, because the word “Christian” is today used so broadly that it has lost its meaning of being associated with the living God. The known living God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed in at least the mostly original versions of the Holy Bible. Jesus Christ, the Son, chose to be born as a dual being as the Son of Man and Son of God about 6 A.D. in Bethlehem. In about 33 A.D., Jesus Christ was torturously killed to satisfy His mission to redeem mankind from the original sin of Adam and Eve, our first parents. Upon His resurrection from death, He commissioned His hand-picked and indoctrinated followers, His Apostles, to establish in perpetuity His Church for the salvation of mankind.
This Church was to dispense the Saving Grace Jesus’ Father gave Him for the salvation process to exist. Thus, humans past, present and future who agreed to surrender their will to God and live as members of His Church could be saved from the damnation of living in Satan’s prison of Hell. This plan was explained in both the Old and New Testaments and came to fruition in the development of His Church. Jesus promised that we would be judged for our eternal destination, based on what we DID with His teachings.
This plan worked well enough, but there are always people who deluded themselves as being immune to God’s power and who disputed the teaching He delegated to His Church. Jesus gave His Church many critical powers. First, He delegated the authority to always make His Body and Blood present. Jesus instructed all people that, “Unless you eat My body and drink My blood, you have no life within you.” He also said that whatever the Church should bind on earth was bound in heaven. He also said that “What you say on earth is heard in heaven” as a binding truth. Perhaps most important for many of us, He gave His Church the power to ask for the forgiveness of sins through Jesus.
The first significant challenge to His Church occurred in a cave in Saudi Arabia when a minor caravan raider named Mohammed was inspired by readings in the Bible to produce a creed in the Koran. This set off an incredible battle against the Jews first, and a wave of brutal warfare that nearly conquered the world and has been a danger to humanity ever since.
In about 1530, two events occurred that have had lasting, though perhaps not permanent, damage to God’s plan. A fallen away Catholic priest named Luther capitalized on human failings inside the Roman Catholic Church and founded his own rival worship system. About the same time, the King of England revolted against the Church because he was desperate to divorce the queen. Permission to do so had been denied. Several branches of contrarian worship have developed from these events that today have resulted in an absolute avalanche of increasingly farfetched worship systems. They are “farfetched” in the sense that there is little or no connection with the Bible or any other teachings attributed to Jesus Christ.
So, today, viewing the spiritual wreckage of the last 500 years, one is reminded of Pontius Pilate’s question to Jesus: “Truth, what is truth?” Jesus’s reply is more poignant today than it was 2,000 years ago: “I am the WAY, the truth and the life.”
For the past 15 years, John Larkins has evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.