Thursday, February 18, 2016

Are Christians Really So Intolerant?

There's a lot of anger out there against Christianity and Christians. I expect it'll get worse during this political season. One of the first accusations we usually hear--and one of the mildest, lately--is that we're intolerant of other religions.

The charge of intolerance comes because we believe faith in Jesus is the only way to God. We’re perceived as arrogantly stating: if you don’t believe what I believe, you’ll spend eternity in hell. When a Christian shares their faith, it shouldn't be out of the self-righteous superiority that says that I’m right and you’re wrong, but out of brotherly love. Something along the lines of:

I’ve made a friend who brings me unspeakable joy. His compassion is endless because in his time on earth, he knew physical pain and emotional brokenness. One of his best friends betrayed Him. He experienced the rejection and scorn of his own family. Many of my relationships, my emotions and my body have been healed. I despaired of living a life of meaning, but now I have hope again. I've experienced something life-changing and I want to share it with you.

In 2009 magician Penn Jillette, an avowed atheist, spoke of his conversation with a Christian businessman. "And he was truly complimentary. It didn't seem like empty flattery. He was really kind and nice and sane and looked me in the eyes and talked to me and then gave me this Bible."

Then Mr. Jillette made a surprising statement:

"How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? If I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn't believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there's a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that...Now I know there's no God, and one polite person living his life right doesn't change that. But I'll tell you, he was a very, very, very good man, and that's really important. And with that kind of goodness, it's OK to have that deep of a disagreement."

The "problem" with the Christian worldview is that it deals in absolutes. But, don't most religions? Certainly Muslim faith does. Few people would say, in effect, “The law of gravity may work for you, but it puts limitations on me that I don't like. It doesn't work for me, so I'll ignore it.” Whether or not we choose to acknowledge gravity’s authority over us, we’re still subject to it. Sounds silly, right? The principle is the same.

Reality doesn't change because we cannot see Jesus sitting on His throne at the right hand of the Father. Some say that Jesus was a good teacher, but not the Son of God, the Creator of all. But Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except by Me.” If He is not the Son of God and, as He claims, the only way to the Father, then He was either insane, deluded or a liar.

Reincarnation and Christianity cannot both be true. After our physical deaths we are either reborn into another human body on earth, or we enter the spiritual realm--into the presence of God.

Society today seems believe that if we do good things, refrain from any gross sin, we'll go to heaven. God is love, after all. Scripture says so. Could a God of love send people to hell? Or so goes the argument.

Ah, but He must. God isn’t only love. He is also absolute holiness. When Adam and Eve sinned, God had to banish them from the garden. God certainly took no pleasure in it, but it was a necessary, and temporary, separation. God cannot have fellowship with anyone or thing less than holy. His heart is also one of deep abiding love, and He would not abandon mankind. That’s why Jesus came to die. To pay the legal price for our sin.

I have many friends who aren't Christians, and when the time is right I've shared the gospel with them. Because I love and respect them, the differences in our beliefs doesn't affect our friendship. While I don't compromise what I believe, I'm not their judge or their conscience. But, because I try to walk the walk that I talk, they know I'm a Christian. Hopefully, when they want to hear more, they'll feel so secure in our friendship they'll know they can come to me.

1 Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Why, God? Part 1

For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. -- Mark 4:22

We all wonder why innocent people die in terrorists' attacks, why children get sick or suffer despicable abuse. We see images of war and famine. We shake our fists at God and declare that a loving God wouldn't allow such things to happen. If He was good, He'd intervene and dispense justice.

Why? At the question's root is our need to understand with our minds when the very heart of faith is trusting God when we have unanswered questions. 
I try to remind myself of what I know, what I've exerienced. God is good. He never changes, and I can trust Him. I know this not only because the scriptures tell me this, but through my own relationship with Him. He has shared my sorrow, dried my tears, consoled me after my failures and given me great joy. He understands me and has  assured me I am loved.

When I demand to understand why, I forfeit the peace of God and entrance into the sabbath rest that is our right. That's having peace without understanding why. What is the alternative? Turmoil. Pain. Aloneness. Denying that God exists, or that He cares doesn't make the pain go away. It merely ensures that we walk through the inevitable suffering without the comforting presence of God.

Certainly, this isn't going to make sense to anyone who doesn't know God or have a relationship with Him. To some, the very mention of the name of God to someone in difficulty or seeing injustice often triggers the release of intense rage and bitterness.

In No Greater Gift, Grace Ryan's faith in God and in His love for her falters. She's tried to serve and obey Him her entire life, and now it appears she's lost everything. She can't help but ask why.
Though the answers aren't simple, they do exist.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Announcement: No Greater Gift

I am thrilled to announce that my newest book, No Greater Gift, will be published by Mountain Brook Ink on  May 1, 2016.

Inspirational Women's Fiction          
NO GREATER GIFT


History professor Grace Ryan returns to her hometown expecting to help her grandmother turn her journals and memories of WWII into memoirs. She arrives to find her grandmother being loaded into an ambulance. When she begs Grace to find the truth about a decades-old crime, whispers the word treason, then slips away forever, Grace is left to separate fact from fiction. Then, an unwelcome inheritance strikes at her already fragile family bond. Though God’s voice seems silent, He sends someone to stand in the gap for her.

Erik Petersson, unjustly accused of infidelity, suffered through an unwanted divorce and the loss of his children’s love to his former wife’s bitterness. A physicist on sabbatical, he agrees to help Grace dig through her late grandfather’s scientific papers. As he struggles to win back his children’s love, he and Grace are catapulted into a quagmire of truth and lies that could tear her family apart.

Preorder Here


The preorder price is an amazing $3.49.  If you're searching for it on Amazon and not using the link, make sure to remember to use my middle initial H or you might find it.