Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Communicating the Relevance of the Gospel in a Changing Culture (III)

I've posted on this before, but because I included it in my presentation, I post it here again.
"Before we get to my main point – how to communicate our message, (next post, I promise)I want to look at one more thing.  (h/t Terry Stauffer for this analogy)

You may have seen this example of a number of blindfolded people examining an elephant – one the trunk, one an ear, one a leg, etc., and each coming up with a different answer as to what it is. Leg = tree, tail = rope, side = wall, etc. This is supposed to be an argument for the idea that no one can have an exclusive lock on the truth. That everyone’s idea of truth is equally valid. That many paths lead to God. 

It’s a self-defeating example. It disproves itself, because it requires that the observer see the whole picture – see that there is a truth -  stepping back and looking we can see that it is indeed an elephant, no matter what all these other people think, and that certain points of view can actually be wrong. Is it a tree? No! Is it a snake? No! Is it a wall? No! And the simple solution is for any one of those 'mistaken observers' just to have their blindfold removed to see what it actually is.

This example, when examined, actually shows that there can be an ultimate truth, and that it can be knowable. No matter what all those people think, it really is an elephant. Any other answer is just plain wrong. So it is possible to say that God is real. It’s possible to say there is one true way of knowing Him.

But it’s not enough for us to dispute and argue the preconceived notions that people have. Ultimately they need to hear it from God Himself. In other words, what if the elephant could just speak up and say, 'Hey everybody, take off your blindfolds, I'm an elephant!' 
That's just what God has done.
(Hebrews 1: 1a) In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son…

I see a couple of key words here, and I have underlined them above. The word, "but" is one of my favourite words in the Bible. Often it comes after the giving of bad new, then introduces good news. Here is connotes something new, something different. In the past, but now
The other word is "has" – not is. God has given us His word. There are certain people who may boast about being, 'progressive,' who will say God is telling us something new, like He’s changing His mind. Like He didn’t understand because things were different then.  (To insert here something not included in my presentation, but something my pastor mentioned since, if I get it right: if God changes His mind in response to a change, or changing circumstances in His creation, i.e. in areas of morality, He is not sovereign or immutable or omnipotent or even omniscient. He is subject to His very creation, and His very creatures.)
Anything and everything we need to know about Jesus is in the Scriptures. He will not tell us anything new that contradicts what He has already told us. Jesus is the final revelation of God. Jesus said, 'I and the Father are one.' He said, 'If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father,' and he said, 'no one comes to the Father except by me.' Many people will say they believe in God. Other religions have various concepts of God. The native in the darkest corner of the jungle or forest may have some vague idea that there must be something higher, but the only way to truly know God most fully is through Jesus Christ."
Alpha focuses on Jesus.
(to be continued...)


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