On this date in 1997, I gave my life to Christ.
This week, I had the opportunity to hear Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis speak at a homeschool convention in South Carolina. I genuinely enjoy listening to Ken speak. I think I’ve heard every presentation he has at least four times over, but I always find some new insight I haven’t heard before. This time, discussing the dichotomy of our responsibility to defend the faith and preach the Gospel against the fact that God alone saves and convinces, Ken Ham mentioned how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He noted that Christ gave Lazarus life simply by commanding Lazarus to come forth from the grave. It is still Christ alone who saves us. Yet he also noted that before He called Lazarus forth to life, he told others to remove the stone that blocked his tomb. That’s our job essentially: we preach the Gospel and defend the faith and, in doing so, we remove the stones that prevent someone from hearing and receiving the Gospel.
His comments got me thinking about my own experience.
I had grown up in church, as it were, but I rejected the faith of my youth. When I graduated from high school, I also quit church to become a rather blasphemous agnostic. I thought I had very good reasons for leaving. On the one hand, I grew up in the 80s, so I encountered the gross hypocrisy of televangelists exposed on national media at the same time I encountered the soul-less legalism and everyday hypocrisy of many a local church. On the other hand, I could not reconcile the scientific claim of millions of years of microbes-to-man evolution with what I read in Genesis. I prided myself in being quite intelligent, so a literal Genesis became a stumbling block to me.
One thing I realize now is that I never truly knew Jesus then. I knew a lot about Him and I knew a lot about church doctrine and such, but I never truly knew Him. Who could ever leave Him after truly having known Him? It was a dangerous place to be in: flowing so well with Church culture that i supposed I must be saved when I wasn’t; being merely conformed to the rudiments of Christian culture rather than truly transformed by Christ.
Mercifully, God allowed me to see that while I had settled how I felt about the Church and its Christians, I had never really settled the question of God Himself. As a point of irony, God used my intellectual pride as a hook. How could I remain an agnostic and retain any intellectual integrity? If I suspected there might even possibly be a God, I owed it to myself and my intellect to determine whether God existed and what sort of a God He might be. God graciously peppered my life with Christians who took my questions seriously, who didn’t ruffle when my questions weren’t at all polite or gentle, and who were honest enough to say, “Hey, I don’t know, but if you give me a week I’d like to get back to you on that,” when they genuinely did not know. These Christians helped to remove the stumbling blocks that prevented me from truly hearing and receiving the Gospel. I am grateful for their obedience to the Bible and the Great Commission, and for their example. Yet so many of my generation left the church, never to return.
The sad truth, according to Barna Research, is that most Christians go through their entire churched lives without ever leading even one person to saving faith. That to me is a travesty and an outrage! Will we play church while the world goes to hell?
Only you can answer that question for yourself. For my part, I am not content.
This week DefGen.org reached 150,000 visitors and counting. To re-affirm our commitment to reach the lost, we launched a new page with articles dedicated to defending and preaching the Gospel. We hope you’ll check out The Everlasting Gospel and join us as we continue our part in removing the stones of doubt and unbelief in other’s lives.
God bless you,