I was assigned a seat on the 8 hour flight from Newark to Stockholm next to a man named Brad. His life has been a fascinating one. Brad was born in the States, moved to Sweden when he was 4, unexpectedly ended up in Mexico for 8 years where he married a single mom who had two kids already, and ended up back in Sweden, living and working in Stockholm. He has also spent time in Lanzhou, China, where I played a few shows back in 2008.
Coming back to Religion
As I mentioned in my previous post, Brad doesn’t like religion, but not in the sense that you would think. He doesn’t mind people having their own opinions and worldviews and actually holds people in high regard for having convictions. He isn’t an Atheist because he knows there must be something beyond this world, but he thinks that all religions point to the same thing and have too much in common to be pointing opposite directions. So you can see where some disagreement might come in.
I explained that religion is not what Jesus taught, nor was it the point of the Scriptures. He was interested to hear that we don’t have to do things for salvation and quickly understood that (these are his words) “good works are the consequences of belief in Christ.” I couldn’t have said it better. But then came another smoke screen of problems he couldn’t reconcile:
- Within Christianity there are too many denominations each with their own viewpoints and interpretations that are right in some relativistic way (his idea, my words).
- The Bible was probably written much later than what we think, so things must be fabricated.
- There is a greater truth somewhere, but our physical minds cannot understand it- like only a dog can hear certain frequencies, so our minds aren’t attuned to the ultimate truth.
Oh, how close you are to knowledge of Christ, Brad! It is my prayer that he would understand these things. I pray that he would know:
- There are many religions and they all point to the truth in the sense that they all are seeking to fulfill our deepest longings. But they all fall short of Jesus, in whom there is true salvation.
- There are many different denominations but many of our differences do not negate the central truth of Christianity, instead they are stylistic/philosophy differences that seek to unite and purify the Church.
- The Bible is accurate and inerrant in all it affirms, and we can trust the translations.
- And there is a greater truth out there that we need to know, AND our physical minds cannot comprehend it, we need the Spirit to open our eyes to what we cannot see on our own. Our minds are not attuned to the truth of God apart from His Spirit. Brad is so close to belief in Christ!
Pray for Brad, but beyond that, pray that we as the Church would be bold in our witness and bring the truth through the power of the Cross to the lost. Pray that the Spirit will move in us and those we are seeking to reach.