It seems to be the most quoted Bible verse: Do Not Judge.
Yet it is probably one of most misinterpreted verse in our life and time.
Here’s a good short video:
Note: This is part 1 of 2 posts that will address the issue of Hindus that have been on Twitter attacking evangelistic minded Christian as being self-centered.
Christians who are praying and helping with evangelistic Relief effort with the Earthquake in Nepal have been accused of being arrogant for wanting to share the Gospel. For example one of the Hindus who have been constantly harassing us and many prayerful Christians just tweeted this an hour or so ago against the Bible League in Australia:
On our blog an interlocutor has also charged that we
have arrogance to think that “pagans” are backward and need redeeming.”
What do we say to that charge?
First off, followers of Christ can be arrogant. That’s because Christians still have a sinful nature. Just like everybody else. This confirms the Bible in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. To deny that Christians cannot possibly be arrogant at all is arrogance–better to acknowledge it. This observation however does not excuse the sin. Instead a Christian who is arrogant needs to repent from their sins. Lower yourself and be humbled before God.
Secondly, the need for redemption isn’t only for what our interlocutor called “pagans” (using his own words). Non-“pagans” need redemption too.
Thirdly, I myself a sinner am also in need of God’s saving grace because of my sins. I hope that every Hindu who have been harassing Christians would know that I don’t think of myself as any better in my own merit than what someone (in this case the interlocutor) might call “backwards.”
Fourthly, I don’t think believing people need to be redeemed by Christ on the cross is arrogant. Instead the message of the Cross kills arrogance and instead makes us foster humility. The Gospel says that we ALL are sinners (Romans 3:10, 3:23) who are ALL spiritually dead if it’s up to ourselves (Ephesians 2:1-3). “For ALL of us have become like one who is unclean, And ALL our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6a). Even when we do outwardly what others might identify as our good deeds, still we can do it with ulterior motive, or it is fueled or done to promote our self-righteousness. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The believer of the Gospel knows he’s a begger in need of grace. He knows that because of his lack of righteousness, God has to provide His Son to die on the Cross for his legal righteousness before God. And any practical righteousness afterwards in a Christian life, if it is true righteousness is the work of God in his life and an outworking of the truth of God’s saving love is the motivation for his obedience.
Fifthly, a Christian that truly understands the Gospel will share this to others as another dying sinner to another dying sinner. Ironically, if a Christian who understands and believes in the Gospel will not share this to others, he would be committing a high-handed sin of selfishness to genuinely believe the truth that there is a way of salvation and yet not share that to others. Such a fool is arrogant, only caring for his own life and not think of others but only himself. #HindusandcitizensofNepalslivesmatter.
Sixtly, if you have been misrepresenting praying Christians and Christian missionaries and relief workers as being arrogant and have read this explanation and still want to accuse Christians of being arrogant in their internal motivation even though you now know better, then God help you. Continual misrepresentation even when one knows better is arrogance: You want to still keep on saying this, and you have made your desire to slander Christians as being more important than the truth. Whenever an agenda is advanced with half-truths and lying sound bites, it is wickedness. Repent to God for mercy for your sins.
Lastly, from some of our interaction this past week some of you have said you are without sin. That’s ironic that you can still keep a straight face and charge Christians for arrogance don’t you think? The most arrogant thing you can ever say or think is to think you are without sin. It means you are perfect. It means you can do no wrong; it means you have become a functional god. Oh the arrogance of presuming you are a perfect god! But your deeds reveal otherwise. Now if you confess your sins to God, repent of it and turn to the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, He is faithful to forgive you, to change you, to cleanse you.
Posted in christian apologetics, Christianity, Cornelius Van Til, Evangelism, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, Reformed, Theology, Van Til, Witnessing on April 28, 2015| 16 Comments »
Background: In my post on Sunday “Twitter attack on #SoulVultures and the Nepalese Earthquake,” I noted that there are Hindus and others on Twitter harassing those Christians who expressed evangelistic prayers for Nepal in light of the recent earthquake and Christian evangelistic relief efforts. In Sunday’s post I gave a compact summary of the Gospel since people kept on misrepresenting it and I also dealt with the objection to Christian evangelistic relief effort and evangelistic prayers. Specifically I dealt with the objection by noting how the objection faces a self-defeater that is provided from within these guys’ own respective worldview. As of this moment that I am writing this, those who have commented on the post against us have yet to interact with the arguments that was presented. But overall at least the comments were civil. But this is not true on Twitter. We’ve been called many things and have many nasty things said about Christianity the last 48 hours. I want to share one of the better exchange that was not filled with profanity. I want to share this dialogue as a window for others to see the folly of opposing Christians sharing the Gospel when one’s own faulty worldview and religious outlook undermine the rational basis for making that objection. I want to note that since EvangelZ and I (SlimJim) both used the blog’s Twitter account, it is hard to distinguished my tweet and those by EvangelZ. Here I limiting the record of this dialogue to the tweets that were my own words. I also left out other Hindus ganging up against us during the dialogue as these tweets were largely distracting, harassing and not fruitful. I also focused only on the tweets of our dialogue partner directed towards my own words; and the tweets from our Hindu friend that I am responding to.
I want to explain what I see the direction of the dialgue with the following illustration. Wouldn’t it be strange if a boxer ended up knocking himself out? Kind of like this guy did to himself:
I think this describes what our Hindu friend did to himself here. I think it was not so much I was “beating down” on him as it was more that his own beliefs were delivering his own knockout punches. The point of my dialogue was merely to point out that his own beliefs were refuting his objection against Christians engaging in evangelism to Hindus.
Our Hindu friend’s main thesis was, to put it in his words, “The ppl u seek to cnvrt have their own religion,y not accept that his religion is as precious/true for him as urs for u.”
We pick up where he started to describe his beliefs that religious claims are no more than mere preferences:
Hindu: u have the right to say my dad is the best dad in the world,as long as u add two words; “for me”.Sadly ppl dont realize this
The Domain for Truth: so religious claims are just subjective?
Hindu: certainly. Not all people think alike,hence there are different ways to approach the divine.Depending on ur culture/country.
The Domain for Truth: Ok so if you believe this why are you railing against another cultural way of giving aid? #contradiction
Hindu: u may like baked potatoes,i may like french fries.The potate does not change,how we consume it does.
The Domain for Truth: You say we should not condemn as wrong yet you do so? #Contradiction
The Domain for Truth: If you believe everything is mere preference; then you can’t condemn someone else’s preference including those of Christians
Hindu: because u are demeaning someone else’s religion/faith in the process.Also the whole idea that my god is superior to ur god.
The Domain for Truth: But your belief in religious relativism is an undercutting defeater to your complaint of Christianity; you can’t say its wrong
Hindu: Think of god as an all loving parent.IsHe GoingToSend 1 to hell and another toHeaven JustCos 1 called him DadAndAnother pop?
The Domain for Truth: But that’s just your relative view remember? You assert all religious propositions are mere preferences; r u evangelizing?
Hindu: i am just saying u dont have the right to say that baked potatoes are the only way,other ways of consuming it is wrong.
The Domain for Truth: Who made you one who gives right when its all up to individual preference? Do you see the irony?
Hindu: We dont because we respect all faiths.We accept that any effort made to reach god in any form is acceptable to god.
The Domain for Truth: Will you accept the Christian faith? Hm…
Hindu: How is it evangelizing,didnt ask anyone to leave their faith.
The Domain for Truth: Evangelism is sharing one’s faith
The Domain for Truth: Let me explain: If you say religious claims are preferences its just their choice. But then you say “u dont have the right”
Hindu: nope.Accept that the religion in which u are born is the best for u.Its called swadharma(ones own dharma) in hinduism.
Hindu: ur mom might be best for u,not for me.for me my mother is the best.Always remember that and there will be no quarrels.
The Domain for Truth: Thank you for that term Swadharma
The Domain for Truth: But then you quarrel with someone’s else view? Do you see the irony of your claims and what you are doing?
Hindu: did not ask u to leave ur faith.U asked me a question and I responded.
The Domain for Truth: But you attacked our faith and our God
Hindu: Saying Whites are better than blacks is blatant racism.Same holds true for religions,shoudlnt it.religious racism.
The Domain for Truth: But is this objectively true? Remember you assert claims that are religious in nature is just subjective preferences
Hindu: nope.Discussing is different from abusing/calling names.didnt ask u the convert or speak ill abt Christianity,now did I??
The Domain for Truth: You didn’t ask us to convert; true; but you did argue against it how is that accepting?
Hindu: haha when did i attack,using the victim card now are we??
The Domain for Truth: Look at the thread and see what you have to say about Christianity
Hindu: Saying my version is the only version certainly is silly.
The Domain for Truth: No it’s a logical observation that two contarry claims can’t be right
The Domain for Truth: But is the Christian version silly in light of your mockery against it in this thread? #Contradiction
Hindu: my atman was already created divine.Only I have not realized it yet.no concept of sin with atman.
The Domain for Truth: “my atman was already created divine.Only I have not realized it”<–You know this but you didn’t realize it? #Contradiction
Hindu: no saying my way/religion is the “only” religion certainly is.
The Domain for Truth: If you really are tolerant can you tolerate a religion that says it’s the only way?
Be sure to check out Gospel is Desperately Needed for the Lost in Nepal.
My prayers tonight is with the people in Baltimore with the riots going on.
I saw a clip of a mom trying to stop her son from participating in the protest/riot. Have you seen it?
This display of tough love moved me. This verse came to mind:
Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed. (Proverbs 27:5)
I’m just thinking out loud right now: What if every mom and dad, guardian, grandpa and grand ma, brothers and sisters, mentors, local pastors, and community leaders in these kids lives went all out to the streets tonight and lovingly and passionately appealed to these kids to stop will it make any effect? I’m not taking away personal responsibility nor am I naive to deny that in some instance there will still be the need for law enforcement to step in. But what if love–not just cheesy cardboard one dimensional vanilla feelings we often call love–what if genuine, raw and uncut tough love were to be applied at a macroscale by nonstate actors–would it make a difference? A dangerous question to ask because all kinds of questions follow about families, the church and the community’s role and their faithfulness to each of the sphere’s respective role.
The Church must live out its role of making disciples. The consequences of that impact is huge.
Gospel for Nepal
As of late, we have been receiving many twitter hates towards Christ and His Gospel. That’s right, if you hate Christians, the Gospel, then you hate Jesus Christ. And if you are a professing Christian that is willing to rebuild the temples or hostile towards Gospel preachers, you should be ashamed of yourself. You need to repent and ask God for forgiveness for assailing His servants. Many of our attackers come from Hindus who are not only from India, but Hindus who live in America. Yes, the land that grants freedom of religion and the freedom to preach the Gospel have its very anti-Gospel dwellers. Some of these critics rail against Christians sharing the Gospel in times of tragedy. How can we just limit ourselves to humanitarian needs (which is important), and not share the Gospel of Jesus Christ that feeds the soul for eternity?
Many of our critics have slandered and blasphemed God the Creator of their soul. There has been a huge misrepresentation of the Gospel. Here are some of the tweets. There is an insurmountable tweets that it is difficult to count them so we will only give a sample of them. And some can not be shared due to its obscenity.
To our critics, whom we love and care, we would like to take this time to share with you the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope that you are reading this. We pray that your heart is not severely hardened to the Gospel which is your only hope. We also share this so you do not misrepresent Christ and His Words.
Let’s start off with these points:
Aknowledgements: Parts of this doctrinal confession is adapted in part from the The Master’s Seminary Statement of Faith, Desiring God, HeartCry Missionary Society, and the Westminster Cathechism.
Note: We’re interrupting our regular Sunday series for this post. Please pray for Nepal and the people in light of the Earthquake.
one more.. the scavengers of tragedy.. inspired by
I saw someone else shared our post with the hashtag “Soulvultures” and when I looked it up I was surprised at the amount of Tweets that have been spewing against Christians who are praying for Nepal and that also prayed for the people in Nepal to see the love of God in Christ Jesus through Christian organization providing relief. I guess Christians who want to help in Nepal or are praying evangelistically for Nepal are now labeled as “Soul Vultures.”
There is a sense of irrationality with some of these tweets. One Tweet says:
#SoulVultures are dangerous than #earthquake
And then there’s this tweet:
People who convert using sword are far more honest about their motives than
#SoulVultures,who prey on people when they are most vulnerable.
With someone’s reply:
I always maintained ‘Jejus loves u’ Types are more Dangerous than ‘Kill all Kaafirs’ 😉
Really? People who are evangelistic relief workers are more dangerous than an earthquake that has killed 1500 people thus far? Or even more dangerous than Muslim extremists who want to kill all non-Muslims? Those who come with aid to help improve or save life is the equivalent or worst than guys who want to take life? You don’t have to believe in Christianity to see that these claims are outrageous.
Then there were the tweets that called for “Soul Vultures” to be damned, the Army to shoot them and also for a “Hindu Inquisition” to be implemented against them. Irrational hate for Christianity knows no bound.
I want to deal with two things in this post. First I want to clarify what is the Christian Gospel that Christians want to share with others as I see so many strawman fallacies being committed on Twitter. Secondly, I want to consider some of the objections to Christian evangelistic relief efforts in light of the different worldviews/religion and note that their own worldview provide the undercutting defeater against their objection to Christian evangelistic earthquake relief aid. I want to look at the Gospel first as it will shape how one deal with the objections in part two.
Again, I’m abhorred at the massive amount of misunderstanding as to what the Gospel of Jesus Christ means among those who tweet against “Soul Vultures.” For the purpose of avoiding misrepresentation this is a paragraph summary of the Gospel:
The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in all his ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin. Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is alienated from the love of God and is in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnatin at the hands of God. But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of his great love, sent his eternal Son born by the Virgin Mary, to die as a ransom and a substitue for the sins of rebellious people. And through the perfect obedience of the Son of God and his willing death on the cross as payment for our sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following him as Savior and Lord, will be saved from the wrath of God to come, be declared just in his sight, have eternal life, and recieve the Spirit of God as a foetaste of the glories of heaven with God himself.”
(Mark Dever, What is a Healthy Church Member?, 40-41)
Now this message will shape the way Christians share the Gospel. Christians who do share the Gospel are to do so in a loving manner motivated by the Love of God as Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15=
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Note here that their is no room for force, manipulation or strong arm tactics. Yet part of being loving is persuading people to be reconciled with God through Jesus Christ as verses 20-21 goes on to say=
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The sharing of the Good News to people must go around the World in light of Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19-20. A Christian must put into practice lovingly and wisely presenting the Christian faith. Whether or not the person comes to Christ is up to them and the Lord.
As noted already there is a strong resistance on Twitter against Christians helping people in need in Nepal who also have the goal of sharing the Gospel. No doubt some reading this will object that of course the above is important to the Christian; but Christians must also consider the faith of other people. And they are right. Here I am going to consider the objection to Christian sharing the Gospel in Nepal in light of other people’s faith and worldview. From my observation on Twitter I see objections coming from Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, “Christians” and various assortment that I’ll group together as “humanitarians.” I think the objection to Christians helping people in Nepal with both physical aid and the Gospel does not even make sense in light of the consideration of other propositions within their own belief systems. I will first look at the “humanitarian” objection as it overlaps with the objection of some of the other worldviews.
The heart of the humanitarian objection is much pragmatic: They see the need to address the practical need of the here-and-now of desperate people and not some pie-in-sky matter. I think an example of this objection can be seen from the following Tweet:
#SoulVultures pryng fr lost souls in #NepalEarthquake, no cncrn for humans pain. They fed on asian flesh nw wnt soul
Note the complaint that the Christian evangelistic relief worker has “no concern for human pain.” But does this even make sense?
First off, it doesn’t make sense to say Christian evangelistic aid workers are not compassionate and not concern for human pain. It’s the opposite. Christians are concerned for people’s pain. Not just only with the temporal pain after an earthquake but with human pain for all of eternity. The Christian relief worker is like the humanitarian: He or she sees the reality of human suffering and is moved unto action. Not just for the phenomenon of the earthquake. But also in light of the eternal reality of hell. You might assert that Christianity is not true–but please don’t make the Global statement that all Christians are not concerned and compassionate for people’s pain.
Secondly, let’s say hypothetically Christians are not concerned for human pain. From a pragmatic “here-and-now ” perspective if Christians are on the ground in Nepal with physical aid for those who are hurting wouldn’t that be a good thing? Even if the intention might not be noble among some Christian relief workers the “here-and-now” result is that Western non-government Christian charities are coming with help for Nepal. The “humanitarians” have nothing to complain about in light of their own criteria. Ironically the humanitarians who object to Christian Gospel driven relief effort is more concern about the “pie-in-sky” innner motivation of the helper rather than the “here-and-now ” result. The objection makes no sense within their own worldview.
Thirdly, if the goal really is to get physical relief for people in Nepal then opposing Christian evangelistic-minded relief goes against this very goal.
Atheists don’t believe in the existence of God. As I noted earlier some atheists on Twitter have also participated in the hash tag against #SoulVulture. But does an atheist objection against evangelistic aid workers in Nepal even make sense in their own worldview?
First off, some atheist put significance in helping people suffering from the Earthquake as the basis to condemn Christian who cannot put aside the promotion of the Gospel in their relief work. They presuppose that there is such things that are more meaningful and significant than other things but ironically the atheist worldview reduces everything as meaningless and insignificant since there is no significance and meaning for anything in a world of “pitiless indifference.” Note Richard Dawkins saying that things just “is:”
In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.
Why help people in such a universe? Helping people in this historic occassion means nothing when all of history means nothing since it “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing,” to quote Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Ultimately the atheist worldview has its own self-defeater against the significance of Earthquake relief over the propagation of the Gospel, but at the expense of reducing everything meaningless and insignificant.
Secondly, an atheist cannot assert that evangelistic relief effort is evil because within an atheist worldview there is no such thing as evil or good. Note Richard Dawkins’ famous quote:
The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
If there is no such thing as good or evil it makes no sense for them according to their own beliefs to condemn Christian relief missionary work as evil. For the atheist there is no standard of good and evil to “measure” the Christian and say they are wrong, evil, bad, etc.
First off, for followers of Hinduism and Buddhism that believe in the doctrine of Maya, we must ask: Is it real that Christian relief workers desire to convert people in Nepal to Christ? That is, if everything is ultimately an illusion (Maya) then it is not real that Christian relief workers desire to convert people in Nepal. Or that an earthquake happened in the first place for that matter. And it is hard to make a Hindu objection to Christian doing evangelistic relief work if an Hindu or a Buddhist believes everything is an illusion since that claim itself is an illusion.
Secondly, there is a lot of objection on Twitter that Christianity is exclusive. It makes exclusivistic truth claims. An undercurrent behind this objection is that Hinduism/Buddhism is not exclusive like Christianity. And yet ironically they exclude Christianity.
Thirdly, in light of the point made above, if Hinduism/Buddhism really is not exclusive as it claims to be, then it would have to embrace Christianity as true. Thus Christians who are doing evangelistic relief work are providing spiritual truths to those who are hurting. But most Hindus/Buddhists on Twitter object to Christian presentation of the Gospel. Instead they want Christians to provide physical aid without involving the Gospel. But if Hinduism/Buddhism really is not exclusive and embrace Christianity as true, why would they reject the spiritual truths but only want physical aid? Do they want physical aide more than spiritual truths? If that is the case, isn’t this being attached to the material things with their physical desires being greater than their desire for spiritual realities? And isn’t that contrary to the ways of Buddhism and Hinduism?
Fourtly, perhaps Hindus/Buddhists object to the above and say Christianity is not true and they object to Christianity because it is not tolerant while their religions is tolerant. This does not make the problem go away. If they are truly tolerant will they tolerate Christians who come with earthquake aid who also lovingly present the Gospel and leave the decision up to the individuals?
I believe we have much to be grateful concerning the English Bible that we have in our hands. When it comes to church history, many times our thankfulness are centered upon preachers, theologians, and reformers, but often Bible translators are forgotten. Men such as Calvin, Luther, Edwards, and Whitefield are men we recognize and men that many have read about and men whose portrait is hung on the wall in many homes. But what about Bible translators? One person that we must have ingrained in our mind is William Tyndale. If you like to hang pictures of theologians in your home, I encourage you to get a frame for Tyndale.
It is hard to know how Tyndale looks because he did not sit down to pose for a picture. Since he was a fugitive, he was on the run for doing Bible translation. This book seeks to expose Tyndale. He was the first man to translate the Bible into the English from the original languages. He knew eight languages and it has been said that when he spoke those languages, natives would not perceive him as a foreigner, but one who spoke like the people. One of the big challenges concerning languages was to learn biblical Hebrew. Barely anyone in Europe knew Hebrew; let alone taught Hebrew. Besides all these languages, he was considered the father of the Modern English language. He coined words that were never used in the English Bible such as scapegoat, atonement, sin offering, etc. He was not only the father of the English Bible, but he was considered the father of the English reformation. He was also considered the father of the Modern English Language. The author states, “Even Shakespeare must concede that he is an heir to this grand translator of the Scriptures. Repeatedly, Shakespeare uses words and phases that he has obviously adopted from Tyndale’s New Testament” (161). Also what Luther was to Germany in terms of reformation, Tyndale, was to England in its reformation.
This book was an encouraging read and was written concisely in order to obtain the major details of his life. The book covers his dangerous passion,his view on the doctrines of grace, his perilous work, his translation in the New Testament for common people, the translation of the Torah, his desire to always excel, and his further work in the Old Testament concerning the Historical Books. I highly recommend this book for those who have not read on the life of Tyndale. Anyone who appreciates the English language and the English Bible will benefit much from this short read.
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Reformation Trust through One Passion Ministries. I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.