So we left off the last post (no pun intended) after making a case for the four presuppositions of Christianity as follows:
2.God reveals Himself to people (including me)
3.That revelation overwhelmingly shows that God is good
4.It also shows that, in comparison to God, I am not
The next few presuppositions of Christianity are to deal with this hopeless situation and are called the Gospel. While it begins with our sinfulness, it ends with our redemption. First of all, we must assume that God loves us enough not to leave us in this serious state of helplessness. It is He who chooses to deal with the barriers between us. Those barriers were not insignificant. Actually, they were of such enormous contrariness, that, to get rid of them, God would have to die! Oh-oh, I see a problem. GOD CANNOT DIE! In order for that death to be accomplished, God would have to become a man. I choose to believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and died for my sins. This is an important presupposition for Christians. It is foundational in anyone's life who wants to be considered a Christian by any yardstick.
The next presupposition of the Gospel has to do with what one should do with the notion of Christ dying (and coming back to life) for you. Once you choose to believe that, for all intents and purposes, you are a Christian, in my point of view. Now there is so much more in the Life of God once that stuff is settled. Remember that we got to this point by believing the revelations of God as He led us from our hopelessness to our faith in Him. The revelations don't stop there. God takes an interest in us, our behavior, and our impact in the world. He begins to speak to us in order to guide us to a place where the improvements in those three areas are completely evident.
It is with some concern that I encounter people who would self-define as Christian who don't believe that they should change their lives in any way. They would rather relegate Him to some distant Deity or a sweet, grandpa-like figure without any regulatory standards. It is common knowledge that statistics show Christians to be unremarkably the same as outsiders in various ways including, but not limited to, pre-marital and extra-marital sexual behavior, drug and alcohol misuse, lying, etc. ad nauseum. (Personally, I believe that the statistics are somewhat skewed and I would be aware that those numbers may show a presupposition of the one asking the questions. What questions and how they are worded and what sort of parameters are placed upon them are all going to impact the outcome. Definitions as to who is counted as a Christian and who isn't would make the numbers say whatever you want, actually. This is not to say that there is not way too much of those behaviors attached to the Church) Suffice it to say that there should be a presupposition related to the fact that God has great expectations for the ones to whom He reveals Himself.
Let's look at those three areas again. In no apparent order they are changes in what goes on internally in our thought-life, what goes on externally in our behavior, and how we impact the world. It may be considered that the first is the motive force of the other two but there are many times when it is one of the others that provide the drive.
The maturing of the mental processes that give us a godly mind is subject to continuing scrutiny. To help us by ensuring that we are on the right track, God provides for the next presupposition; that the Bible is His Word and He reveals Himself through its pages. We cannot consider any truth outside of and contrary to this containment field to be valid for us as Christians. Without this spiritual fence, we would be free to pursue any doctrinal fancy that comes our way. It is the presupposition that this book will guide us which gives us the very generous length and breadth of valid Truth. We will never be asked by God to contravene any of the precepts found in there. Our fence keeps unwanted things out and wanted
Our behavior is the next presupposition that we are going to look at. It is assumed that, once we perceive what God is looking for in our thought-life as expressed in the Scripture, we can begin to see what it looks like on the street of our lives. What does it look like when we are seen in the day-to-day actions that make up our lives? What does our spouses see when they look at us? Our children? Our
co-workers? What kind of language do people hear coming out of our mouths? What do other drivers of our city think when they follow us in their vehicles? What all these people who are in our lives should see is a picture, however imperfect, of Jesus Christ Himself. Just to clarify, that is the pre-crucifixion Jesus; the One that was loving, and serving, and sharing, and serving, and serving. That isn't the One with hair like wool, or eyes of fire, with a sword coming out of His mouth (not that He is not as loving in the Revelation). So, to reiterate, our behavior should reflect a generous, loving, Christian attitude.
Those two presuppositions would naturally lead to the third, which is being an impact on the world. It should be plain to most that we are to somehow have an influence on our culture. Whether it is volunteering at a food-bank or going on a short-term or long-term mission or shut-in and hospital visiting or jail ministry or...or...or... There are literally hundreds of avenues through which we can influence our
world. It is assumed that one to whom God revealed Himself would get with the program and DO SOMETHING! Contained within this assumption is that it would be God who shows you what He wants you to do.
It may be a bit disheartening to realize the enormity of the tasks that God seems to be asking of us. We must actively believe in the presuppositions of the Gospel. We must actively pursue a pure mental state. We must adjust our behavior to line up with God's revealed standards. Finally we must actively engage our world with the agenda of bringing redemption to it in some way. This sounds like a tall order for anyone and would be considered impossible by any stretch except for the last presupposition that I am going to talk about. Since this is God's plan and not man's, we can assume that God would provide the where-with-all to see it to completion. He would be the one to give us what we need to accomplish all the
things that He asks of us. If we understand Essential Christianity, we find that the strength of character that is required to finish the job, so to speak, is resident in God Himself who promises to live inside of us for the duration. We are baptized...filled with the third part of the triune Godhead, the Holy Spirit. It is here where we find the power to accomplish all of these seemingly overwhelming things that is asked of us if we want to be defined as a Christian. God certainly does not leave us without comfort when we are facing these giant obstacles in our spiritual lives.
Having God living inside the Christian would mean that, if you find Christianity to be boring, you are doing it wrong and may not be a Christian at all. It would be in your best interest to investigate the things that I wrote about today just so that you can experience all that God has for you. All these are presuppositions which mean that they are assumed to be true outside of absolute proof. All I can say is once you enter the presuppositions; you begin to see the Truth of them everywhere.