Aloha From The Pastor’s Desk
Constructing Your Religion by Mathematics?
By Pastor Harold Kilborn
Are you, as a Christian, constructing your faith by mathematics? This is a problem that the church has been dealing with from the time of her inception.
There are many (Christians) today who are constructing their faith this way because they are discontent with the traditional beliefs they’ve been taught.
First, some Christians are constructing their faith by SUBSTRACTION. Let me explain. There are those who subtract anything the Bible says that is distasteful. Hell does not sit well with many Christians and they will not even talk about it. They feel talking about hell will repel and shun people away from embracing Christianity. God is love and he won’t send anyone to hell. Friend, God doesn’t arbitrarily send people to hell. If people go to hell, they go by choice. Refusing to accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior is considered to be a choice, or decision, that you’ve made that will send you there.
I do realize that there are some pastors that will not talk about hell in their church. They are afraid that some of their people would just walk out of their church and never come back. Maybe they will lose some of their best givers.
It’s interesting, because the word ‘hell’ occurs 24 times in the New Testament, and 22 of the 24 times Jesus used the word. If there is no hell, what in the world did Jesus save us from?
If your pastor doesn’t believe in hell or doesn’t even mention it, then it may be time to find another church.
Remember, there can be no positive without the negative. What’s the negative? I am a sinner and I am on my way to hell. Accepting Jesus gives me eternal life with him forever; that’s the positive that I can talk about, but I need to first accept that there is the negative. There can be no good news without the bad news first.
Sexual purity: that’s just too restrictive. Let’s remove that from the Bible. The rationale with some people is that we live in a different time period and God understands. It is nothing but self-deception to think and believe that way. The Word of God doesn’t change. Living with someone is considered to be sexual immorality, and no professing believer who is living in such a sin should partake in any ministries of the church (Read I Corinthians 5). You say this is un-loving. No, it’s not. If fact, the Bible says we are to excommunicate those from the church. The purpose is restoration, that they will see how sinful it is, feel bad for living such a way, and repent. The man who was excommunicated in I Corinthians 5 later repented in 2 Corinthians. The most loving thing you can do is to tell the truth.
As pastors, we should never allow people who are living in moral or scandalous sin to be engaged in ministry of any sort. This would be a stench in the nostrils of God. We need sexual purity in this ‘psycho’ sexual culture in which we live.
Second, there are those engaged in religion by ADDITION. They don’t believe the Bible tells us everything you need to know. The Bible isn’t enough. They believe the death of Christ on the cross is not enough. We need something else. We need: Faith in Christ and Water Baptism. Faith in Christ, keeping the Law, and this, and this, and this, …
It was Saint Augustine, one of the most brilliant minds and intellectuals of the church, that said, “Faith alone saves, but faith that saves is never alone. It also produces good works”. If you are truly saved, there will be a production of works in your life. So, it is religion by addition.
Third, you have those who are involved in religion by MULTIPLICATION. They say Jesus is not the only way to heaven. Jesus is only one of multiple paths to God. It is arrogant to think that Jesus is the only way to God. There are many ways to God: Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, etc. There are multiple ways to the same God. They say all religions teach the same thing. Anybody who says that is a moron. They have no clue as to what the world religions are. I took a course at a secular college and learned different religions do not teach the same things. They teach contradictory things about different gods.
Fourth, you have those involved in religion by DIVISION. They divide and say you can’t be of our group or church fellowship because you don’t believe in the baptism of the Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, pre-tribulation rapture, water baptism by immersion, or the way we believe in terms of pre-destination, election, foreknowledge, etc. These are areas we can agree to disagree on. They are considered to be peripheral or non-essential doctrines. They have nothing to do with salvation. If anything, we need to whole-heartedly agree on the essentials, or the non-negotiables, of the historic faith. I think it was Augustine who made this statement: “In non-essentials, liberty; in essentials, unity; but in all things, charity”.
In closing, since the beginning of time people have been trying to construct their own religion. Listen: everything you need to know about Jesus is in the Bible. Everything you need to know about the Christian life is in the Bible. Jesus is God’s living Son and Jesus is God’s final Word. He is the source of everything we need.
Ask yourself this question: Am I constructing my Christianity by mathematics? I hope not. Remember the battle cry of The Reformation: Sola Scritura!