Mindless Christians Deliberately Disobeying Jesus
Who, Christians? Deliberately disobeying Jesus? Yep, sadly happens all the time. We have clear commands from Jesus which we routinely ignore or disregard, and we think we are somehow still being good disciples of his. Let me focus on just one area of deliberate disobedience.
Did Jesus command us to love God with our minds? Did Jesus talk about the need to be wise as serpents? Did Jesus say that often the children of this world are wiser than the children of light? The answer to all three questions is yes. Back in 1982 R.C. Sproul argued that we “live in the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western Civilization.”
I have shared that quote often because it is so utterly and so tragically true. I continue to be overwhelmed at the out of control levels of biblical illiteracy amongst so many Christians. I continue to be staggered by the inability of so many Christians to engage in basic logic, basic reasoning, and basic thinking.
It is as if so many believers actually exalt in ignorance, in stupidity, in cluelessness. They seem to relish offering worldly wisdom instead of biblical wisdom. They seem to be saturated with the precepts and beliefs of secular humanism instead of the biblical worldview.
There is never a shortage of examples of this sadly. Some examples have just appeared on some other social media sites, and they grieve me greatly to be honest. That people can claim to be Christians and actually makes such mindless statements shows what a miserable condition the church is in today.
The first ones have to do with the total ignorance and cluelessness most Christians have concerning the nature of Islam. On another thread in which I was trying to point out the complete difference between Islam and Christianity, especially on the issue of sanctioned violence, I got one guy saying this:
“When I read medieval Sufi poetry I find a common theme around humanity, our desires and greed, as when I read medieval Mystics. When I read the Q’aran I find much to horrify me, as much as reading lots of what gets called the Old Testament (and some of the New Testament).”
There are so many problems here, including an ignorant moral equivalence which I have dealt with so often elsewhere. And even his example is out to lunch. As I replied: “Thanks for making my case for me – holding up the mystical reformist Sufis as somehow representing Islam (hint: they are regarded as heretics by mainstream Islamic jurisprudence) demonstrates how utterly clueless some folks are here.”
But it got worse, much worse. Another person claiming to be a Christian came back with this zinger: “If IS represents Islam then the Klux Klan represents Christianity”. That was so utterly foolish in the extreme that I did not even bother to reply to this guy, as per Proverbs 26:4.
But as I have written so often, the Islamic State is in fact the perfect example of true Islam at work. There is nothing whatsoever Christian about the KKK however. That atheists and secular humanists make these sorts of idiotic remarks I can understand. That so-called Christians will do so is appalling in the extreme.
Then I had a gal replying to my article on the Christian grandmother and florist who did not want to make a homosexual wedding cake as part of her small business. The rather clueless Christian said this: “One question why did she turn them away. Christ said come to me all who are burdened…perfect opportunity to witness.”
I replied: “Read the articles! She had been serving them for years and never turned them away – she simply and rightly said she could not be involved in homosexual ‘marriage’. She is exactly right, and is to be praised for standing for God’s truth even though she might lose everything. She puts to shame so many clueless and cowardly ‘Christians’. Thus she certainly did offer a perfect witnessing opportunity.”
Another example of the sheer inability – or unwillingness – of some Christians to actually think straight came up in a discussion on the death penalty. Mind you, on this one, I have probably encountered more unbiblical thinking, more illogic, more confusion, and more tortured reasoning and moral mushiness than on most other topics. One guy did not like capital punishment, and offered this as the reason why Christians must oppose it:
No, “May God’s will be done on earth AS it is done in Heaven” ( they do not have Capitol punishment in Heaven…they DONT NEED IT!… Neither do they have “an eye for an eye ” etc. Going on up there…I don’t think so…)
Gods will should be done on earth as God has laid out for us in His Word…but His Word also allows for Grace…) but being sentenced to die for a crime that caused others to die, is not unfair nor un”Gracious”, when one TRULY KNOWS the Giver of Forgiveness, Atonement, and The Giver Of Eternal Life!
Wow. Never mind that it is God himself who ordained the death penalty. But I discuss that all in detail elsewhere. I replied this way: “But they don’t marry in heaven, go to school in heaven, brush teeth in heaven or send out missionaries in heaven – does that mean these are also bad things and not God’s will here on earth? There are many things on this earth which God has ordained and commanded because we live in a fallen world which of course will not be needed in heaven.”
As a final example, I have had more than one Christian contacting me, quite concerned about being forced to go to a mosque as part of some Christian course or class they are taking. As one of them just wrote me, “tonight we are scheduled to visit a local mosque. Organizers wanted to make sure we do not ‘offend’ the Muslims so asked that nobody wear any Christian clothing or jewelry, and that women have their heads covered.”
I assured these folks that their concerns are very well placed, and that it is indeed staggering that Christian groups would be doing this. I told them that they should share their concerns with the leaders, and ask them why are they going to the mosque in the first place?
I went on to say that if it was being done to help them better understand Islam so that they might more effectively win Muslims for Jesus that is one thing, but if this is simply part of a dumb interfaith exercise then they should avoid this like the plague.
This handful of examples is regrettably just a tiny portion of what I encounter on a regular basis, and is fully representative of a church which is so dumbed down, so theologically myopic, and so biblically illiterate that one fears greatly for the future of the Western church.
‘Let my people think’ is the cry of the hour. We need more than ever Christians who will actually think and love God with their whole being, including their minds. We do God no favours whatsoever when we celebrate our stupidity and make a virtue out of our ignorance.
The good news is there are always those who love God with all their minds, and have served the Kingdom so well as a result. We think of recent great Christian thinkers and apologists such as C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer. Or consider those of today, such as Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, John Lennox or R. C. Sproul, to name but a few.
Although my remarks here are not limited or confined to apologetics, these four quotes are most appropriate as I conclude:
“God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of being a Christian, I warn you: you are embarking on something that is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book [The Pilgrim’s Progress] that has astonished the whole world.” C.S. Lewis
“If all the world were Christian it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now – not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground – would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defence but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” C. S. Lewis
“It’s not just Christian scholars and pastors who need to be intellectually engaged with the issues. Christian laymen, too, need to be intellectually engaged. Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one’s faith is logical and fits the facts of experience, of the stability brought to one’s life by the conviction that one’s faith is objectively true.” William Lane Craig
“Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind that God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality and cut ourselves off from many of the riches of God’s grace.” John Stott
11 Replies to “Mindless Christians Deliberately Disobeying Jesus”
That’s the problem with the internet. Too many ignorant people are trying to pass themselves off as armchair experts on all manner of subjects, when quite frankly they should pull their heads in. If you don’t understand an issue properly, keep quiet.
Yes, God can lead a donkey to water, but he cannot make them drink.
Couldn’t agree more, Bill. Bonhoeffer was another one who engaged his mind in his Christian faith (albeit a little misguided at times). With all the resources we have at our fingertips we should be studying the Word more – there is really no excuse. My wife and I study a book of the Bible together. We read a chapter every evening and then read what the commentary says. Not that we should rely on commentaries, but they often have some good input that gets you thinking. We do this until we have finished the book, then go onto another one.
There is a lot to be said for reading good authors too, like John Piper, Gordon Fee, etc.
Sometimes in comment forums someone will write something such as “If you Christians would only read the Old Testament you might get a few surprises”. My first reaction is of course to think how ridiculous it is to suggest that Christians don’t read the whole Bible, or at least most of it. But it so true in so many cases. Quite tragic.
Great article Bill, loving God with our mind could extend into many other areas also. I also sympathize with the frustrations of dealing with silly thinking in people.
Just to digress somewhat, in regards to this comment in your article:
“Did Jesus say that often the children of this world are wiser than the children of light? The answer to all three questions is yes.”
May I suggest that Jesus never said the children of the world are wiser than God’s children, rather that Jesus was using sarcasm, take a look at the context:
Luk 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
Luk 16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
If we take it that Jesus is saying this as a truth and not sarcasm then we also must say that Jesus first ‘praised unrighteousness’, and secondly told us that ‘making friends with unrighteous people will save us eternally when we fail to simply obey God’s righteousness’.
Note the truth which Jesus then makes, following these comments to set the record straight on what Jesus is and isn’t saying exactly:
Luk 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
Luk 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
Luk 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
Luk 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
And note who his audience also were (v14 Pharisees), that He spoke of regarding not being faithful with God’s stewardship. They who were just about to be put out of their position because of unfaithfulness to God’ stewardship, and of whom were also making friends with those in position of authority, and partial to those who had money etc. They were looking to these to keep their position and draw support against Christ. Christ called them out on it.
Luk 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
Thus, Jesus is not saying ‘the world is wiser than the children of God’, He was using sarcasm.
Thanks Dorian. Yes he was using sarcasm, but even more so, irony. I of course just used the popular rendering of this verse here. A more precise translation would be something like this: ‘worldlings are more shrewd in taking advantage of their opportunities than are the children of light’. Jesus is telling the disciples, and all of us, to use the same sort of shrewd, prudent wisdom in preparing for the future.
No death penalty in Heaven? What do they think the judgment is?
I take small issue with the requirement for being “intellectual” as a Christian. We need to study the word but one thing I’m sure the atheists agree with is that you don’t have to be smart to be a Christian. There are plenty of people with simple faith that just go around doing the right thing with sort of an in built wisdom. The atheists can try to use it against us but it is one of the amazing beauties in how God has set up the scriptures to be just, irrespective of our limitations and His ability to trap those who are proud and wise in their own conceits. We can rely on the fact that our champion is very much smarter and more powerful than theirs. Of course, what some of us see as limitations God sees differently and develops other talents that some intellectuals don’t appreciate as much as they could or should.
Thanks Michael, But of course I nowhere said one has to be an intellectual to be a Christian. I did say – 100% correctly – that we are commanded to love God with our minds, which is a different matter, and I quoted other words of Jesus to that effect.
This article inspired and challenged me greatly. Sometime this week I listened to Dr John Lennox’s speeches re: Daniel’s and Joseph’s life and I felt so inspired. I prayed to the Lord saying, “I want to live my life like Daniel and Joseph. These men fear God, love God and obey God wholeheartedly and they have influenced the kings and ruler of their days and changed the world where they were living.
When reading this article, I felt led to pray that the Lord God would raise up more men and women of God in our generation to be the light and salt of the earth. May God raise up laymen within his Church such courageous Christian lawyers, politicians, scholars, doctors, scientists etc who have great conviction who their great God really in order to be God’s mouthpiece to speak for God to influence the world for God and they can stand the test of time for God and his truth.
A few years ago I asked a Christian pastor whether his church was trained and taught in apologetics but he said that he was not interested in this kind of thing. Some churches that I know are anti-intellectualism and they forget that the Lord teaches them to love God with all our minds too. Some churches believe that the traditional church is so rational and intellectual without believing in the supernatural power of God that is why they are afraid of or tend to shy away from such intellectualism.
I believe that our Christianity needs to have humble intellect and sharp minds as well as the power of God. Recently I meditated on the life of Elijah and many men and women of God long for the days that the spirit of Elijah would come back again to challenge and destroy the demonic power but we need a real courageous, fearless Elijah, not a fearing Elijah.
Remember, Prophet Elijah had extraordinary power on Mount Carmel but he ran for his life when threatened the next day by evil Queen Jezebel. We need men like courageous, fearless men and women like David who dared saying to Giant Goliath, “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
The Church of Living Christ needs men and women like the apostle Paul saying, “… though we walk in the world, we do not fight according to this world’s rules of warfare. The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to Christ – the Anointed One…” (2Cor10:3-6).
I wholeheartedly agree with Bill that we need men like these three great, courageous, fearless Christian thinkers and apologists Drs Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, and John Lennox and others who obey, fear, and love God with all their minds, and have served the Kingdom so well. I believe that they are men who believe in the great God of heaven – the Lord Jesus – the Anointed One who is always the same: yesterday, today, and forever. I believe that they believe in the supernatural power of God and they are men who are filled with the Holy Spirit to be God’s prophets in their generation. May God bless them richly and empower them to proclaim the eternal Gospel of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that many lives were convinced, convicted, and converted to Christ and transformed into Christ’s image to be his followers to touch the world for Christ and advance God’s kingdom on earth, Amen!
Great article Bill. Your are correct that many people don’t understand Islam. Please don’t misunderstand what I am going to say. In 2001 a group of Christians in my town formed a group to teach English to about 80 Afghan Hazara Shia “boat people”. The Shia Muslims are considered to be infidels by the Sunni Muslim majority. They have no homeland. In fact, the only place the Hazaras belong is in the cemetery. They know that I am a Christian and that I am helping them because that is what Jesus calls me to do. Also, I spent some time teaching in an “expat” school in (Xxxxx). As you know, proselytising is not allowed and Muslim apostates will die. But the work Christians do is appreciated. Your readers ought read Raymond Ibrahim’s book Crucified Again, Mark Durie’s The Third Choice and subscribe to Robert Spenser’s Jihad Watch. Finally, there are more Christians in that country who profess Jesus than I first thought. I pray for that country and the believers who in the most dangerous place in the world for “People of the Book”
Yes all three are excellent resources Brian. For example, I review Ibrahim’s book here: