Wednesday, September 2, 2009

He is God? Or He is Nuts, a Liar, a Blasphemer?

"Christianity is not the only truth in the world but it is the only complete truth." C.S. Lewis

There is a big problem in our world today, "What do we do about or what do we think about Jesus. For the Christian, He is everything. For believers of Judaism He is yet to come, for the Muslim he is but a great teacher and for other religions he is insignificant. Regardless of what you, dear reader, believe on the subject, I would think you would have to agree that Jesus is probably the most divisive subjects and the reason for much of the hatred that exists in the world today.

The opening statement by C. S. Lewis, "Christianity is not the only truth in the world but it is the only complete truth," will be offensive to some, but I want to explore is merits or it faults with you. Lewis is saying that he is willing to declare that there are elements of truth in all religious beliefs, but after much study and "sole" searching, he has determined Christianity is the most complete of all beliefs. Is it?

For us to get a definitive insight into the statement by Lewis, we need to get a glimpse of Lewis in real life. C. S. Lewis (Better know for his books The Chronicles of Narnia) was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898. Lewis, a confirmed atheist, was accepted at Oxford; and two friends he met there, J.R.R. Tolkien (A Roman Catholic and author of Lord of the Rings) and Owen Barfield (a new Christian convert) challenged him and in 1929 Lewis became a theist, acknowledging the possibility that a God did exist; two years later, 1931, he became a Christian. Some of the other books by Lewis are: Pilgrim's Regress, Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, Miracles, The Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, and the Great Divorce are a few.

Being inspired by the life and works of C.S. Lewis, I have determined to try to reason with those of you who do not believe in God, to those of you who say that somebody had to create the world (theist), to those of you who believe in only one God, (monothiest) to those of you who believe in a triune God, and to those of you who are in a state of spiritual confusion, a task for which I am not sure I am up to. Nevertheless, the following is my attempt at doing just that.

Theist, atheist, monotheist and agnostic

A theist is someone who believes that there is a creative force behind the universe coming into existence. An atheist is someone who simply does not believe in God. A monotheist is a person who believes in one God and one God only. An agnostic is a person who wants to believe in God but is always confused as to his existence.

I tell you about Lewis, because he goes from not believing in a God, to the possibility of there being a God and ultimately that not only was there a God, but that God became flesh and dwelt among men. In other words he came to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God as well as God Himself and that the Holy Spirit is God also. In other words, Lewis believed in the Trinity, that God was God, Jesus was God and the Holy Spirit was God.

That may very well parallel your life or it could be the complete opposite of your life. At this point in time I am not concerned with whether you acknowledge Jesus as being God or not. What I want to explore with you is both sides of the issue. If Jesus was not who he said he was, God incarnate, he was the biggest nut, liar and blasphemer the world had known at the time. Why do I say that?

One of the many problems a writer has to deal with is, "Where do I start?" I have chosen to start with Jesus Christ. He either was who he said he was, God, or He was the biggest nut, liar, or blasphemer that ever lived. Since we find his claim to be God, found in the Christian Bible, we will use that as a basis to prove or disprove his claim to be God and thus be able to forgive sins.

Let's explore some of the passages in the Christian Bible concerning Jesus:

" But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," is found in three of the Gospels: Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:10 and Luke 5:24.

If you walked down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana today and heard someone saying they had power to forgive sins, what would you think about that? Go back in time to when the above text was written. This "man" Jesus was telling the multitude that exact same thing. Was he nuts, or was he who he said he was, God incarnate and the very Son of God?

Suppose we are intrigued enough to continue listening to this prophet of Bourbon Street, and before long he said the following, which is found in the Gospel of John chapter 1:1-3: " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

The Prophet of Bourbon Street is intimating, that in the very beginning, not only was he with God, but that he was God and everything in the world that was made was made by him. Was he nuts, or was he who he said he was?

We are still standing there listening and we hear this said, as is found in John 1:10-14: He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

And now the Prophet of Bourbon Street is telling us he has the power to make you and I become the sons of God. And quoting from John 1:18: No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. This Prophet of Bourbon Street is now telling us that you are looking at God. Was he nuts, or was he who he said he was?

I do not know about you, but I would be very skeptical about this so called Prophet of Bourbon Street and I would probably say not only was He nuts but somebody ought to lock the man up or do away with him completely. And that is exactly what happened in 33 AD/C.E. when the Jewish leaders of the day did not accept the words of Jesus and demanded that he be killed (crucified).

Matthew 15:9-10 : But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.

Matthew 15:12-13: And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him.

Perhaps you are Jewish and are still looking for Messiah. Perhaps you are as skeptical, or envious, about Jesus too, perhaps not. Perhaps you do not know enough to "make the call one way or the other." Perhaps you are Muslim and believe as the Quran does, that He was a prophet but not the Son of God, and surely not God himself, but only a messenger of God.

Quran 4:171 O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.

Quran 5:75 The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away!

This we know: The Jews are expecting Jesus to come someday. The Muslims say he came but was only a messenger from God. The Christians say not only has he come but that he is God. We can say for certain, that all of these religious viewpoints acknowledge a Jesus. Was he who he said he was, or was he a nut?

If he was not who he said he was, he was completely nuts and should not be taken seriously; If he was who he said he was, you need to find out more about him. That is what I have done, and I challenge you to do the same.

I believe that Jesus is God and that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe the Son of God came to earth where He dwelt for 33 years. I believe that the Jews of that time thought him to be a blasphemer and persuaded King Agrippa to allow his crucifixion. I also believe He was crucified and buried for the sins of the world and that three days later God resurrected him for the justification of man's sin.

You see, I do not believe Jesus was a nut nor a liar nor a blasphemer. I believe He was who he claimed to be: God.

In 1975 Obed began a non-denominational church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was the pastor-teacher there for twenty-five years. In 2000 he and his wife Linda moved to Franklin, Tennessee to be near three of his six grandchildren.

Obed has published two books on how one should study the Bible and numerous pamphlets on religious issues. He often travels to speak at Bible conferences in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and his adopted state of Tennessee.

Obed and Linda have three sons, Wayne, who lives in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife Fran and three children, and is a songwriter/producer; Karey, who lives in Pacific Palisades, California with his wife Nada and three children, and is a screen writer/director; and Brent, who lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Agneiszka and is a singer/songwriter.

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