Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gullible or Noble?

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Acts 17:11

Someone thought I lost my faith the other day because I dared to question the truth of a story he was telling. It was a story I had heard many years ago, but had been changed into a Christian urban myth. I couldn’t quite remember the roots of the story but vaguely remembered that it wasn't chalk that was dropped but a beaker. I simply suggested that before he goes repeating it, it should be verified.

The story is told on YouTube, with an ironic title, This Should Keep Us All Thinking. And with over 8 million hits and 45,000+ comments it has obviously created a bit of interest. Sadly proving that something doesn't have to be true in order to inspire.

After suggesting it should be verified I did check out the truth of the story for myself. Here is the research from Truth or Fiction, that should have gone with the story.

What fascinates me in all of this is that there seems to be a disconnect between desiring truth and building faith. I thought they were two sides of the same coin.

Some Christians don’t seem to get the fact that being credible is actually important to some people and I would say, the generation in their 20’s actually expect it.

And for those enamored with miracle stories I think they need to tone them down a lot and have the credibility to verify them 6 months later. Miracle stories will sometimes help those directly touched by them, but they don’t actually do much to build up faith. Albeit, they do impact emotions for a moment. As soon as some crisis comes along and no miracle happens, the people whose faith is based on a miracle are like waves tossed on the sea: as quickly as they jumped in, they also jump out.

Jesus didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement to those that could declare great prophecies or healings and thought that was what serving God was all about.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Matthew 7:21-23

But He did highly value a very practical faith that was filled with love and helping one another.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Matthew 25:31-40

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