Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Christians are hypocrites!

That depends on what you mean by hypocrite.

Some say that a Christian is a hypocrite if they don't live up to the perfect standard that they tell others to strive for.  This isn't hypocrisy though.

If the Christian said that they were perfect and then you saw them stealing raisins from the bulk food at the supermarket, then they would be a hypocrite.  If the Christian struggles with stealing, lying, lust, etc. and is open about that struggle, but while encouraging others to join the struggle, then there is no way that you can consider them a hypocrite.

And if you expect them to keep quiet until they have fixed their problems, until they are perfect them self, then you are creating an unreasonable expectation.  After all, we don't expect perpetually recovering alcoholics to keep quiet when they see someone abusing alcohol as they once did.  And an alcoholic will never admit to having completely conquered the craving, which is why they are perpetually recovering.

Christianity doesn't expect true perfection in this life, but it does expect a turning from evil and a striving for perfection.  The hope for attaining that perfection lies in the promised return of Christ who will complete the striving, making all those who have trusted in him perfect at his second coming.

Even so, if you still don't buy it, don't want to receive it, from a fallen human being (who might struggle not to be a hypocrite); at least take it from the perfect Son of God himself.  Jesus calls people to be perfect as God in heaven is perfect.  But knowing we can't make it, he graciously offers forgiveness anyway.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why would anyone follow a God who can't make up his mind?

When God set out to destroy Israel, after they turned to idolatry and worshipped a golden calf, His mind was apparently changed by Moses.  You can read about this in Genesis chapter 32.

Some say that a God who changes his mind is ridiculous so that either the bible is wrong or the God of the bible is not worth following.  Some even think that this means you can make God do what you want (like giving you material things if you just have enough faith).

Here's a scripture to put this into perspective:
"Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors,  (9)  remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,  (10)  declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,'  (11)  calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
Isaiah 46:8-11  
If God knows the end from the beginning, and he will accomplish his purpose, do you really think he didn't know what he would choose to do in the end?  Since he clearly knew, do you think he really changed his mind?  Isn't it more likely that this exchange is either recorded from Moses' perspective, or that we need to read a bit closer to see what's being said?

If you read Genesis 32 carefully, you can see that there was no change of mind in any case.  God merely relented from pouring out his wrath on Israel.  If that's too weak for you, at least know that God had already made up his mind because his purpose will be accomplished no matter what we want.