A weak shield is a problem.
For some years now, I have been trying to understand the decline in Christianity. We know that there will come a falling away in the last days, but there is a reason for this. What is that reason? My last article went over some of this, but I want to focus on this a little more because I am seeing things more clearly. It has to do with our shield of faith.
Sheild of Faith
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.Ephesians 6:16
Above all! I will go straight to the point we have provided our young people with a paper-thin shield penetrated easily by the devil. In times past, it was easy to keep people from hearing things that raise questions about their beliefs. With the advent of technology for communications, we cannot shield people from attacks on our faith. More young people have gone to college in the last few decades than in the early days, which exposed them to critics.
Some people are simple-minded enough to believe what they are told and hang on to it. That is why there are so many religions in the world. People wonder why anyone would believe Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, and people outside of Christianity believe the same about us. The Bible warns us of this kind of simple mind.
How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?Proverbs 1:22
and the scorners delight in their scorning,
and fools hate knowledge?
The simple inherit folly:Proverbs 14:18
but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
I know from experience.
In the first years of Bible college, I remember having a struggle with the King James Bible and the original languages and learning that we do not have complete copies of the original documents. How we ended up with our canonized Bible is not that simple. I believe most Christian think that after Revelation was written, the Bible was complete. Not so, it took hundreds of years to come to a consensus of which books should be canonized.
Many people have a false understanding of the Bible in that they think translations are different Bibles. Some who love the KJV are as naive about it as people who believe in the book of Mormon. There is no logic that the KJV is the perfect English bible. If one uses the logic that God promised to preserve His word in the English language, why isn’t the Tyndale Bible that Bible? If it needed more work then how can we not say this about the KJV? Even the translators understood that work was needed (http://thekingsbible.com/Library/MarginNotes). I am not against the King James version, but we must be realistic about it. If it scares a fundamentalist to bring up any conversation about updating it, that is precisely my point. Withholding young Christians about these things will leave an open door for the devil when confronted with other information.
Then I remember looking up quotes from the gospels in the Old Testament, and they do not quote exactly, and some seem clearly to quote from the Septuagint (Mark 7:6 vs. Isaiah 29:13). If every word of the Bible is inspired, how come there is liberality in quoting? It really bothered me because it seems like the writers picked quotes out of context and then generalizing them.
Years ago, I was listening to some atheists who claimed the resurrection was made up and that the details did not line up. After paying closer attention to the text, I did see many difficulties. That shook me! So I did research and found very few reasonable explanations. Finally, out of persistence, I found a scholar that made sense of it. Had I not been so diligent, my shield of faith would have taken on the damage.
Then there is Genesis. We don’t believe the sun rotates around the earth and that the earth is fixed in place. That was the common belief and interpretation of passages for most of the world’s history. Today science questions the age of the universe. Christians who are scientists in their field also believe in an old universe. We can create some conspiracy theory that it is just a plot to disprove the Bible. Yet, these Christians who believe this have ministries that defend the Bible, and lead people to Christ. My point is that a person who is a thinker will hear the controversy and say “I don’t understand”, and their shield of faith will grow thin.
We have feared destroying the Christian faith when, in fact, we have failed to grow it.
If the Bible is true and Christianity is real, then there is nothing to fear by hearing things contrary to our belief. I would say that there have been many interpretations I have held that proved to be false in my life. It was not the Bible that was wrong; it was my understanding. It is time we realize we are still learning.
Many evangelical preachers themselves have struggling faith, and so they focus less on doctrine and more on emotions. The churches are about love and feeling good about their lives. There is no depth to the church because the preachers have thin shields. Many end up in sin and leaving their ministries.
Have I troubled You?
I hope I have trouble you! Why? Because we need to be troubled. We need to deal with challenging issues and teach other Christians so that our shields are ready when we go into the world. Nobody has all the answers, and there is faith involved, but if we are never exposed to the fiery darts of the devil, they will take us by surprise.
There are millions of voices in the information age, and if we do not equip Christians, especially our youth, their paper shield will be taken down, and the darts of the devil will pierce their hearts.
Genesis is my hope
I have been working on a book to help people see Genesis correctly because if we get this wrong, we will lay a faulty foundation. I hope I can do an excellent job.
What say you about this? Contact me.