I just finished the book Letters from a Skeptic by Greg Boyd and I must say I was profoundly moved by the contents. The book is essentially a series of letters between Dr. Boyd, who was once an atheist, but now a noted theologian and his unbelieving father Ed. The letters took place over a two year period and covered many items that are basic concerns that skeptics have about Christianity. It is not my intent to discuss any details of the book. I will leave that for you to discover yourself. Coming to Christ from the extreme skeptic side myself I had many of the same objections to Christianity as mentioned in the father’s letters. Unfortunately I didn’t have the advantage of a son who is a world renowned theologian to help me wade through them. It took me much more than two years to finally get over my stubbornness and allow the Holy Spirit into my heart.
I am just going to give you some teasers on the type of subjects covered:
As he promised his father when they started this correspondence Dr. Boyd tries to answer all of these and many other of his father’s questions in “non-theology terms”. Anyone who has spent any time on this blog know that in my mind is critical in interacting with non-believers. They are turned off by all the technical terms and the “it has to be true because it is in the Bible”!
The epilog of the book literally brought me to tears. It was one of the most moving accounts of a conversion I think I have ever read. I can only imagine the joy in Pastor Boyd’s heart to see his father in his senior years finally accepting Christ’s invitation of salvation. The book was one of those that was truly hard to put down. I read it totally over a three day period. I can’t imagine any other book that would prove to be more useful in understanding the thoughts and reasons for why people resist Christ’s invitation and the possible answers to those questions. And I have read many books in this area (apologetics). It is a must read for anyone who is seriously trying to reach out to others with God’s word.
As a epilog to this post I am well aware of the conflicts that some Christians, particularly Calvinists, have with Dr. Boyd’s view of what they call open theism related around man’s free will. I personally am not totally in the open theism camp but I am also not in the Calvinist camp on beliefs related to free will or few other issues for that matter. That being said, don’t let your bias in either direction prevent you from reading this book. Yes, there are some things that you might not totally agree with in the book but I truly believe the vast majority of the contents are enlightening no matter what you leaning is.
Last time I pointed out a couple of reasons why I believe that the phrase Taking America back for God to be erroneous statement. This time I will expand my thoughts on this topic and talk about allegiances.
Does God recognize governments and give some more blessings than others? — Except for Israel of course there is little evidence of that in Jesus’ words. And even for Israel, in my mind, refers to the people who have a relationship with God and not the political nation either then or now. God infinitely loves all his children no matter what their nationality or politics is. He loves that child who died of starvation within the last 30 seconds in an African country just as much as he loves you or your children. I don’t think Jesus is much on national identities. After all he even associated with Samaritans! That was a definite political no-no in his days.
Christian Theocracies – We have had Christian Theocracies at various times in world history but we never see them end up acting Christ like. In fact they usually ended up looking pretty much like all the other pagan nations around them. We waste a lot of our energy as Christians today in the United States trying to establish a political kingdom that is Christ like. Jesus rejected that idea when he was walking this earth so I don’t think he would condone it now. Not even for the United States of America.
Where should our allegiances be?
Next time I will talk more about Jesus and politics and summarize this discussion. As usual I welcome any comments you wish to post as long as they remain civil.
I wanted to spend today’s post giving you some quotes from Greg Boyd. I use Dr. Boyd’s words quite often in this blog but will give some first timers a little info about him. He is a theologian and the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul MN. He is also the founder and president of Christus Victor Ministries and an author of 15 books on theology and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He also has doctorates from both Princeton and Yale Divinity Schools.
Here are his words (the bold letters are my emphasis, not his):
Now through his death and resurrection, Jesus accomplished the task for which he came. He defeated the kingdom of darkness and set humanity free. In principle, therefore the world has already be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:14-21; Col 1:15-20). In principle, the wall of sin that separates humanity along ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and tribal lines has been destroyed. In principle, all have already died in Adam and been made alive in Christ (1 Cor 15:22; 2 Cor 5:14). In principle, we are already one new humanity in Christ (Eph 2:14-15). In principle. Yet Scripture as well as our own experience makes it painfully clear that what is true in principle has not yet been manifested as accomplished fact. The interval between what is true in principle and what is manifested as fact… The interval from our perspective has already lasted two thousand years and for all we know may go on for another ten thousand…. Now, we need to understand that this interval is not to be a time in which we passively wait for the end. Rather, it is a time in which the kingdom of God that was planted at Calvary is supposed to grow in us and through us to encompass the entire world.
These so eloquently put words are at the very soul of my beliefs of Jesus’ teachings. Let all us followers of the Way spend our time on this earth making what Jesus accomplished in principle actually occur in fact.
Here is a list of books by Pastor Boyd that is well worth reading and may just shake you out of some of your commonly held myths of what being a Christian is all about:
Letters from a Skeptic
Myth of the Christian Nation
Seeing is Believing
Is God to Blame
Myth of a Christian Religion
I will be reviewing each of them in the coming weeks.