Much like the rest of the country, the debate-argument-discussion over Christmas and Holiday is very much alive in Tulsa, Ok. Two years ago the Christmas Parade of Lights was renamed the Holiday Parade of Lights. It got a big fuss, and in my opinion, rightfully so.
It was so big of an issue that the grand marshall, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhoffe, bowed out. This year the disgruntled natives of Tulsa decided to start their own parade, restoring the word Christmas. To each his own. However, from all the news reports from the non-bias outlets I saw (the social media pages of the biased outlets, among others) the Christmas parade was extremely more popular than the Holiday parade.
So this has been a big issue lately. So much so that the December 2011 edition of The Tulsa Kids magazine had an article over the whole issue lambasting Christians over being exclusionists. After the first sentence of the second paragraph I had to stop reading my first time through. Thus the fact was reinforced to me – just because you call yourself a Christian doesn’t mean you’re a follower of Christ.
As I’m reading through the article, I come across this statement:
“I’m a Christian, and I celebrate Christmas.”
Of course three sentences away I found this line:
“I don’t think one religion is right and another wrong…”
The first thought that comes to mind is, “Then you’re not a Christian.” It’s become an all too common trend for Christians to compromise their beliefs for one reason or another. Whether it be because of the pressures of those who disagree, a stronger opinion contrary to scripture carried over from your pre-Christ days, an ignorant education of the truth, or a carnal lifestyle with a mindset to match, or any other reason, compromising your beliefs has only led down a path of regret.
In college I roomed with three guys who’s initial impression was that of good upstanding Christians. However, as the semester went on, I found out that the first impression was as misleading as every single one of my ex-girlfriends. Weekends came and all of my roommates headed for the store to load up on alcohol. Of course Sunday came and they asked for forgiveness, all good and Christ-like. On those weekends I went out or went to my room to spend the night wondering what exactly was wrong with them. What had led them to compromise their faith?
For my roommates it was kind of clear. It was a sImple answer, like there is for most times Christians compromise what they believe in on a daily basis. They just liked alcohol. For some reason, they liked getting drunk. Regularly Christians (myself included) compromise our faith or something stupid, something small. It’s called sin. 1 John 1:9 deals with that.
However, for more severe issues like the one mentioned in the Tulsa Kids magazine, the answer is less clear. For one to blatantly deny one’s faith, and most likely not even realizing it, is a huge issue. In fact, I’m sure the woman who said this would fight to the death over the fact that she denied her faith. However, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In plain speech, as most Christians have learned in church, Jesus was saying that “I am the only way to get to Heaven, every other way is wrong.” To call yourself a Christian and it to be the truth, there are certain things you must agree with. All denominations, no matter what differences they may have, can agree on certain core truths. First and foremost is a confession of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and your dependence on Him to wash you of all your sins. Among those other core beliefs is that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. If this is not true, then Jesus Christ serves no purpose.
How does this line of thinking start though – to deviate from the truth to a belief that is nothing short than an abomination of the truth? Like most doctrines of devils and perversions of the truth, it starts with a thought. The thought is sprinkled in with some truth, some scripture might be twisted, all to create a seemingly air-tight piece of revelation. Once that piece of knowledge is swallowed and allowed to be soaked up as truth, another layer of lies is added all under the guise of scriptural, Biblical truth and revelation. It’s little by little of course. Bit by bit. You knock down a wall with a hammer a piece at a time. The same strategy applies. This continues until a person is completely brainwashed by lies.
This is how cults do it, this is how terrorists do it in training camps. This is how Satan does it. It all springs from the Father of Lies. After all, Jesus may be the way, the truth, and the life, but He’s also a God of Love and a loving God would never send anyone to Hell. Thus all religions are right and none is wrong and anyone who says otherwise is “haughty” (a word used by the writer) and just downright evil and wrong.
However, Christians aren’t the only ones to claim exclusivity. Actually, Christians don’t. Jesus Christ did. Other religions do however claim exclusivity to the gates of Heaven (or Paradise or Nirvana or whatever you want to call it), though Christians are the only ones who get flack for it.
While there’s not much we can do to stop getting hassled over being intolerant, close-minded, exclusionists, etc., there is something we can do to stay away from the kind of thinking, mindset, belief system, that is nothing more than a lie of Satan.
Paul spoke of certain believers that searched the scriptures daily to see if what he spoke was the truth. Jesus said that if His words would abide in you, then you would know the truth, and the truth would set you free. The Bible is full of direction on how to not be led astray by the lies of the enemy. If we would search the scriptures and follow its principles, then we should have no problem being led astray from the truth. It’s when we mix our opinion, our thoughts, and our ideas that seem really good or seem right, even though their are contrary to scripture, that we get in trouble.
Stay with the Lord. Abide in Him and He will abide in you. You will know the truth. The truth will keep you free.