Thursday, August 13, 2015

Six Barrier Beliefs

This little book contains several short essays outside of the main content on how the pastor theologian should conduct his ministry. Jason Hood, an Anglican pastor in Tanzania, has an essay on why the pastor should be an apologist in the pulpit. Often I view apologetics as what I do outside the pulpit. Hood reminded ministers that many sitting in the pew, even solid Christians, have questions about the faith or they have friends who ask questions about the faith. Therefore Sunday mornings should be used for defending the faith. He then gives six beliefs which dominate the post-Christian West that make Christianity difficult to believe. These beliefs are barriers to people coming to Christ. He encourages ministers to find ways to address these barriers in their preaching.

1. There cannot be on one true religion that falsifies all other views.

2. Evil and suffering make the powerful God of the Bible impossible.

3. Personal choice is sacred and cannot be violated by any religion or ideology that requires my submission to lordship.

4. The church's track record is dismal.

5. God's anger or wrath is unpalatable, perhaps even criminal.

6. The Bible is untrustworthy and socially regressive.

Hood says, "These barriers to Christian belief are not just found in New York: they are found everywhere, part of the cultural air."

If we are going to effectively minister to our congregations and our culture then we should be aware of these underlying beliefs that are obstacles for people coming to Christ. #1 and 3 are the most common I run in to. #3 is the most dominant worldview in America. Individual choice is god.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8