Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Abandoning the faith

A few weeks ago I shared that I had began re-reading some of the older books in my library as part of my devotional reading. This week I began reading Life Looks Up by Charles B. Templeton. Written in 1955 it is as current as today as it describes many of the issues facing mankind. What makes this book even more interesting is that just two years after its publication Templeton walked away from the Christian faith and declared himself to be agnostic.

He had began his ministry as an evangelist a decade earlier and became good friends with Billy Graham. Some believed that Templeton would have an even greater impact for the Kingdom of God than Graham, but after serving as an evangelist for a decade he left it all.

I do not know all the details behind his decision. I'm sure it's been written about elsewhere, but I really haven't probed into it. It does appear that one primary factor was that he decided he could not longer believe the Bible. He described in his last book a conversation he had with Billy Graham after he abandoned the faith. He insisted to Graham that no one could honestly believe the creation story in the Bible. I suppose once he made that determination it followed that he would question everything else written in the Scriptures.

Graham responded that although he certainly could not explain everything in the Scriptures, including the creation story, that he had chosen to believe them as the written Word of God. Of course, that belief in the Bible is what made his preaching so powerful and anointed.

When one begins to doubt the truth of God's Word it becomes easy to question everything about the Christian faith. There is a reason the enemy has fought throughout the ages to keep the Scriptures away from people. When that failed his next strategy was to get people to doubt them. "Has God said..." was his approach in the Garden of Eden and continues to be one of his most effective methods of keeping people from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

It is critical that we settle in our minds once and for all what we believe about the Bible. If it is nothing more than the writings of men trying to explain their sense of a deity then we are free to believe whatever we want. However, if we believe that the Bible was written by persons inspired by the Holy Spirit and contains the very Word of God, then we need to respond accordingly.

We are free to choose how we want to think about the Scriptures, but we are not free to avoid the consequences of that choice. And there is a consequence, an eternal one. Graham made his choice and so did Templeton, and time will tell which one made the right choice. As for me, I have chosen to believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God. It is what I preach and it impacts the way I try to live my life. I pray you will make the same choice.

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