Mar 6, 2010

The Non-Believer's Favorite Bible Verse

Greg LaurieBy Greg Laurie
Harvest Ministries

There was a time when the most well-known Bible passages among all people was either John 3:16 or Psalm 23.

Now, the non-believer's favorite verse is Matthew 7:1. Now, they may not know that reference is in the gospel of Matthew; they just happen to like what it says – or, at least, what they think it says.

"Judge not, lest you be judged."
This is usually said about the time you say something they consider "judgmental." And what constitutes a "judgmental" statement? It's basically anything about which you have an absolute opinion, and they happen to disagree with it. It's a situation where you would dare to say something as controversial and unkind as, "No, that's wrong!"

The response is usually pretty heated. "Who are YOU to judge ME? Doesn't the Bible say 'Judge not lest you be judged'?"

By the way, that verse isn't saying we shouldn't judge; it is saying we shouldn't condemn. And no true believer in Jesus should do that. The fact is, I think Christians are the most loving, the most open and the most accepting of others. You can usually find the most narrow-minded people among the ranks of those who claim to be broad-minded. It's true, isn't it? Personally, I have found that those who often claim to be the most accepting are in reality the most unaccepting.

A true Christian bases his or her ideas and opinions on a biblical worldview. Non-believers will also have their opinions, based on a secular worldview. Ironically, they will say that they have no worldview, but they really do. They will say they are open to everything, but in reality they are quite closed.

It boils down to this: Everyone has a right to their opinion today EXCEPT the one holding a biblical worldview. Those with a secular viewpoint would rather we just went away quietly, and didn't express our opinion at all.

Here's an example: A typical statement of a person with a non-biblical worldview might be, "All religions essentially teach the same thing."

Actually, they don't. A person making such a statement simply reveals his or her own ignorance of the matter. This is illustrated in the recent mea culpa of Tiger Woods. He acknowledged his responsibly for his infidelities and said he had actively practiced his faith from childhood, "but obviously had lost track of what I was taught."

That faith is Buddhism.

The problem with Buddhism is they do not believe in a personal God who is capable of loving you or forgiving you for your sins.

I can hear someone respond: "That's insensitive and unkind to say that! Who are you to judge and say something mean about Buddhists?"

But that statement isn't mean at all. It's what Buddhists themselves say about their own faith. A Buddhist in New York City said, "Many Buddhists do not believe in a personal God, and there is no one to forgive you." A director of a Buddhist meditation center in that same city stated: "If redemption is defined as being forgiven by a god that is outside of ourselves, Buddhists don't believe in a god that's outside of ourselves."

That is a huge difference from Christianity. Christianity teaches there is a indeed a personal God who can and will forgive because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Stephen Prothero, a Boston University professor on Buddhism, told the press: "You have a law of Karma, so no matter what Woods says or does, he is going to have to pay for whatever wrongs he's done. There's no Accountant in the sky wiping sins off your balance sheet, like there is in Christianity."

Accountant in the sky? Hardly an accurate description of the God of the Bible. The fact is, our sins were paid for by the voluntary death of Jesus on the cross for us. If we will turn from our sins and ask God for forgiveness the fact is He will indeed forgive us.

When Fox News commentator Brit Hume dared to suggest Tiger turn to Christ, there was outrage across the board. In a panel discussion, Hume said of Tiger: "He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"

That's called a Christian worldview.

In response, one commentator huffed, "The fact that a journalist – and I use that term loosely as it pertains to Hume – would go on a national news show and put down another high-profile individual's faith should tell all of us that religious bigotry, and bigotry as a whole, is a growing problem in this country."

But why is it "bigotry" to express an opinion about your faith? That's what Christians are all about – we try to convince people to believe in Jesus. Why do we do that? Because Jesus Christ has forgiven and changed us, and we want to help others.

In the process, of course, we welcome people of other faiths to express theirs as well. We don't kill them or try to silence them. We listen to them, and try to bring them to Jesus.

It's all about your worldview: a biblical worldview simply means that you are learning how to think and live in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.

When it comes to discussing some of the more "hot button" issues of our time, then, it is important that we learn to respond in a biblical way, rather than responding in an emotional or coldly logical way.

Sometimes you will hear people get angry and say, "Well, my God would never say that or do that," and so on.

But there is only one God, and that is the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the very same God who loved us so much He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sin.

"Well, my Bible says …"

Actually, your Bible says the same thing mine says. There is only one true Word of God, and that is the Bible. The debate must start and end there. Otherwise, we will go astray in our thinking, and we will not have a biblical worldview.

In his book "Think Biblically," Dr. John MacArthur writes that a biblical worldview is based on two major suppositions: "The first will be the eternal existence of the personal, transcendent, triune, Creator God. Second, the God of Scripture has revealed His character, purposes, and will in the infallible and inerrant pages of His special revelation, the Bible, which is superior to any other source of revelation or human reason alone."

To put that in a simpler way: There is a living God, and He has revealed Himself in Scripture. As Christians, therefore, we believe we have absolute truth from God, and we develop our worldview from what the Bible teaches. Period.

We do not seek to conform and accommodate the unchanging truths of Scripture to our changing culture, but rather seek to change our culture to conform to what the Bible teaches. That happens when people come into a life-changing encounter with God through Jesus Christ.

He will forgive you if you ask Him to.

Related Links
What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others? -
Think Biblically!: Recovering a Christian Worldview - John MacArthur (Book)
Woods says he'll turn to Buddhism for help -
Worldview Chart - Summit Ministries
New Believer's Bible: Book of John: More Than a Carpenter Today - Greg Laurie