Chuck Colson’s Speech to Seminarians | Why Christianity is a rational and reasonable proposition | Why Christianity is not an imposition | How Christianity is not just a proposition
Christianity is a proposal not an “imposal”. That is, Christianity is grounded is certain propositions that are rational, reasonable and evidential. Its propositions can then be either accepted or rejected. The notion that each person has the freedom to choose their response to a proposition is a biblical concept grounded in the teaching that every person has been created in the image of God with the God-given freedom to make their own choices and decisions. In one of Chuck Colson’s last speeches, he spoke to a group seminarians (theology students in training to become pastors) and reinforced this point to them. When you take up your pastorates, he told them, remember that Christianity is a proposition not an imposition. We cannot impose Christianity on anyone. Instead, he went on, we must give well reasoned propositions. This requires having the correct starting point for Christianity, Colson stated, and that starting point is the Bible and your unshakeable conviction that it is the very Word of God. Without this foundation we cannot offer the propositions that lead a person to meet with God and experience His forgiveness.
The sum of Your Word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
I rejoice at Your Word like one who finds great spoil.
Psalm 119:160, 162
THE PROPOSITIONS OF CHRISTIANITY ARE TRUE, RATIONAL, & REASONABLE
All Scripture is God-breathed, Paul reminded Timothy, and is profitable for teaching (2Tim. 3:16-17). This is because it is true. It doesn’t just contain truths, it is truth. When Christian leaders stray from the truth of God’s Word regarding matters of human exceptionalism, gender distinction, or sexuality, they will invariably attempt to impose their views rather than offer testable, verifiable propositions. Sometimes this involves twisting Scriptures to impose distortions of the truth into the Scriptures. For example, in Jude 9, the apostle Jude compares the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah (homosexuality) with the sin of the fallen watcher angels who took on human form and fornicated with human women (Gen. 6:2-5). In both instances, Jude declares, both the fallen angels who sexually sinned and the men of Sodom and Gomorrah who sexually sinned, did what was “unnatural” after “desiring different flesh” than what God had designed. In the case of those Watcher angels they were not designed to misuse their ability to materialise into human form, and the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were not designed to commit fornication at all – let alone with those of the same gender. The Creator has created a design for all of His creatures – which includes men, women, and angels. God’s Word is consistent from cover to cover that sexuality is sacred and spiritual and is gifted to humankind as an expression of the image of God that men and women each bear which intrinsically involves and includes procreation (Matt. 15:19-20; 19:4-6).
Chuck Colson warned these seminarians over 12 years ago that the issue of human gender and sexuality was going to be an issue that culture would oppose Christianity on – and it seems that he was rather prophetic.
The Bible invites testing and examination of its claims. Because the Bible asserts to be true, we can have great confidence that it can stand up to scrutiny and investigation. Often times the objections that people have with the Bible are because they do not like what it says – not because they are disputing that it actually says it.
¶ This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things,
and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
The central claim of Christianity is the central claim of the Bible: The Creator became the Redeemer by becoming one of us and laying down His life as our substitute. He taught about God and God’s will for all people and this has been accurately and sufficiently recorded in the Scriptures. He then died an atoning death for the sins of mankind and was resurrected physically from the dead to be declared as Lord of all. He triumphed over the forces of darkness and ascended back to His Father where He was declared to be worthy of all creation’s worship. To live according to what He taught is to love God and others in word and deed. The historical impact of Christ’s atoning life has been well documented by J.Warner Wallace in his book, Person of Interest, where Wallace shows that all of the great social improvements in the world can be traced back to arrival of Christ. These are some of the reasons why we claim that the propositions of Christianity are not only reasonable, true, and evidentially verifiable, but are also good for the world and for each person. Living life the way Christ taught people to live can be shown to be beneficially physically, intellectually, spiritually, and mentally.
Because Christianity involves the acceptance of certain propositions such as the divine inspiration of the Bible, the Creator’s right to decree laws for our conduct, and foundation for true beliefs, Christianity has always been creedal. There are short creeds found in the Bible. These are statements of true beliefs. The word creed comes from the Latin word credo which means I believe. People who reject the Bible but still claim to be Christian sometimes spout, Christianity is about deeds not creeds! which itself sounds awful like a creed to me. Thus, Christianity is a set of propositions that are often presented as doctrines (“beliefs”), and theology (“how we understand God and is will”). In the apostle Paul’s last epistles, written to Timothy, his major themes in both epistles concerns sound doctrine. The basis of sound Christian doctrine is good theology!
And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
WHY CHRISTIANITY IS NOT AN IMPOSITION
“You can’t legislate morality” is a false claim because you can only legislate morality – the question is, Whose? But it is true that you can’t legislate for anyone to become a Christian. Christianity cannot be imposed. This is why we make ‘a case’ in the public square about how all people, Christians or otherwise, should treat people — especially the poor, the marginalised, and the vulnerable. We are not arguing for governments to impose legislation to Christianise our society. Rather, we have good reasons for believing that the teachings of Christ are beneficial for all of society. That’s why we argue that marriage is sacred and designed by God for human flourishing. It’s why we argue that a pre-born baby has been given a sacred life and should not be murdered. It’s why we argue that men and women are equal and that men should use their strength to protect, provide, and pastor those in their care not harm or intimidate them. It’s why we argue that Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS, or a host of other euphemisms) should not supplant palliative care which coincides with a dying person’s natural end. We argue we do not impose.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Second Corinthians 5:20
WHY CHRISTIANITY IS NOT JUST A PROPOSITION
I do not want to give anyone the impression that Christian is just a set of intellectually propositions. It is much more but it is certainly not less. One of the propositions that we Christians make is that Christianity is a spiritual transformation of a soul. While its propositions are true, they are not just true, they invoke a miraculous transformation in a human being. Jesus described this as being “born again” (John 3:3). The New Testament describes the moment this happens as being a transaction with God where we surrender our life and our sin to Him and He gives us His life and His pardon (1Jn. 1:8-9)! This transaction includes a hope that goes beyond the grave. God the Father adopts all those who turn to Him. It results a new way of seeing life and the world. The things that once troubled us no longer do, because we have a growing confidence that God has a plan and is currently outworking that plan. If you have never surrendered your life in a transaction with God, you can now. You are just one prayer away from peace with God and purpose for your life – both now and beyond the grave! The choice is yours. We can’t impose this offer from God on you, but I do have a proposition for you.
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