A Comfortable Slow Death

Flipping the television channels, I remember being suddenly confronted with a labyrinth of sticky white web strands coating the interior of a space ship. Periodically, an insidious monstrous spider would inject a partially entombed human nested against an interior wall of the space vehicle with its psychotic venom.

The movie flipped back and forth between the reality occurring on the space ship and the peaceful dreamlike world which the poisoned imagined themselves to be experiencing. Reality and the imagination blurred. A few minutes of this was enough for me.

However, as I think about the general state of evangelism might it be that a giant unseen foe is slowly anesthetizing God’s people to a comfortable death? Why did Paul give himself to suffering for Christ and proclaiming the gospel? Why have missionaries left the familiar and comfortable to go to foreign lands? Why have church members risked relationships with friends in order to tell them about Jesus?

The answer has always been the same. Motivated by the deep conviction that Christ died for nothing if there was any other way for us to be saved, God’s people have repeatedly risked and extended themselves to warn others about their situation and share the good news about Jesus. There is no other way than Christ. There is no other name than Jesus by which we may be saved.

And yet, a venom seems to be dripping into the minds of a new generation. This past weekend a friend, who teaches at a Christian university, informed me that at least a third of his Bible class indicated they believe a person could be saved without Christ. Beliefs distort reality. Reframing questions distract and mislead.

Drip. How could a loving God condemn someone just because they never heard the gospel? Drip. Since all religions are basically the same, there must be more than one way. Drip. Isn’t it narrow-minded to believe that only Christians are saved? Drip. Whew! There is no urgency for me to be evangelistic.

God does not condemn people because they have never heard, but because guilt has separated all people from God. Everyone recognizes they have not lived a perfectly holy life. All religions are not the same. Christ alone has come from heaven to provide for us what we can not do for ourselves. Believing Jesus is the only way to God is no more narrow than believing a common mathematical equation has only one answer. It is simply true.
Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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2 thoughts on “A Comfortable Slow Death

  1. Greetings Barry:
    We would like to reprint your article “A Comfortable Slow Death” in our bulletin. The spider illustration somehow reminds me of my daughter. Excellent article that I pray will stir some evangelistic efforts to help stop the “drip”.

  2. I hope these ideas can be useful to those reading your bulletin. Ideas do have consequences for good or for ill. The purpose for Jesus’ life and death was evangelistic. I hope an evangelistic mindset permeates God’s people in your area.

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