Saturday, October 3, 2015

Making a Difference

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds,
and I will show you my faith by what I do.

 -- James 2:18

Have you ever wondered if Christianity really makes a difference? And would life be any different today if Jesus had never arrived 2,000 years ago?

These are just two of the questions that a skeptical world raises about The Church and the Christ-followers that comprise it. This unbelief is nothing new. In fact, the doubters and critics have been around since Jesus' death and resurrection. But their questions deserve honest answers.

Several years ago, D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcomb Crosscollaborated to write What If Jesus Had Never Been Born, a thought-provoking book that addresses these issues head-on. In it we read that without Jesus, there would be no Church. This is the same organization that helped end slavery, cannibalism and the killing of children--all permissible practices at the time in their respective cultures. And if Jesus had never been born and there were no Church, the world would likely be less educated. That's because Christian missionaries replicated many of the world's languages on the printing press to help the people read the Bible. Moreover, all but one of the first colleges in Colonial America were Christian institutions. Harvard was even founded on this statement:

"Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3."

If Jesus had never been born, there would also be no Church to promote the biblical principles of free enterprise, private property rights and the worth ethic. It's because our federal government was largely founded by Christ-followers that The Declaration of Independence cites self-evident truths and unalienable rights from the Creator. Our nation also recognizes the rule of law rather than the authority of man--a concept traced back to the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments. Even the slogan embossed on the Liberty Bell comes from the Bible:

"Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof..."

The truth is that Christianity HAS made a difference. Today, Christ-followers continue to change the world in both small ways and large, such as by delivering meals to shut-ins and providing housing for the homeless. Samaritan's Purse, the Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, also distributes Christmas packages each year as a direct expression of Christ's love for the world's children. His organization also helps thousands of refugees cope with man-made and natural disasters, such as the April 2015 earthquake that devastated Nepal.

Our world would be a much different place without Christianity. But what The Church must never forget is the Source of this difference:

"I am the vine; you are the branches," declares Jesus.
"If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."


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