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Generic Faith Doesn't Offend, But It Doesn't Save Either

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    Generic Faith Doesn't Offend, But It Doesn't Save Either


    "Have faith."

    My wife and I heard this phrase a lot while my daughter was in chemo. Oddly, our unbelieving friends said it as often as believers.

    In hindsight, I think our unbelieving friends were appealing to faith in the abstract. Faith devoid of a source, and short on specifics.

    The world doesn't mind that kind of faith. No one is offended by generic "faith."

    Have you ever heard a sermon that was preached in the abstract? For example, how about a sermon regarding "sacrifice" that didn't point to Calvary or Christ. Such a sermon might go something like this:

    "Sacrifice is good. We like it when people make sacrifices for us. So we should make sacrifices for them. Isn't sacrifice good? Isn't it good to give of oneself to make others happy?"

    Now, expand that for a half-hour. Imagine a whole sermon that deals with sacrifice only in the abstract. Or substitute another generic concept, like love, or peace.

    Imagine a sermon that deals with love as an airy, floaty thing, independent of Christ.

    Is that the sort of sermon you want to sit through?

    You might say "no." But the world's answer is a resounding YES!

    You see, the world doesn't get offended about generic faith. For after all, that's what most people have. They have faith in "faith," and hope in "hope." And so when churches preach a generic message, they don't get in trouble. It is when we talk about specifics that the knives come out.

    It is when we talk about the particulars of the cross, or anything that invokes Jesus Christ, that trouble hits.

    The specifics, specifics, specifics. They are what the world hates.

    With that said, the Bible is not a collection of abstract essays. It is not a blase greeting card from God. It is not sanitized by a focus-group. The beauty of Scripture is in its details. Its beauty is found in the concrete, historically verifiable (and sometimes hard) truth it contains.

    Its beauty is that of a complete, detailed blueprint of redemption, not a mere compass.

    And so we should preach it as such.

    If the Bible contains specifics and nuances, it is for our benefit. Even when we don't like their implications. Created beings do themselves no good when they discount, or bury, any part of the Creator's revelation. God is revealed in every iota, on every page of His Word. His self-revelation is not generic, but carefully transmitted, to be carefully studied, and prayerfully understood.

    Thank God that we have such specifics. And shame on a world that wants something less.
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