So what about the Christian advantage? Is there one for the individual?
Life is like dropping a pebble into a pool of water. At birth, all ripples are concentrated in the center. As a person matures, the rings of social interaction and influence circle outward. For the Christian advantage to be truly advantageous, every ring must be advanced by the values of the Christian life.
It is the purpose of this page to focus on the center ring. Is there a Christian advantage for the individual?
Consider this sample answer to one of the questions addressed on this topic.
Does God still speak beyond the written word?
All my life I have been warned about those who claim to hear the voice of God. And rightly so! We live in a culture given over to the rights of personal expression and militant activism against absolute truth. “My values are just as good as yours!” seems to be the phrase of the day. An intellectual police state of blind tolerance rules over our culture. It is the underlying pillar of political correctness.
This atmosphere cannot help but breed two types of individuals, the manipulators and the manipulated.
Think of all the insane doctrines being peddled by those who claim to have had their own personal audience with God. Think of the results: polygamy, pedophilia, mass suicides, honor killings, and an entire generation that has turned its back on organized religion.
Yes, professing to hear the voice of God is a serious claim indeed. Old Testament characters who made false claims about such things were stoned to death. I wonder how many Christian denominations the world would have today if that rule was still in place?
On the other hand, refusing to hear the voice of God is equally damning (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). For far too long, the conservative Christian community has attempted to tie up God and place Him within the leather bindings of a book. We have claimed His influence cannot be known outside the printed page. We have quenched His Spirit.
Let me be clear, there is absolute truth and the Bible is that operator’s manual for life. But let me be equally clear when I say, some things in life require more than book smarts. They also require personal experience, time on the job, a working knowledge of God’s will.
That answer may stretch your view of God and your previous conclusions about His interaction with man today. I feel your pain. The journey has certainly stretched me as well. But before you toss my answer aside, please consider the following statement of belief. It is the window through which my conclusions should be interpreted.
Statement of Belief
I believe the Bible to be the inerrant, inspired word of God. It is the standard by which all doctrines must be tested. It is a complete document offering all of the principles God intended to equip mankind for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). As such, the Bible is not open to private interpretation or human manipulation (Matthew 15:8-9).
The message of God is far more than a mere collection of authoritative concepts. It is a living communication from God.
It is not trapped by modes of dissemination. It has the power to bridge gaps between diverse cultures and unique life experiences. It may not be open to private interpretation, but it certainly is not closed to individualized experiences of appreciation.
The Word of God is much more than papyrus, parchment or paper. It is a fluid dynamic that cannot be limited to the quill of a scribe, Guetenburg’s printing press or online Bible programs. The message of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). As such it can only partially be experienced as the written word. To fully appreciate the power of God’s message, each individual student must be drawn beyond the page and fully into its life stream.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
If this article was helpful, then you may also be interested in the following topic regarding the individual:
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Can the Bible Be Trusted? "Part 1"
Difficult Doctrines: "Introduction: 2 Timothy 2:15"
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"Predestination, Romans 8 & Ephesians 1"
"Head Coverings, 1 Corinthians 11:1-15"
"Should Christian Women Teach Baptized Boys? Luke 2:49-52"
"Original Sin, Psalm 51:5"
"Was Cornelius Saved Before Baptism?"
"Fruit of the Spirit: How can I know if I'm maturing in Christ?"
"Greatest End Times Witness"
"Is being a good person enough to save me?"
"Is There A God? Biblical Evidence"
"Joy: Characteristic of the Holy Spirit"
"Kindness & Goodness: Characteristics of the Holy Spirit"
"Patience: Characteristic of the Holy Spirit"
"Peace: Characteristic of the Holy Spirit"
"Pickles, The Problem of Sin, and Personal Responsibility"
"What does a person have to do to be saved?"
"What is a Holy Spirit partnership?"
What Is Truth?: Part 1 - "The North Star"
Part 2 - "The Sacred Origins"
"Why is it important for Christians to be disciplined?"