If you've ever read any of the work of Friedrich Nietzsche then you may have found him as arrogant a proponent of the ad hominem argument as anyone. He is, however, most famous for the following statement: "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it."
At church we have begun running through a series on the concept that God is not dead. And He is not, He is very much alive. Nietzsche was essentially saying that God is dead because God was never alive - that he was a concept we no longer need to find fulfillment and happiness in the world. And even that might be true if you have an exceptionally limited understanding of what fulfillment and happiness are. Nietzsche tried his hardest to, more or less, tear down Christianity - to explain that 'we' more rational individuals have gone beyond using 'superstition' to explain morality and the need for morals (of course Nietzsche as it turns out was a rather amoral individual at times). So here's what I want to blog about properly: God isn't dead when we live our faith.
I do agree that you can be a moral person without God. But I disagree with anyone who says that they have a reason to be moral without God. Anytime I ask someone what their reason for being moral without God is it boils down to 'society needs it' or 'because it's necessary for proper human functioning' (I question the second claim highly). These are circular arguments, amounting to little more or less 'I need to be moral because I need to be moral.' But what if the reason you need to be moral is because there is a great, perfect and good God who demands it of you. What if he, even further, demands absolute perfection from you? That is the God who is very much alive.
And as I repetitively say, because he demands perfection from us that's where the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ comes into things. You might know about God, but unless you know Jesus then He doesn't know you - because only in Christ can that standard of perfection be met. I know Christ - I know the living son of God and because of this that impacts how I live my life. But if I don't live my life through faith, or truly show that I believe He is alive, then Nietzsche's claim is shown to be true. In other words: God is dead if I do not show the world that He is alive.
There is a tendency for Christians to assume that pastors and church workers are the only ones in ministry. This is a great lie that the enemy wants us to believe. There is a tendency for those of us with 'average testimonies' to stop and say 'my testimony is nothing really'. This is another lie that shows others that to us God isn't really as alive as we claim. I was speaking to my friend and a real mentor, Jay, about this last Friday - that each of us have a powerful testimony no matter what because it points to a living God who can do great things!
Phillipians 3:8-11 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Each of us have a powerful testimony. Each of us have a powerful ministry - you have a ministry in your work, school or place of recreation. It's not a paid ministry, but it is a spiritual command to prove that God is not dead to the world. To prove that we are living by faith and knowing his resurrection truly and not just living a religious life because everyone else does. That is the true power of your testimony - it's a reminder to not take what God has done for you for granted but to remember the person you are without God.
My challenge to anyone reading this is to not be halfhearted about your faith. My ministry is in teaching and encouraging and my testimony is that I chose to accept the message of faith my parents proclaimed to me (I wasn't born into Christianity). If you've just been going with the flow then listen and wake up, it's not the time to get caught up in all the problems of an offended but offensive world. Everyone needs to hear that God's not dead - and we need to be the ones to prove that Christ is needed and there for a broken world. If not you, then who?