Since the first days of Christianity, there has been pressure on Christians to soften the edges of their beliefs, to censor themselves to appease the surrounding culture.
Early Hebrew Christians suffered persecution from both their fellow Jews and from Rome, whose imperial religion allowed its subjects to keep their gods and their beliefs so long as they made no claims of supremacy.
In this week’s message from Pastor Raley, Christ’s claim to the throne of David confronts imperial religion and puts people, then and now, in a place of decision.
If there is an American religion, it is the tolerance and validation of personal spiritual experience. “Whatever works for you” is the great American revelation. But the writer of Hebrews begins his book with this critical, and counter-cultural message: God’s highest revelation is His Son.
Our popular cultural beliefs – Buddhism, stoicism, and scientific materialism – put us in the driver’s seat. According to them, our universe is silent and unresponsive. It is up to us to make up our own truth and meaning in life.
This week we ask: do any of our popular philosophies describe, as the Bible does, a person at the heart of the universe who decides to save people? Do any other beliefs or religions even promise to save anyone?