According to some documentaries I've watched and even some preachers who stand behind church pulpits across our country, heaven isn't real and hell doesn't exist. The only hell that exists is right here on Earth, or at least that's what some say.
I guess if I really bought into all that I could really quit worrying about the souls of others, but I have engrained in me a passion to preach the Word and to tell others about the Christ who may have started a political movement but who didn't actually come to be political. The politics of his day have long come and gone yet there remains a movement that compels preachers around the world to stand behind the pulpit every Sunday morning and calls them to their knees frequently during the week because they believe still — over 2,000 years later — that his words still ring true today and that his movement was far more spiritual than political. And they believe that there is a power in prayer that goes far beyond the understanding of mankind. They still believe that prayer works.
I don't believe the teachings of the Bible because I'm hardheaded. I believe it because I'm softhearted. It's no wonder so many people take the spiritual issues of life haphazardly. It doesn't take anything to live down to the standards of today's society. All one has to do is pretty much throw caution out the window and buy into the "anything goes" philosophy. But to live up to a biblical standard, one has to try to love one's neighbor as himself or herself, to pray for those who hate you and say all matter of evil against you, to go beyond the expected and travel yet the "second mile" and to turn the other cheek rather than retaliate when someone does you wrong.
The very premises of the laws of our land come from the Bible. Throw out such teachings and what do we have really to account for? If we disqualified the teachings of the Ten Commandments, as many want to do today, we would soon become the victim of a barbaric society. If we eliminated the teaching of we are not to "bear false witness" (or lie), then contracts or confidence in one another would soon become obsolete. Do away with biblical teaching and we would be putting chains on our doors along with locks since there would be no instruction against stealing from one another. If you saw something your neighbor had that you wanted, what would stop you from taking it, other than a .357 Magnum? Oh, and let's throw marriage out the window if there was no teaching against adultery.
Why do I believe the Bible? Because it would be a pathetic place to live if we were not influenced in any way by its teachings.
Why do I believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Because this book called the Bible has stood the test of time for literally centuries. It has been proven and tested. It has been through floods and survived fires. It has outlived kings and tyrants and has done more to influence societies around the world than any other book in history. In truth, hell is my greatest fear and heaven is my greatest hope.
These are just a few of the reasons why I spend time behind the pulpit on Sundays and why I spend time on my knees during the week. Not because I have to, but because I want to. To give you the reasons in depth would take a book, and I only have a column to work with.
Have a safe and blessed Christmas season, and keep Jesus as the reason why we celebrate the season.
First published Dec. 4, 2013