by Seminarian Mark Pierson
“Darwin loves you.” “God is too big for just one religion.” “What Would Buddha Do?” Even if you haven’t seen these bumper stickers, surely you’ve run into some anti-Christian expressions. They’re everywhere! From the lips of celebrities like Tom Cruise, to the best-selling Da Vinci Code, to angry atheists like Richard Dawkins, to silly youtube conspiracy videos, it appears biblical Christianity has its fair share of enemies these days. So what are we Lutherans to do about it?
First, we must understand the nature of the threat. And this starts by being clear about our own position. We preach Christ crucified, God on a cross, as payment for the world’s sin. And we preach that this same Jesus physically rose from the dead. These are not mere opinions, or wishes, or myths—but historical facts. Facts that mean salvation for all who believe. Since they’re true, contradictory positions cannot also be true. That’s simple logic—logic that doesn’t even need to rest on faith. If Jesus is the only way to be saved, Muhammad or Buddha or anyone else cannot also be a way of salvation. Just like if John McCain becomes the next President, then Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama cannot also be our Commander-in-Chief. Do you need faith to tell you that? Of course not.
Second, we must be aware of what the enemies’ target is—Scripture. Remove faith in the Bible, and you remove faith in the Jesus it proclaims. Why do you think evolutionists hate Genesis so much? Because science “proves” it’s a myth, or because if Genesis is true then we must face God on Judgment Day? Why is the theory that the New Testament was created for political reasons so popular? Because of the evidence, or because a fabricated Jesus is easier to ignore? Regardless of the motives, the attacks of Satan all have the same purpose: destroying people’s faith in God’s Word.
Finally, we need to arm ourselves. Not with guns or swords, but with arguments and evidence. These of course don’t create faith in people. Only the Word can do that.
But Martin Luther knew that repeating Bible verses until he was blue in the face isn’t very effective when Scripture itself is under fire. Instead, he made convincing cases against Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism, while arguing for the truth of the Bible. We should follow his example—which is really the apostles’ example. Proclaim the Gospel. When skeptics say why they don’t believe, be ready with answers to defend the truth (1 Pet 3:15). It’s not as hard as you might think. Your pastor should be able to point you to helpful books, videos, and websites for resources.
Though Satan speaks through many mouths, the lie is always the same. But if we take a stand against the devil’s schemes by grounding our faith in the truth of God’s Word, we shall extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Eph 6:11-16).
Mark Pierson, after obtaining his MA in Reformation Studies at Concordia - Irvine, taught theology for six years at a Lutheran high school in the Milwaukee area. He is now entering his second year of the M.Div. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, and is interested in campus ministry.
This article first appeared in CTS's "Thy Kingdom Come" Summer 2008.