(Introduction - Continued from page 1)
participate in this with us. Your end of the year tax deductible contribution to Mar-ketFaith Ministries will give us the resources we need to manufacture and distribute the CDs. Thank you so much for part-nering with us to strengthen the Body of Christ.We are continuing our work to put
in a position to be as great a benefit to believers as possible.To accomplish that, we are constantly increasing the number of resources which are available for people to use. Most ofthese are free and available to you in the resources section of the ministry website. It is our hope that you are greatly ben-efiting from this information. Would you please take a moment to forward this issue of
Worldview Made Practical
to all ofyour Christian friends and encourage them to sign up. It is free, of course, and this will be a great gift to give. Subscriptioninformation is found below, or people can go tohttp://www.marketfaith.organd sign up directly on the website.
The Incarnation of Christ
- Continued from page 1)
Our worldview is the belief foundation which gives us our conception of who God is and what he is like. Unfortunately,there is a worldview which is very prominent in our society which asserts that the supernatural simply doesn’t exist. Whilewe, as Christians, don’t believe that assertion, elements of that worldview have become so pervasive that it affects evenour beliefs and actions. Intellectually we affirm the reality of God, but in life we often live as if he were not real. That is whywe tend to be reluctant to share our faith and directly confront those who oppose our point of view. That is why we don’texpect to actually meet God in our quiet time. That is why we don’t expect God to actually work miracles in our daily lives.That is why we don’t actively and often share our faith with other people. We simply don’t put a lot of energy into what wedon’t consider to be objectively real.To get at how this plays out in life, we need to do a comparison. First, let’s become very clear about the beliefs that aretaught in the Bible concerning the incarnation, and the worldview implications of those beliefs. Following that, we will lookat the alternative beliefs of the other worldviews. Finally, we will make a brief comparison so that we can fully understandhow the implications play out in life and eternity.
The Biblical View of Jesus’ Incarnation
The first thing we need to understand relates to who Jesus is and what he is like according to the Bible. In a nutshell, Je-sus is an actual, objective person. He was a historical human being who was born in the land of Israel during the time ofthe Roman occupation. Beyond that, though, Jesus was the actual human incarnation of God himself. God took the formof a human being in order to live life among his creation. He did this in order to reveal himself more fully, and through hisdeath and resurrection to fulfill the requirements for the salvation of mankind.Just to drive this point home a little more clearly, Jesus was not a “mere mortal,” he was not a phantom, he was notmerely a prophet or some great religious teacher. He was also not simply one of a series of incarnations who each pro-vided a greater revelation of God. Nor was he some kind of “not completely human” manifestation of God. He was, literal-ly, God who chose to enter the world by the same means that all of the rest of us entered the world, and who lived life onearth as an actual human being.This is important because the teachings of Christ, along with his death and resurrection, actually accomplished resultsthat have eternal effects. But the effects are based entirely on whether or not individuals receive it that way. If God did notliterally become a man and do what he the Bible says he did, then the salvation that is taught in the Bible is not true and isnot available. And if he literally did do what is asserted in the Bible, the person who does not accept it as truth is not in aposition to apply God’s salvation to his life.
Other Views of Jesus’ Incarnation
There are some other views of who Jesus is. Every worldview has a tendency to treat him in a particular way, thoughthere are variations within them, as well. Let’s look at some of the possibilities and their implications.
Of course, Biblical Christianity is a form of Theism, and the above view is its specific expression. But there are other formsof Theism, as well. In general, Theistic belief systems do acknowledge that Jesus was an actual historical figure. Thereare differences beyond that, though, as to who they believe he was. Just to give a few examples, Islam considers that hewas merely a prophet. Mormonism considers him to have been a man who became a God after his death on earth.Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t acknowledge him as the incarnation of God, but teach that he was an angel before he came toearth, and that he returned to that form after physical death.While it is plain to see that there are various approaches to who he was, the tendency of Theism is to see Jesus as anespecially holy man, but not God. As a result, he is not acknowledged to provide the means of salvation. He only pointedmankind towards it.
(Continued on page 3)