Have you ever wondered what it is that makes some people resistant to the Bible and the Christian faith? Why is it that for some the last thing they would ever want to do would be to seriously accept the reality of God’s existence? Why? Is it because they don’t like the idea that there is a God who loves them deeply and cares for them personally? Is it because they would prefer life to have no meaning? Is it because they would prefer to think that they are simply here as the result of an accident of nature and in a short while will cease to exist forever? Perhaps they don’t like the idea that good is stronger than evil, or love is stronger than hate?! Surely not. Whatever the reasons are for a person being resistant to God, very often they are simply reasons based on misunderstanding and lack of knowledge! Frequently I encounter people who easily turn to God after such misunderstandings are removed and they get a true explanation of what the Bible really does teach – as opposed to what they thought it taught!
The truth is that there is nothing negative about the Christian faith at all – not one thing, everything is positive and lovely. Some decades ago a Hindu priest came to visit a missionary who had just started preaching in a remote part of India. He pleaded with the missionary to leave the area. When the missionary asked “Why?” the Hindu priest admitted – “because our religion has no Saviour who loves us, our religion has no promise of forgiveness or a life of happiness beyond the grave. If you tell people about the teachings of Christianity, the people will leave our temples and embrace your faith.”
And in my ministry this is exactly what I find! When people have the teachings of Christianity properly explained and have misunderstandings removed, they embrace it because of the beauty and attractiveness of these teachings. When you examine the teachings of the main religions of the world, Christianity stands unique in having a God who cares for us personally, so much so that He sent His own Son to die for us on the Cross. When properly understood and embraced the teaching of Christianity is the most powerful force for change and renewal this world knows.
Sometime ago I came across a profound example of this from the Second World War. The war correspondent Clarence Hall wrote, “I never think of the positive benefits of the Christian faith without thinking of a tiny village I came across as a war correspondent in Okinawa. Thirty years before, an American missionary on route to Japan had stopped there just long enough to make two converts; a man called Shosei and his brother Mojon. He left them a Bible and headed on to Japan. For thirty years they had no contact with any other Christian missionary, but they followed the teachings of the Bible completely. They taught the other villagers until most of the people in their village were converted. Shosei became the headman of the village and Mojon the chief teacher. In their little school, the Bible was read daily and the precepts of the Bible were law in the village. In those three decades a Christian democracy gradually formed.
When the American army swept across the island to the village they were astounded by what they found. The villagers accepted the Americans as fellow Christians. Officers of the Intelligence service toured the village and found it different from any other they had encountered. The Okinawan villages they had come upon had been filthy and the people ignorant and poverty stricken. Here the homes and lanes were tidy. The people were clean and kind and gentle. Later as I strolled through the village with a tough army sergeant, he turned to me and said, ‘I am flabbergasted. I can’t figure it out – this kind of community coming from one Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to be like Jesus Christ. Maybe we are using the wrong kind of weapons’”.
So the question needs to be asked again – why are some people so resistant to the Bible and the Christian faith? Very often the answer is simply that they really don’t know what benefits and blessings they are missing. They are full of misconceptions and misunderstandings about what it is like to be a Christian and for that reason dismiss it out of hand. No wonder it says in Hosea Chapter 6, “People destroy themselves for lack of knowledge”.