The Bottom Line
By Eli Stutzman
July 1, 2009
A while ago, I had a phone call from a reader who asked the question "Are you trying to bring us around to your way of thinking?" I replied, "My aim is to encourage people to find their footing in the Bible." Never is it my aim to get people to agree with me. My opinion is of no value next to God's instruction. Never add to or take away from what is written in Scripture. We will always have different ideas of how things should be done.
But there is one fundamental question that must be answered first before we get into any debates. That question is printed in BIG letters just below. If we cannot answer that question, all the debates about different types of church practices are meaningless. Once we have answered that question, then we have Christian fellowship and those practices are less of a barrier. That is why I prefer to ignore those questions, as I feel not called to get into that. We may in fact promote division and strife if we try that. As well we miss the most vital point. The big question is this:
WHAT DOES GOD SAY I HAVE TO DO
TO ENTER HEAVEN?
When the man on the road to Jericho fell victim to the thieves and was beaten almost to death, it was a scene repeated many times over in history. Even today you could easily come upon a car wreck and find people expecting to die within minutes. The wounded person may say "Help me, I'm not prepared to die." You don't know their background or training. If the dying person asks you the big question, what will you say? You will have no books, no person to give answers, no time to ask opinions. Unless you can answer that question within minutes, a soul will have slipped away into eternity. Lost forever without hope. Every question about how we dress, what church you come from, how big and bad is your sin etc., instantly becomes meaningless.
If a man answers all the questions correctly when joining a church, makes all kinds of vows, is baptized, yet cannot give reason based on God's word for what saves a man, you simply have a wet sinner. He may please his parents and get along well with his neighbors. But if he lacks the answer to the big question, all his other practices are useless. If God has touched your life, then you will know how it happened. If not, you will have nothing to share. I want you to know what the answer is. Seek until you know for certain that you have found it. God has already said that if we seek him we will find him.
If the big question is answered, we will remain to have different views on church practices. I expect there will be plain people for the rest of time, and I do not intend to argue the point with anyone, as that is not what's ultimately important. Almost every Amish person I have met believes other people who are non-Amish are Christians too. What is the common thing that makes us Christians? Is there not only one set of rules in the Bible?
Is the answer simple? Jesus said this in Matthew 18, 2-3; And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The character of a child is to be able to grasp the simple. Therefore the message is simple.
Acts 16; 31 says; And they (Paul and Silas) said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. That has to be one of the shortest and simplest sermons ever, yet look at the result!
Unfortunately many of our church leaders could not answer that big question years ago. Sometimes I meet Amish people who know the answer very well. But not all do. We may have our opinions and old ways, but ultimately it has to be God's way, as he owns heaven. I cannot grant or deny anyone entrance into heaven. Neither can any one else. That is why I strongly encourage everyone to strive to understand the Bible in any language.
Our duty is to reach all people everywhere including Amish people. That will be done only when they can answer the big question. No books, no opinions, not much time, only what you have inside yourself is all that you can take with you. Do you have it? If not, let's find it. That is my main reason for writing.
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