By Tyler Warner
I was a youth pastor for 8 years. My job was to launch young men and women out into the world, as prepared for life as a Christian adult as I could make them. Many of these students went on to universities where they encountered professors and administrators hostile to the Gospel. Some of them would actively try to dissuade them from their faith. Because these men and women stand in a position of authority, the students have a hard time dismissing them. I have had many long conversations with Freshmen home for the holidays, trying to knead out the new wrinkles in their understanding.
These people rely mostly on mockery and platitudes to make their case. They parrot outdated scholarship and have very little familiarity with what the Bible actually says. I would try to prepare the kids for specific issues as much as I could, but I always told them that the best solution was to become the resident expert on Jesus. That seems like an appropriate role for a Christian, don’t you think? I taught them to know every word Jesus had said, and to at least have a basic understanding of solid Christian doctrine. That way when some crazy prof spouts off about what Jesus “actually said” or what Christians “really believe,” they could stand up and assert the truth.
This applies to every one of us. We are Christians, disciples of Christ. We ought to know everything there is to know about Him, to be familiar with every word He said. You do not need to have a bunch of letters after your name to read the Gospels – they’re not that long! There are no “secret books”, and there plenty of smart Christian thinkers whose ministries would be a great help to you.
Abiding in Christ means holding on to who He is. You have a responsibility in a hostile world to know the Word, and to know what godly men have believed for 2,000 years about Him. How can a branch grow if it has only a tenuous connection to the Vine? If you try to grow in your walk with Christ, but know very little about Him, you will be stunted in your growth. And besides that, don’t you want to know Him? Don’t you want to know the Man who died for you? Aren’t His words like precious diamonds, too priceless to let a single one slip from your fingers?
It has become very chic to treat Jesus like a Thneed from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss – He can be pretty much whatever you want Him to be. That leaves us with a powerless idol made in our own image. The real Christ defies every attempt to recruit Him to any other team than His own. Don’t chase a version of Jesus, the real person is too wonderful to pass up.
Tyler Warner is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Trussville. CCT meets on Sunday mornings at 9:30am, at 5239 Old Springville Rd. Listen to Tyler’s verse-by-verse Bible teaching at CalvaryChapelTrussville.com or Sundays at 8:30am on 101.1 FM.