Concerning Alan Jacob’s Essay


I posted (below) a link to an essay over at Christianity Today’s Books & Culture section. It appears that one of my friends has also read the essay and made some comments about it. What impresses me about this blog post by Jeff is not his conclusion, but that he actually visited Christianity Today’s website.

Here’s part of what Jeff wrote in “Crazy Reasons For Believing“:

It’s not a matter of evolution. It’s societal. I think there are a lot of reasons why religion came about in the first place, but it continues largely because people like it. They find it useful in their lives. Of course, many purport this to be helpful in proving God’s existence when it has no impact on that at all. But that doesn’t invalidate their reasons for following the tenets of their particular religious faith. I hold that they can’t choose to believe, but they can choose to “be a Catholic,” or whatever. Through doing that, often they will end up believing. It ain’t evolutionary. It’s just people doing what they think is best for themselves. Because, well, that’s what people do.

I wonder if Jeff doesn’t have a point? I think, to an extent, this is a large part of why a lot people actually reject Christian faith: They see too many Christians who ‘think it best for themselves’ or ‘find it useful in their lives.’ Well, I think those are, actually, two of the worst reasons for being a Christian. The fact is, true Biblical Christianity has nothing to do with the self. I don’t deny the benefit of salvation and eternal life, but I reject that these are the primary reasons anyone stays a disciple after becoming a disciple. We might debate for a while about why or how a person comes to faith in Christ, and some of Jeff’s reasons are sound. But take it a step further: Why stay that way? (A good discussion here could be had over Matthew 13.)

Here’s my point. Many preach just that: You need to get right with God so that you can have eternal life. I have said it myself. In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with it, although I’m inclined think there are not a few other reasons for doing so that have nothing to do with what Jeff suggests. (This is why it is so imperative that Christians stay grounded in Scripture.) But is that really what keeps us going? Is it really all about the so-called benefits of faith? In fact, if one carefully reads the Scripture it is quite the opposite. Jesus said, ‘You will have troubles in this world’; Paul said ‘we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom’; Peter said we are blessed if we ‘suffer for doing what is right.’ This, I submit, is the true testament to faith–not all that self-centered nonsense that is spewed from the mouths of televangelists (surely a blight on the Church).

So again, Jeff seems to assert that Christianity is merely easy believism. I reject that. The Scripture nowhere says or indicates that being a disciple of Jesus is easy or that it comes with no strings or that it is something we can merely inherit from our parents as if we have no choice. I know plenty who rejected the faith of their parents. Faith, the Bible says, comes by hearing the Word of God. And I’m stating that if the Bible is properly preached, and Christ is exalted, and we resolve to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, then there seems to be every indication in Scripture that more people will reject Christ than will receive Him. The problem we have in the church today is that too many preachers have widened the road that Jesus said is very, very narrow.

I appreciate Jeff writing his piece. Visit his blog, although I do advise caution due to his irreverant and somewhat caustic approach to the use of words. Still, you’ll appreciate his sense of humor.



  1. Thanks for offering your perspective here, Jerry. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on these issues.

    I would like to clarify one thing I said. I don’t actually think Christianity is “easy believism,” only that many followers of Christianity treat it that way. Somewhat like marriage, I think truly believing and being a Christian is harder than many of the faith’s followers give it credit for. They think saying they’re a Christian and attending church is enough, but there has to be more than that.

    Some of that problem, I think, is due to the conflicting messages they hear from priests, church leaders and fellow Christians. The standards for what makes a “true Christian” are not at all uniform, nor are the standards you must meet in order to reach heaven.

    All this contributes to many peoples’ approach to Christianity, which doesn’t grant it the challenging nature with which it should be approached.

    Thanks again, Jerry. Have a fine Tuesday.

  2. “Jeff seems to assert that Christianity is merely easy believism. I reject that.”

    In this day and age of “perseption is reality” I think that’s what most unbelievers see; “easy believism”.
    Most people in the congreation, are to busy/afraid or ashamed to actually live out their faith. Then there are those that compromise the faith on a continual basis.

    It seems to also allow the unbeliever to practice their “easy un-believism”.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Friends,

    Jeff’s comments above are simply unbelievably dead on. I am amazed, not at an intellectual level but from the perspective of a Christian, that someone who is not a Christian understands this so well. Jesus responded to someone like that one time with these words, “You are not far from the kingdom.” I told you you would like Jeff’s thoughts, and I appreciate them very much.

    His last point is important because again it shows the very reason why Christians must preach Jesus Christ Crucified. This is the Gospel and it must be preached.


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