Over the years, I’ve learned how important it is to be as clear as possible when speaking about my faith. The benefit is for me, my friends and anyone listening in on a conversation about God.
It is true, I hold to a very narrow confession about what I consider to be scripture. It may be true that many religions call their books “scripture,” but when I speak the word, I’m meaning the Bible and only the Bible — a collection of 66 holy books.
I remember the first time I visited a country that forbid its residents from having a copy of the Holy Bible. I was allowed to have my “holy book” but it was considered a dangerous act for me to give it to anyone or to make a claim of it being the only reliable source to know God.
I live in a community, like many in North America, that has a growing population of people who have other “holy books.” So I’ve learned how important it is that I articulate with as much clarification as possible what I believe and how I speak of my “holy book.”
Following are a few observations I’ve made and how I attempt to give as much clarity to what I say to minimize as much confusion as possible.
As already stated, the use of the word “scripture” is one place of potential confusion.
When the Holy Bible says “All Scripture is inspired by God...” (2 Timothy 3:16) the reader/hearer has to read/hear with disciplined eyes/ears. The reader/hearer has to know what the author means when he claims “All Scripture.”
Does this mean that the Holy Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and other religious books are to all be considered equal? No, the author intends for the audience to first consider what we call the Old Testament. We can consider the New Testament because of the reliability of the testimony of Jesus the Christ (as described by the Holy Bible alone) and the advancement of the early church.
For the reader of the Bible, it is clear that this claim by the Apostle Paul does not include other religious documents. Thus the reason for clarity in this modern day where other religions make other claims.
Some of my friends, who may even be reading this, will want to include their “scriptures” to this, but it is not an honest conversation. If the conversation does not acknowledge that other religious “scriptures” contradict the Holy Bible and that Holy Bible describes the One True Living God as completely different than the god of other religious books then the identity of Almighty God is not known at all.
I attempt to refer to Jesus as “Jesus, the Christ,” as often as possible. especially when in conversation with my Mormon friends.
The primary reason for this is again to give as much clarity as possible. I’ve done this for years, but especially today. There have been some major vocabulary changes recently with those who teach the doctrines of the Book of Mormon. One of those is how they want people to refer to the name of their organization, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”.
When I attempt to refer to Jesus as “Jesus, the Christ.” I’m attempting to say something while I’m saying something. The identity of Jesus is everything. The Holy Bible references an altogether different Jesus than other religious books. Again, if we are going to have an honest conversation it requires truthful words at every level of the conversation. If one is fearful that others will see that the Jesus of the Holy Bible and the Jesus of the Book of Mormon and the Koran are different then confusion must be the only other reason to avoid such honesty.
Finally, I will share one other statement I prefer to use to be as fair and honest as I can. When I’m speaking about Jesus with someone of another religion I phrase it like this; “Jesus, the Christ, as described by the Holy Bible alone.” That is a bit wordy, but to me, it is worth it to give as much clarity as possible. The last thing I want to do is leave a friend confused about what Jesus I put my faith in. It is only in “Jesus, the Christ, as described by the Holy Bible alone.”
Biblical Christianity is the only religion that describes Jesus as the only begotten son of God. He is the second person of the Triune God. He is not an offspring of any man. He was not created by god because He is God. He is not just a prophet. He was not a spirit baby of a heavenly father and mother needing a physical body. He is very God of very God.
Give me this Jesus!