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Have We Lost the Genuine Story?

December 9, 2022

Christmas, if it is celebrated well, always reflects on the theme of hope. Hope is offered from Genesis 3:15 all the way through to Revelation 22:7. Christianity rests on the assumption that God not only makes promises, but that He also always keeps His promises.

I have been meditating on this during this season of Advent. But against the sure hope that the Christian faith offers, are the spurious theories of hope that sometimes clothe themselves in the Bible.

In April of 2021, Russell Moore wrote an article entitled, “Losing Our Religion”. He was contemplating why it was that so many had abandoned their once-professed faith. A part of his article intrigued me. Here it is:

“I heard prediction after prediction after prediction tying current events to Bible prophecy that was all ‘just about to happen.’ But nobody ever said, ‘Remember when I said “Gog and Magog” of the Bible is the Soviet Union? I was wrong about that’ or ‘Mikhail Gorbachev, I told you was probably the antichrist, but, my bad’ or ‘Now that I also am using these supermarket scanners, maybe they’re not the Mark of the Beast after all.’ These folks just moved on with the next confident assertions, as though the last never happened at all.”

There is, of course, a colossal difference between legitimate Biblical Prophecy regarding the future, and the awful and unfounded speculation that is often heard. Bad Bible study and gullible listeners have not served our faith well.

But there is more. Whether it is bad eschatology, or whether it is the endless conspiracy theories that took root in the Christian faith during COVID, whether it is the alignment of the Christian faith with political parties, or whether it is a form of the Christian faith that is anti-intellectual and unconcerned with our historic roots; all of this is causing many to abandon the Christian faith. Many have mistaken the genuine hope found in the Bible with the thousands of kooky theories that are spread abroad. Hence the genuine hope of Christmas is robbed of its power. In a sea of fiction and fantasy, we have lost the genuine story.

What is to be done? Perhaps, at this Christmas, where so many have wandered from the faith, we need to do more than remember the hope that is found in the Bible. Perhaps it is time to renounce false hope. Let’s tell people the truth. We will not be saved by identifying which political party is most evil, nor in voting correctly. The next election has no bearing on our eternal hope. Perhaps it is time to create distance from all the madness that is overtaking so many. Perhaps we also need to admit that restructuring our worship services to make them more performance based and more open to the supposed seeker has not worked. Perhaps we need to return to what is real. We need to return to authentic discipleship. And perhaps it is time to recapture the beauty of Jesus. I think we have forgotten.

When Christ was born, Matthew remembered the prophecies of Isaiah 7:14, that a virgin would conceive and bear a son. He remembered Micah 5:2, that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem. He remembered weeping found in Jeremiah 31:15 and applied that experience to the weeping of the mothers of butchered children. But most of all, as Matthew reflected on the scriptures, he never lost sight of the God who was working out His good purposes, even as Jesus’ family was being chased from Judea to Egypt. Genuine hope did not consist in renouncing Herod. It was found in ancient and precious promises.

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