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Toledo is a Post-Christian City

May 13, 2009

As I endeavor to spread the Gospel to the City of Toledo, I’ve been trying to observe the culture and various lifestyles that surround me.  And what I’ve learned is that this town is much more than meets the eye.

Just a casual drive around the city reveals so much.  If you go 10 minutes in any direction, you’ll find a new flavor of living… there is seriously a neighborhood for pretty much every lifestyle, and that makes Toledo a really fun and diverse place to live.  And while there are many different cultural perspectives here in Toledo, there is one very prevalent underlying theme- Toledo is a post-Christian city.

I’ve had the pleasure of participating in several different conversations with people who aren’t involved in church as of late, and I’ve noticed that while none of them dig Jesus, they don’t really know why.  In other words, they’re more or less apathetic about Christ, the Bible, or the whole “God” thing overall.  But when it comes to Christianity, well therein lies a whole different story.

It seems that we Christians have really jacked things up in our human attempts to represent our faith.  We come off as arrogant, judgemental, narcissistic, self-serving jerks, and therefore non-Christians have decided that our faith is no longer relevant.  They’d rather have no faith than Christianity.  And in a way, I don’t blame them.  However, just because Christians can be morons, that doesn’t discount the awesomeness of our God or the beauty of our Savior.

When you get into the nuts and bolts of theology, most non-Christians don’t really have any answers to speak of.  Whenever I hear, “People are basically good,” or “I don’t think anyone goes to hell, because we’re all good people,” I have to chuckle.  Rather than explain Total Depravity from a scriptural perspective (being that non-Christians don’t hold the Bible in high regard) I simply ask, “What makes someone good?”   9 out of 10 times I get the answer, “Well, everyone does good deeds, therefore everyone is good.”

My next question is, “If someone is good by virtue of good deeds, then isn’t it logically consistent to say that bad deeds make someone bad?”  I usually get blank stares… not because I’m a gifted philosopher (quite the contrary), but because people aren’t thinking in those terms.  It’s almost as if the non-regenerated world has a veil over it (actually, the Bible says this).

I go on, “If a guy spends his first 49 years doing good deeds, walking his grandmother to church 365 days a year, giving his entire salary to the poor, and never tells a lie, that makes him good, right?  Okay, so then on his 50th birthday he murders someone… is he still good?”  I always get the response, “NO!  He’s BAD!”  So, in other words, ONE SIN is enough to make someone bad.  Sounds like we’re getting off the “Everybody is good” track, eh?

Also, whenever I ask someone outside the Church about their view of the Bible, they usually say, “It’s old, it’s out-of-date, it doesn’t apply to today.”  But when I follow that up with “How do you know?”  they usually have a hard time coming up with a reason.  In other words we have a lot of people dismissing the Bible, but they don’t know why they do.

In addition, there’s also a very popular viewpoint that every religion leads to God.  The problem with that is, every religion says it’s the only way to God.  Christianity does.  Judaism does.  Islam does.  Buddhism does.  Mormonism does.  Jehovah’s Witnesses do.  Hinduism does.  You get the point.  But everyone I’ve talked to fails to realize this very important point.  See, the law of non-contradiction says that two opposing things that claim to be the only right thing cannot both be right.  So when I explain that Jesus wouldn’t have had to die if there was another way to Heaven, people aren’t sure how to rationalize that.

Now, I know that these conversations aren’t going to bring about a Billy Graham-style revival, but it has been (and will continue to be) interesting to see where our mission field is at spiritually.  There are a lot of beautiful, amazing people here in Toledo who desperately need Christ and they don’t even know it.  And that’s why I’m here.

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3 comments

  1. LOVE IT.

    Diffusing false beliefs based on the framework OF those beliefs is definitely a powerful tool for creating an open door to share an alternate story..a TRUE STORY of redemption.


  2. John Frame would love you. I think you’ll enjoy his Apologetics course through RTS Virtual if you ever take it. He talks a lot about Romans 1, the effects of the fall on the human mind, and how to reason with non-Christians. Fun stuff.


  3. Praying for you because I tried explaining this very thing to Christians in Toledo and they didnt understand it…I now live in WV and can tell you when I come to visit you can just feel the spiritual oppression in that city…God Bless



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