The Whiskey Chronicles 8 – No Other Name

One of the hardest things for people to face when considering the Christian faith is the fact that it claims to be exclusive. Of course, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and, to an extent Judaism, also claim to be exclusive. Inside each of these religions there are further sub-groups that claim exclusivity.

       However, the world at large ignores Jesus’ claim that No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6) Most people believe that finding our way to God matters very little. Our faith appears quite narrow to those outside it. It makes Christians seem arrogant and repulsive in the halls of academia and civil discourse. It is as if we have chosen to exclude ourselves from normal society.

       To be sure, many Christians have chosen exactly this route. Not of the world: not in the world. And they are proud of their isolationist position. They argue that their stance is to protect their children and to abstain from all evil. The problem with this thinking is that it contradicts Jesus’ instruction to be in the world, but not of it (John 17:15). How will our world learn that there is no other Name if we withdraw from the people around us?!?

       Still, our Christian faith does claim that the only way to God, to serve Him, to worship Him, to love Him, is through the sacrificial atonement in payment for our sins (rebellion) through Jesus against a Holy God. This theme runs throughout our Scriptures as the Red Thread of Redemption.

Creation, Fall, Redemption, Fulfillment

       Therefore, it is quite true that Christianity claims to be the one true religion. That there is no other God-of-the Universe save Him. And He is Jesus Christ, in equal relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

       Now, I will be the first to admit that I do not understand all this. The Trinity of the Godhead has also puzzled me most of my life. But more than that, Our Christian faith claiming to be the Only Way to God seems way too exclusive and restrictive. Yet it is exactly what our Holy Scriptures declare.

       As a thinking, educated man, I find this hard to swallow. So I must conclude that my problem is with the God who said this, and the Holy Scriptures, where it is revealed. I may wish it were not the case; but when Scripture proclaimes it so, and 2000 years of Christian history have affirmed it, who am I to object?

       Many of us believe that mankind (humankind for those offended) is the pinnacle of all Creation, or Evolution, however you would have it. We are the final determiners of all moral and existential experiences. In my thinking, this is even more arrogant than asserting that there is a God in the heavens that holds that position.

       Or, put more crassly, Who the hell do we think we are?!?

       It is far more reasonable, far more rational, to believe in a Supreme Being that created all that there is and maintains some form of governance over it than to place ourselves at the top of the food chain.

       Now to postulate that the Christian faith is the only way to God is a matter of much study, and/or a faith that is bestowed on us as a gift from above. No one can “prove” the existence of God. It is a matter of evidence, trust and faith. Yet, in my personal experience, I have found my faith substantiated through faith and evidence, both subjective and objective. Our faith is not simply a shot-in-the-dark kind of thing. It is backed up by a great deal of historical evidence and study.

       Yet it must come down to the question of evidence, trust, and believing.

       There is no other name under heaven by which anyone can stand before God other than that of Jesus Christ. But in this postChristian era that has become more and more difficult. Multiculturalism (which has always been with us), keeping-our-options-open, hesitency to commit to anything, and a fear of being over-written by some external set of definers have all caused people not to put all their marbles in one pot.  Therefore, our postChristian society has never truly investigated Christianity and has very little understanding of our Christian faith. And when we assert that there is no other name by which we can be saved, our secular society can only stand in skepticism and surprise.

       So, when you encounter resistance and rejection, be prepared for it. Our faith is not very popular these days.

       We will return to this idea in later chapters.

Loving God; loving people…, and bringing the two together!



After There’s Nothing Left: Soul Love

    Soul love is something both hard to define and something craved by every human being on this planet. It is the total love of one for the other; unrequited and free, without qualification or limit.

     Very few of us have experienced this kind of love. Stories and fables speak of it— Ruth & Naomi, Cupid & Psyche, Romeo & Juliet, Dr. Yury Zhivago & Lara. Young teens suppose they have found it. Newlyweds know they have. But what is it, really?

      Soul love is an unanswered love, one given expecting nothing in return. Many relationships fail because of “expectations” placed on the other to perform, to return an expected love demanded by the one giving love. This is not soul love. It is a business contract. A deal. A love not based on the emptying of ones-self, but of requiring recompense. Genuine soul love expects nothing in return. It loves with impunity, with no thought of compensation.

            Though most of us have been loved by another by at least one person in our loves, I have known only two soul loves, soul mates. One is my wife Starr, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.” Except for the death do us part part, we have weathered & faced many storms; probably more to follow; but we will face them together as soulmates.

      The other soulmate in my life has been with me longer than Starr. Since my sophomore year of college, in March as I recall, I have lived with someone who has never left me, who has loved me no matter how I have treated him. Someone who has never changed even though I have floundered and risen to fame numerous times. And, yes, you have guessed it— it is the God who created me, Jesus Christ.

      It is an odd thing to know you have a daily, ongoing, safe relationship with the God of the Universe. But I am not unique; there are others around us who have this relationship. This relationship provides me with the richest of soul loves. And it makes loving other people as simple as having a cup of coffee, or tea.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

                                ~ Matthew 11:28 ESV

      In your life, may you find as great a source of soul-love as I have found in mine.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,
Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— sources of soul love.

I Have the POWER!

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, He-man, He, Man, Power“I have the POWER!”—  When our son Joshua was very young he enjoyed watching a TV cartoon called HE-Man™, a hulky warrior type who fought to rid the universe of evil. He did so by cooperating with the ultimate source of power in the universe, taking it into himself through his really cool warrior’s sword. To gain access to this power, He-Man would stand on some high pinnacle and cry aloud “I have the power!” and a bolt of lightning would surge out of the air into his body through his up-stretched sword. Then he would go off to banish the world of its invaders. Our son Josh would mimic He-Man’s behavior by lifting his modern wooden-plank sword into the air while shouting “I have the power.”

Not incongruously, the Bible also compares the Word of God to a sword—  a two edged sword capable of dividing soul and spirit.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.[i]

But is it the Word of God, the Bible, or is it the Word of God, Jesus Christ to which this passage refers? Is it even important we know? The point is that the Word of God, propositional or personal, has power to clarify reality; it/He has the right to weigh our thoughts, our actions, and to exact judgment upon us.

But what if an individual doesn’t accept the Bible as the Word of God? What if the Bible’s assumptions about reality are not his/hers? Can the words of the Bible have impact on that person? That’s where the other side of Truth comes in— its personal side. It is the Person of Jesus Christ who brings life to an individual, not the Bible; it is the Person of Jesus Christ who empowers a person to turn to Him for life, not the Bible. Yet one influence cannot have sufficient affect without the other— Christ, the Word of God, empowers: the Bible, the Word of God, clarifies what has just taken place. If anything, the Christian life is about being empowered by God to live a life that is in keeping with the principles for life God has set down for us— the Bible.

So which came first, the chicken or the egg? No matter— have eggs for breakfast, chicken for dinner. You need both. (Personally, I like a little salsa with my eggs. Life needs a little spicing up.) And the Christian life, if not empowered by God, is reduced to mere words. Faith without spice. Religion without life. Life without spice— no way.

So on one hand we have the Bible, the propositional explanations of what God is doing everywhere. [Note— Written in stories, songs (Psalms), historical documents (Pentateuch, Prophets, Gospels), poetry, personal correspondence (Epistles), & summaries.]  On the other hand we have Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the Godhead here on earth; the Word becoming flesh, taking on human form. The two together can empower people to embrace intelligent, meaningful lives, contributing to the needs of the saints and healing the heartaches and pain of the world. We dare not merely distribute Bibles as if they will magically empower people to live God-honoring lives: we cannot subjectively will someone to experience the presence of Christ without some explanation as to what is going on inside them. We need both. But whereas faith without works is dead (doesn’t work) neither do explanations of Truth empower a person without the power and presence of the Person of Christ in their life. In the end, Truth is primarily embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ. But without the Bible shedding light on this reality the Truth cannot be known.

But there is yet one more ingredient to consider in our mix of Truth with life—  Passion!  Read on.

Clueless, Christianity, Christian, Book, Dr, Gary, Davis

[i] Hebrews 4:12, NIV Bible