-By Marie Jon
While reading the Word on a flight to visit a family member who recently moved from Southern California, I overheard some remarkable comments. I have had some really amazing discussions on airplanes, when a small white Bible seems to become a controversy.
For instance — “You Christians believe you know it all.” Then the next few words that follow are “But you can’t prove that God really exists.” And you know, to some degree, they are correct. It is a tough proposition to prove God’s existence, but not impossible.
And then there is the unfortunate fact that a lot of Christians come across as religious know-it-alls. They know how to spout and fume, but it takes more than an affirmation of one’s faith to convince a thinking mind to believe in God.
What can you say when you meet an atheist who challenges your belief in God? Most atheists think that Christianity is an enormous leap of faith. Allow me to show you what happens when former atheists take that step.
Little Adoniram Judson was an intelligent child. His father did a lot of traveling, which left his mother to do most of the child’s tutoring. When Pastor Judson came home, how surprised and delighted he was to hear that his three-year-old boy could read far beyond his age. We often see much praise for homeschooling and the dedicated parents who provide an excellent education for their children. Needless to say, Pastor Judson was one happy man when his little son picked up the family Bible and read an entire chapter out loud to perfection.
Yes, Adoniram Judson was a very bright boy. However, there’s a risk in being mentally brilliant. It is virtually guaranteed that geniuses will begin to say “Prove it” to everybody about anything and everything. By the time Adoniram arrived at Brown University, he was ready to question all of his professors.
Author Eugene Myers Harrison describes Adoniram in “Giants of the Missionary Trail,” a story about a very clever academic who was “enamored of his brilliance” and mentally “entertained the most extravagant ambitions. [Adoniram’s] imagination ran wild as he contemplated his future eminence.” He fancied himself as “an orator, greater than Demosthenes,” who inspired the masses with his eloquence. He thought of himself “as Homer, writing immortal poems,” or as “Alexander the Great, [saddened] because there were no more worlds to conquer.”
It is ironic and pathetic that gifted men and women who receive the gift of wisdom, directly from God’s hand, in many cases turn right around and reject the Giver.
The Apostle Paul was an academic genius who once used his abilities to fight against heaven. Later he wrote: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
According to the Word, wisdom and knowledge are special gifts from God. When extremely brilliant people reject God, they reject the source of their enormous gifts. Young Judson did just that.
In its earlier days, Brown University was known as Providence College. Through the providence of the Almighty God, Judson received his many distinct abilities and insights. Yet he willfully decided that providence had nothing to do with it.
The history books are full of names of intellectual giants who came to a similar conclusion. Take, for instance, men like Friedrich Nietzsche and François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire. Voltaire’s miraculous abilities, coupled with his doubts and vehement opposition to organized religion, were unquestionably precursors to a very bloody French Revolution. Atheism soon followed and became an official religion.
Unfortunately, Voltaire’s attitude and endless skepticism eventually infected the United States of America. By the early 1800’s, Yale University was blown over by the gale force winds of godlessness. Almost all of its students were atheists. Shamelessly, many of the young men on campus shed the baptismal names given to them by their parents and began calling each other by the names of their favorite infidels.
Providence College in Rhode Island was plagued with the same problem. Judson felt the effects of the crossfire. By the time he finished school, he declared himself to be an atheist. Because God had gifted him mentally, whenever he and his father engaged in a discussion about God, Adoniram usually won.
A matter of faith
Christians too often don’t win arguments with atheists. It’s impossible to always be the victor, because at some point people of faith have to turn to the Book and say: “I hold the Holy Bible to be true.” And then the atheist can easily say that “you can read and quote from that book all you want to, but I’ll have nothing to do with it.” They don’t see any evidence. They often say, “If God wants me to acknowledge Him, then He must prove His existence to me.” They need something tangible that their eyes can see or their hands can hold. “It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Matthew 4:7).
Matthew 4:14 tells us that Jesus was hungry following his 40-day fast. Satan appealed to the natural appetite and desires of Jesus. The Savior was tempted like any other human person. He humbled himself and became a human, with all the human weakness, frailties, and desires.
Satan tempted Christ, saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Satan questioned Christ’s calling and mission.
Satan uses the same question to tempt people today. “If Jesus is the Son of God. . . .” “If God exists, then why . . . ? You can fill in the blank.
Friedrich Nietzsche and Charles Darwin shook their fist at heaven and said, “There is no God.” Maybe the “Great I Am” should have zapped them with a bit of heavenly reality.
I’m amazed when I read the story of Job in the Bible. With all the trials and tribulations it’s a wonder that he didn’t finally become an atheist. “Why don’t you curse God and die?”, his wife said (Job 2:9). For many people, taking their own lives would have been considered an option when life’s problems continually pile up. Job had everything bad happen to him. In one day, he lost his children, and their families were also killed. He lost his home and his wealth. His health became unbearable. All of his worldly fortune was no longer, while his prayers seemed to go unheard. It would have been more than enough to make anybody feel doubtful that God existed. Sure enough, a righteous man named Job began to struggle with matters of faith.
Job actually said: “Why do the wicked live and become old, yes, become mighty in power? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Their bull breeds without failure; their cow calves without miscarriage. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They sing to the tambourine and harp, and rejoice to the sound of the flute. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave” (Job 21:7-13). Job also said: “Though [God] slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (Job 13:15).
Coming to grips with reality
In today’s society, Christians are getting verbally beaten up and told to shut up. It’s very unfair and very telling of those who claim to be open to diversity.
However, as a society, we have to collectively find values that seem to work. Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Yet we are being told by President Barack Hussein Obama said that America is not a Christian nation. His words are a false misrepresentation of our country. It is apparent that the “progressive” agenda is at play to foster a redefinition of ourselves.
Elections have ramifications that are not always the change God is pleased with. “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).
Was God pleased with a youthful Adoniram Judson? Let’s find the young man marching down the aisle of Providence College — the class of 1807. The organ is playing “Pomp and Circumstance” while he follows in the footsteps of his best friend, named Jacob Ames. His friend played a key role in helping Judson disregard and abandon his Christian faith.
Allow me to give you some good advice before I bring you to the end of a true-life story that took place a long time ago. Doubts befall all of us. Please understand that doubting is not a sin. Lucifer overwhelms us with dark thoughts and with unanswerable questions. It is then that you pray to God and carefully give voice to your doubts to Him. There is a danger to voicing your fears out loud to others. Fall on your knees at night and ask God to show you His truth. Ask The Almighty to keep you from confusing a fragile friend or a trusting child with your doubts. Long after you recover, they might still be doubting. Do not become a stumbling block to others.
Remember that there are two key people highlighted in this true story of faith. Besides Adoniram Judson, who attended a Christian college, there was his classmate and friend, Jacob Ames, who encouraged Judson to discard his Christian worldview.
Ames was an amazing intellectual. However, in the midst of their friendship, an intense, unhealthy rivalry developed. Both men studied politics, philosophy, and religion. Too often they would openly debate with fervor before other students. Much of what was said was self-aggrandizing and unscriptural. Over the short span of two years, in such a setting, Judson’s religious faith began to erode. The constant liberal barrage of atheistic philosophy had its effect on him.
The university seemed to embrace the so-called days of enlightenment. Many scholars were freeing themselves from religious influence and recognizing the great possibilities of the human mind, while forgetting that the Almighty God is a giver of good gifts — not mere man.
It was shortly after commencement that Judson went home. There he sat his parents down and made the announcement that he no longer wanted anything to do with religion or God. He proclaimed himself to be an atheist. He wanted to taste the pleasures of a worldly life. There was no reasoning with him. He broke the hearts of his mother and father. He wanted to be like his friend Jacob Ames, who filled his life with unrighteousness. He left for New York City in hopes of experiencing all the world had to offer. He filled his life with immorality and drunkenness.
Eventually Judson and Ames lost track of each other. One day, Judson decided to go on a trip, way back when people traveled on horseback. Judson and several of his carefree friends spent quite a time clip-clopping their way from one scampish adventure to the next.
In his own words, it was a “wild, careless and reckless life.” After a while, he decided to leave his group of party-seeking friends. He continued sightseeing alone.
One night, he came to a country inn where there was one vacancy. The inn keeper told Judson that the man in the next room was extremely ill, and was probably going to die sometime during the night. It did not bother Judson because, as he told the inn keeper, he was an atheist and death had no sway over his feelings about the matter.
He checked into the inn, and tried to get some sleep. Through paper-thin walls, he could hear the dying moans of a man in pain. He sensed that the anonymous person next door wasn’t just facing death. He heard a man in fear. The poor fellow was evidently dying in terror. And it was then that Judson decided to help. He wondered what he could say to comfort him. After all, he was an atheist. He wasn’t supposed to be afraid of death, but at this moment he realized how little he had to say that might comfort another, or himself for that matter. So he did nothing to help a suffering human being. In his own mind, he felt he had no words of peace to offer.
Death — and life
At the end of your life’s journey, you can be comforted by two thoughts. First, you lived a rich, full and generous life and were a blessing to others. Secondly, there is the promise of an even better eternity that awaits you. The two thoughts can mean a lot to a dying person.
Dr. Adrian Rogers shares an account from the late Jess Moody in his book titled Expect a Miracle But Trust in Jesus. The words have a special meaning as we ponder and consider a young man who feared death:
“In a hotel room, Judson heard the desperate cries of another person. Adoniram Judson’s face was filled with horror and shame. He realized that he was a man without hope. What could he say to a dying man? He pondered just what would he feel like himself when the Grim Reaper came to claim his own life one day.
“Young Adoniram Judson thought with [profound] despair, remembering his friends at Providence College. All of those wasted nights in the boarding house where he had entertained them mocking religion and the Christian faith. Their boisterous laughs rang in his ears, while he took a long look at himself in the mirror. What he saw in his reflection was fear. What would his intellectual friends say now if they could see him cowering?
“The night passed in slow agony. At last it was quiet, and still. The next morning, his soul still [shuddering] over the horrors of the night before, he went to the inn keeper to check out.
“The inn keeper asked the young graduate, ‘Do you have any idea who he was?’
“Judson nodded as he dared to take a look at the face of a dead man who turned out to be his friend, Jacob Ames. He then replied to the inn keeper, ‘He was a scholar from Providence College.’
“Can you imagine? This distraught young atheist had to get on his horse and ride away, knowing full well that his best friend, the scholar who had led him into a barren world of disbelief, had just died in empty fear. Ames, the friend he had admired, passed away while alone and in agony.” (For additional accounts, see Christian Biography Resources )
The good news of Christ
Please pay close attention, because I want to point out something. Even if you are an atheist, there is good news. It’s not too late to be saved as promised in the scriptures. Until this “great controversy” is over and we are up in heaven with God Himself, we are going to live with some unanswered questions. There are always going to be things we don’t know, and heavenly issues we can’t prove. However, God invites us to decide and take a step toward Him even before we learn all the answers and see all the evidence.
And speaking of miracles, that’s precisely what happened to Adoniram Judson. After that night at the inn, he went home and pleaded with his Christian father, “Give me a faith that will stand the test of life and of death of time and eternity.”
Adoniram became a Christian and adopted Ephesians, chapter three, as his enduring motto: “How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
He was determined to do whatever God asked. And like those Jewish priests at the edge of the Jordan, he promised God that he would take those first steps of obedience, even before “proof” might come from heaven.
Keep the faith, America. We have a country worth saving and a heaven to win.
“I, in my own mind, have always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land. It was set here and the price of admission was very simple: the means of selection was very simple as to how this land should be populated. Any place in the world and any person from those places; any person with the courage, with the desire to tear up their roots, to strive for freedom, to attempt and dare to live in a strange and foreign place, to travel halfway across the world was welcome here.” — Ronald Reagan
Christian Activism: What can I do to help preserve America?
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. — Isaiah 40:31
Marie Jon is a political/religious-based writer. She is the founder of www.DrawingClose.org/ — a sister website to RenewAmerica. Marie extends her hand of welcome. Come visit her website and receive your free gift of salvation by taking an on line Bible study. She personally invites you to join Christians from all over the world by becoming a free member of GOD Fellowship http://www.gofellowship.com/. The site is a nondenominational gathering of believers.
Marie’s writings have appeared on many sites, including The New Media Journal, ChronWatch, and Commonconservative, to name a few. She is a regular columnist for Capitolhillcoffeehouse, The Daley Times Post, RenewAmerica, The Conservative Voice, Newsbull, GreatAmericanJournal.com, Radiofreewesthartford.com, Greatmindsthinkright.com and Conservativecrusader.com.
Marie brings a refreshing and spirited point of view that is reflected in her writings, as well as a genuine and spiritual opinion regarding God and his teachings. Marie is a practicing Christian, a nurse, a student of the Bible, and a patriot. Many of Marie’s articles are a reflection of her great admiration for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is an advocate for the troops, as well as the Blue and Gold Star Mothers of America, and their families. Marie has appeared as a guest with political talk show host Bruce Elliott on WBAL-1090 AM. Saturdays 5AM-9AM EST http://www.wbal.com/shows/elliott/
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