Post Author: Bill Pratt
Recently I was conversing with a skeptic of Christianity who was explaining why he had become a skeptic. One of the most significant reasons was that he was greatly disappointed that the New Testament, and Jesus in particular, did not address a particular social institution which he considers to be particularly evil. In his view, a God who did not address this issue at that time in history is not worthy of worship.
Other skeptics I’ve met have said similar things. Jesus should have introduced life-saving technologies, he should have revealed the laws of physics, he should have taught people how to grow more food.
Most of the Jews of the first century were greatly disappointed in Jesus because he failed to free them from Roman occupation. If he were the real Son of God, surely he would throw off the Roman yoke.
Why didn’t Jesus address all of these issues?
A Christian friend of mine explained to our skeptical friend that Jesus did not come to address social institutions as much as address the condition of each person’s heart. If men’s hearts are repaired, then social institutions will inevitably be repaired as well.
You see, in God’s program, social injustice, lack of technology, and lack of scientific knowledge are secondary to the primary mission of Jesus. That mission was to reconcile men to God, who is the source of all good. Jesus came to deal with each person’s sinful nature; without addressing the depraved heart within each person, nothing else matters.
Abolishing a social institution or teaching someone about physics, without first addressing their heart, is like trying to treat cancer with an aspirin. It might take away the pain for a little while, but it does not treat the underlying problem. Something more radical must be done to save the person.
We, of course, have abundant evidence of Christians improving the world through science, technology, and charity, of Christians promoting laws that protect life and freedom. The Christians who advanced these projects did so because their sinful natures were addressed by Christ first. The incredible progress of western civilization over the last 2,000 years is a testament to the Christians who had heart transplants.
The skeptic who is disappointed that Jesus didn’t address their particular issue is basically failing to understand the root problem of mankind – we are separated from an all-good God because of our sinful nature. Man’s root problem is not technology, is not lack of scientific knowledge, is not even social injustice.
In the early 20th century, The London Times invited several eminent authors to write essays on the theme “What’s Wrong with the World?” Famed author and Christian G. K. Chesterton’s contribution took the form of a letter:
G. K. Chesterton
Until a person can answer like Chesterton, they won’t understand Jesus.