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Don’t Be A Butthead

• Greg Boyd

We start Mixed Signals with a sermon on how to respond to questions about our faith in the midst of an increasingly pluralistic society. This sermon is focused on the way to respond to these questions as people of God and how to hold on to the most important beliefs with gentleness and respect.

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This week marks the beginning of a new series titled Mixed Signals. This series explores the questions related to how Christians can hold on to the truth claims of Jesus in the midst of a pluralistic society with thousands of competing truth claims. There can be a temptation to make our voice heard by shouting the loudest or staying quiet and ignoring those who think differently. This series will focus on finding a balance between those competing options and explore ways to convey the beauty of the cross in a manner that is fitting of that beauty.

This first week focuses on the claim of Jesus in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is important to note the singularity of the claim of Jesus. He claims to be THE way and truth and life. This truth claims rules out the option of relativism for a follower of Jesus. This claim of Jesus did not become as controversial until 100 years ago when the world started getting smaller and it became impossible to avoid competing world views in our society. We are now living in a sea of ambiguity where the questions about our faith will inevitably be brought to our attention. The question is not IF followers of Jesus will be confronted about our faith, but HOW will we respond when those confrontations occur. Historically Christians have not done a good job in these conversations. We are more often viewed as intolerant, hypocritical or just plain buttheads (as the title of the sermon suggests).

Followers of Jesus must learn a better way to respond and much of this change happens in understanding two key concepts surrounding faith: 1) The Nature of Faith and 2) How we hold faith. First, the nature of faith is commonly confused as being necessarily associated with ones certainty in ones beliefs, but this understanding of faith short circuits any chance of having actual communication with someone holding opposing beliefs. When certainty is required then any question is perceived as a threat and this eliminates the possibility of genuine dialogue. In contract, Biblical faith is based on being confident enough in a certain truth claim to make a commitment and to live in covenant relationship. This model of faith gives one freedom to listen, dialogue, validate and actually communicate with someone of a competing truth claim since nothing needs to be defended. In this model of faith ones fullness comes from a relationship with God and NOT the certainty through which one holds their beliefs. Second, we are hold on to our faith and beliefs in a graded way knowing that not all beliefs are created equal. In the midst of thousands of denominations worldwide with varied belief structures for each denomination, we are called to claim with the Apostle Paul, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). We learn everything we need to know about God and ourselves by looking to Jesus on the cross. We know through this that we are loved with an everlasting love and this applies to all of humanity.

This understanding of the nature of faith and how to hold that faith frees us up to hold lightly to all other beliefs and engage in true dialogue in a way that promotes gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). This also pinpoints where we should spend our time and energy in study and dialogue. Our job is to have coherent and thoughtful responses to questions about the person of Jesus and to not fear those conversations because when something is true we don’t need to fear.

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Topics: Defense of Christian Faith, Evangelism, Faith

Sermon Series: Mixed Signals

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Audio File
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Focus Scripture:

  • John 18:37-38

    37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

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8 thoughts on “Don’t Be A Butthead

  1. Dave Pritchard says:

    As Greg mentioned, if you’ve got the time this is a great resource –

    Unbelievable? – Premier Christian Radio

    Each Saturday, in the award-winning programme Unbelievable, Justin Brierley asks questions like: Is there …

  2. Jimmy Mallory says:

    This is one of the most important sermons I’ve heard in a long time! Thank you, Greg Boyd!

  3. Kevin says:

    Even if we do not try and stand tall/power over in the majority of our beliefs and convictions about what’s true, we still come across as buttheads to many when we are adamant about the cross. The cross to many looks too much like appeasing a god with human sacrifice.

  4. Denni Arli says:

    This is a very powerful message! Thank you Pastor Greg!

  5. Donald says:

    “Only 1% are terrorists” Greg? https://www.facebook.com/AskDrBrown/photos/a.190367064322237.55437.109430102415934/1099292230096378/?type=1&theater All that means is that Islam – like Christianity – only has a few who follow the founder’s example and teachings. That’s why I try to relate to Muslims individually. Their holy book (see URL above) clearly promotes massacres just as Muhammad himself exemplified, but most Muslims prefer to just do their jobs and raise their families. That’s good, because it’s easier to chat without a knife blade against my throat. As Brother Andrew said, “God sent us to them but we didn’t go. So now He’s brought them to us, saying ‘Feed them’.” Thanks, Greg, for helping us prepare for this!

  6. I believe you stated it all when you said “Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life”! Not…. Cindy’s way, truth and life, not yours, not any ones but…. Jesus Christ. He did die to give us life! No one person is perfect! Only HIM! He took the stripes so we could be healed, so we could be saved, so we could have Salvation, so we could have Eternal Life.
    It’s not about me, or you or any one person here on earth. It’s about Jesus Christ! He came to us to show us the way. It’s also very Important to read the Bible chapter by chapter verse by verse. Not take one verse out of the Bible and preach your opinions and your beliefs for the rest of the hour. He told Peter, us to feed my sheep! Sometimes it needs to be by example, and not our words, that have become Plurals and/or upside down. Thank you for this message and for letting me share. I hope I have shared w/ dignity and respect, as Jesus (God) has no respecter of race, color or creed. He created each and every one of us to be His people, so He could be our God and please share if there is TRUTH to this.

  7. Thanks for sharing this message, which was very challenging as a follower of Christ for close to 19 years now. I shared this on facebook as a challenge for all my friends too.

    Great excerpt on some music out there that we “might” think is Christian, which can be another sermon topic 😉

  8. Gailen Stockwell says:

    you’re an absolute riot!…keep up the “good” work…and glory be to God

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