What is Christian Literacy?

refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.

Religious literacy
means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.

I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Devil

Question: Who in the Hell is the Devil?

That's not cursing. It's an honest question.

The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis once wrote this:

"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight."

St. Paul once put it this way:

"For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."   - Ephesians 6:12

The Bible speaks of Satan (meaning, the "Adversary") and the Devil (the "Slanderer," the "Accuser") as the personification of evil. The prophet Isaiah wrote of a fallen angel who pridefully rebelled against God and continues the rebellion on planet earth. (The name "Lucifer" means "Day Star" or "Son of the Morning.")

"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut
down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High." - Isaiah 14:12-14

Question: What is the point about personifying evil?

My answer: I think it's this: Evil's got our number. In the same way that God is personal and knows us by name, so does the Tempter. He (do we need to say He/She now? or It?) knows our weaknesses and goes after them. Evil isn't just haphazardly floating around the universe causing trouble now and then. Evil is like what AA says about addiction, "cunning, baffling and powerful."

Prayer: Eternal and Loving God, help us to understand dangers of sin and evil in our world, and help us to stay focused on you that we may resist. In the strong and precious Name of Christ our Savior. Amen.

Extra Credit - Other Passages to Consider:

Jude 6 The Devil lead other angels away from God.
And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great Day.

Ezekiel 28:13-17
13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. 15You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. 16In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from among the stones of fire. 17Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.

James 4:7 Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.

Revelation 20:10 Satan's defeat
And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Bourges Cathedral - Last Judgement Window
The Devil is mentioned more times than we realize in the Bible. Here are some of the descriptive titles utilized.

serpent - Gen. 3:14, Rev. 12:9, 20:2
tempter - Matt. 4:3, I Thess. 3:5
enemy - Matt. 13:25, 39
evil one - Matt. 13:19, I John 2:13-14
prince of demons - Mark 3:22
father of lies - John 8:44
murderer - John 8:44
roaring lion - I Peter 5:8
deceiver - Rev. 12:9
dragon - Rev. 12:7, 9, 20:2

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