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Stand Firm

Written by mattc

August 31, 2023

1 Corinthians 6:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

Finally, in that time of serenity with only the sound of the lapping ocean on distance rocks and the steady rumble of waves breaking on the sandy shore, we spoke truly about God.

I walked on the empty beach in Lincoln City, Oregon, hand-in-hand with my then high school sweetheart. She was very pretty, blunt (if not a little shy on wits) and Mormon. There is something odd about how proximity to the vastness of the sea can bring about some of our most contemplative moments. Finally, in that time of serenity with only the sound of the lapping ocean on distance rocks and the steady rumble of waves breaking on the sandy shore, we spoke truly about God. I remember saying, in the sort of bluntness that she was so fond of, “you know, you’re Mormon and I’m not.”

Now, what some would take as a minor difference in religious opinion, I was feeling intensely conflicted about. It was long past time for this conversation to happen. I remember her response as clearly as anything, “Yes, but we really believe in the same God.”

Yes. Of course we do. We believe in the same God. And Mormons believe in Jesus, so all is done and good. I should have been unfettered from all specters of guilt. There really was no significant difference in belief. And I could have taken her response and swallowed it like any other man who swallows poison in a vainglorious attempt to feign strength. But I could not. I remember talking to her about the truly insurmountable differences between our faiths. God the Father was never a sinful human, nor did he ever win his Godhood through good behavior some finite time ago. My God is Trinity, and unfathomably perfect beyond imagination. Jesus was not the brother of Satan and is truly one with the Father. How could I justly worship what I too could one day become? I, for one, could not. I found myself, even in that very moment, realizing with potent clarity that my God was simply too big for Mormonism.

I found myself, even in that very moment, realizing with potent clarity that my God was simply too big for Mormonism.

And what was meant to be our little break from the world at an empty beach, ended up being our break from one another. I recognize now that it may have been the very vastness of the ocean before me that gave me the words to articulate the vast differences between two Gods that could never be the same.

That is what doctrine does for the Church. It gives the body bones and says I can yield only this much lest I break. When a church stands for nothing, it will fall for anything. I could have believed, that long time ago, that my God was the same as hers. But what would I have gained—unity at the cost of meaning, integrity and, worst of all, truth. Many churches now have murdered dogma and doctrine in hopes of endearing themselves to the world. In this recklessness they have sought to stand for anything and everything and therefore nothing in particular. These churches we may refer to as the invertebrate church.

It is foundationally important that men and women of faith be willing to stand firm in what they believe—not because it is easy but because it is worth it. Christian Influence is about providing opportunities for men and women, many of them young, to exercise this firmness of faith. The world, especially within gaming communities, is rife with vulgarity and unkindness—it is full of hopeless, desperate and dying people. In other words, it is a place most in need of Jesus. It is my hope that Christian Influence, and the people who buy into its vision, can help fill in some small part this great need, not because of what it sacrifices for the sake of unity, but because of what it is willing to stand for in the name of Jesus.

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1 Comment

  1. MattC

    This is was a good thought. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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Our Beliefs

We believe in the one true God (Yahweh), creator of all things spaciotemporal and heavenly, known and unknown, visible and invisible. We believe in Jesus the Christ as the only begotten son of God and the very incarnation of God, who was truly born of, and wholly with, human flesh. We believe that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was brutally beaten, and mercilessly pierced and killed upon a cross for the purpose of redeeming sinful humanity. We believe that the grave could not hold our savior, for upon the third day he rose from the dead and thereafter met with his disciples and ascended into heaven. We believe that it is only through this person, Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God, that humanity is redeemed from sin and given eternal life. We believe…

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Christian Influence is an online community that puts the Cross over gaming. We are a friendly, competitive, and Gospel focused team who strives to be a Godly influence online rather than being influenced by it (cf. Romans 12:2). We bring people together to share in Christ-centered content, community, and places to play games where you know you can trust the people you are interacting with to provide an edifying experience. We have partnered with Christian Streamers and Content Creators who believe in the mission of Christian Influence to lead the effort in Christ-Centered content and in our community. Our streamers and podcasters are held to a clear standard and expected to act as leaders in the community and exemplify Christ online…

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