Monday, January 2, 2017

            Why I am a Christian                                by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
   Bertrand Russell helped change my life, by the statements he made and the books he wrote! Especially the one titled, Why I Am Not A Christian!
    His death affected me as well! It occurred on Feb. 2, 1970. As I studied the eulogies that flowed from the lips of fellow philosophers and the typewriters of journalists, I decided to write this book, WHY I AM A CHRISTIAN!
    It all seemed so ridiculous to me, having read his statements for years, to see his ignominious end. Russell died at the age of 99, a lost soul going into eternity to meet God all alone, away from his fellow agnostics and philosophers, the glare of T.V. cameras and friendly newspaper reporters.
    Bertrand Russell - like all other agnostics and atheists - will have to face Jesus Christ at the Eternal Judgment Bar, like a blithering idiot, trying to explain his silly philosophical bent to the God of the universe and the only Saviour of the world!
   When the news of his death reached me, I immediately prepared a radio message for release across the nation, titled: England's Wisest Fool is Dead’!
    To have had access to the Holy Bible as well as writings of some of the finest Christians of all time - Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Bunyan and Charles Spurgeon and still champion the kind of ideology and philosophy that he did, seemed sad to me. Especially, since Almighty God had endowed him with a brilliant mind and ample opportunities to develop and illuminate it!
    How could a man live almost a century and reject Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Fountain Head of Wisdom, the Pearl of great price, the Prince of Peace and Giver of Eternal Life? In order to do so, a person would have to be extremely dull intellectually or blinded spiritually by evil spirits, whose satanic duty it is to lead men to an eternal Hell!
    Since Bertrand Russell was a brilliant man, I deduced that like millions of others across the world, he must have been deceived. St. Paul writes of Satan "blinding the eyes of those who refuse to receive this that they will be damned." (2 Thes. 2:12)
   Bertrand Russell stated: “The life of man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach and where none can tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent death.
“Brief and powerless is man's life, on his and all his race the slow, sure doom falls, pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way. For man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gates of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day.”

     How different was the testimony of D.L.MOODY, who had led hundreds of thousands to Christ! Shortly before his death, Moody awoke from sleep and said: "Earth is receding, Heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me and I must go."
   And Moody's son said: "No, no father. You're dreaming." And Moody replied: "I am not dreaming. I have been within the Gates. This is my triumph; This is my coronation day. It is glorious."
    Nearing his death as a Martyr for Jesus Christ, St. Paul wrote: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my  departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. 
   "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." (2 Tim.4: 6-8)
                    SHAW & WELLS REJECTED ATHEISM!
     Writers H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw were brilliant men who had left God out of their lives! They built their beliefs on the sinking, shifting sands of exalted humanism, and their lofty ideologies came crashing down around their ears. In the end, both Wells and Shaw wrote of their disillusionment with atheism and the fallacy of their belief in science as a near end-all religion!
    Wells' final literary work oozed of hopelessness and is indeed a testament to the failings of his earlier projections of building a utopian world based on the inherent goodness in mankind! It has correctly been called "a scream of despair." He had given up all hope for the human race!
     George W. Shaw (1856–1950) winner of 1925 Nobel Prize in literature stated: “I am ready to admit after contemplating the world and human nature for 60 years, that I see no way out of the world’s miseries but by the way that would be found by Christ’s will.”
    What a marvelous testimony to the overwhelming power of the Gospel that eclipses all human abilities and frailties throughout all times and ages! He stated: The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, have led directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith."
     Oh, the futility of atheism! Shaw died as a believer in Jesus Christ, but I have not found that Wells turned to the Lord in his despair and disappointment! For more than 55 years I have studied the Bible and served in the Christian ministry for more than five decades, and yet I can say with all sincerity and fairness, that God is reliable and the Bible is relevant! And that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and humanity’s only hope for time and eternity!
               CHRIST IS READY, ABLE & WILLING! 
   Without doubt Christ is ready, able and willing to answer our prayers, even in this dark hour of human history! Make no mistake about the fact that the Holy Spirit is actively working today in the lives of all who put their trust in Jesus Christ. 
     He continues to faithfully call lost souls to turn back to God in repentance and faith, so that they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life together with those who are redeemed and sanctified!
   The Holy Bible declares: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all men should be saved." (2 Peter 3: 9)
    "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For thee is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a RANSOM for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2: 3-6)
     For many years I have studied a great deal of theological as well as philosophical, ideological and scientific journals, and have been strengthened immensely in the faith, even by reading the liberal higher critics who seek to destroy belief in Christ's deity, the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the miracles of the Bible!
      Having researched their writings, I have discovered that when you get all the facts, use the proper hermeneutical approach, taking into consideration the historical, cultural and religious context of any Biblical passage, and diligently searching out the original texts, all apparent inconsistencies vanish like the fog before the sun! In order to come to this conclusion, one must be totally honest!
      My statement to Mike Roberts of CHB CTV will forever be my testimony: "I'm satisfied with Jesus Christ. God has been far too good to me. I do not deserve all the blessings He has showered upon my life!"
   I thank Professor Bertrand Russell posthumously for the challenge I received from his ill - prepared and unscientific, anti-Christian statements.
     And I thank the Holy Spirit, Who prompted me to set the record straight on behalf of my good friend and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who is everything He claims to be and more; the Son of the Living God and the sole Saviour of the world. In fact, in Him we live and move and have our being! (Acts 17:28)
    I had the privilege of debating Charles Templeton - Canada's leading Agnostic - on the subject of the Christian Gospel, on Edmonton's CKER Night Watch a number of years ago. A scheduled debate on Ray Torgrud's CKY TV Talk Show, Winnipeg, however, didn't get ‘off the ground’ as Templeton was unable to appear.
    On one occasion I asked Mr. Templeton pointedly, "What do you think of Jesus Christ?" He answered, “Jesus Christ is the single most important influence in my life." Then I probed, "Is He the Son of God?" Templeton answered: "No, he is not the Son of God!" I asked, "Who is He then?" He replied: "He is a  moral genius”.
    Then I dropped a bombshell: "How can a moral genius be a colossal liar? For He said, ‘I am the Son of God!’ If He is a moral genius, He cannot be a liar and is therefore the Son of God.”
    For a moment on the other end of the telephone there was a short embarrassing silence, just before Templeton began a rambling defense. In broadcasting, we call that silence: "The moment of truth!"
    In my heart I pity Charles Templeton, who preached the gospel and together with Billy Graham reached multitudes for our Lord Jesus Christ! When I debated Templeton in the 1980s, he called himself an agnostic. Fifteen years later when he wrote his last book, Farewell to God, he called himself an atheist!
     For many years, I have preached this message to large crowds in our crusades across the world with great success. Finally, by God's grace I have found the time and obtained the funds, to put it into print.
   In the first chapter, I deal with the subject, ‘What is a Christian?’ In subsequent chapters I give the arguments, reasons and deductions I have arrived at after more than 50 years of dedicated research, study, observation and experience.
      I dedicate this work to young people who are searching for the truth. May the Holy Spirit graciously allow this book to fall into their hands! Then may He, the Divine Paraclete open their eyes so they may recognize Jesus Christ for Who He really is, the Son of the Living God!
    I dedicate this book to the young married couples and those in middle age, who are so busy with their lives raising children, making ends meet and getting their youth through college and university, that they have simply left God out of their lives!
     I dedicate this book to the early retirees, seniors, the golden agers and those who are close to eternity! May each one of us take a good look at eternal values and Jesus Christ, the only hope for eternity and Heaven! Amen.
    To the many preachers, scholars and theologians, whom I have known or whose books I have read and learned from, I say thank you for your great help! I wish to thank the blessed Holy Spirit for His guidance and wisdom in anointing His humble servant in this undertaking!
     In my busy schedule of pasturing, counselling, travelling and writing, He has encouraged me and enabled me to finally get these words on paper. I thank my wonderful wife, Donna, for her love, devotion to God and family and her patience in my arduous tasks of both pasturing and world evangelism!
    And a special ‘thank you’ to our daughter, Betty Farge, who has typed and re-typed the manuscript for this book and many others, for more than a decade.
                            - To be continued soon