ASKING THE TOUGH FAITH QUESTIONS
By Loretta Fulton
“Is Christianity intolerant?”
Yes, and we should be thankful for that. Christianity makes us intolerant of racism, super-nationalism, and other “isms” that are hurtful.
“Praise God, it makes us intolerant of certain things,” said Jonathan Storment, preaching minister at Highland Church of Christ.
Storment was one of the speakers for a student-led forum called “Inquire” Nov. 7 at Hardin-Simmons University. Five questions were covered during the day: Is Christianity intolerant? Is Scripture reliable? Does the reality of suffering prove that God doesn’t exist? What’s God’s will for my life? and What’s God’s design for my sexuality?
Other speakers in addition to Storment were Daniel Rangel, with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Andy Flink, and Stan Allcorn, pastor of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church.
When wondering whether Christianity is intolerant, look at Genesis, Storment said. Genesis Chapter 1 was not written to argue with Darwin, Storment said, but to show that only God deserves our worship.
Genesis tells of the Pharaoh believing in nine gods. The one true God sent 10 plagues to destroy Pharaoh’s dynasty.
“If you want to know where the Bible is intolerant,” Storment said, “it’s on idolatry.”
Storment suggested that asking whether Christianity or the Bible or the church is intolerant might be the wrong question. Yes, Christianity is intolerant of false gods, or idols, but Christians shouldn’t be intolerant of people who worship those instead of God.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute is a biblical mandate. Storment posed a different question:
“How are you going to treat people on the other side of the boundary?” he asked.
The “Inquire” forum was put together by a team of Hardin-Simmons students. One of the leaders, Molly Warren, a senior from Indiana, said the team wanted students to be inspired to inquire about their faith.
“We want them to really ask questions about why they believe what they believe,” she said in a news release from Hardin-Simmons.
Warren said she and other students struck up a conversation last spring about asking the questions that were posed at the forum, plus others. Many of her friends have analytical minds, and she wanted them to know that it is OK to ask those questions.
“Loving God with all your mind is a huge part of their faith walk,” Warren said.
The team of students posed their plan to Travis Craver, HSU chaplain, who gave them the green light. From there, the team whittled an original list of 30 questions to five and lined up speakers. Then, Warren said, they turned it over to God.
“Lord, we’re just being obedient,” they prayed. “We’re going to work hard, but you’ve got to make this a success.”
Warren, a business administration major, said a high school friend, who was a pre-med major, died after his freshman year in college. He was a strong believer but had an analytical mind, Warren said.
Conversations with him, and HSU friends who also are analytical thinkers, gave her the insight to see that people of faith need to understand that it’s OK to ask questions–God can handle it.
“God is not scared of our tough questions,” Warren said.