The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The case for faith in Christ:
His presence ... and absence

My wife, Donna, and daughter, Elizabeth, are on their way to Connecticut in search of great pizza.

I'm sure they'll find it ... plenty of it.

And as is my custom when home alone, I stopped by Blockbuster to pick up videos that only I would watch in this household. One of those videos was Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ." I'd forgotten that Strobel did a video version of the book in which the former legal reporter for the Chicago Tribune details his journey from atheism to belief in Jesus Christ.

For some reason, I felt compelled to watch the video, and I'm glad I did. I may see whether anyone at The Meadow wants to check it out. It might make a good Wednesday night discussion piece.

But as strong as the evidence is for Jesus Christ -- Scriptural, historical, and otherwise -- the greatest evidence is in lives that have been changed by his presence, and even his absence.

I can never think about Strobel without being reminded of an interview he did with Charles Templeton that he recalls in "The Case for Faith," published in 2000 by Zondervan. Templeton had been an evangelist. He was a close friend of Billy Graham, with whom he co-founded Youth for Christ International. He even once hosted a weekly religious broadcast on CBS entitled "Look Up and Live." But something happened along the way and in the mid-1950s, Templeton declared himself at agnostic.

During his conversation with Templeton, Strobel asked Templeton what he now thought about Jesus, and the conversation went something like this:

“He was the greatest human being who has ever lived. He was a moral genius. His ethical sense was unique. He was the intrinsically wisest person that I’ve ever encountered in my life or in my reading. His commitment was total and led to his own death, much to the detriment of the world.”

“You sound like you really care about him,” Strobel said.

“Well, yes. He’s the most important thing in my life,” he said. “I ... I ... I adore him ... Everything good I know, everything decent I know, everything pure I know, I learned from Jesus.”

Then, Strobel said, Templeton's voice began to crack, saying, “I ... miss ... him!”

Strobel said Templeton then burst into tears, but recovered, saying, “Enough of that."

To me, the loss of faith in Christ would be tantamount to living in hell on earth.

As the Psalmist prayed:

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Psalm 51:10-12)

Grace and peace ...