There are only a few people I know who like listening to Ravi Zacharias. It might be a matter of personal taste, I don’t know, but by understanding Christianity through philosophy and logic gives me a sense of coherence in the what and why of the Christian worldview, sometimes as opposed to other competing worldviews.
Coherence, by dictionary definition, means:
a : systematic or logical connection or consistency
b : integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values
I remember one anecdote Ravi shared in one of his messages. At a conference in a university, while he was speaking a woman who stood up and exclaimed, “Whoever told you that the world needs to be coherent? Where did you get this idea that life had to be coherent? “ In a rather humorous manner Ravi replied, “Ma’am I’ll be very happy to answer your question, I just have one question for you. Do you want my answer to be coherent or incoherent?”
I think he has a point.
Coherence is significant – both in a philosophical worldview’s answers to the fundamental questions in life, and in terms of exhibiting our faith.
Gandhi once commented, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”(1) referring to the materialism of Christian countries in contrast to what Jesus claims in Luke 16:13.
Some of us may prove Gandhi’s point.
Charles Spurgeon had this to say:
“If Jesus is precious to you, you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself; you will be whispering it into your child’s ear; you will be telling it to your husband; you will be earnestly imparting it to your friend; without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent; your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of his sweet love.Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor. Recollect that. You either try to spread abroad the kingdom of Christ, or else you do not love Him at all. It cannot be that there is a high appreciation of Jesus and a totally silent tongue about Him.”(2)
In Scripture, James used Abraham as an example of coherence:
“Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” – James 2:21-22
It’s nothing new, actually. It is by doing that we demonstrate coherence in who we claim to be – Christians. Remember, though, that doing (that is, good works) is not a means to salvation, but a by-product of it.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” - James 1:22
Hence when God tells us to honor our parents, to submit to authority, to wait on Him, to cease from being anxious, to be still and know that He is God, to regard others more important than ourselves, we do it – not for obedience’s sake but out of humility, reverence and love for God who called us to testify about Him.
Is it easy? No, especially when our emotions take the driver’s seat on situations where we fail to control them. But by being doers of the Word, the faith we profess shines because what we believe is consistent with what people see in us.
Actions lucid with genuine faith keeps us from being regarded as one who believes one thing yet does the opposite – double-minded and insincere. We walk our talk, dependent on the Holy Spirit, with the aim to be more Christ-like.
(1) As quoted by William Rees-Mogg in The Times [London] (4 April 2005)
(2) Charles H. Spurgeon, “A Sermon and a Reminiscence,” Sword and the Trowel (March 1873)