“Tom Navy” and Jesus Christ (Meet The Natives)

I watched a series of shows on the Arts and Entertainment (A&E) network this weekend and was greatly entertained… and heartbroken.  The title of the series is Meet The Natives.  Below is an introduction to the series from A & E.

They are traditional hunters and farmers, wearing grass skirts and sheaths. They have no electricity or TV, and a very limited idea of the world beyond their tiny island until now.

It’s time to MEET THE NATIVES: USA. Insightful, entertaining and unforgettable, the extraordinary journey of 5 men from the remote Pacific island of Tanna across the USA will force us to look at ourselves through brand-new eyes.

Why are we so obsessed with money and possessions? Why do we treat our pets better than some of our fellow citizens? What does “family” mean to us? What do we do with our elderly? How come we make all our important decisions in bars? And what’s the point of ironing a shirt?

The Tanna tribe dances their way into America’s hearts as they crisscross the country from high society Manhattan to the big sky of Montana. Whether it’s mud baths and roller coasters in Orange County, CA, sharing a Thanksgiving feast in America’s heartland, or touching snow for the first time, these tribesman spread their wisdom and kindness on their mission to meet the natives of the USA.

As I watched the show I was struck by the tribe’s mission from their chief elder.  They were to find “Tom Navy” who came to them many years ago and brought them peace.  It seems that “Tom Navy” came to the Island at the end of WWII and encouraged them to live peacefully.  He promised to come back one day… and they have been looking for “Tom Navy” to return ever since.

All they have are the memories of their ancestors that have been passed down… a few coins… and two dog tags (What American soldiers wear to identify themselves).  They adopted Tom Navy’s instruction of peace and want him to give them more instruction.

Through the show they ask different families about Tom Navy… but they’re never given a clear answer.  On at least two occasions (Once in Washington DC) they speak to Tom Navy in what I would describe as a prayer.

My sadness came in on a few levels: 1) Tom Navy seemed to have given an incomplete message.  Peace for the sake of peace does nothing for a person’s eternal state.  2) The inability, or hesitation, of the American families to speak on a level that pointed them to Christ {Or at least it was edited out if it did happen}.  3) Their genuine desire to seek out a man named Tom who was in the Navy during WWII, while entertaining, left them without hearing the truth of Jesus Christ.

The people on the island of Tana in the South Pacific are precious, peace loving, gracious, and very intelligent.  However, they have yet to be told about another person who promised to come back… Jesus Christ.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of another person… from another country… who traveled a long way to find his own “Tom Navy.”  His name is not known, but he is called The Ethiopian Eunuch.  I thank God that Philip found him and told him about Jesus.

We can only pray that someone did tell the men from Tana about Christ and that in time they will believe… OR… someone will tell them and they will believe.

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34 comments on ““Tom Navy” and Jesus Christ (Meet The Natives)

  1. Alex says:

    I just watched the whole series and I really enjoyed it. These people really live in a world where greed does not seem to be a problem and it’s just wonderful how they yearn for peace among all men. As I watched this, I too wished that someone would have spoken to them of Jesus.

  2. Pink says:

    Unlike a lot of Jesus followers, their message of peace was genuine, heartfelt,and sincere. To expose them to the Christian message would expose them to everything their peace loving village believs in.

  3. Rick says:

    The natives were sincere and heartwarming. They brought the message of peace and love. There’s no need to introduce them to jesus, they aleady live a wonderful and fulfilling life. Not everyone has to be christian. There are many people in this world that beleive in different things. How boring would it be if everyone was the same!!

    • pastorron7 says:

      Rick… I agree with you! Not everyone has to be a Christian, but I do pray that they would. Personally, from my own experience, a person who has no point of reference for a particular reality really can’t comprehend another. For example, a child playing on a swingset in the back yard can indeed have a wonderful time. But let’s say someone tells them they would have a much better time at a place called Disney World. But the child has no point of reference of what a “Disney World” is or what the experience there would be. I guess you can put 2 and 2 together for the point.

      Are the natives happy? Sure! Can a person be happy without being a Christian? Of course! But the only way a person can be eternally content is to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Apart from Him there is no possibility of complete contentment now and forever.

      People are indeed free to believe different things, but that does not mean that all beliefs are equal or equally true. As far as it being boring if everyone believed the same thing, that is an assumption that I believe falls short of reality. I know that I have enjoyed a tremendous amount of excitement discussing a common belief upon which two people agree. The belief? How one man could live a perfect life… die on a cross 2,000 years ago… and in so doing pay the penalty for my sin… and thereby be forgiven by God and adopted into His family. Discussing the wonder and amazement of that commonly held truth is anything but boring.

      Thank you for your comment. I hope you would consider the truths about Jesus and how He provided the way of salvation for all who will believe in Him.

      Ron

  4. Steve Jones says:

    Why should we corrupt these lovely people with talk of Jesus. They were looking for Tom Navy. I am amazed at how you think all there problems could be solved through hearing about Jesus, gee the world is such a wonderful place for all of that hear about him every day. Give me a break these people have there own beliefs and faith. It may be as foolish as Christians but at least when I hear them talk it seems genuine and truly from the heart. Jesus may have been genuine and truly compassionate but I don’t see that any followers or his today or in those that follow Muhammad or any other religion that is the cause of so much pain and death around the world.

    • pastorron7 says:

      Steve… I would beg to differ. Simply telling other people about the way of salvation for all people is not corrupting them at all! As for all their problems being solved… I never said that. I do say that Jesus is the only answer to their sin problem because He is the only way of salvation. As for what Christians believe, there are many millions of people who would beg to differ with you. I am glad that you make a delineation between Jesus (The perfect God/man who never sinned) and his followers (Who are forgiven but still fail). Plus, just because your experience with Christians has not always been positive does NOT invalidate the truth that Jesus is the only way of salvation. And as for the cause of pain and death in the world… non-Christians have caused much more death and suffering than Christians! Mao was not a believer in Christ and killed millions. Hitler was not a Christian and killed millions. Stalin was not a Christian and killed millions of his own people. By contrast it was Christians who began hospitals… orphanages… the Red Cross… YMCA… and I could go on and on. I think you’re on the right track though… consider the truths of Jesus as found in the Gospel of John. There you will find The Truth in the person of Jesus Christ.

      Blessings!

  5. Quee Taiyang says:

    Those who say that these wonderful people can only be ‘saved’ and enter heaven if they know Jesus are trying to play ‘God’ himself. I am a Christian, a Roman Catholic no less, and while I’m sure I’d be excommunicated for saying this, I believe that if a person lives a good life or a perfect life, understanding right and wrong, striving to do right, repenting for what they do wrong, they will be forgiven and enter heaven. Didn’t Christ die for the sins of all mankind? So why would that not include those who strive to live a perfect live, no matter what their knowledge is of Christ as savior or not?

    As these people seem to live the messages of Christ as a part of their daily lives, far better for us Christians to focus on the liars, thieves, murderers, etc. who call themselves Christians but live foul and evil lives.

    I’m also sure that whether we’re Christian or not, as human beings we’re not perfect, and we should clean up our own lives before telling others what to believe in.

    From watching the series it is obvious that the Tanna tribe are miles ahead in the ‘moral living’ department than the majority of us who call ourselves Christian! Watch them, listen and learn from them, and try to do better in your own life before trying to corrupt and change them to become like us just to feel morally superior.

    • pastorron7 says:

      Quee… Thank you for your post! As for your statement, I am not the one requiring people to believe in Christ to be saved, Jesus is the one who required belief in him. Jesus said in John 14, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Jesus died to pay for the sin of all who will believe (Ro 3:22; 1 Cor 1:21). According to Scripture, a person must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved (Romans 10:9-10). There are many decent, moral, law abiding people who will not enter heaven because they have not trusted in Christ alone as their savior.

      As for trying to correct them and “corrupt and change them to become like us just to feel morally superior.” I promise that I’m not trying to correct anyone. All I am doing is setting forth what is recorded in Scripture regarding salvation. And as for feeling morally superior, I promise that is not my perspective at all! In fact, I know that if God were fair with me I would not be forgiven. The only thing that is different for Christians and non-Christians is that God chose to forgive them and set His saving love upon them. And it has nothing to do with the person themselves, but rather rests purely with God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-10).

      Thank you for your comment!

  6. Garry says:

    The island of Tanna has been visited by Christian missionaries since the 18th century. I’m pretty sure these people have heard of Jesus.

    It turns out that Tom Navy actually was Tom Beatty. He was a Navy SeaBee who was involved with the Presbyterian Church. Friends and relatives say that he was uncomfortable with the reverence the Tannans held him in and never wanted to return to the island.

  7. Terri says:

    Dear Pastor, I have been to Tanna. Got into a villiage previously denied to Christians, as well, to the HQ to meet with the founder of one of the cults. The LORD is loving the people… many have come to the LORD. Continue to ask the LORD of the Harvest to send laborers!

  8. munkfin says:

    I find it rather interesting how these naive people believed that ‘Tom Navy’ was a man from God. Reminds me of the story of Jesus and makes me wonder if Jesus was also just another person who came in to spread a message of peace and love while naive people let their imaginations do the rest, after all, I cannot recall the bible ever mentioning “christians” or “Religion”. Not claiming that this is the truth, but just something that struck me whilst watching the show.

    I personally do not believe in Jesus, but I am open to the idea. I was born into a Born Again Christian home and I still go to church and observe and take in everything I can just so I can have a think about it. I haven’t seen any proof to claim that he exists nor proof to claim that he didn’t, but I guess “proof” would defeat the whole point of faith, so it is a confusing situation for me.

    Even though I don’t believe, it doesn’t stop me from taking whatever good the bible says and putting it to use in my life. I’d rather live a good, happy person than the opposite, and I reckon the Tannese live the same way. The pastor at my church has mentioned that I may have a void in my life, but I have no idea what he’s on about seeing as I feel perfectly alright and content with every little thing I have and I don’t “need” or “want” anything more, but with that said, I shall keep searching and who knows if something will stick out and make me believe.

    Thanks for your blog. I googled “Tom Navy Jesus” curious to see if anybody else have had similar thoughts to mine, but I found the opposite, which is always a nice surprise.

    Peace and love!

    • pastorron7 says:

      Munkfin… thank you for your comments. Regarding your first paragraph, “just another person” couldn’t have raised the dead, fed 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread, healed the sick, given sight to the blind from birth, made the lame to walk, and raised themselves from the dead. As for the term “christians” in Acts 11:26 it is written that the term was applied to those who followed Christ.

      Could I suggest you consider a book written by a skeptic of Christianity? The title is, “The Case For Christ” by Lee Stroble (sp?). He wrote another book called, “The Case For Faith.” He took the biggest objections to Christ and faith he had as a skeptic and then interviewed people for their answer. If nothing else… it will give you something to think about.

      Oh… I don’t think Tom Navy was necessarily a Christian or a believer. I do think the people attached a significant meaning to him and the things he said. There are lessons to be learned there.

      Blessings!

      • Garry says:

        Why don’t you think Tom Navy was a Christian or a believer? The Tom Beatty I mentioned taught Sunday school.

      • pastorron7 says:

        There’s no way to know… unless or until “Tom Navy” himself were to come forward and give testimony himself. He could be… he might not be… at this point there just isn’t proof. Forgive me for doubting or questioning, I just like evidence. Sorry if that offends… that is not my intention. Apart from that, as a pastor I have had Sunday School teachers… Deacons… and ministers come to Christ while serving in those capacities.

  9. anon says:

    I think it is interesting that you can not see the correlation between their belief in and search for Tom Navy and your belief in and search for Jesus Christ.

    Absurd that they believe in and follow the teachings of Tom Navy? Absurd that they believe that Tom Navy will return one day?

    Well, just substitute in Jesus Christ. Not so absurd anymore.

    In fact, to me he sounds just as likely to be a prophet or savior as some dude named Jesus Christ. I’m quite sure Tom Navy could do things that these people believed were beyond the ability of mere mortals. Of course, if you are going to take absolutely everything in the bible as literal, then there’s no way he could compete. But then, I don’t believe a bunch of stories people came up with 2 thousand years ago anymore than I believe the stories any other culture comes up with to explain “stuff”.

    And I can’t fathom why you jump to the conclusion that it’s peace for peace’s sake. You are getting a snippet on TV. And you’re talking about people who didn’t speak the same language as their savior.

    • pastorron7 says:

      Anon… thank you for your comment. Now I’ll take a few lines to explain my thoughts a little more in detail for you.

      The correlation between the natives seeking “Tom Navy” and my search for Jesus is this. I have found Jesus Christ who is the only way of salvation. From what was presented in the series, they are seeking the one who possibly began to introduce them to Jesus as the only way of salvation. There is a huge difference.

      I don’t think it absurd that they follow the teachings of “Tom Navy” or believe he will return one day. It is improper to equate “Tom Navy” to Jesus Christ and His return. Jesus is the savior of the world. Tom Navy (Or any other human for that matter) at best can only point people to the savior who is Christ alone. Tom Navy can only teach ABOUT salvation… Jesus Christ provided the way of salvaiton by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. In all honesty, the absurdity you speak of is to put on the same level Tom Navy with Jesus Christ.

      “Some dude…” Really? I don’t take everything… meaning absolutely everything… in the Bible to be literal. But I do believe the narrative accounts in the Gospels are historically true. And I do so with many good reasons that are objective, provable, and cogent. The “bunch of stories” you refer to about the eye witness accounts of Matthew through Acts. But your skepticism is valid and not to be brushed off. The question is whether or not you will be willing to investigate the possibility that the claims of (And about) Jesus Christ are rational, reasonable, and true? If you are willing to at least consider the possibility that there is truth outside your present knowledge, then you will investigate further. If you believe you already have all (And I do mean all) truth… you’ll be content with your present state.

      Your snippit comment is valid… and works both ways. I admit and agree that what was presented on TV was a small segment of a total picture. However, you believe your snippit of understanding about Jesus and the Christian faith is absolute, complete, and beyond question or examining further. If I don’t investigate further, it will have no bearing on my eternity. I suggest that if you neglect to investigate further, there will be tremendous result in eternity. So I would suggest not only to read objectively the Gospel of John, but also a book written by a skeptic titled “The Case For Faith” by Lee Stroble.

      Thank you again for your comments!

  10. jsday187 says:

    You need to level your pride buddy. Stop acting like you know God’s total plan for everyone. Im sure a just and loving God will not punish kind and peaceful people because they aren’t informed about the plan for salvation. If they don’t know Christ in this life then Im sure that He would love to meet them in the next. All men will be judged according to their works. Do you think that all who came before Jesus are doomed to hell? I doubt it. I’m sure that God must have a plan for people who didn’t get a proper chance to receive the gospel in life. And even if they are doomed its not your judgment to make.

    • pastorron7 says:

      You certainly are entitled to your opinion, although I don’t understand why you seem to be so hostile, judgmental, and condescending. Yet I think it good to respond to your assertions.

      First… Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man goes to the Father but by me.” As a Christian I’m convinced the only way to be saved is through accepting Jesus as savior in this life.

      It is written in the book of Hebrews, “It is appointed unto many once to die and after this the judgment.” So I would respectfully reject your suggestion that a person can come to believe in the afterlife.

      As for people being judged according to their works, I agree… but only after the saved are separated from the unsaved. At that point the saved will be rewarded according to their works and the unsaved will be condemned.

      The people who came before Jesus looked forward in faith to the Messiah… those after Jesus look back to the Messiah. BOTH are saved by faith in the same person.

      God’s plan for salvation is the same for everyone. “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31). As for everyone having a chance… everyone DOES. Read Romans 1:19-23. This is the reason no one has an excuse for not believing in Christ.

      Last… I do not pronounce anyone lost unless they reject Jesus as the only way of salvation and do not believe in Him. Then I am simply echoing the Scripture. Yet still… until they pass from this life without Christ, they can still repent and believe in Him so as to be saved.

      Thank you for your comment!

  11. M.E. says:

    I realize this was about 2 years ago, but the nature of the internet often leads one here or there based on context as opposed to currency so I hope you’ll still find what I have to add useful.

    As Garry had mentioned, Tom “Navy” was found to be Thomas Beatty, an American work brigade leader. Interactions of first-world soldiers with third-world natives was not uncommon at all during war times, where covertness and discretion are key to maintaining supply routs and safely moving armies across the land. It was really just a historical encounter for these people. I don’t believe there’s much evidence to even suggest that it was a coincidence, since many of the tribes people were essentially conscripted to aid the soldiers in maintaining their supply routs. This interaction was certainly part of a plan, and the higher powers that ordered it to be carried out were certainly government or military officials as opposed to supernatural beings. The facts paint a much plainer picture, but one that is objectively more reasonable.

    Furthermore, Thomas Beatty was a *brigade leader* not a single estranged soldier lost in a faraway land. He would have been leading several battalions, consisting of several thousand soldiers. Understanding the hierarchical nature of tribes, it’s only natural for them to identify with the “chief”, the one leading the others. Knowing Thomas Beatty was in charge of so many men, it is easy to categorize his emotional state within that of any other serving leader in military history: War is hell, and he was living in it. It’s not surprising that he would placate the frightened and curious tribe by imparting the pseudo-wisdom of “living peacefully”, especially coming from an American military man of the late 40’s. That’s the sort of John Wayne, Buck Rogers, Captain America sort of thing you could expect the guy to say. “War’s hell, ya understand? You just treat each other right, be happy, and you won’t ever have ta’ worry about it.”

    As far as Thomas Beatty saying he would return again and bring peace and prosperity to their people, you have to look into the accounts of the many other “Cargo Cults” of Vanuatu: They all say the same thing about their individual “saviors”. This can easily be interpreted as either a.) mass delusion brought on by the psychological trauma of rapid exposure to numerous advanced technologies, b.) miscommunication, or c.) sympathetic placation in order to “leave on a good note”. I believe it is fair to postulate that it could have been a combination of all of the above. In regard to the latter, that sort of social tactic is extremely common among civilized people within class systems:

    Person#1 “That was fun. We should do it again sometime.”
    Person#2 “Yes. Perhaps, we should. Well, got to go!”

    #1 is placated for the moment, and #2 is in a position to simply be unavailable in the future.

    So, in conclusion, I believe this event in history to be a quirky slice of life rather than a spiritual encounter of any kind – whatsoever. As far as Christianity is concerned with this, I don’t see the connection. To draw one would require a lot more words, but suffice it to say that these tribal people (beyond a shadow of a doubt) know more of God than any Christian in history ever has, save for the disciples themselves, perhaps. You, myself, and all other civilized peoples could learn much more valuable information from them than they could ever learn from us.

    • Pastor Ron says:

      Yes… it’s been a while since this was posted. I prefer to focus just on what you wrote in the last paragraph.

      “These tribal people… know more of God than any Christian in history ever has”? One of the beauties of being a Christian is knowing the Savior just as personally and deeply as those who literally walked with Him. The ability to make such a statement is due to The Holy Spirit that abides in Christians. He reveals Christ through the Scriptures in a personal way that is beyond human ability. Christianity is NOT about learning things, maxims, or even doctrine… but the person Jesus Himself. Information cannot and does not save a person… JESUS is who saves. At that point I would say that all any Christian does is introduce Christ to others, the relationship is left in his and the person’s hand.

      The connection is this… everyone worships something and/or someone. For some it is “Tom Navy.” For others it is job, intellect, or self. At that point what I wrote about holds. The greatest danger humans have is thinking they are right when they are wrong… thinking they are walking with God when they are not… being saved when they are lost. The resolution of those things is in God’s hands… to reveal His Truth (Jesus) as He so desires. This I know, everyone who seeks The Truth (Jesus) will find it.

      Blessings.

  12. Ted Wilkins says:

    Dear Ron,

    please refrain from using terms like “I know” when you really mean “I believe”. You seem quite serious about your religious “beliefs”, so why not portray them as beliefs instead of as “facts?” I find it a bit offensive and arrogant.

    From your articles, I get the impression that you don’t mean to be offensive or arrogant, but statements like: “But the only way a person can be eternally content is to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.” You do not know this even though you may believe it with all your heart. It may in fact be correct, (unlikely as I believe that to be) but that also doesn’t make it factual. To be factual, you must be able to verify it.

    If you were to take the opposing view from an arrogant atheist, they might say something like, there is no God, Jesus or afterlife, which they don’t really know either even though, they may also believe it strongly.

    • Pastor Ron says:

      Ted,

      Thank you for your comments!

      As for making difinitive statements, I can understand how they could be offensive to some… even though they aren’t intended to be. However, what I believe isn’t ture because I believe it… I believe it because it is true. I wrote “The only way a person can be eternally content is to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ” because it is true. As arrogant and offensive as some would take this… the only way anyone can be in God’s presence for eternity is through Jesus Christ.

      What I believe is not intended to communicate in the least hoping something is true like when I say… “I BELIEVE I will go to the store now.” That suggests uncertainty. Belief in the context of what I wrote is in the realm of certainty. Certainty that is based not on me or my thoughts, but from God Himself in His Word (The Bible).

      As Jesus Himslef said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man goes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

      Blessings

  13. Ted Wilkins says:

    Ron,
    thank you for your timely response. If you look at when you’ve seen others being arrogant, I think you’ll find it is almost never “intended” to be so. Often its a case of someones belief in their position being above reproach in some way which they’re not usually thinking about when making their statement.

    I agree that to prefix a statement with “I believe” does imply some uncertainty. In fact, it’s a more humble statement as a result. I believe you do not “know” the statements you’re making to be true. You may “believe” with all your heart that they are true.

    Don’t you think that before someone starts professing a strong position that the responsible course of action is to apply some form of critical rigour to their position and likewise communicate the reasons for any uncertainty at the same time?

    Cheers.

    • Pastor Ron says:

      Thank you for the follow up.

      You wrote that I should apply some form of critical rigor to my position. Honestly… I have. The Case For Christ and The Case For Faith are solidly embeded in historical fact… even being attested to in extra-Biblical record (But that does not make the Biblical record true. It only affirms it.). I believe what I believe because it is true… it is not true because I believe it.

      As for uncertainties I have. Actually… there are none. I know that may sound subjective, but it isn’t.

      God bless.

  14. Ted Wilkins says:

    Thanks again for your time Ron,

    I take it that you agree with my suggestion that it is the responsible course of action to apply some critical rigour, please advise if not. In any case you claim to have done yours and further claim that “The Case For Christ and The Case For Faith are solidly embeded in historical fact”. Now I’m not so sure that is true and to be fair, I haven’t researched any “Historical Facts”, but I’m well aware that both sides of the debate as to the existence of God have some kind of experts claiming proofs one way or the other.

    Now I’ve glossed across your site and see that you have spent a long period in religious studies and have lots of qualifications. One could easily assume that you’ve had much opportunity to ponder and question all the in’s and out’s of gods existence, however, I never cease to be amazed how often, when you ask a few basic questions to many others about their belief in religion that they just don’t seem to have applied any critical rigour at all to their position and completely either ignore information that doesn’t fit their belief or arrogantly dismiss it. In fact, most seem happy to just use some crazy circular logic like:
    i) I believe in the bible because it’s gods word.
    ii) I belive in god because it’s written in the bible.
    The amazing part of this to me is how happy some individuals seem to be with this assertion. Now I’m guessing that you don’t often ask others as to why they believe, but if you try it, I think you’ll find it quite common that unlike yourself, they’ll make all sorts of claims that have little to do with critical rigour or objective reason. More so, they seem ensconced in Cognitive dissonance and really are only following their religion because it makes them feel good.

    Now because you’ve studied long and hard and have performed some critical rigour I’m kind of hoping that you’ll be able to supply more rational responses to some questions about your claims:

    1) What is the embedded historical fact/s that convinces you that Christ is the son of God?
    2) What is the embedded historical fact/s that convinces you that God exists?

    Now without actually having studied the bible, I must admit that I’m quite cynical about some seemingly universal claims, which I’ll list underneath and if you have the time, I’d appreciate your response to them as well.

    Virtually all religiously inclined seem to think that God is (Wonderful, fantastic, etc etc. in short, a really good guy!)

    3) So why does he sit on his hands whilst we march off to hell for an eternity of suffering?

    Take the example of a good person, who although they sin occasionally and spend the majority of their life doing good for others, sometimes at great personal expense, they either don’t find the arguments for the existence of God convincing or do not have the opportunity to learn about God. Presuming that he gets the one way ticket South, it does seem a bit mean to me.You’d reckon, if he was half way decent, he’d give you a break and at least stick you somewhere where you don’t have to suffer.

    For my last question I’m going to reference a quote you made on your site on This page

    “The reason God causes/allows difficulty is to Conform us to the image of Christ. (P) That’s it… that’s the reason. It’s to make us more like Jesus. Now let’s consider this thought a little more…

    Right now… none of us are AS loving… forgiving… merciful… compassionate… gracious… or patient as we should be. None of us have attained godliness to the level Jesus possessed. That is not only unacceptable, it must be reversed. Therefore God works in & on us to MAKE US more like Christ.”

    Here you point out that none of us are anywhere near Jesus’s level of godliness and that it is unacceptable so therefore we must suffer to make us more like Jesus.

    That seems incredibly mean of God to me. On the one hand he gives us an incredibly high (some would say impossibly high since we’re all sinners) moral standard to adhere to and then punishes some of us with some indescribably painful and harsh methods.

    4) If he really wants us to be more like jesus, why not make us like jesus in the first place?

    Again, looking forward to your responses,

    thanks!

    • Pastor Ron says:

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply… sometimes “life happens” and we must priortize what is good versus what is important. Anyway…

      I will focus on just a short segment of what you last commented on… quoted below:

      “1) What is the embedded historical fact/s that convinces you that Christ is the son of God? 2) What is the embedded historical fact/s that convinces you that God exists? Now without actually having studied the bible, I must admit that I’m quite cynical about some seemingly universal claims, which I’ll list underneath and if you have the time, I’d appreciate your response to them as well. Virtually all religiously inclined seem to think that God is (Wonderful, fantastic, etc etc. in short, a really good guy!). 3) So why does he sit on his hands whilst we march off to hell for an eternity of suffering?”

      What convinces me that Christ is the Son of God is quite simply, His resurrection from the dead. As you would expect, my first imbedded historical source is Scripture, for which there is ample evidence as to its historicity (When the New Testament was written there were ample witnesses to what was written to rebut it were it false {1 Corinthians 15:6; Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3; Acts 26:23-27}). The writings of Tacitus and Josephus both also attest to not only Jesus’ physical existence but also support these claims as still being known (But not proved false).

      What embedded historical fact convinces me (That’s an important two letter word… “ME”) that God exists? Creation and the universe. You and I are BOTH holding our positions based on faith. Your faith is that God doesn’t exist. Mine is that He does exist. Your faith leads you to believe (I’m guessing) evolution. My faith leads me to believe God spoke everything into existence. We look at the same evidence of creation and apply different conclusions. For both of us just because we don’t believe something doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In a sense you are rolling the dice there is no God… if you’re right, I lose nothing. In a metaphorical sense to many I’m rolling the dice God does exist and Jesus is the only way of salvation… if I’m right I gain everything and you lose everything. But honestly, for more reasons than I can put in this reply, I’m not rolling the dice with what I believe.

      “So why does he sit on his hands whilst we march off to hell for an eternity of suffering?” God isn’t… hasn’t… doesn’t sit on His hands as you suggest. Instead, God acted to provide the way of salvation! God became a man in Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect sinless life. He died on the cross taking the wrath of God toward our sin. Jesus then came back from the dead under His own power so that all who believe in Him would be forgiven and have eternal life. THAT is God doing the exact opposite of what you suggest in your question. Every other religion is man having to please God. Only in Christianity does God provide the way of salvation Himself for man to spend eternity with Him.

      I would suggest you read two books if you would like further evidence. They were written by an agnostic to prove his wife’s faith wrong. He was a report for a newspaper in Chicago. The man’s name is Lee Stroble. The books are titled, “The Case For Christ” and “The Case For Faith.” They are very readable and filled with documentation. Even if you do not reach the same conclusions, you will have at least been presented infomation that will require you to think deeply.

      Blessings!

  15. chrisbowyer says:

    @ Pastor Ron

    Interesting. I look forward to your response to Ted Wilkins’ last post

  16. Ted Wilkins says:

    Hi again Pastor Ron,
    and thanks again for your time. I don’t see any need from your side to apologise for delays in responding, it looks like you have a very busy life and I’m grateful that you find time to respond.

    You say “There is ample evidence as to its historicity” supported by the following:
    i) When the New Testament was written there were ample witnesses to what was written to rebut it were it false.
    a) Is this really how you decide if something is legitimate? You wait for someone to rebut? Surely Ron you understand that this is only circumstantial evidence and on its own, a very poor method to decide legitimacy of anything.
    b) The references you gave in support of the bibles historicity (1 Corinthians 15:6; Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3; Acts 26:23-27) appear to actually come from the bible. Are you really asserting that any proof of a book’s legitimacy can come from the same book?
    ii) The writings of Tacitus and Josephus both also attest to not only Jesus’ physical existence but also support these claims as still being known (But not proved false).”
    a) Someone else agreed in writing? The fact that they wrote it, may well be a fact, but that does not make their statements factual does it?

    What embedded historical fact convinces me (That’s an important two letter word… “ME”) that God exists? Creation and the universe.
    a) I think we can agree that the existence of creation and the universe is a fact. But the fact that it exists does not prove or disprove who created it. I met a man from another religion who made an almost identical claim to you that it was creation that convinced him that his god existed. Should I be like him and suddenly believe in his god? Should I be like you and believe in yours just because there is a universe? Perhaps I should be like the scientists who don’t claim to know for sure all the details, but seem keen on a big bang and or an expanding universe that may’ve come from nothing. Why jump to any conclusion at all? Don’t you think that jumping to conclusions causes problems and reduced probability of being correct? When you said that you liked evidence above, it led me to think that you were open minded and not ready to simply jump in to something blindly, but statements like the one above are now making me think otherwise.

    You and I are BOTH holding our positions based on faith. Your faith is that God doesn’t exist. Mine is that He does exist.
    a) To say that your position is “faith based” is a correct and direct use of the word faith. Check it online here, but to say that my position is “faith based” seems to be really stretching the meaning of the word faith to an extreme. My position is to take an open minded approach and evaluate any evidence that gets presented. If god comes good in the evidence department, I’ll be the first to step up to the plate and say I believe in him. So is my position really “faith based?” To me it’s a bit like saying if I don’t play sport that “not playing sport is my sport”.

    In a sense you are rolling the dice there is no God… if you’re right, I lose nothing. In a metaphorical sense to many I’m rolling the dice God does exist and Jesus is the only way of salvation… if I’m right I gain everything and you lose everything.
    a) Gee Ron, if you’re wrong, you lose nothing. Just looking at your website, you’ve devoted thousands of hours to religion and its cause. Do you really mean to say that if you discovered that the whole deal was just plain wrong, you wouldn’t have preferred that you’d done something else with your life? Think of all those hours you could’ve spent enriching your life and those around you with all that time and energy. You might’ve decided that life is to be enjoyed and had a bit more fun. You might’ve devoted your time into making a wonderful discovery that actually helps mankind in one way or another. There are limitless possibilities of what you may’ve done with your life, but if one day you were to discover you were wrong about the entire religious thing, you may well regret your decision to live life as though there was a god.
    b) If you’re right, let’s look at what you gain. The first one (which is a big one I’ll admit) is no eternity of suffering. Yup, that’s gotta be good, cant imagine anyone wanting that. Everlasting life in Gods presence. Sounds good when you don’t think about it too much, but you’d reckon that after the first couple of centuries sitting around paying homage to god that it might just get a bit boring. It’s also supposed to be a forever deal right. Not sure I’m mad on the whole everlasting life thing, but yeah, hate being burnt.
    c) Everything I’ve seen or heard just reinforces the reduced likelihood of there being a god, so I’m not too concerned even though I’m well aware I could be completely wrong.

    “So why does he sit on his hands whilst we march off to hell for an eternity of suffering?” God isn’t… hasn’t… doesn’t sit on His hands as you suggest. Instead, God acted to provide the way of salvation! God became a man in Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect sinless life. He died on the cross taking the wrath of God toward our sin. Jesus then came back from the dead under His own power so that all who believe in Him would be forgiven and have eternal life. THAT is God doing the exact opposite of what you suggest in your question. Every other religion is man having to please God. Only in Christianity does God provide the way of salvation Himself for man to spend eternity with Him.

    a) Ron, you’ve purported that God isn’t… hasn’t… and doesn’t… sit on his hands and then proceeded to report about something he “did” about 2000 years ago. Now that only covers hasn’t… Please note that I did not say that he hasn’t done anything. I merely asked the question of why “does” he sit on his hands.
    b) Isn’t… and doesn’t… are present tense and you make no case of him not sitting on his hands whilst very good people in this world march off to hell for an eternity of suffering today.

    The very idea that God did something 2000 odd years ago that we’re supposed to believe in and suddenly take up his cause seems awfully unjust in comparison to those that got to witness these amazing miracles. Gee if I’d been there and seen the waters parted or a guy I was sure had been dead for a few days come back to life, I’d be taking the whole possibility of a god a lot more seriously than I am today.

    God became a man in Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect sinless life. He died on the cross taking the wrath of God toward our sin. Jesus then came back from the dead under His own power so that all who believe in Him would be forgiven and have eternal life.

    a) So this is something that I’ve always had a problem with. Many Christian folk love to say this, but I don’t think very many who say it, really think about it. Here’s why.
    It raises the question of “what for?” Did he want to give us all a guilt complex because “He” made us imperfect in the first place? Ok, so although Jesus is a man who is really god, he permits himself to have terrible suffering just so he can forgive us? All seems like a poor way to go really. Why not simply just decide to forgive us up front and save the effort? Is it my fault he made me imperfect? A lot is made by many about this so called suffering, but did he suffer, really? Think about it, if god is all powerful etc. you’d reckon that although a regular man would’ve suffered tremendously in the same situation, Jesus/god may not have suffered at all. He may’ve made a great show of suffering, but since he is god, it most probably was nothing at all to him. Bringing himself back to life would surely be a snap of the fingers for him too and living a perfect life, also a triviality for a god, so how much did he really put himself out?

    Every other religion is man having to please God.
    a) Uuum so is this one isn’t it? I mean ultimately we have to believe in him and love him to “please” him do we not?

    I would suggest you read two books if you would like further evidence.
    a) The reason I won’t be taking up this suggestion is the same reason that I don’t bother with the bible. I’ve seen others making a similar claim on youtube etc and after hearing their explanations, I never cease to be amazed at how unlikely they sound and how little thought seems to go into their claims. Usually, they base their claims somewhere along the line that you already believe in a particular aspect of religion even though I don’t or they make a statement that stretches past the intellect of some with statements like “we both have faith based positions”. You’re presenting me with this opportunity to perhaps think deeper when every response I get from pretty much every one I ask of about their religion are very quick to display their own lack of depth in their thinking. They avoid asking any obvious hard questions required by critical rigour instead preferring to make some baseless statement that for them supposedly seals the deal.

    I believe they choose to believe:
    Out of fear that they’ll burn in hell if they don’t.
    Hope to live forever.
    They become part of an accepting group that makes them feel good.
    I believe that they don’t choose to believe:
    because it’s the most likely thing to be correct after much critical thinking.

    Indeed, once someone has been “in the faith” for any period it seems that baseless claims are the order of the day for all and sundry without critical assessment from anyone including their peers.

    I first asked you “not to present statements as facts instead of beliefs” and really thought that after claiming you’d completed some critical rigour you were going to show me something new and interesting about religion and why people prepared to use their intellect, (of which I was hoping you were one) instead of their feelings, still choose to follow a religion. I say with the greatest respect that I’m left disappointed. I bet if I met you in person, I’d discover that you’re a very nice guy, but I have to tell you that all your responses so far have left me thinking that you’re also someone who is ensconced in Cognitive Dissonance. A classic example of Christian Cognitive Dissonance is seeing something positive and immediately assigning the positivity to god without any further thought. Your statement about creation smacks of this I have to say.

    As a pastor, you’re a community leader and I expect that since you’re in in the position of giving counsel to many about important things in their lives, you should surely take that responsibility seriously and take great care in providing that counsel. As a doctor of any description, you should surely understand logic, reason and critical rigour and here I believe you may be falling down. Critical rigour is kind of the opposite of cognitive dissonance and requires you to ask a multitude of questions about something that may cast the subject in a good light sometimes and a bad light sometimes (often requiring quite confronting questions to be asked) and ultimately does it all make sense. I guess my question about your knowledge of something that happened 2000 years ago was a bit loaded in that I don’t really think it’s easy to “know“ anything too specific about something that happened that long ago. Anyway, I implore you to have another look at critical rigour and try being as objective as possible when next you’re counselling as I’m sure it will affect others markedly.

    My next couple of paragraphs demonstrate some of the types of questions that should be part of critical rigour.

    Why must so much of what this wonderful god does have so much to do with suffering? For a so called great bloke he seems to require a lot of unnecessary wrath, burning and suffering don’t you think. I’ve heard many a religious person preach of the importance of forgiveness and implore to others that they should forgive those that have wronged them, but god doesn’t seem to forgive anyone unless they believe in him. No, he seems happy to sit on his hands whilst we burn in hell. So instead of making his existence unquestionable where we at least have a clear witness opportunity, we have to get hold of a book, drop our logic and fall in love with him even though we’re threatened with the most terrible punishment if we don’t.

    It would seem to me that it would take absolutely no effort on his behalf to at least show up occasionally and do something nice. Maybe turn down the temperature on global warming. Just drop in to say hi and make it very clear that he exists and is at least halfway decent. This is a very short list of what he could do, if he cared less, but he doesn’t seem to be all that worried does he. He does appear to be very much sitting on his hands today and my question is still why?

    • Pastor Ron says:

      I will answer one thought from your extensive reply. You wrote…

      “Why must so much of what this wonderful god does have so much to do with suffering? For a so called great bloke he seems to require a lot of unnecessary wrath, burning and suffering don’t you think. I’ve heard many a religious person preach of the importance of forgiveness and implore to others that they should forgive those that have wronged them, but god doesn’t seem to forgive anyone unless they believe in him. No, he seems happy to sit on his hands whilst we burn in hell. So instead of making his existence unquestionable where we at least have a clear witness opportunity, we have to get hold of a book, drop our logic and fall in love with him even though we’re threatened with the most terrible punishment if we don’t.”

      To get right to the point… who are you to question God, what He does, or how He chooses to do it? Your obvious disdain for Him is surprising since you say He doesn’t exist. If you are right, why are you so passionately involved in evangelism… trying to get others to believe the way you do by attempting to deconstruct what they believe? If you don’t believe there is a God… and you are so confident… why not just go on with your life and let others alone? Doesn’t your passion to disprove His existence and other’s belief in Him expose a deep seeded uncertainty of your own position? In much the same way as having the freedom not to listen to offensive speech… you have the freedom to ignore that which you say doesn’t exist. I suggest there is a part of you… deep in your soul that knows God is real and does exist. Otherwise you wouldn’t take so much time in trying to evangelize others to your position. That which we really don’t care about does not occupy so much of our energy.

      Now, about suffering. I suggest you listen to a message I delivered on suffering (http://ronsreflections.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/suffering-and-honor/). As I wrote before, God did not and has not “sat on His hands while (people) burn in hell.” God provided THE way of escape from eternal punishment through His Son Jesus Christ. You are not threatened with the most terrible punishment, you are presented with the greatest act of love in history! Jesus Christ died and took God’s wrath for the sin every person who believes in Him committed, so that they could be forgiven. In my view you are ignoring God’s great act of love through His Son Jesus. To ignore God’s great love is worthy of eternal punishment. The choice is yours. Either you will believe and accept God’s love through His Son or you won’t. Here is another message on suffering that is a follow up to the other one above: http://ronsreflections.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/god-uses-satan/

      My prayer is you will objectively doubt your doubts (Think about that!). Doubt your doubts… Are you SURE that your doubts about Christ and salvation are right? If you are, why spend so much energy trying to disprove them to yourself? But if your doubts are worthy of objective consideration, why not examine them closely and honestly.

      Blessings.

  17. Drew says:

    Awesome show, loved it, am watching the very last episode now, where the familys reflect on their time with them. mate, it brings tears to the eyes, so beautiful are they, the tanna people, regardless of their religion I think they will make it to heaven just as they are for they are the true embodiment of christ.

    • Ron says:

      Blessings Drew! I would say this about your comment though… the ONLY way a person makes it to heaven is through Jesus Christ. “Just as they are” will NOT save them. The “true embodiement of Christ” is faith in Him as the only way of salvation. No matter how sincere they are about anything else, unless they “believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31), they will not be saved. “Regardless of their religion?” I can’t affirm that anyone is saved “regardless of their religion.” Only Jesus paid the penalty of sin and was resurrected from the dead so that all who believe in Him will be saved. Christianity is exclusive in doctrine. Eveyone must beleive in Him alone or else they will be eternally seperated from God. Check out Romans 10:9-10…

  18. Jesusisking says:

    People doubt jesus because they live in fear. They live in fear because they don’t believe the truth. The truth is self evident in all of gods creations including us The bible is gods own words and instructions for us all. its as simple as that.

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