"Shoutin' Doesn't Make It So"
November 13, 2011
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalms 14:1-2
It was in the 1800s, that a Lutheran pastor passed by the swinging doors of a tavern. From inside the drinking hole came a shout -- a slurred voice calling out: "Es gibt keinen Gott." Not sure if he had heard correctly, the pastor turned around and went into the saloon. He had not gone three steps past the threshold of the bar when the sentence was shouted again. This time the words were louder; the tone far more aggressive.
For those whose German is a bit rusty, the sentence means there is no God. That statement is for Lutheran ministers -- and just about any Christian pastor or parishioner -- fightin' words.
The reverend, contrary to the hopes of the onlookers, declined to get involved in a few rounds of fisticuffs. Instead, he went over to the irate man, leaned up against the bar, laid a hand on the shouter's shoulder and looked him in the eye, saying, "Meine Freunde, my friend, what you just said isn't new. The Bible agrees with you. The Scriptures say the same thing: 'There is no God.'"
The drunk, who had fixed his fists for a fight, was taken aback by the preacher's gentle manner. Stammering, he said, "Uh, uh, I didn't know the Bible said there was no God!"
"Absolutely," continued the pastor, "You can look it up for yourself. You'll find those words in Psalm 14, verse one. Better yet, let me tell you what Psalm 14:1 says. It says, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.'"
"Of course," the minister continued, "there is a big difference between you and the man the Bible talked about. The Bible's fool kept his opinion to himself. By shouting your mockery in a tavern, you've raised foolishness to a new level."
Today, 150 years later, unbelief in God is all around us. The years have brought about a change in the methods and attitudes of the cynics and skeptics. The unbelieving world is on the attack, and we need to do all we can to share the Savior with these folks.
Oh, and when you do, you might not want to call them a "fool." It may be true, but it doesn't get you -- or Jesus -- very far.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You are omnipotent and could have forced people into believing in Jesus as Savior. Still, You knew that where there is no freedom, there can be no willingness to worship and adore. Today I come before You and ask that those who have wandered from the faith may be brought back and those who have no knowledge of Jesus may see His Truth and salvation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries