Excogitating Bill O'Reilly's Sermon to Richard Dawkins

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By Dan Delzell, Special to CP
October 9, 2011|11:16 am

If you have ever watched his show, you know that Bill O'Reilly ends his program with a "Word of the Day" in order to teach his viewers new vocabulary. With that in mind, I decided to use "excogitating" in the title of this article. It means to "think about seriously in order to comprehend fully." Bill really is a "stand-up guy" and is often thinking seriously about current issues and events.

Glen Beck tended to present much longer sermons than O'Reilly when Glen had his daily program on Fox News. Nevertheless, Bill is not afraid to get in there and mix it up with any atheist who will dare to enter the "No Spin Zone."

A case in point is the sermon Bill gave to atheist Richard Dawkins which was aired on O'Reilly's program this week. Bill made it clear to Dawkins that the Ten Commandments as well as the teachings of Jesus are "constraints against bad behavior." That seems to be the common theme Bill articulates when he decides to address religion in one of his interviews.

Bill expounded on this a bit in his sermon when he told Dawkins: "If you believe in the teachings of Jesus or Buddha or someone like that who wants to be peaceful and to love each other, that is a good thing." It is always interesting to me how quickly some people lump Jesus in with other prophets and spiritual figures.

Natural man can easily understand that the teachings of Jesus and the Bible present a good and wholesome way to life life and befriend others. The downside of viewing Jesus in this way is that you can easily miss the real reason the Bible and the teachings of Jesus were given to us. Natural man is good at "imitation." Only God can provide the necessary "impartation" that is required for a person to be born again.

I know, I know. The minute you put "born again" into the equation, you get some people assuming you are talking about a crazy and mystical spiritual experience. I am not. To be born again is to receive a real impartation from the Holy Spirit as you trust Jesus Christ to wash away your sins. You place your faith in something objective - His cross as the payment for your sin - and you may or may not feel anything in particular the minute you believe it. It's not about feelings. It's about the finished work of Christ on the cross and your humble submission to that reality as you place your faith in this glorious fact.

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Here is the thing about the sermons on Fox News by Glenn Beck in the past and Bill O'Reilly in the present. It tends to just be filled with admonitions to "get out there and live according to the Ten Commandments and the golden rule." That may have an effect on a few people that will make our society a little safer. What it won't do is provide the necessary impartation that is needed so that your spiritual efforts can actually start to please God.

If the goal is to please God and not merely to make society better and safer, then we must honestly admit something about Bill's sermon to Dawkins. It did not contain anything that can bring about spiritual conversion and an impartation of the Holy Spirit.

I am not suggesting that Bill make it his mission to preach the Gospel on his program. I am simply saying that the minute you decide to bring Jesus into your sermon as Bill did, there is something much more important to our Lord than just presenting messages about morality. Jesus is after the heart. Jesus told people that they must be born again. Jesus gave His disciples an impartation. He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:22)

You have probably heard it said, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." Here is what I hope you will "excogitate" from this article: "Give man a moral sermon and make him moral for a day. Give a man an impartation from God and save his soul for eternity."

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after His ascension so that His disciples would be empowered to lead unbelievers to receive an impartation and be saved. Oops! There is another scary word for some people. To be "saved" means that you transfer your trust from your own efforts to the work Jesus accomplished on your behalf when he went to the cross.

If some of this religious jargon seems weird to you, don't get too freaked out. If you are not sure whether you are "saved" and "born again," don't be dismayed. You don't have to go into a small room with people you don't know and have them pray over you. All that is necessary is for you to "get it" and to accept it and to hand over control of your life to this wonderful Teacher whose name is Jesus.

If you try to meet Jesus Christ as a Teacher first, you will miss the point and you won't receive an impartation. If you meet Him first as your Savior and are born again through faith, you will receive the Holy Spirit. Then you will seek to live by His teachings and everything will fall into place.

Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck are obviously passionate about wanting people to turn to God in America and live for Him. There is no question that we need God's help in America like never before. We just need to remember that atheists like Richard Dawkins and "average Joe's" on the street need something much greater than sermons about "Jesus the Teacher." They need to lovingly be brought face to face with Christ and their need as sinners for His cross. They are free to accept Him or reject Him. Either way, each of them will see Him again before entering their eternal place of residence.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb.
 

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