An Open Letter to Jon Lindgren
Jon is the former mayor of Fargo, ND
and an outspoken critic of religion
I’m a Christian missionary who has read many of your articles published in The Forum and in your blog. My motive for writing this letter is not to stir up a debate but inspire you to think about a few things since you call yourself a “freethinker.”
First, let me point out that I once thought of myself as an atheist but was really more of an agnostic. While growing up in the Fargo-Moorhead area, my parents made me attend a traditional Lutheran church that gave me wrong perceptions of Christianity. For years, I questioned God’s existence until hearing a motivational speaker point out how the order of our universe is evidence of a Creator. Not long afterward, I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My life hasn’t been the same since.
I read that you once considered yourself a believer but had walked away from the faith. Throughout my 24 years of doing street ministry, I’ve met other people who said the same thing. That often happened in response to a tragedy or they never really knew the Lord to begin with. One cause of the latter is churches “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) That’s why many mainline denominations are losing members. People’s spiritual needs aren’t being met there. Fortunately, there are churches alive and growing because the Word of God is taught accurately and the Holy Spirit is allowed to function during services.
People frequently ask me why God allows bad things to happen such as wars, crime, storms, accidents, and disease. There is a simple answer to that. We live on an accursed planet largely ruled by Satan. Even the Bible calls him “the god of this world.” Man has a free will and can choose to follow God or (by default) the devil. You may not believe the devil is a real entity but I can testify from experience he comes to steal, kill and destroy. Denying the existence of the supernatural is like denying gravity. We might not see these things with our physical eyes but there are consequences when we ignore spiritual and natural laws.
One of your articles talks about “ditching religion.” I would agree with that concept depending on your definition of religion. Many dictionaries define it as “a system of faith and worship.” Although Christianity is often labeled as a religion, it was never intended to be a system of do’s and don’ts but a relationship with the Creator who loves us very much. The word religion originates from the Latin word religio, which means “to bind.” Religion can become a form of bondage to well-meaning people trying to follow God’s laws without knowing Him personally. Cults and other religious groups contribute to this bondage by adding rules not based on Scripture.
Another one of your articles makes the claim “…all faiths basically are the same. All believe their faith is the absolute truth and that all others are fake or false.” That’s not entirely true. Universalists believe “there are many ways to get there” despite various religions often contradict each other. Jesus simplified all this by saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
A more recent article of yours denies the existence of miracles. Often people don’t believe in them because they have never seen one. I used to be like that. However, Christians who obey the Great Commission can expect to see signs following such as the sick being healed. I’ve seen this happen many times by using the name of Jesus. Have you thought about why some people use His name as a cuss word but not Allah or Buddha? Satan may influence people to blaspheme the Lord’s name but he still must bow whenever a Christian speaks the name of Jesus with boldness.
This letter may not change your skepticisms. Hopefully, it has you thinking about your standing with the Lord since you’re entering your eighties and will likely step into eternity soon. It’s unfortunate many ungodly things have been done by church leaders in God’s name. However, that’s not an excuse to run away from Him. Every person will someday stand alone before His throne to give an account of their life.
In closing, I want to ask you a simple question: If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian? If your answer is “no”, then I disagree with your use of the term “freethinker.” You are closing your mind to the possibility of Christianity being the real deal. But if your answer is “yes”, then I encourage you to ask the Lord to make Himself real to you. Don’t look to a particular church or denomination for truth but in the person of Jesus Christ. He will reveal Himself to anyone who diligently seeks Him.
Todd R. Post