No Arms, No Legs, a Miracle?
Here is an amazing fellow and story, which is sure to affect most anyone who hears it. The question we examine is whether Nick’s is a work of God’s resurrection power in Christ or of man’s power as granted under God’s sovereignty working all things, good and evil.
Victor sends a few of us at TPOT an interview with Nick Vujicic, a young evangelist born without arms or legs:
Would we like to share this with everyone else? What do you think? I recall telling Carlos Dill that Nick was attracting attention to himself in the Name of the Lord, but it appears he’s been helping a multitude of people. Who can argue with that?
By the way there are many videos of Nick on line. Remarkable.
I won’t argue that many people are motivated to have better attitudes by this amazing fellow who has overcome great hardships. I’m glad for him and anyone else who doesn’t feel sorry for themselves, but does the best they can with what they have. That’s terrific!
But at the same time I’m very uncomfortable with Nick’s mixture of Christianity and motivational speaking. I simply can’t endorse it. It’s not a real relationship with the Lord, from all that I’ve experienced of Him in the last 34 years. Physical and other handicaps aren’t the cross.
Jeannie Van Popta responds:
I wonder how long people are inspired though? There are so many inspirational people out there and shows like Oprah are always ‘inspiring’ people but I’ve never met anyone like this in real life. It’s easy to inspire people when you have a microphone and an audience waiting to be inspired. To me it’s kinda like guilt. Guilting someone into doing something may work once or twice but it never actually changes anything or anyone.
I wonder if he would love his life so much if no one paid any attention to him?
While pregnant with Mathijs and Marseilles I watched a lot of pregnancy shows (we had satellite at the time) and there were so many paralysed and/or single and/or otherwise handicapped people having babies. In the moment I felt much better about my situation. But really it changed nothing. I still felt very sorry for myself for having to have twins. I told myself over and over again how selfish and stupid I was being but I didn’t change my attitude. From the moment I heard the ultrasound tech. say there were two heartbeats I feared things wouldn’t go well. And what happened? Things went terribly. The only way my attitude changed was the Lord teaching me a lesson.
I’m sure there are people who have changed their lives because of him and of course there are people out there without terrible attitudes like mine. But does any of this inspiration mean anything without God?
Just wanted to share my personal experience of being ‘inspired’. 🙂
We very much appreciate your perspective and candidness, Jeannie. There’s insight and wisdom expressed in your thoughts and words.
It could be argued that Nick claims and proclaims, presumably, hope in faith in Jesus Christ as the bedrock of his wellbeing and success. His intention, it seems, is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, though it doesn’t seem to quite come out that way in the end.
Yes, he motivates and speaks of never giving in to adverse circumstances and failure, a principle that anyone without the Lord can practice, and many do, with varying degrees of success. We’re reading a book right now that Jonathan brought home from Cutco, written by a young fellow, “Yo Pal” Hal Elrod, Taking Life Head On, in which he speaks of attitude, thinking big, aiming high, rising above your troubles, acceptance of one’s circumstances and never giving up (he had survived and magnificently recovered from a horrific car accident). These are all worthwhile principles that I know work and have worked for me.
Perhaps, as you say, it’s the mixture that poses a problem? I feel that while Nick is helping many and speaks truths, he’s drawing people to himself, and if that’s so, then as you say, the results aren’t going to last, depending on the degree to which people put their trust in him and his doctrine of positive thinking and attitude. Furthermore, is it about succeeding in this world, or is it about attaining unto the Kingdom of God through faith in Christ?
I know I was uplifted, even thrilled, in the ‘60s by motivational speakers like “Tremendous” Charlie Jones, Richard DeVos, Dale Carnegie, Thurman Fleet, and Earl Nightingale. I was definitely helped, but in the end, what they had to offer just wasn’t enough, not nearly. Indeed, in spite of their influence, I came to the place where I found no good reason for living anymore. At least three of those claimed faith in Christ, though said very little about it, and what I needed to hear was the clear and bold message of Jesus Christ and His work of salvation for us. That alone eventually availed for me. I recall that after believing, I scolded my Amway Direct distributors for not proclaiming Jesus Christ to me instead of proclaiming Rich DeVos and Amway. I was wishing I had heard of the Lord sooner.
The one difference between those motivators and Nick Vujicic is that Nick seems to try more to point to Christ as the Real Answer, though he tries to do so very tactfully, for fear of offending. I frankly think he’s apologetic before audiences, which indicates to me he’s actually ashamed of the Son of Man (though I expect he would vehemently deny it).
“Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38 MKJV).
Nick certainly isn’t preaching the cross, as Paul points out, which is the case in countless, if not all, churches we’ve ever come across. Isn’t that so? They preach Christ and His cross as a historical fact that brings us forgiveness of sin, which is what makes things so tricky and possible to deceive even the elect. I think we can safely say that preaching the cross of Jesus Christ, specifically the one you must take up by following Him, is the only true way of preaching Jesus Christ, the only True Gospel. What other answer is there?
What is the issue here, then, anyone? Has Jeannie nailed it, or Paul? Am I expressing it? Have we all? Thanks, Jeannie, especially for your honesty about yourself, an attitude of great worth to the Lord. As the Scripture says, He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Preaching the cross is the only true way of preaching Jesus Christ. How can it be otherwise, since it’s by the cross alone that one knows Him?
Philippians 3:8-10 MKJV
(8) But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ
(9) and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith,
(10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death.
Repentance precedes and accompanies the cross. Neither of these essentials is brought up by Nick in the interview or his videos I’ve viewed, which is why he is so universally lauded and accepted. After all, how can you not admire a man without arms or legs who is trying to inspire you to have hope and not give up on life? You would feel like the biggest jerk that ever lived to criticize Nick; who’s going to go there? But that’s exactly where we have to go when determining whether he’s an evangelist of Christ, as he claims, or is savoring and serving the things of man in the Name of Christ. Because without a doubt, it’s the latter. Nick is drawing attention to himself as Victor told Carlos. He’s helping himself by helping others, which, admirable as it is in this world, has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God.
Follow this exchange from Nick’s interview with Mike Bundrant, a psychologist who gives “personal development” counseling, having gone, in his own words, from “devout Mormonism to free thinking humanist.”
Mike: You’re as clear as can be and I appreciate your testimony. And I still feel like you’re saying that non-believers can have no hope.
Nick: Let me tell you this. Let’s come from a logical point of view first. You can have a million dollars, but can still be miserable while you’re driving around in your fancy car. Some are so rich on the outside, but they are drowning on the inside from guilt and shame and fear and regret and all these things. I am the richest man on earth because I have no more fear, I have no more guilt, I have no more shame and that is, to me, what the real value is.
There was an older man in Buffalo, maybe three weeks ago, where the plane crash happened. Forty-four people died in Buffalo. We arrived there the night before. This man is in the cafe and he was telling this younger guy about how he doesn’t believe in divine power at all. He says, “I envy religious people because they have a joy that I don’t have. They have a peace that I don’t have. But, I just can’t believe it.” Well, if you see that I am enjoying a piece of fruit and that I’m tasting and seeing that it’s good and you are seeing that it’s good, you won’t know for your self until you take a bite of it.
Anyway, if I’m an inspiration to people, then that is my inspiration. For anybody who doesn’t have faith in Jesus Christ, I’m not going to say they are going to hell. That’s not my place. But the bible clearly states that there is nothing on this world to live for. There is a God shaped hole in all of us, a piece that’s missing.
Do you see how Nick dodged the question while appearing to answer it? Do you see how it’s all about him – how he testifies of himself and what he appears to have that should inspire you to want it, too? Do you see that his inspiration is how people respond to him?
“How can you believe, you who receive honor from one another and do not seek the honor that comes from God only?” (John 5:44 MKJV)
All of these things are indicators that Nick isn’t preaching Christ but himself.
If Nick was preaching Christ, he would plainly have said upfront that Jesus Christ is the only hope of finding life, through faith and repentance. However, having found a life outside of Christ, Nick is offering people hope to find the same thing through emulating him and exerting a positive attitude and outlook. He has found life, but not in Christ:
“You are wearied in the length of your way; you did not say, ‘Despair!’ You found life in your hand; so you were not weak” (Isaiah 57:10 MKJV).
“He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39 MKJV).
By pointing to himself and his formula for success rather than to Christ and taking up the cross, Nick is perpetuating the work of Satan:
“Well, if you see that I am enjoying a piece of fruit and that I’m tasting and seeing that it’s good and you are seeing that it’s good, you won’t know for your self until you take a bite of it.”
Genesis 3:1-6 MKJV
(1) Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Is it so that God has said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’”
(2) And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.
(3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
(4) And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die,
(5) for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”
(6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Am I saying Nick knowingly does this? No; he does it by nature, the unregenerate nature that seeks its own and not the things of Christ. Presenting himself as a servant of God is where he runs into trouble and deceives the simple.
Victor once wrote back to another young man touting a similar “mind over matter” philosophy, after examining his book. See “The Secret” – Destiny Will Call Back.
So is Nick a miracle? No, his is another work of man – impressive, but under the sovereignty of God’s provision of natural means and circumstances. A miracle is something only He can do, unaided by man, like willingly taking up the cross, dying, and resurrecting Himself to eternal life. That’s what He has for us, too, if we believe and take up the cross, by His grace.
“I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all. For man also does not know his time; as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 MKJV).
If Nick wishes to be a motivational speaker, fine. He could do a super job, if he wasn’t giving confusing signals by mixing in fleshly spiritual talk and omitting the heart of the Gospel. Victor once told a businessman who was trying to use Christ to increase his business, “You need to decide which you will be, a Christian, a ‘Christian’ businessman, or a businessman.” In other words, you can be a businessman or a Christian, but you can’t be both, using God to serve yourself and others according to your thinking. Can a believer have the best of both worlds? Are we not called to forsake all things, our lives included, in order to walk with the Lord and serve Him according to His thoughts and ways? That’s what Jesus Christ is all about.