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Friday, April 12 2013

The “church, at least in “Western countries” is a horrid mess!  It is hard to find God’s true word being preached. The mainline denominations are dying.  They have compromised away most of the meaning and power of the Gospel through liberalism and ecumenism. In the Evangelical and Charismatic denominations, many shepherds not only neglect the sheep, they devour them.  Jesus’ statement in Matt 20:25-28 is not only ignored, but it is openly and brazenly defied.  So-called “pastors” declare themselves the leaders of the “church” (the organization that pays them) and insist on ruling over the people they are leading to destruction.  The “pastors” rule everyone, the “elders” rule the “members,” the husbands rule the wives, and no one pays any attention to what Jesus said about being servants and slaves to one another.  “Church” has become an entertainment business and the employees are the only ones reaping the profits.

Self-proclaimed “apostles” and “prophets” (mostly male) are proliferating.  Men and women brag about being “anointed” (little christs!)  Many actually say they have the “Christ spirit” and claim to be “little gods.”  People claim to be mediators between God and others.  They claim that THEY can “impart” spiritual gifts and blessings to others by laying hands on them (as if God needs them to give us gifts!)  Well known “leaders” brag about idolatrous and occult activity such as lying on graves of famous ministers to receive their mantles.

During “Christian” gatherings that might once have involved praise, thanksgiving, and worship of God, these “leaders” prance and strut (or stumble) around on a stage, sometimes acting drunk or stoned and pantomiming activities that might make them that way.  Some wave their hands at the “audience” to cause people to fall down, or lay hands on them to “impart” “gifts” that cause them to scream, jerk, make animal sounds, or run frantically around the meeting area. 

When do people hear and proclaim the Gospel message?  When do they study God’s word in Scripture? When do they join together in praise and thanksgiving?  When do they serve each other in love?

Many of today’s self-proclaimed “Christians” take great offense when someone asks them to show where their beliefs and practices can be found in Scripture. In the past, denominations and congregations sometimes had doctrinal differences and differences in practice. But if you read about those times, the differences originated in different interpretations of actual Scripture.  Today, the differences are based on what the self-proclaimed leaders claim that God is telling them. Folks, if it’s not in Scripture, it has NOTHING to do with Jesus and the true Gospel!  Scripture is the guide for discerning real vs. idolatrous religious practice.  Scripture tells us to be sober, not drunk; to take turns speaking, not sit in a daze or make noises together; and to behave in an orderly way, with self-control (“For God is not a God or disorder, but of peace.”)

If you doubt these things, then you really, really need to read the New Testament (for yourself!) and find out what God says.  Apostasy and heresy are widespread.  Stop listening to people who collect as much money as they can from you as often as they can.  This, in and of itself, should make you wonder about them. While you read, keep an eye out for what God says about following false apostles and prophets and about those who teach a gospel other than the one in Scripture. As you read, pray that God will give you discernment to see the true spirit behind these false leaders. Come out from among them!

Posted by: Michelle AT 01:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 17 2012

I have been reading "Christless Christianity," a 2008 book by Michael Horton. I'm finding it to be very thought provoking, and it clarifies why a number of things about the church as I have experienced it have made me so uncomfortable. Horton argues that our preaching frequently omits the gospel (because we assume that everyone already knows all that) and substitutes "good advice." We spend our time telling people what they can and should do (works?) to make their lives or their world better, rather than focusing on what Jesus Christ has done for us. I found the following statements interesting. Horton wrote,

"As heretical as it sounds today, it is probably worth telling Americans that you don't need Jesus to have better families, finances, health, or even morality. Coming to the cross means repentance---not adding Jesus as a supporting character for an otherwise decent script, but throwing away the script in order to be written into God's drama. It is death and resurrection, not coaching and makeovers. When we try to fit God into our life movie, the plot is all wrong---and not just wrong, but trivial. When we are pulled out of our own drama and cast as characters in his unfolding plot, we become part of the greatest story ever told. It is through God's Word of judgment (law) and salvation (gospel) that we are transferred from our own pointless scripts and inserted into the grand narrative that revolves around Jesus Christ."

A couple of blogs back, I said that Jesus is the only point of our faith, not "Jesus AND something else." Horton fears that we have gone beyond "Jesus and something else" and that the church in North America views faith as "everything else and Jesus too if we want things really good." Is that what is passing for the Good News of our salvation in Jesus Christ? ---- that we are pretty much OK on our own, but we need to add Jesus to our lives so that we can be great? That's not the gospel! Do you know what the Good News is? Find out for yourself. Read your Bible.

Posted by: Michelle AT 06:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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