Thursday, December 01, 2005

His ways are not our ways. PRAISE God for that!

The seeker sensitive church prides itself on being friendly, welcoming, and non-judgmental. They refuse to call someone a sinner and they avoid telling you that you are wrong (even when you are) lest they come off as one of those churches that would love to shatter your fragile ego, lest they cause you to think that you aren't the best thing to happen since sliced bread.

But are they doing you good, as they would have you believe? Are the "unchurched" Henrys and Sallys truly coming to an understanding of what it means to devote your life to Christ? Or have they simply found a place to socialize with people who will tell them how deeply God loves them without the slightest mention of their sin?

Have they found a place that will accurately put forth the gospel; that Christ died for our SINS, that without accepting and submitting to that sacrifice we cannot be reconciled to God, that we are all sinners and not one of us is good (Romans 3:10-12), that God loves us not because of who we are, but in spite of what we are (Romans 5:8)?

By avoiding the very mention of sin is the church doing the lost any actual good? It has long been my opinion that if you don't tell the lost they are lost, how are they to become "found"? If you never see light during your life, how are you supposed to see that you are living in darkness? If you don't think you are a sinner racing down the path to an eternity in hell, why would you feel the need to accept Christ's sacrifice for those sins? By being unwilling to offend your flesh, are they saving you from the judgment that comes?

Of course it is a common argument that Paul said, "I am made all things to all men." And this is true; he did say that. But does this mean he didn't preach on sin and Christ's death simply because it might offend someone? Did he not also say, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) I believe the 1 Corinthians 2:2 more accurately describes the means of our approaching others with Christ's redemptive sacrifice.

The church tries to find common ground with the sinner, hoping if they can keep their interests and entertain them that they'll stay. And I suppose there may be a grace for that, but when they go out of their way to avoid preaching the full gospel, well, then we have a serious issue on our hands. Paul may have been all things to all men, but he never avoided calling sin what it is: sin. And he certainly didn't avoid telling people that Christ had to die to save them from the hell we have each earned!

They say the love to do ministry the way Christ did ministry, yet they certainly would avoid calling us evil as Christ did in Matthew 7:11! Christ was compassionate, loving, patient, but completely righteous. He did not gloss over someone's sin to save them from a bit of heartache, but He certainly forgave them when they believed and trusted in Him. How could He tell so many people their sins were forgiven, if they had not been aware that they had sinned?

The Jews of Christ's time were fully aware of their sinful nature and they knew the punishment for sin was death, they had been performing animal sacrifices for hundreds of years, they understood that if not for the death of that innocent lamb the wrath of God would be poured out upon them. The Jews understood they were sinners and doomed without a sacrifice, and they were God's chosen people! So, why is it that we avoid the issue? If we have no need of God's forgiveness and mercy why would the writer of Hebrews exhort us to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, emphasis mine)

Ken Silva, over at Apprising Ministries, recently said something that I have observed in my studies of the modern church in his article "THE EVANGELICAL CAVE-IN HAS BEGUN: THE BIBLE".

Do a study the history of the Christian Church in America over the past one hundred years and you will see the root cause for this radical drift into apostasy is an abandonment of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible as God’s Word in favor of teaching our own views about what Holy Scripture itself says. For instance keep an eye out for the increasing number of doctrinal statements where you’ll notice that the word inerrant will be missing from reference to the Bible. There is good reason why more and more churches will be leaving that word off and that is to appease a rapidly growing faction of current scholarship within Evangelicalism that will eventually convince pastors that while the Bible is our “infallible” guide in faith and morals, today we need to “re-examine” what has been taught with Evangelical Protestantism over the past one hundred years in light of the changing postmodern culture.

Let me tell you what this actually means: “We will do what the Bible says, unless of course, the teaching we receive is one we don’t like i.e. deny yourself; in that case we must figure out a way to change what Jesus meant. In that case we have to be careful not to make the message of Christ too hard for contemporary society (read: themselves) or they won’t be attracted to our new religion Christianity Lite.” I truly couldn’t care less right now how these man-pleasers rephrase the language as lightly tap dance and blow their heavy smoke, this is exactly what they are really saying; and it is lack of faith any way you slice it.

The book of James closes with this phrase, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20) How does one turn their brethren from error without first pointing out that they do error? How can you expect someone to turn from sin without mentioning that they are in sin? How can we expect someone to follow God's ways without first showing them God's ways (Psalm 51:13)?

It is a common argument among many evangelicals that they will use any means necessary to get people in the door. They will engage in worldly activities to "be authentic" and reach the lost. Yet this is in direct contraction to the Word.

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye no that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefor will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4)

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (1 Corinthians 6:14-18, emphasis mine)

How long will it be acceptable for us to pick and choose what parts of God's word the lost need to hear? More and more there is less being said from the word and there is an increase in divisions amongst those professing Christ. More and more there seems to be a general lack of knowledge when it comes to the Word and a general distrust for it. How can we know it's the truth? Just because God says so?

Well, how are we supposed to know that is what God says unless we study it? Second Timothy tells us that the Word is inspired by God, and if we truly believe that God is perfect how can we then say that the Bible is untrustworthy on any issue, whether it concerning the development of the planet or on issues of morality or any other issue? Yet, there are many who would trust their own wisdom over God's.

God says to be separate, but our flesh screams to join together. We think we know how to draw others to God better than He does, or at least our actions often give off that very arrogant notion. But the Bible tells us not to put confidence in our flesh (Philippians 3:3-4)); therefore one must rely solely upon God's wisdom. We have to trust that His ways are above our ways, and He has a better perspective and understanding of what each person so desperately needs (Isaiah 55:8-9).

So, ultimately it comes down to this: Who are you going to trust? The perfect and unchanging and righteous and merciful God that created each of us, or are you going to trust your flesh that is full of sin and is ever changing in its desires and lusts?


marshall_jcc said...

I love this blog. Please refer to mine "See the Light." However I must question your sincerity. Not that I don't think you are, because you seem to be. However, have you read the parts of the Bible that depicts a womans role? If so, do you submit to those? I truly hope so. If you do, and I haven't offended you, I could realy use a stimulating conversation with a woman of your conviction.

Kristina said...

Quite honestly, by God's grace I do my best. That is not to say that I am perfect, or that I don't stumble, because I do. There are things I struggle with, that with the Lord's help I am being delivered from.

Growing up in a society that puts such a focus on bluring the lines of the roles for men and women I have baggage, as do all of us I imagine. But more and more I see that there is nothing I want more than to glorify God in everything I do. That desire, coupled with the strength that is afforded me by the Holy Spirit, I strive to submit my life to Christ. Even those prideful areas that haven't fully been submitted, I want nothing more than to walk in God's will.

There was a time in my life when I openly rebelled against what the Bible taught concerning the roles of women, and I have been convicted on it. I'm being healed, and it will be a life long process, I am sure. But, like I said, I want nothing more than to submit myself to Christ and His teachings.