As I just now come out of yet another confusing conversation with another “Christian”, I am dismayed by the lack of a Biblically understood gospel and the seemingly rise of another gospel, another jesus, and another hope.
Why is it this way?
We see a sort of “mustard seed reformation” happening in the body of Christ. The rise of Biblical literacy, the rise of “encouraging sound doctrine and rebuking false teaching (Titus 1:9; 2:1)”, and the rise of critical thinking (thank God for the information age).
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and MANY enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and ONLY A FEW FIND IT (Matthew 7:13-14)”.
“So pastor Mike, how is it possible that a large majority of the so-called “church” has been led astray and believes false doctrine? How come only a few see Truth in what you’re saying?”
Today, we face a crisis. Let’s face it, due to the rise of “nominal Christianity”- many call it “churchianity” which has its’ beginning with the Edict of Milan (313 A.D), the captivity of Truth in the Scriptures at the hands of the Catholic Church for centuries, and the dumbing down of the salvation message- we have flung the doors wide open to false information. This began to happen in the early church (Jude 4) and sadly has continued in large proportions to our day.
Is it therefore a surprise when true doctrine is taught, so many reject it or are confused by it? What do we do when the truth is being called the false? How to we discern? What is the Christian response?
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)”.
“But as for you (Timothy), continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of (the message spoken by Christ and the Apostles- 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11; Galatians 1:8-9), because you know those from whom you learned it (2 Timothy 1:13), and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which ARE ABLE TO MAKE YOU WISE FOR SALVATION through faith in Jesus Christ. All SCRIPTURE is useful for TEACHING, REBUKING, CORRECTING, and TRAINING in righteousness, so that the man of God may be THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK (2 Timothy 3:14-17)”.
I continually curse the Edict of Milan because once Christianity was allowed to be a nominal religion, pushed further by American Evangelicalism’s Individualist Mentality; all sorts of views have been accepted and put under the heading of “Jesus Christ”. Charles Spurgeon once noted, “I believe a very large majority of church goers are merely unthinking, slumbering worshipers of an unknown God”.
Recently I wrote a blog titled “Zeal Without Knowledge – A Dumbed Down Salvation” in which I detailed how the popular expression of the gospel has misled many and used a recent Christianity Today article which discussed the immaturity of “American Christianity”.
“As they listen to years of simplified messages that emphasize an emotional relationship with Jesus over intellectual content, teenagers learn that a well-articulated belief system is unimportant and might even become an obstacle to authentic faith. This feel-good faith works because it appeals to teenage desires for fun and belonging. It casts a wide net by dumbing down Christianity to the lowest common denominator of adolescent cognitive development and religious motivation.”
The writer of the article explained this version of Christianity as a FALSE CHRISTIANITY, which should be termed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. This is a far stretch from faith and following the God who “desires those who worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23)”. Consider the results:
“Juvenilization tends to create a self-centered, emotionally driven, and intellectually empty faith. In their landmark National Study of Youth and Religion, Christian Smith and his team of researchers found that the majority of American teenagers, even those who are highly involved in church activities, are inarticulate about religious matters. They seldom used words like faith, salvation, sin, or even Jesus to describe their beliefs. Instead, they return again and again to the language of personal fulfillment to describe why God and Christianity are important to them.”
Some other writers and Christian leaders have said:
“Most Christians nowadays simply don’t care about the prevalence of false doctrine, nor do they take seriously their duty to fight against apostasy.” – John MacArthur
He also said it this way, “Refusing to acknowledge and defend the revealed truth of God is a particularly stubborn and pernicious kind of unbelief.” He says elsewhere, “It seems there is no shortage of people nowadays willing to kill for a lie. Yet few seem to be willing to speak up for truth – much less die for it.”
Jim Castelli said “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it.”
Time magazine observed in a 2007 cover story that only half of U.S. adults could name one of the four Gospels. Fewer than half could identify Genesis as the Bible’s first book. Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert have made sport of Americans’ inability to name the Ten Commandments—even among members of Congress who have pushed to have them posted publicly.
Even more frightening, take a second to Google- Biblical illiteracy. Forgive me (or not) for the lack of a politically correct way of expressing myself- WTF!!! WTF is going on in the Church? No wonder people are so confused.
A message that I have “wore out” talking about which was preached by Larry Siegle when he preached at New Covenant Eyes Church was about “Death in the Pot”. He preached about how we yet again have a famine in the land (2 Kings 4:38-41; Amos 8:11) and just anything is being thrown in the pot- look at the nonsense coming from a large majority of televised preaching. The good news is- God is faithful as always- and is raising up a generation of “Bereans”. Dare we call it a reformation?
Want to “get with the program” so to speak? A great read of Christianity history and how things have gotten a bit confused is The Road Back to Preterism by Kurt Simmons.
Due to Biblical illiteracy many have just accepted the notion that “there are so many views so we will never know”. How does that line up with Galatians 1:6-8, or Titus 1:9? Not very well, huh? I find the rise of “relativism” to be quite depressing, especially when I “study to show myself approved” then am debated by those who have a low view of Scripture, and then left with a “fist bump” and “that’s good that you’re seeking to know more”. Can we say COMPLACENCY?
RELATIVISM DEFINED- is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid, and that all truth is relative to the individual.
Consider for a moment that Jesus said, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved”. Does this sound like a “believe what you want” type of message? Doesn’t make any damn sense then! Imagine if Jesus said that all views were ok, He would have never been killed, the Apostles wouldn’t have been killed, and everything would have been fine and dandy. Well…sort of. J
The early Christians were promised persecution by Christ because they submitted to His teachings of his kingdom and therefore that would put them at odds with the religion and the political landscape. Today, in 21st century, pagan “Christian” America the “attacks on Christianity” are a bit different. Moralistic Christianity heaps abuse on itself as it seeks to conform to the politically correct whims and woes of the middle-class “conservatives”, therefore changing certain views time to time. Scientific Christianity again heaps abuse on itself by seeking to make the Bible about rocks and geography, rather than let it be about the “Rock of the Ages”. Many Christians scream “conspiracy” at the sound of any scientific evidence that shows the Bible to not be about the creation of the world, etc…that should remind us of Copernicus. Even personally, many “Christians” being ignorant of the Scriptures and operating under the paradigm of what their pastor taught them- scream persecution or heresy whenever their views are challenged- which yet again is not persecution, but an indictment against them for being ignorant of the Scriptures they profess to be true. What we have today is hardly the persecution, or the “war with the world” as many would have us see it. Rather we see ‘reformation’ happening- a change of the whole Christian landscape.
Time will prove who were the Christians with the attitude of “Bereans” and listened to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and who just claimed the name of fame- whether for social reasons or to avoid the Hellenized version of “hell”.
Flee the bullshit! Search the Scriptures!
“God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24)”.