Who’s leading who?


Call me an extreme narrow-minded, intolerant Bible-thumping fanatic if you wish, but there is a movement going on this day and age that is leading people away from God with every nod of the head given to it by modern-day “Christian” leadership. It is the movement that is growing some churches by leaps and bounds, but is not making much of an impact on society.

This movement is filling churches with people who stay the same week after week; continuing in the sin they came with on the first Sunday they visited. They hear a motivational or inspirational talk, hear some skilled music, but they are void of a worship experience and sin in their life remains unchallenged.

Anymore, preaching against sin is unpopular. In this secular humanistic world where anything goes, people challenge the very Word of God in order to continue living the loose lives they live. I recently read the transcript of a television interview that troubled me. I know this particular minister who was being interviewed was being backed into a corner on some of the subject matter, however, it still troubled me how the answers were given in such a “politically correct” way. Jesus was never politically correct. The Gospel is not politically correct. When confronted with questions like, “Do you believe homosexuals are going to hell,” or “Where do you believe Muslims will go when they die,” the apostles would never have watered down the answer by saying “I don’t know their heart.” The Bible is clear on who the one true God is, and what the penalty of sin is. Until someone accepts God’s gift of eternal life by believing in Him, repenting of their sin, and confessing Him as their Lord and Savior, the wages of sin is death.

This is not a Christians opinion, it is the truth. We are doing the sinner a great disservice unless we tell them the truth. The preacher in the interview I mentioned later stated that he didn’t believe it was his calling to preach on sin. What good is the preaching of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior if no one is defining sin according to the Word? He didn’t die on the cross just to make our lives better. Wouldn’t Christ’s sacrifice simply be reduced to an assassination? How would the Gospel be good news if there were no bad news?

I call this the “Culture-Shaped Church.” Today’s culture is about acceptance. Not the just the welcoming kind of acceptance, but a condoning kind of acceptance. Your adulterous, homosexual, lying, or manipulating lifestyle will not be confronted with the Truth in this church. The culture-shaped church can be from any denomination, any size, and in any town. There is plenty of acceptance, so little repentance there. Following the culture, it is almost silent on false religeons, creating few – if any – conversions there. Because today’s culture is so human-centered, when it is asked if Muslims or Buhddists go to Heaven, the answer is generally – “I don’t know.” To this culture God could be Allah or Buhdda. So the culture-shaped church will skirt around the issue to keep from offending those who worship these false gods.

Bunny trail: What ever happened to Mt Carmel showdowns like we see with Elijah? “Waterlog the sacrifice – my God will still answer by fire.” Or the anchored determination of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: “make the fiery furnace 7 times hotter than it should be – I still won’t bow”?

Disclaimer: I believe we should be respectful of those who don’t believe in the true living God. I do not believe, however, that we should preach an “all inclusive” gospel, teaching that all roads lead to Heaven. We are not all going to the same place. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. NO MAN comes to the Father except by Him.

Unfortunately the teaching from the culturally-shaped church has been deceiving culturally-shaped “Christians” into thinking they can continue living the same way they always have, having no fruit, and not making an impact on the world. In fact, there’s no difference between a culturally-shaped Christian and the average sinner on the street. Their friends are in total shock when they hear a rumor that this person even goes to church. They have to wear Christian t-shirts and hats, and have little fishy’s on their cars to identify them as Christians (I’m not against these things-so don’t call me a hypocrite when you see me wearing one!). Shouldn’t a Christian strive to become like Christ, causing others to see Him. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

My questions for pondering:

  1. Do you believe that His Word (the Bible) is the absolute truth?
  2. Do you believe that God is who He says He is, and will do what He says He would do?
  3. Are you a culturally-shaped Christian, or are you a Christian who is shaping culture?
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4 thoughts on “Who’s leading who?

  1. Phillip McSween says:

    Great message! I definitely agree. My pastor has triplets too. Cool!

  2. Mark W. says:

    tj,

    This is my first foray into your “world,” so “HI!”

    Your overall message rings true, and I’m impressed by the way you’ve carefully explained what you’re NOT saying as well as what you are saying. This is a great trait to have…there are two points of clarification I’d like to request that you respond to, if possible.

    1) I think that a lot of people would still assume, upon reading your question “Do you believe homosexuals are going to hell” that you are implying that “the apostles” would simply blurt out “yes!” But I don’t think we ever see such flippant generalizations in the scriptures. Instead, I believe they would say precisely (as Paul and Silas did in Acts 16:31) “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Just as works don’t get people into heaven, works don’t guarantee hellfire either -only acceptance or rejection of Christ can do that…and this is not culturally watered-down theology. It is demonstrated in scripture.

    2) I always swallow kind of hard at Christians’ demonizing of “culture” in general. Culture is a powerful and essential aspect of civilization. Culture is what people make of it; it is not inherently evil. I think it is in the Christian’s best interest to be an active cultural revolutionary, like those at the infamous Discovery Institute – not turning “culture” into an evil entity, but working from within it to effect change.

    Being an integral part of the total culture is, in the end, the only way that Christians can really hope to impact a cultured world. Outside of culture, we simply become the alien “other” – ineffectual, spiritual hippies.

  3. TJ says:

    Mark,
    Thank you for visiting my “world.” (I should probably change that title – it could be a great point of critisism for some). I appreciate you requesting me to bring clarification to the points I have made for those who may happen by my site.

    Response to #1) I see where it would be easy to assume that I could have been implying that the apostles would have blurted out a simple yes. Of course I am not implying that it would have been that cut and dry leaving no hope for the a sinner to find the Savior. I agree that their statement would have been very similar to the statement made in Acts 16:31. When the Pharisees brough a woman who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus, He never had to spell out for her the sin that she knew she was involved in. She already knew what she was doing was wrong – He simply offered a no-condemnation answer of forgiveness and told her to “go and sin no more.”

    “We are saved by grace, not by works” is the Word of God. We can’t work our way into Heaven by being good. The concern I’m bringing out about about the preacher in the interview is how many Christians skirt the question, “do you believe homosexuals are going to hell.” Without Christ, EVERYONE is going to hell. Whether they are homosexual, adulterer, murderer, liar, thief, or an idol worshipper; without Christ – there is no hope. A relationship with Christ through His shed blood is the only reason that ceasing from such sin serves any purpose. On the other extreme, to say “homosexuals (or adulterers or anyone else) are going to Hell” would be to say that people who are simply living good, moral lives are going to Heaven – which we know is not Scriptural.

    Response to #2)
    We are not of this world. However we live in this world. My statements about the Culturally-driven church are about the church that wants to simply adjust itself to embrace the humanistic mentality society has taken, and re-interpreting (or even ignoring) scripture to compensate for it. Being RELEVANT to culture is a whole different ball of wax. We have to speak the language, identify with people, etc. to reach them. We do not, however need to participate in or condone the sin that society wraps itself up in. Jesus ate with the Publicans and sinners, He didn’t participate in their sin, nor was He approving of it. He was serving an example to us to find something in common with society, and reach them. He gave the example of a how to shape culture. I’m sure you have seen the extremes – 1)one who goes to the bar and have a few drinks “to reach his lost friend” (destroying his testimony); 2)the one who refuses to watch tv, listen to the radio, or speak to someone who doesn’t look “saved” (being a socially ignorant idiot who’ll never be able to effectively share Christ). Both are dangerous positions of condoning sin, and condemning sinners.

    We as Christians should show that it is possible to have the Hope that Christ gives in a hopeless society; while proving with our lifestyles that He can give power to overcome sin.

    Thanks again for encouraging me to bring clarity – and being that many reading this do not know me – I should be as clear as possible on all statements made. Please stop by again to my blog anytime! (and thanks for adding a link on yours).

  4. Mark W. says:

    tj,

    LOL! You’re right about the “world” in your title…thanks for the even handed clarification. I’m glad you’re not one to simply say “culture” is evil.

    No prob on the link…I’m sure you’ll see me around.

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