dangerous christianity - part 2
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Too many Christians are suffering physically, emotionally, personally. They suffer from ignorance of the Truth of Life contained in Biblical scriptures or a tragic misunderstanding of those scriptures.
Too many of our religious teachers and leaders are saying the right words but setting another example. And, sadly, the Child of God is following that error of example and suffering.
Betty and I were on a cruise to the Hawaiian Islands to celebrate the beginning of our 50th year of our marriage.
Each morning of our cruise held something different, interesting and exciting, if you watched for it. This particular morning, we walked the ship’s deck for exercise, then, Betty headed to the physical fitness salon and I headed one of the various hot tubs on deck.
I had just eased myself into a hot bubbling tub of relaxation when a large man and his wife appeared at the edge of the hot tub.
He greeted me with a cheery “Hello”, as he crowded himself into the spa. His voice was deep and resonate, like that of a TV announcer. His wife appeared a bit shy and just nodded her greeting.
We began to chat and exchange pleasantries. I discovered he and his wife were approximately my age. They were licensed clinical social workers and retired Southern Baptist missionaries to Argentina. He had also acted as a pastor for a short time. I privately thought “that explains his ‘preacher sounding voice’; deep, resonate and measured with cadence".
I asked more about his time as a missionary but he was vague on the subject, except to say they ‘were only there four years’. He suggested that he was disappointed that they had been largely ineffective.
Then he surprised me by saying, “I believe Jesus may come back soon and the Church isn’t ready”. When I asked why he believed this, he said “I tried being a Southern Baptist but I can’t do that any longer.
"Funny", I thought, "how he makes a statement, then follows it up with an seemingly unrelated comment".
I also tried the Assemblies of God". Then he sort of rambled on about traditions and practices of various denominations.
Then he said “I used to be a conservative Christian” and stopped talking.
(There he goes again?????)
His thinking seemed random, but, his comment somehow caused me to recall a small historic mission in Lahaina on Maui, which we had visited the day before. It is known as the Master’s Reading Room, http://lahainarestoration.org/masters-reading-room/ . I asked if they had visited this mission during our stop on Maui, Hawaii. He said they had visited it and in his best baritone voice, he gave me a quick history lesson. He concluded his lecture, which sounded very much like a sermon, by recounting how, before the missionaries arrived in Lahaina, the sailors who came to this port would maraud this small town and “have their way with the local women”. But, when the missionaries arrived they ‘put a real kink in the sailor’s behavior’.
“A real kink in that behavior”, I wondered. What an interesting choice of words.
“So was that a “good kink”, or a "bad kink” I asked.
“Good, I suppose”, my new friend replied. "It lasted for a long time".
I couldn’t help myself at this point. “I have another question", I posed to this man, "but before I ask it, I wonder if you could put any bias aside and consider what I am asking from an objective point of view.”
He said he would try.
“OK, then, here is the question:
Why is it, in this post modern world, are we Christians unable or unwilling to, as you put it, “PUT A KINK” in the bad behavior that is engulfing our society?
Why have we become, as you put it, largely ineffective?”
He looked surprised but quickly answered with a question “Because we, as the Church, have become afraid of offending anyone, and have bought into the methods and ways of this world?”
I probed him further. “Perhaps that is a result of a deeper problem? But not the cause? Isn’t that just an excuse or an explanation for a lack of faith? So, I ask you again, what do you think is the cause?”
This question clearly made my friend uncomfortable and, for the first time in our half hour together, left him speechless.
So I continued. “I’ll tell you what I think is the cause for so many Christians being unwilling or unable to preach the Gospel Message of Christ - which by its very nature ‘puts a kink in sinful behavior’:
WE DON’T BELIEVE IT!”
“Oh, I don’t know about that” he blurted.
“Really?” I continued. “As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, you should know that everything one does is based on what he or she believes to be right for them. A person's actions and behaviors are based on their core set of beliefs.
“You eat what you eat because of your preferences, which are a reflection of your core beliefs. You wear what you wear, live where you live, say what you say all for the same reason.
“Likewise, you cannot effectively DO what Christ commanded if you do not fully believe it - that is, unless you are a deliberate fraud and a liar. I don’t believe that is the case with you. So, you must find a way out your dilemma.
"Dilemma?", he queried.
"Yes, dilemma", I countered. Your dilemma is that your say you believe IN Jesus and that you believe IN the Bible, but you aren't DOING what they say. So, you either don't believe what they say or you don't understand.
"So, you change the meaning of God's Word to something more palatable. You spin God's Word to have a contemporary meaning. Something with which you agree from your own point of view.
"You aren't actually doing what Jesus says to do, are you?"
"Well, I've tried to follow Him", my friend replied. "But the Bible is open to many interpretations, you know."
"Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said. His voluntary death on the Cross proved that.
"His Words are the plain Truth. Written in a language every one of His Own can understand.
“Let me give you an example. Our instructions from Him are to
Preach The Gospel,
Teach the Gospel,
Lay hands on the sick,
Feed the hungry,
clothe the naked,
tend to the widow and the orphans.
“So, I ask you, when was the last time you even laid hands on a sick person?
"When was the last time you, personally, led someone to Christ?
"When was the last time you preached the same Gospel Jesus preached?”
"Could this be why you are frustrated and growing cold. You are not DOING what Jesus said to do!"
My friend protested with the strangest of remarks. “I used to be a conservative Christian but now I am a liberal. And I don’t agree with how the bible in being taught. Two big examples are on abortion and homosexuality. You conservatives are too strict in your interpretation on these subjects for the 21st century.”
“Perhaps you are disappointed and ineffective because you are believing and teaching your own version of what Jesus said", I finished.
“I see what you are saying”, my friend replied, “but, there are so many social issues. After all, my wife and I are trained licensed clinical social workers, too.”
“I see I may not have changed your mind. But, the fact remains and you have admitted that you are frustrated, your ministry is largely ineffective and that you have lost your enthusiasm for the things of God.
"You are right. His Return is near and you seem to be worried about the church? But, how about YOUR readiness and how about your wife's readiness? Are you ready to face Him and explain why you 'did it your way'?
"I encourage you to actually follow Him - starting today - by doing what He said to do. And see if your First Love doesn’t return."
I could see that our conversation was over. My friend thanked me and said he had been in the hot tub long enough and made his exit.
I am pretty sure the hot tub wasn't the only thing he had enough of!
This true life encounter reminded me that we can find all kinds of reasons and make all kinds of excuses for not following the simple Teachings of Jesus. We can find many reasons on which to blame our ineffectiveness.
We can deny that the present-day church is far from the example Jesus gave us. But, we have drifted far from our moorings. And you cannot deny that...
Much of The Church is being turned into a corporate entity, voluntarily shackled to, licensed by and muted by our government.
The Church is increasingly being LEAD by men and women and their bias, worldly methods and humanistic ideals.
The Church increasingly is being driven by contemporary methods, for contemporary purposes and causes.
The Church is no longer a threat. It is being rendered largely ineffective. It is becoming an artifact of antiquity.
Read the Bible for yourself. Read the accounts of Jesus' teaching and ministry. Read about His methods, His purposes, His results. Read how He told us to continue in His Works; then compare.
He did not call many of the 'hirelings' who inhabit our pulpits today.
He called His People to DO His Work. His is still calling.
You can hear His call to us, through the Apostle, Peter. A Call to ALL OF US. Follow Him and DO HIS WORKS. From:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood:
You are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION,
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
This is the time, folks.
No excuses. Do not tarry. He is calling!
LET'S DO IT NOW!
Let's Remain in His Grip! Your Brother in our Lord,