What is it with current day Christians? This continuous and dangerous obsession with finding new ways to discover God, new ways to serve Him, new ways to pray – or actually I should perhaps say – returning to some rather dire old ways that stem from pagan practices quite often. Do they think that Paul was missing out on something in his walk with the Lord? Perhaps he too would have been so much better off had he the benefit of knowing about how to organise a “purpose driven church” or “labyrinth meditation.” Why do so many consider the biggest churches must be the best? Too many large churches nowadays are driven as business empires with their eye on their earthly bank balances more than their heavenly rewards. Pastors become obsessed with numbers and competing with other local churches for bigger congregations and soon the congregations are equally fighting amongst themselves about whose church is the best.
I know there are a few solid large congregations around – but they’re few and far between. Again, I just wonder what Paul would have made of much of what is termed “church” nowadays. Too many Pastors are trying to be people pleasers and aiming to provide material that will “tickle the ears” of their congregation rather than make them sit up and take stock of their sinful lives. Paul didn’t waste his time trying to keep his listeners happy – he stated the Gospel message loud and clear, and paid a high price for doing so many times. He didn’t have money to splash about on fancy clothes or a better lifestyle for himself, although I bet even in his day, had he desired to he absolutely would have had the means to do so. But material gain was of little interest to him in his quest to take the Gospel message to those who needed to hear it. Sadly those who’re luxuriating in expensive lifestyles at the cost of their membership give little thought to what it cost Paul to provide the Gospel they are charged with preaching just as much as he was. I find it quite interesting that the vast majority of those Pastors around nowadays whose teaching could be deemed solid and scriptural by and far tend to be either itinerant preachers like Paul Washer, or leaders of much smaller churches (including my own with a membership of just a couple of hundred).
Sadly those who attend megachurches seem to be so mesmerised by their leaders they rarely bother questioning the depth of the message presented. I’ve listened to the likes of Joel Osteen and have to agree – he’s wonderfully charismatic, and you could easily just relax, sit back and enjoy the timbre of his voice (actually he almost puts me to sleep!) but while he quotes scripture here and there, the vast majority of his talk is hyperemotional and hypermotivational in content. He talks at length about empowerment and how to build up your confidence or how you can best cope with difficutlies in your life, but much of his rhetoric is really just pushing people to look to their own inner strength to do so. It’s the biggest danger about for many Christians currently – not recognising that we are WEAK beings – incapable of pleasing God in our own right or achieving anything for Him in our own strength. Unless people start to take His Word more seriously and especially Paul’s teaching on it, they will meander through their Christian walk thinking they have it made, when actually they’ve not even started to have a true relationship with Him. So if you are in a megachurch start listening more to what scripture says than your Pastor – unless you know the former intimately, you’ll never know when you’re being deceived by the latter (not always intentionally but it happens).
Another area that has many of us deeply disturbed is this continuing trend towards excessive inclusiveness to the ridiculous point of not allowing people to be exposed to anything that just might offend them. I’ve written about this before in my post about giving God His rightful place and honouring Him appropriately, but the whole feminist approach to scripture is beyond belief. It’s one thing for feminists themselves to perhaps have an issue with the patriarchical stance of scripture, but for church Pastors to then start actively working towards taking almost every male attribute out of scripture possible in order to “be inclusive” is beyond belief. Apart from the issues surrounding much of this stemming from pagan practices and beliefs (mother god, mother nature etc), God has called Himself who He IS in scripture very definitively. I find it equally intriguing that even Jewish Rabbis are falling over themselves now to comply with this trend – they who should know better than most what the original Hebrew actually said, are racing to deny it and twist it. Their blindness is sadly still very much in place in many areas.
But when listening to Albert Mohler talking about a similar topic recently (“When bad science meets bad law“) he mentioned how Reformed Judaism is working to promote an inclusive prayer book (read about it here) which would undertake to remove as much of the inherent patriarchical nature of scripture from it. Part of the reasoning was to do with the supposed diversity of society nowadays – pray tell me, since when is that something new??? Do they suppose that in the life and times of any of the Patriarchs there was no diversity around them? Do they think it was any easier in those days to teach about a male God in the midst of Egyptian and other cultures who promoted female goddesses?? Do they think anything of what God Himself has actually decreed in and through HIS Word throughout the centuries. It just never ceases to amaze me how so called believers in the One True God cannot and will not take Him as He is, but prefer instead to mould him into their own image.
What Solomon said is so true – “Ecc 1:9 What is that which has been? The very thing which shall be. And what is that which has been done? The very thing which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.”
I will state once more for those of you who may actually be interested in knowing the real reasons behind this move- there is only one person who benefits from all such attitudes and actions and that is Satan – the one who desires himself to be God and will seeks continuously to turn people away from Him and in towards themselves instead. Trust what the True God has stated in scripture alone and stop allowing man (and that includes Pastors and Rabbis) to determine what you believe! If you don’t know what scripture says, how can you ever hope to not be deceived when you get soaked in false doctrines by those who equally haven’t sought the Truth.
God states: “You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart” – Jer 29:13