Book Part 4

Continued.............


1834-1892

 

1816 – 1900


 

1900's


1896-1963

“To accept Jesus and not demand a transformed man or woman will result in actually rejecting the Christ of the New Testament. All over the country, evangelists blaze abroad the message, ‘Accept Jesus’, which has become in our day nothing more than a theological zombie. It is a voice out of the tomb, which means nothing to this generation. The outworking of this ‘receive’ doctrine is nothing short of a tragedy.”    A.W. Tozer

 

"The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions." A.W. Tozer

 

"I wonder also how many Christians in our day have truly and completely abandoned themselves to Jesus Christ as their Lord. We are very busy telling people to "accept Christ"-and that seems to be the only word we are using. We arrange a painless acceptance."

A.W. Tozer



1901 - 1986

 


1889-1986


1945

 

Jim Elliot:

"We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are "sideliners" -- coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!"

 

1912 - 1984

Francis Schaeffer:

“If I had one hour with every man, I would spend the first 45 minutes talking to them about God’s law, and the last 15 minutes talking about His great salvation.”

 

Francis Schaeffer:

“Men haven’t changed, not one bit. For a man to think that he can preach the Word of God today and not experience the true price of the cross of Christ in the sense of not being accepted by the culture … any man who thinks he can speak truly of the things of God today into such a culture as our own and not have such words spoken against him is foolish. It is not possible. … To think one can give the Christian message and not have the world with its monolithic post-Christian culture bear down on us is not to understand the fierceness of the battle in such a day as Jeremiah’s or such a day as our own.”

 

1907 - 1994

“When there’s something in the Bible that churches don’t like, they call it legalism.”

Leonard Ravenhill

 


 

 

1921 -2011

“Tolerance is not a spiritual gift; it is the distinguishing mark of postmodernism; and sadly, it has permeated the very fiber of Christianity. Why is it that those who have no biblical convictions or theology to govern and direct their actions are tolerated and the standard or truth of God’s Word rightly divided and applied is dismissed as extreme opinion or legalism?” (John Stott)


Current

 


 

 

'[T]his widely disseminated belief in the love of God is set with increasing frequency in some matrix other than biblical theology.... I do not think what the Bible says about the love of God can long survive at the forefront of our thinking if it is abstracted from the sovereignty of God, the wrath of God, the providence of God, or the personhood of God—to mention only a few non-negotiable elements of basic Christianity. The result, of course, is that the love of God in our culture has been purged of anything the culture finds uncomfortable. The love of God has been sanitized, democratized, and above all, sentimentalized

(2000, p. 9).

D. A. Carson

 

“People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

D.A. Carson

 


 

John MacArthur

Was Jesus Always Nice?

 

'I never could believe in the Jesus Christ of some people, for the Christ in whom they believe is simply full of affectionateness and gentleness, whereas I believe there never was a more splendid specimen of manhood, even its sternness, than the Savior; and the very lips which declared that He would not break a bruised reed uttered the most terrible anathemas upon the Pharisees.' –Charles Spurgeon

 

“Modern writers, agnostic academics, and liberal theologians always stress the kindness and gentleness of Christ. Their Jesus—not the One found in Scripture, but the one concocted from their own imaginations and preferences—is effectively an ideological and theological pacifist. He preached only love and self-sacrifice, never judged or discriminated, and wasn’t dogmatic about the truth. In effect, the Jesus they’ve manufactured pleads “Can’t we all just get along?” with people of all faiths.

That perspective betrays a deep and dangerous ignorance of the truth about Christ, the exclusivity of the gospel He preached, and how He confronted religious error. Even the kindest, gentlest shepherd sometimes needs to throw rocks at the wolves who come in sheep’s clothing.

The Great Shepherd Himself was never far from open controversy with the most conspicuously religious inhabitants in all of Israel. Almost every chapter of the gospels makes some reference to His running battle with the chief hypocrites of His day, and He made no effort whatsoever to be winsome in His encounters with them. He did not invite them to dialogue or engage in a friendly exchange of ideas..............”[8]

 


 


 

Dave Hunt (The Berean Call)

“So, you think I’m too negative, or I’m too concerned about apostasy, I haven’t begun to be concerned. Look at Paul, three years, night and day I cease not to warn every one of you with tears. You haven’t seen me crying and warning like that, night and day. Do you think I've got a one track mind, that this is my only message? No, I talk about all kinds of things. But when I consider the concern of the apostle Paul, because grievous wolves are going to enter into the church. That some of his own elders would begin to speak perverse things to draw disciples after themselves. Yes this concern is very much on my heart, but I must confess I fall far, far short of the concern that I ought to have, and it really is a matter that grieves me much. The purity of the church, the purity of sound doctrine, because this is the container of truth. Jesus said, If you continue in My word, then you are My disciples, indeed you will know the truth, the truth will set you free. But we’ve gone away from the Word of God. Most of the epistles were written to correct error in the church. Is that not a concern that we ought to have today because it’s far worse than it was in Paul’s day? Not that we just want to hammer away on bad news, but we have a concern that is on the Lord’s heart, He prayed for His own. I hope that we can arouse that concern in more people out there. Write letters, talk to your pastor, do something. Don’t just take it in and shrug your shoulders, but do something to help in this area of the slide into apostasy.”


 


 


 


 

 

Ray Shaw quotes[9]:

Barna Research:

'Statistics from George Barna indicate that possibly as many as 65% of those sitting in church pews every Sunday are not truly born again.  

 

Billy Graham:

Billy Graham felt that only one in four who came forward at crusades were really saved. 

 

A.W. Tozer:

A. W. Tozer felt that as many as 90% of church members were unsaved.'                                                                                                                                 

Leonard Ravenhill states:

“I don’t believe that 5% of the Christians in America are even born again, let alone filled with the Holy Ghost. And that goes for England. And for Australia.”

 


Dr Everett Piper[10] Walking in God’s image:

 

“…..Yes, Christians in the Wesleyan tradition elevate love as evidence of God’s grace in our lives. Loving God, our neighbor, and ourselves, however, demands we hate sin. Sin is anathema to love and love is anathema to sin. John Wesley taught over and over again that the walk of holiness: the obedient, “methodical” (thus, Methodist) path of sanctification, is one that condemns sin at every turn............John Wesley never watered down scriptural authority and certainly never questioned the Bible’s clear definition of right and wrong. “Oh, give me that book. At any price, give me the book of God. I have it: Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one book.”…………How can we do anything less? Selling our soul for the sake of cultural approval dishonors our mission, our message, and our very reason to exist. If we become nothing but pale copies of the secular world, why in the world would anyone want to buy what we are selling?

Anything short of a unified stand for the essentials of our faith will doom any denomination or church or college to the ash heap of history. Compromise will be our demise and, consequently, we will be “thrown out and trampled underfoot” by a culture that laughs at our irrelevancy. We are supposed to preserve culture, not take part in its rot. We are supposed to shine a light on darkness, not have a conversation about it. We are supposed to confront sin, not capitulate to it.

 

May God help us if we have really come to the point where the church actually thinks our salvation comes from negotiating a compromise with a world that hates our Lord and His Gospel.

 

There is no “middle way” with Christ. He is the only way.”[11]

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x Church History = no genuine movement in Church history had this over-emphasis .


 

Chapter 30. Satan’s Aims Described In The Bible
We really do not need to go into this thought too deeply. We only want to identify the basics.

If the Holy Spirit's role is to come and convict the world of sin, then obviously Satan's aim is to do something opposite - blind us to the evil of sin, to tempt humans away from ‘God thinking’, to destroy whatever is pure and good.

Basically, to rob, kill and destroy. To deceive us about who God is and what God says.

 

And he will do it with anything he can:

2 Cor. 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.                                                        NIV

 

Satan uses many ways to do this and one of the main ways is to encourage the lie that God loves us soooo much, which dulls the understanding of how evil sin is, how sinful we are and how terrible hell really is. In fact, the very opposite - we are now 'soooo special' to God  and the Church so lukewarm.

 

And of course, this era is by no means the first time he has temped man to be so self-centred. He tried and succeeded with Adam and Eve. But today, we have made an art form of excusing it to defend ourselves from the conviction of the Holy spirit.

It is not only the unbelievers that he has blinded, we want to be blinded in order to justify a comfortable life, with no real conviction, with real discomfort, with no real sacrifice.

 

He tried these vile temptations on Jesus:

 

I was discussing these things with another believer as I was writing this chapter. She challenged me and asked “Who is the Head of the Church?” I replied “Jesus is not the Head of your church.” She was shocked to hear me say it. I continued,  “Any pastor who declares from the pulpit that ‘while he does not personally approve of homosexuality, yet homosexuals are welcome into his church and he will just love them as they are’, Christ is NOT the head of that church.” 

 

That pastor, like so many today, is deceived by the evil one. The Bible clearly tells us to ‘put the immoral one out from you’ and to ‘treat them as a tax gatherer.’

 

If Christ is not the head of your church/congregation, leave, get out now.



 

CONCLUSION:

R Satan's Aims = yes, among Satan's aims, is to deceive people into thinking they are more special than they are. Beginning with Adam, he continues this strategy.

 

We have our first ‘Yes’ on the Myth Busted Chart.

For all the wrong reasons.

 


 

Chapter 31. Any Prophecy Of This To Come?
Yes, there are prophecies concerning such things in latter times:

2 Tim. 3:1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 

2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.                 NLT

 

2 Tim. 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.  ESV

 

The Church of Laodicea is recognized by many as the church of this era:

Rev. 3:15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 

17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 

 

Blind yes. But we have no idea of how spiritually blind and wretched we are, because our spiritual conceit is so strong.  We are 'special' to God and nothing can shake that belief.

 

Notice here how Jesus is on the outside of the Church, not the inside.

So it is today.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

R Are there prophecies of such things coming = yes.

Chapter 32. Are We Fulfilling These Prophecies?
Yes, man has been fulfilling these aims of Satan and these prophecies though out all of history. But in this final era, these attacks have been extremely successful against the whole Western Church. Which then, has had a dramatic effect on the world Church.

As Chek[12], a friend and not-so-retired pastor said recently at a prayer seminar:

"I tell Chinese pastors, the West has nothing to offer you, do not look to them."

 

Tragically, Chek is right and unless your eyes are opened to see what we have become, you cannot understand such a statement.

 

When one considers these attacks on the early church, that we have forgotten about, we feel we know so much better than they, and surely we could not be deceived by such heresy. We consider the early forms of the concept of wrath as unworthy of God.

 

Note what Tony Lane says of Marcion,144AD, in his chapter, Wrath as an Aspect of God's Love, page 142[13]:

 

The second way, more sophisticated than philosophical denial, is the theological approach of Marcion, the Christian thinker who took the principle of Christological concentration with full seriousness, really believing that God is revealed only in Jesus Christ. Marcion differentiated between the wrathful God of justice revealed in the Old Testament and the merciful God of love revealed in those parts of the New Testament that remained after he had, as Tertullian put it, exercised textual criticism with the knife rather than the pen.[vii] Tertullian describes the Marcionite gospel in words that might well apply to much contemporary preaching: "a better god has been discovered, one who is neither offended nor angry nor inflicts punishment, who has no fire warming up in hell, and no outer darkness wherein there is shuddering and gnashing of teeth: he is merely kind. Of course he forbids you to sin – but only in writing."[viii] Tertullian is biting in his critique. Marcion views God as a being of simple goodness, to the exclusion of other attributes (like His wrath), which are transferred to the Creator God. Marcion has removed from God "all functions involving severity or criticism." But when Marcion's God delivers humanity, he rescues us from a rival God, the Creator God of the Old Testament. This rivalry must, says Tertullian, involve ancillary passions, such as anger, hatred, and displeasure.

 

So, I ask you, what is different from Marcion's heretical beliefs as challenged by Tertullian here and ours today?:

 

"a better god has been discovered, one who is neither offended nor angry nor inflicts punishment, who has no fire warming up in hell, and no outer darkness wherein there is shuddering and gnashing of teeth: he is merely kind. Of course he forbids you to sin – but only in writing."

 

Yes, we have turned Jesus into 'another Jesus' because we had itching ears to hear something nicer.

Having professed ourselves to be wise, we became fools and were doomed to repeat history.

 

If this does not frighten you in the least, you have not understood the depth of this error. Nor, how displeased God is by our willing embrace of a 'nicer gospel'. Our hard hearts did not want to die to self, or rouse ourselves to think critically and biblically about these things and persevere in the true Faith.

 

And again, Tony Lane says of another heretic -  Lactantius, 313 AD, in his Wrath as an Aspect of God's Love, page 142:

 

Interestingly, the idea that wrath is unworthy of God is nothing new. Lactantius in 313 or 314 wrote one of the very few Christian books devoted to this theme, his De ira dei. He begins by recording the opposition of Greek philosophers (Stoics and Epicureans) to the idea:

 

Many persons hold this opinion, which some philosophers also have maintained, that God is not subject to anger; since the divine nature is either altogether beneficent, and that it is inconsistent with His surpassing and excellent power to do injury to anyone; or, at any rate, He takes no notice of us at all, so that no advantage comes to us from His goodness, and no evil from His ill-will.

 

And then of course we had the Latin and the Germanic Mystics.

 

Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090 - 1153 AD - The History of Christianity, page 260:

Bernard (1090-1153) the Abbot of Clairvaux, was the most influential Christian of his age. He bridged two worlds: the ages of feudal values and of the rise of towns and universities. He was the first of the great medieval mystics, and a leader of a new spirit of ascetic simplicity and personal devotion. . . . Bernard wished to turn his back on the world and its comforts, and lead a life of prayer and self-denial. He emphasized God's love and believed that Christians came to know God by loving him. . . . His writings remain a source of comfort and inspiration to thousands of modern Christians. [14]

 

Yes, his writings do remain as a source for many today, but they are built on a false premise. They are gaining new popularity in this age of self, perfect to build on it, a Solar Affectus theology.

 

Mysticism is an attempt to have close communion directly with God, but much of its framework is unbiblical. The suffering Christ replaced God, the Judge, salvation was gained by a deep mystic experience.

Do you see any similarities to the Christianity today?

A ‘deep relationship with God’ is of utmost importance; the aspect of ‘God as a Judge’ is largely dispensed with in favour of other preferred aspects of God’s character.

 

If we could possibly step back and look at what we do objectively, we would see that much of our modern singing worship is based on this idea of 'a deep mystic experience' being the true validation of whether I am a Christian or not. We live in a era where the ‘right’  words are enough to validate anyone, actions and obedience to God count little any more.

It is not a deep mystical experience with God that validates our salvation, or matters that much, because it can be false. It is obedience to God that is commanded and that matters:

John 15:14 And you are my friends, if you obey me.                                                                             CEV

1 John 2:3 When we obey God, we are sure that we know him. 4 But if we claim to know him and don’t obey him, we are lying and the truth isn’t in our hearts. 5 We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him. 6 If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ.                                    CEV

 

John 14:21 Those who really love me are the ones who not only know my commands but also obey them. My Father will love such people, and I will love them. I will make myself known to them.”  ERV

 

James 2:14 My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you?........17 Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!            CEV

 

A proper and deep relationship with God results from obedience (because it causes reconciliation and salvation) not the other way around. If you are truly obedient to God, you WILL have a good, deep relationship with Him.

Whereas, we now have millions who have a so-called deep relationship with God - they sing in the worship time and feel warm-fuzzies, but there is little real obedience in their lives. They do not die to self, or give up running after prosperity, or defeat sin in their lives as a lifestyle, or share the gospel or spend quality time in the Word and in prayer……..

 

No the greater priority in relationship with God, it is obedience to God.

In a similar way, look at what Oswald Chambers says is the key to ‘understanding spiritual matters’:

 

We often quote 'If you forget history, you are doomed to repeat it' and go right on forgetting Church history thinking we are theologically superior, while repeating these very heresies.

We are more like the Marcionites, Lactantius and the Mystics of the 11th and 12th century, than the evangelical Church of 100 years ago who followed evangelical theology.

 

Moving on, - is there any evidence today, that the world and the Church are conforming to an over-emphasis on God's love, and a greater emphasis on self-love and affirmation?  Yes, let’s look at these briefly.

 

1) The World

You see, this big emphasis on God loves us soooo much, does not come from the Bible; it comes from Humanism, New Age and human nature.

It just sounded so much nicer to be preaching the Gospel that way and made it much more 'acceptable' to people. It even sounded more sophisticated in the 20th century. After all, if we preach repentance and hell, that would make us look like silly people, and that of course, would not be good for the image of Christianity. Oh how carnal our thinking really is.

Let’s look briefly at a few areas of interest.

 

Humanism

The Humanist Manifesto II of the 1962, fifth article:

THE INDIVIDUAL Fifth: The preciousness and dignity of the individual person is a central humanist value.

Individuals should be encouraged to realize their own creative talents and desires. We reject all religious ideological, or moral codes that denigrate the individual, suppress freedom, dull intellect, dehumanize personality.  We believe in maximum individual autonomy consonant with social responsibility. Although science can account for the causes of behaviour, the possibilities of individual freedom of choice exist in human life and should be increased. [15](Emp. added.)

 

That is where our over emphasis on ‘God's love for me,’ comes really started. Anti-God humanists and atheists told us that we MUST treat everyone ‘nicely’ despite their foulness of character and behaviour. And we believed it. We, Christians who came out of the world to be God’s ambassadors, believed the lie of the world. That really how silly this all is.

So, don't preach about sin, hell, judgment, and sacrificial holiness. Or if you do, you must keep it very ‘low key’, and also tell the people how much God loves them too, and wants to comfort them all along the way.

And you must tell people how valuable and special they are to the world.

It is easy to sell the Devil's methods to a people caught up in the flesh. Sadly, unlike Jesus and how He dealt with the Devil’s methods of achieving the Kingdom on earth, we bought it lock, stock and barrel.

 

The New Age

New Age teachings tell us that we are a god. That we are all moving toward godhood. We are 'special'.

Do not expose sin in anyone, it is an offense against the god person – the divine self. If you do, you are not in tune with the universe - or as we say, 'you are not being like Jesus' or 'You should model Christ.'

Model Christ? If Christians and pastors actually did model Christ, the Jesus of the Bible, we would not be in this mess. And they would lose their job fast, but oh how the gospel would be truly preached.

 

Human Nature

This is also, where our over-emphasis comes from.

We are rebellious humans who love our sin, we hate to have to give it up and serve God in lowliness. Self-centredness comes naturally to us and that's why we were told to put the flesh to death.  Daily.

 

In 1997, in the May issue of  Family World News, I read this article on the neo-orthodox theologians influence, that gained a new power in the Christian world and Bible colleges:

 In my days of being a theological student we had to examine the current theological views: Karl Barth, Neibuhr, Pannerburg, Black and Paul Tillich. We relished  Tillich in his short and manageable books, “Shaking the Foundations” and “Courage to Be”. The phrase Tillich left you with was “you are accepted”.

I remember our theological lecturer raising the question of Tillich theory – “where is his doctrine of sin?” Tillich comes towards one, but it then becomes illusive. All seemed to be gathered up in the terms “the courage to be”, “you are accepted”, “unconditional acceptance”.

Then our lecturer in the subject of Pastoral Care taught us the latest counseling techniques.

One was by Richard Harris called “I’m OK, you’re OK”.  It was the practical expressions of Tillich’s theology “unconditional acceptance”.  It was madly popular with social workers through the 1970’s and 80’s.  It saved no one.

Then in 1976, Paul Tillich suddenly died.  Three weeks later his wife revealed that while proclaiming his theology from the pulpit in New York, he had been living an adulterous life for over 25 years. Paul Tillich’s theory never quite came to the subject of repentance.  Now we know why.  Unconditional acceptance was meant to cover everything.  Repentance – turning away from your sin was not really dealt with.

Today, Tillich’s theory has become the popular view of the western world.  I am accepted by God and mankind. God loves me unconditionally, therefore you must love or accept me unconditionally.

This is a welcomed thought for a grateful world.  It means that God accepts me now in the thoughts and ways I am living.  If the Bible challenges the way I am living and thinking, then the Bible should be ignored. Since God accepts me, he could only have created me to be able to enjoy living a life which the world accepts – even if the Bible and the Christian Church proclaims it sinful. The world has conceded to such thinking. Therefore there is no more guilt. I can declare it – and the world will understand – though Christians may not.

Millions now embrace this thinking. It can be the mental deductions for “living together”, defacto relationships, practicing homosexuality, and more. Homosexuals have embraced the theology. It suits their aggressive pursuit of activity. Guilt has been banished. They declare that they are free – but are they? Their lives tell us otherwise.

The Christian Church has been given the Good News of deliverance through Jesus Christ. It is the Commission of Jesus. We are to call the world to repentance, to turn from its ways and to return to God who made them. It is a radical remedy, so it is a remedy the world understands. To a world that considers SIN of NO consequence, repentance through Christ is its only hope and it is our message to them in this generation.   (emphasis added)[16]

 

Rev David Robson. Presbyterian Church of Australia – Parish of Shoalhaven

 

 ‘I WILL live a life of shallowness, lukewarmness and deceit, and I will not talk about sin. Oh, and if there are those in the church who live in immorality, I will say nothing, I will just ‘love them.’’ (Yeah well, Jesus showed true love and warned them of hell.)

Everyone MUST be accepted as they are.

Don't you know that God loves everyone as they are?

So, you must accept me as I am, without judging me.

And that is why we hear so often the great copout misquote ‘Judge not, lest you be judged’.

God might love you as you are, (though that statement is too simplistic to accept on face value) but if there is no real change after salvation, dare not presume you were saved at all.

 

Come on pastors, stop being gutless and do the job you were called to do. We have been warned over and over again through the years, by a brave voice calling out in the wilderness,  somewhere, sometime, or that ‘still small voice’ but we refuse to change.

"Oh, Father please deliver us from such persistent hard hearts."

So you might lose your job. Big deal, Jesus and millions of others lost their lives not just their jobs.

 

So, is there evidence that our culture and Church is conforming to ‘people will love only themselves?’2Tim. 3:1

Absolutely and the ‘selfie’ generation confirms it so.

Consider the research and work of two prominent doctors in the field:

The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement


Published in April 2009

Narcissism—an inflated view of the self—is everywhere. Public figures say it’s what makes them stray from their wives. Parents teach it by dressing children in T-shirts that say "Princess." Teenagers and young adults hone it on Facebook, and celebrity newsmakers have elevated it to an art form. And it’s what’s making people depressed, lonely, and buried under piles of debt.[17]

 

A portion from the foreword of this book:


You get an idea of the problem by reading the chapter titles:

 

CHAPTER TITLES:

Introduction: The Growing Narcissism in American Culture

Chapter 1: The Many Wonders of Admiring Yourself

Chapter 2: The Disease of Excessive Self-Admiration and  the Top Five Myths About Narcissism 

Chapter 3: Isn't Narcissism Beneficial, Especially in a Competitive World?: Challenging Another Myth About Narcissism 

Chapter 4: How Did We Get Here?: Origins of the Epidemic

Chapter 5: Parenting: Raising Royalty

Chapter 6: Superspreaders!: The Celebrity and Media  Transmission of Narcissism

Chapter 7: Look at Me on MySpace: Web 2.0 and the Quest for Attention

Chapter 8: I Deserve the Best at 18% APR: Easy Credit and the Repeal of the Reality Principle 

Chapter 9: Hell Yeah, I'm Hot!: Vanity

Chapter 10: The Spending Explosion and  its Impact on the Environment: Materialism 

Chapter 11: Seven Billion Kinds of Special: Uniqueness

Chapter 12: The Quest for Infamy and the Rise of Incivility: Antisocial Behavior

Chapter 13: The Chocolate Cake Trap: Relationship Troubles

Chapter 14: All Play and No Work: Entitlement


[1]  The Foundations Of Christian Doctrine. ISBN 949829 09 9.  Kevin Conner.  http://www.kevinconner.org/books-by-kevin/

[2] The Foundations Of Christian Doctrine. ISBN 949829 09 9.  Kevin Conner.  http://www.kevinconner.org/books-by-kevin/

[3] http://www.webbmt.org/books-html/Born-Again_Phenomenon.html

[4] http://davidpawson.org/resources/series/what-about-john-316

[5] https://stream.org/pastors-spoke-real-reason-mess-today

[6] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-roberts.html

[7] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-trallians-roberts.html

[8] http://www.gty.org/blog/B130912/was-jesus-always-nice

 

[9] http://www.aflameforchrist.org/pages.asp?pageid=41273

[10] Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is the author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).

 

[11]https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/28/walking-in-gods-image/

[12] Journey in Prayer with Pastor Chek Chia goo.gl/nzxVNz

[13] goo.gl/Jc3VJD

[14] The History of Christianity (A Lion Handbook) Tim Dowley (Editor), Pat Alexander (Editor), page 260.

[15]http://manybooks.net/pages/americanhumanistassociationother08humanist_manifesto_II/5.html

[16] http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/21858/20020110-0000/www.pastornet.net.au/fwn/1997/may/art03.htm

[17] https://www.amazon.com/Narcissism-Epidemic-Living-Age-Entitlement/dp/1416575995


[i]

All 32 instances that Paul mentions God's love for us:

 

Rom 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

Rom 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

Rom 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

Rom 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Rom 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Rom 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rom 9:25 As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one,"

Rom 9:26 and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "

2Cor 5:14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

2Cor 13:11 Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

Eph 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--

Eph 1:8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Eph 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,

Eph 2:7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Eph 3:18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

Eph 3:19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Eph 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

Eph 5:2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Phil 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

Col 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

1Thes 1:4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

2Thes 2:13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

2Thes 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,

1Tim 1:14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Tit 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,

 

 Chapter 15: God Didn't Create You to Be Average: Religion and Volunteering

Chapter 16: The Prognosis: How Far, and for How Long. Will Narcissism Spread?

Chapter 17: Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism[1]

 

Psychologists now tell us that the popular practice of praising our children so much more now, than in previous generations, is part of the problem.

I was a part of that too, unfortunately.

 

About 20 years ago I was attending a church that met in a secondary school hall. It saddened me to see a big poster of the popular poem by Jessica Hickmott, for all the teens in the school to feed on.

Here are a few lines from it:

I AM SPECIAL

I see the positive side of me,

I believe I could do anything I put my heart to,

…I am a good person.

I am myself always,

I dream to become a superstar,

…I am superstar.

…I am special.[2]

 

A while ago I saw a local electoral campaign leaflet with this printed on the back.  It was another sign of how deep this belief and practice is, for it to be on a political leaflet with seemingly no connection. It was just sentimentality and popular appeal.

 

So, I took a photo of it:


We adults too, ought to break the addiction to 'encouragement' and be cured of the allergy of 'correction'.

 

2) The Church


Then the question must be asked, have we been conformed to these things in the world?

 

Is the move to ‘self-worship’ in the world, influencing the Church?

Dr. Larry Crabb a leading Christian counselor thinks so.

It was about 25 years ago that I was discussing these things with someone who was constantly going to counseling and reading books about overcoming low self-esteem, yet constantly talking about God's wonderful love for us.  "Oh you should read Larry Crabb's book, Finding God"[3] she said and  I was handed the book opened at page seventeen.

She has read it, knows what it says, but does not understand it. There is a veil over her eyes, and without some startling revelation, she will not get it. We are like that.

How much worse is the problem in the Church now than it was 25 years ago?:

 

Thankfully, many have heard our Lord's invitation to come as we are, with an ache in our souls that won't go away. As never before, the church is aware that its people are in pain. But this welcome sensitivity has backfired. Rather than drawing others, this sensitivity has made us more aware of how intensely we long to feel better about ourselves and more determined to find ways to do so! The spotlight has fallen on us as abused, wounded, needy people, and God has been cast as the great Higher Power, waiting in the wings for his cue to come heal our hurts and restore us to responsible living.

Feeling better has become more important to us than finding God.  

Helping people to feel loved and worthwhile has become the central mission of the church.  We are learning not to worship God in self-denial and costly service, but to embrace our inner child, heal our memories,  overcome addictions, lift our depressions, improve our self-images, establish self-preserving boundaries, substitute self-love for self-hatred, and replace shame with an affirming acceptance of who we are. Recovery from pain is absorbing an increasing share of the church's energy. And that is alarming.  Although the gospel does bless us with a new dignity that was meant to be enjoyed, it calls us to higher values than self-acceptance, values like turning the other cheek, esteeming others as greater than ourselves, going the second mile, enduring rejection and persecution, living not for the pleasures of this life but for those of the next one, and clinging to the promises of God when we don't feel his goodness.  But these higher values, the kind that make people of whom the world is not worthy (Heb. 11:38), have fallen on hard times. We have become committed to relieving the pain behind our problems rather than using our pain to wrestle more passionately with the character  and purposes of God. 

Feeling better has become more important than finding God.  And worse, we assume that people who find God always feel better. As a result, we happily camp on biblical ideas that help us to feel loved and accepted, and we pass over Scripture that calls us to higher ground. We twist wonderful truths about God's acceptance, his redeeming love, and our new identity in Christ into a basis of honouring ourselves rather than seeing those truths for what they are: the stunning revelation of a God gracious enough to love people who hated him, a God worthy to be honoured above everyone and everything else. We have learned to praise God the way we tip a specially attentive waiter. Good treatment we accept, but exceptional treatment deserves special recognition.  And certainly God qualifies for extra notice: he has gone to great trouble to  feed our souls and bolster our self-esteem.  We therefore leave him a big tip, feeling benevolent and noble, and he, in turn, beams with humble appreciation as he hears us say, "Well done! You have served us well."

But this is backwards! We have rearranged things so that God is now worthy of honor because he has honored us. "Worthy is the Lamb," we  cry, not in response to his amazing grace, but because he has recovered what we value most: the ability to like ourselves.  We now matter more than God.  (emphasis added.)

 

Then is it no wonder that we do not even truly know God anymore? How could we?


Nicolás Gómez Dávila was an interesting character and of the people of the post-modern era, he insightfully stated:

"The only attribute that can without hesitation be denied man is divinity. But that sacrilegious pretension, nevertheless, is the ferment of his history, of his destiny, of his essence."

"Humanizing humanity again will not be an easy task after this long orgy of divinity."

Emp. added

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913-1994)

 

How profound.

Yes, the New Agers really do believe that they are a god, despite the vileness of mankind's sin. The Humanists believe they are a god, and can determine their own value system, while outlawing God.

And we Christians too, have taken on their lies and believed that we are special. So special in fact, that we have become, kind of, well…divine, in a way. We feel that God is so ‘in love’ with us, so besotted with us, because He died for us. But we are so very wrong.


Yes, we are ‘producing shallow narcissists obsessed with themselves.’

That's why we hate correction, or being 'judged', we are essentially narcissistic, conceited children of God.

And why we want to continually hear about God's love, encouragement and care for us.

And that is also why we do not want any talk about sin or judgment - it reminds us that we are mere fallen humans and that we have an evil sin nature.

That's why we hate the idea of capital punishment, it reminds us of how sinful mankind is and that such punishment is for sinful creatures, such as we.

No, we do not want to be just a mere 'creature' we want to be soooo much more than that, even a little divine. We want to be a hero while despising the idea of being average. That's why we post so many silly 'self-potential' memes on Facebook.

 

That's why we have built a whole theology in our modern Church of how special we are. We over state verses that say that we are 'seated in heavenly places' and play down the verses about how we are 'slaves obeying as we ought'.

We refuse to allow anyone to 'judge' another, in any way shape or form, and then we force 'love is kind' into a context of God's judgment and discipline, to thwart it almost completely.

To humble ourselves in tears of repentance is too low for us. No, we rather talk about how God loves us and wants us to have a 'good self-esteem.'

We feel so spiritual when we tell others that they are 'awesome' and we love them. We feel as though we have done a high good and a very spiritual thing, by encouraging another person in this way.

We are merely ‘drug addicts’ on the mind-altering drug of ‘God loves me soooo much.’ In our state of stupor, we have no idea that our thinking and judgment is impaired and our vision is blurred. Our cognitive dysfunction  intensifies our perceptions, reinforcing ‘our  truth’ deep within. It causes an unsteady gait – we cannot walk spiritually straight. There are moments of euphoria, particularly when we participate in the Church ‘concert’ we call ‘worship’ or yet again, another alter call of emotion that will provoke no real change.

We need to go cold turkey and truly find God.

 

And if we silence a straight talker from exposing this sin of over emphasis on God’s love, we feel so proud of doing the highest possible good, because Jesus would never correct wrong thinking.

Nonsense, we are not doing what Jesus would do at all.

We stand in God's way to protect our exalted ‘Christian  correctness.’ Unaware, that political correctness is merely 'peer group pressure' for adults. ‘Christian  correctness’ is NOT sanctioned by God! Though it certainly is by man.

If we do what we currently believe 'what Jesus would do' you will be most acceptable in the Church and considered to be a lovely Christian But, if you truly do 'What Jesus would do' you will be shunned like a leper.

 

Again, let me quote Søren Kierkegaard, he hits the nail on the head when he said of Christians:

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined."

 

Yes, that sounds like us.

I happen upon this devotional by Rick Warren:

 

Personalize God’s Word to Change Your Life

OCTOBER 23, 2016

How do you make God’s Word personal? Try the personalize-it method of Bible meditation. Anybody can do it. You don’t need any special tools or advanced theological training.

You simply put your name in the place of pronouns or nouns in Scripture. For example, if I were personalizing John 3:16, I’d write something like this: “For God so loved Rick, he gave his one and only Son so that Rick would not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

Why put such a focus on ‘God loves me so much’ when the Bible does not do it?

We know that the prosperity preaching churches major on telling people the nice things they like to hear and we disapprove. But the good old conservative, evangelical churches are following suite too. They may not talk about material prosperity, but emotional prosperity? Absolutely, and good times prosperity, and psychological prosperity, and self-esteem prosperity. And so many more.

 

There's a constant flow of books and preaching about it to feed our insatiable desire to affirmed.

 

I did a quick online search for Christian books about God's love, this is just a few that came up:

 


 

  

 


 


And we feed our children and grandchildren on a diet of the same. Here is just a few of them:


  


  


   


    


  


 

What do our churches teach on a weekly basis? I do not know, there is no data that I know of. So, I just did a quick internet search to find generally what sermon podcasts are uploaded. These figures are very general - we cannot make any more of these figures than observe a general trend:

GENERALLY A FOCUS ON MAN

"God loves you" podcast =                       about 343,000 results

"God's love" podcast =                              about 513,000 results

"God loves me" podcast =                        about 228,000 results

"the love of God" podcast =                     about 822,000 results

"unconditional love of God" podcast = about 234,000 results

"comfort of God" podcast =                     about 223,000 results

"God's kindness" podcast =                      about 127,000 results

"God cares for you" podcast =                about 129,000 results

"God's protection" podcast =                   about 145,000 results

"protection of God" podcast =                 about 211,000 results

"where is God in troubled times" podcast = about 232,000 res

"God help me" podcast =                          about 339,000 results

"God bless you" podcast =                        about 518,000 results

Bible says "love yourself" podcast =     about 649,000 results

God says "you are special" podcast =    about 289,000 results

God "good self esteem" podcast =          about 467,000 results

God Bible "enjoy life" podcast =             about 325,000 results

God Bible "fulfilled life" podcast =         about 470,000 results

 

GENERALLY A FOCUS ON GOD

"God's justice" podcast =                          about 69,600 results

"defeating sin" podcast =                         about 2,020 results

"God's discipline" podcast =                    about 19,200 results

"God the Judge" podcast =                       about 79,500 results

"God's holiness" podcast =                       about 77,500 results

"justice of God" podcast =                        about 65,800 results

"perseverance in God" podcast =           about 12,400 results

"being holy" podcast =                                            about 56,200 results

"suffering for good" podcast =                              about 35,700 results

"suffering for God" podcast =                  about 33,200 results

"defeating sin" in your life, podcast =   about 1,540 results

"anger of God" podcast =                         about 185,000 results

"defeating your sin" podcast =                              0 results found

"self denial" podcast =                              about 55,300 results

"deny yourself" podcast =                        about 168,000 results

"wrath of God" podcast =                         about 205,000 results

"dying to self" podcast =                           about 934,000 results

"Be ye holy" podcast =                                            about 36,600 result

"Hell and punishment" podcast =           about 12,800 results

"Hell is terrible" podcast =                       about 35,400 results

"Hell is real" podcast =                             about 174,000 results

"perseverance in God" podcast =           about 12,300 results

"Live in purity" podcast =                        about 14,400 results

"Living holy" podcast =                             about 42,700 results

Bible says "Be holy" podcast =                about 79,900 results

"kill sin" podcast =                                     about 12,800 results

"stop sinning" podcast =                           about 47,200 results

"die to self" podcast =                               about 414,000 results

 

Let's look at that data in a graphic form to get a better idea of the trend:


Ok, so let me get this straight:

We are the army of God;

We are in a war that is not against flesh and blood;

We were commanded to die to ourselves daily;

We were to grow in maturity and strong perseverance;

In order to devote ourselves to building the Kingdom;

Maintaining a Kingdom perspective - a missional focus;

But we feed ourselves and our congregations, on pampering preaching that grows no one?

 

Logically, how does that even work?

Jesus did not do that, nor did the apostles.

 

Tragically, Christians (and yes, pastors too) demand of me, the evidence of my claims. WHAT! No, the onus is on them to explain to God, upon what basis and truths, they build and practice their strange theology.

If an athlete is going to be able to perform, they MUST exercise. Their coach MUST take them through hard workouts to help them get stronger, fitter and develop real  endurance. 

But pastors claim they want to train the church to be stronger, spiritually fitter and develop real perseverance, by feeding them a diet of, 'nice' soppy preaching, with no genuine challenge.

And Christians claim they want to follow Christ - 

to be stronger, spiritually fitter and develop real perseverance, but they only allow the pastor to feed them a diet of, 'nice' soppy preaching, with no genuine challenge.

 

What is hard to understand in a clear Scripture like this?:

James 1:2 My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. 3 You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. 4 But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything. . . . . . . . . . .

21 You must stop doing anything immoral or evil.                                                              CEV

'You MUST learn to endure. And be glad about a lot of  trouble. You MUST stop doing evil.'

This is typical of what the NT teaches and commands of us.

But this is not what we preach. We preach about how God wants to comfort and He wants to encourage you in all your hard times. Over and over. We dare not put such 'pressure' on people to grow or even to stop sinning.

We do not put any pressure on people to grow. We protect them from any pressure or discomfort, by preaching soothing words of God's comfort.  

Jesus on the other hand, made sure that those who followed Him felt pressure to live up to their commitment. He understood, as we once did long ago, that to disciple and grow someone, there must be a certain level of expectation and pressure. That was once common sense and normal.

Jesus would never get a job in our churches.

 

What is going on?

Yes, we have become conformed to this world:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.                        NIV

 

We not only conform to the world, we sanctify it, develop it further, then give it back to the world as a weapon against God. “No upsetting people with your conviction, God. Can't You be more loving like Jesus?”

We are supposed to be teaching and training soldiers for God, but we are child minding. Child minding a therapy group, where we keep them warm and comfortable until the Lord returns.   

 

Pastors, if you are feeling burnt out, I do feel for sorry for you. You have a very difficult job these days.[4]

Double-think is normal in Christianity today. We say one thing, while believing and acting another.

We have developed a sophisticated, though subjective  theology to handle all the objections.

 

This atheist meme going around the internet, rightly challenges, even defies the 'God loves us soooo much' theory:


 

This will cause a mini crisis of conscience for many of you.

We no longer have a theology that can explain this atheist challenge.

That is because we view God as 'only' loving and it results in double-think(holding two opposing views at the same time without seeing any contradiction between them) - 'God loves us soooo much' and 'the Flood' are somehow compatible.

God's justice is also extreme.

In fact it is so extreme that it is frightening, hence the 'beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.' In the modern age of 'niceness' we really do not want to hear or know about Hell, because it is so extreme. Just a glimpse of it and our knees buckle and we are pleading with God for help.

God's justice and His holiness are extreme, but we do not want to know about that, nor do we know who God is any more.

We are ill-equipped to live the true Christian life and ill-equipped to preach it.

Our version is so compromised, it is to be considered to be a 'false' gospel, so STOP preaching and talking about God's love for us!

Yes, the Western Church, is indeed being conformed to the world. We value mankind more highly than we ought, and believe ourselves to be the worthy benefactor of God's great love and special attention.

 

CONCLUSION:

R Are we being conformed to something in our culture? = Yes we are.

 

 

 

Just a note about all the popular Christian self-help books:

 


 


You get the idea.

 

Forget about all the latest popular books, written by popular Christian authors.  Go back to the Bible.

Truly, it is in the Bible that you find the best answers.

 

It takes work, we hate work, but the power of the Bible to break through is huge.

Pray that God will give you understanding as you read and that the Holy Spirit will move powerfully in your life as you do. He will. And if He does not at first, then  persevere until He does. Have the attitude of Jacob - "I will not let the Bible go until God blesses me."

 

And if you say that you find it hard to understand the Bible, get a modern translation and devour it.

Get a Contemporary English Version (CEV). Read it over and over and when you read something that does not sound right, check with your regular Bible.

 

If a chapter seems to be saying something to you, but you cannot quite get it, read it over again, ten more times if necessary.

Take the time to read whole books of the Bible in one sitting. This helps develop an overview of a letter or work.

 

Take the time to listen to the New Testament on audio in 2 sessions, or 10 sessions. You can listen to the NT in two 11 hour sessions and it will open your eyes to the most wonderful overview of the NT, God and the Kingdom of God. Just a note: do not sit and listen to it, you will fall asleep, set up a very simple task that requires little to no thinking, to keep active and you can go all day.

If you want to listen to the Old Testament, which I highly recommend, it takes about 5 days of 11 hours.

 

 

 


 

Chapter 33. The NT Already Has An Over Emphasis On God's Love
The NT most likely already has an over-emphasis of God's love for man, and we do not need it in the same way as the people of the 1st century.

We need to tone it down a little if anything, rather than using this to exult something we prefer over other teachings.

 

Bear with me while I explain.

The New Testament must be read in connection with the Old Testament, they go together.

It can rightly be stated that the Old Testament is the 'context' of the NT.

When reading the NT, we need to understand the important aspect of OT context in order to correctly understand the NT.

 

Consider for a moment how the letter to the Galatian church was hard on false teachers, and this was entirely correct. The Judaisers were causing real problems.

Imagine if Paul had sent that letter, to the Thessalonian church in their time of intense persecution, instead of 2Thessalonians. It would have caused all sorts of confusion. It would have produced bad theology in the receivers as they tried to come to terms with its theological significance. This is because it came from a very different context.

 

Conversely, if Paul's much warmer letter to the Philippians had been sent to the badly erring Corinthian church, the same would occur - being taken from a different context would give rise to bad theology, and sin in the church would be tolerated.

 

Consider for a moment, the seemingly contradictory teaching of Paul to both Corinth and Galatia:

1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.

 

But he seems to say the opposite to the Galatian Church:

Gal. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

 

Why? Because Corinth was liberal and undisciplined, requiring discipline, while Galatia was affected by legalistic teachings, which required a very different emphasis.  They needed to be told that it is not Laws that save us, but faith in God alone.

In short, a document written to a specific situation, needs to be interpreted from the viewpoint of that situation.

Think of it this way, if someone comes to you, having a very deep seated self hatred, after advising them to repent of this, you will naturally emphasize God's acceptance of them. While another who comes in pride, needs to be humbled before a Holy God and be brought down to a more realistic view of themselves. It's the same God we serve, but with an emphasis on the proper aspect of God's character for each situation.

Now, also, to better understand the New Testament, we need to understand the background of the New Testament times and how they viewed God, in order to understand how much they would emphasis certain concepts; i.e. God's love for us.

 

Background

I propose that:

Israel in Old Testament times, did not know of, or understand the concept of a God of love, hence love is more emphasized in the New Testament.

 

The NT writers were leading the new Christian Jews out of Judaism and it's legalistic way of thinking .

Often, the Jews’ relationship and view of God, certainly in the NT times, was a cold relationship with a distant, hard-of-hearing God.

This is what people in the Old Testament heard about the God they worshipped:

 

Deut. 7:6“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,

8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face.

11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.                      ESV

 

Ok. So, God loves us because He made a promise to our forefathers, hmmm, but we have to obey His rules and He will protect us. But if we do not, He will destroy us. Right, ok. That sounds more like a duty than a warm kind of love. God would save them if they were obedient.

 

Hence, thankfulness, awe and at times, fear, seemed to typify their relationship with God.

Israel's had no concept of God as a father.

Jesus introduced the concept of calling God "our Father".

In the same way that they did not have a developed theology on 'heaven', so to, Israel did not have a developed theology or concept of God as loving. They understood God to be strict. But they also understood God having great mercy, if they repented. But they did not perceive God as a 'loving' God.

 

Zondervan Bible Encl. Vol 2-799:

GRACE: "Before Bethlehem the concept of a God of grace who gives himself, appears nowhere." 

 

It is not that the OT does not use the term 'love of God' for his people, because it does[5], but it also needs to be understood that it was not a developed concept or theology.

So when Jesus came along calling God his Father and says that we should also call him ‘Father’ it was a radical concept, that sounded very strange to the Jewish hearers, especially the Jewish leaders.

 

Commentary Series on the Bible - Dr. Peter Pett:

John 3:16. The reason that Jesus has come is because “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son”. This is the amazing new revelation that surpasses all that has gone before, that God was such that He had not only seen man’s need but has met it in the only way possible at greatest cost to Himself. ‘In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us, and gave His Son to be a propitiation for ours sins’ (1Jn_4:10).[6]

 

Expositions of Holy Scripture - Alexander MacLaren on John 3:16:

Before Jesus Christ came into this world no one ever dreamt of saying ‘God loves.’ Some of the Old Testament psalmists had glimpses of that truth and came pretty near expressing it. But among all the ‘gods many and lords many,’ there were lustful gods and beautiful gods, and idle gods, and fighting gods and peaceful gods: but not one of whom worshippers said, ‘He loves.’  (emphasis added)

 

MacLaren then goes on to make a vital point, especially for us to understand in this era. I urge you to read this carefully :

Once, it was a new and almost incredible message, but we have grown accustomed to it, and it is not strange any more to us. But if we would try to think of what it means, the whole truth would flash up into fresh newness, and all the miseries and sorrows and perplexities of our lives would drift away down the wind, and we should be no more troubled with them. ‘God loves’ is the greatest thing that can be said by lips.[7]  (emphasis added)

 

Exactly, we cannot even conceive of a God who does not love us, so very much now.

While the Jews had little concept of a God of love, who gives Himself, we now, have NO concept of a God who could NOT love and give Himself to us and for us. It has become the baseline of our expectations of God, rather than the most precious revelation, held in the highest regard with gratefulness.

 

We need to regain a deep awe for God, for the fact that God would even take the time to consider saving such evil creatures. We must regain and fight for the original concept of God as the fearsome God who can destroy the soul as well as the body, just as Jesus advised:

Matt. 10:28 Don’t be afraid of people. They can kill you, but they cannot harm your soul. Instead, you should fear God who can destroy both your body and your soul in hell.                          CEV

 

Once we have captured the concept of a fearsome holy God, we will begin to truly understand the love that God does have for us. And we will not again be presumptive on God and take Him for granted. We will no longer feel so very special. This new illumination would give way to a deep sense of humility before God.

For the simple reason that He love us, alone, without any other benefit, we ought to feel so privileged and never ever complain about any suffering or even a catastrophe again. That ought to be our baseline response to God.

Yet sadly, it is never enough for us. We want to be happy, feel good about ourselves, get a parking spot now, or somehow life has let us down and even God has let us down.

Of all the truths of the Bible, this is the most taught and deeply held by us. It causes us to maintain the great emphasis we do, on top of an already greater emphasis of God's love.

 

It is very destructive in many ways.

I look at just some of these ways, later in this book.

 

CONCLUSION:

q New Testament has a greater emphasis on God's love for us, than what we need to hear = It would seem so,  yes.

 

We then ought to be very careful not to focus on God's love for us, any more than the New Testament does, as a minimum.

 


 

Section 3 The Consequences
Chapter 34.  Depth Of Deception
So let us look at our checked list now:


 

As you can see, we have all the ticks and crosses in the wrong boxes. We need to get serious, throw off the pride, 'despise the shame' as Jesus did, admit we have seriously screwed up and repent in brokenness before God and one another.

 

So, if there is no emphasis on preaching and teaching about God's love shown in all these areas we have looked at, where does it come from?

The world!

 

Please Explain:

Pastors and church leaders, upon what basis have you preached and affirmed 'God's love for you' so much?

What evidence do you have from Scripture to make such a call? 

 

The general impression most Christians now have of Jesus' ministry, was that he went around preaching the love of God to people.

This is just so wrong.

 

You have been ‘conformed to this world’ just as you were instructed not to do.

We made it up. By trying to please man, we focused on all the nice things and we came to believe it ourselves as good theology.

 

I was asked why God in the OT was such a fearsome God, but in the NT He is seen as loving?

The problem is in our false perceptions, not in Scripture or the nature of God.

The fact is God NEVER changes!

Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.                                             

 

To say that Jesus is different in the New Testament than the God of the Old Testament, is simply wrong. It shows that one does not even know the Jesus of the New Testament. But we do not even see it when we read the New Testament. (Of course, there is the aspect, that once a person is be born again, the power of the Holy Spirit can empower us to change. Whereas, in the Old Testament  Israel did not have the Holy Spirit and there was the  need for a stronger hand, with severe warnings. Now, we are not supposed to need such severe warnings.)

 

2 Cor. 13:2 During my second visit I warned you that I would punish you and anyone else who doesn’t stop sinning. I am far away from you now, but I give you the same warning.

3  This should prove to you that I am speaking for Christ. When he corrects you, he won't be weak. He will be powerful!          CEV

 

We live under a false sense of security, thinking that God really is different than in the Old Testament.

When I say that we do not really know God any more, I really, really mean it.

God is seen as more committed to being 'kind' than to being holy or just or saving people from hell by confronting sin.  This is an utterly false view of God.

 

As Xue, a friend of mine said, 'if you continually feed a child only the nice things they want, rather than what they need, the child will not grow properly and will be very unhealthy.'

Exactly! You end up with a self-centred, spoilt brat, who does not like to suffer anything in the least unpleasant. This is our Western Church today.

 

Essentially we have taken this message and song and changed it:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

 


 

We have rewritten this chorus to be more like:

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look only at His wonderful grace,
And things that are hard will grow strangely dim,
In the warmth of His glorious embrace.

 

Christian authors and scholars write commentaries on the Bible, and books about all kinds of subjects from this skewed over-emphasis, arriving at shallow interpretations. Is it any wonder that Christians who are aware of this returning to the commentaries of the old masters - those who truly saw God as the great holy God who must be honoured as well as being seen as a loving God.

 

We are looking at the depth of our deception in this chapter, so continuing on, let's look at a just few differences in the Jesus we serve:

 

Lord Jesus Christ of God, revealed in the Bible

Jesus of the modern Church

Loves us enough to discipline us and tell the truth

Sentimental love – comforts us with a lie

Preaches 'Repent'

Preaches 'I love you'

Tells us to forsake material prosperity

Tells us He will bless us with material prosperity

I came into this world to be a judge  John 9:39 (not a civil judge)

Never judged anyone - did not come to judge in any way

He is greatly concerned for Kingdom’s work

He is greatly concerned about our every little hurt

He is immutable - unchanging

He is not the God of the OT

He is sometimes angry with us

He is never angry with us

Exposes sin in Church

Eph 5:11

 

He welcomes in, unrepentant sexual sinners of all types

He disciplines us

He only encourages us

He was severe at times

Matt. 11:20, Luke 9:41, Rom 11:22 

Was only kindly with people

He wants us to mature

He wants us to have a great self-esteem

He is holy and commands us to be holy as He is

He understands that we are only human so it's ok not to overcome sin

He requires that we are obedient

He is only really interested in a relationship with us

Jesus was like God

Jesus is like man

Lord Jesus Christ of God, revealed in the Bible

Another false Jesus of so many Church congregations Gal. 1:6 

 

Our modern Church Jesus, is another Jesus:

2Cor. 11:4  We told you about Jesus, and you received the Holy Spirit and accepted our message. But you let some people tell you about another Jesus. Now you are ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message.       CEV

 

And this 'another Jesus' is presenting 'another gospel':

Gal. 1:6  I am shocked that you have so quickly turned from God, who chose you because of his wonderful kindness. You have believed another message(gospel)                                  CEV

 

The real Jesus of the Bible was NOT concerned if someone was offended by the truth, unlike our ‘another Jesus’.  The real Jesus DID say harsh things too when it was necessary; and it was necessary often.  That’s why so much of Jesus being hard and so little of Him being so tender in the gospel accounts.

Let me put it another way.

We say that Jesus would not be hard on people today.

We say that Jesus does not judge people (falsely declaring that Jesus did not judge the woman caught in adultery. Jesus did judge her as wrong, but He did not judge her to death.)

We say Jesus would just ‘love’ gays and accept them as they are, without correcting their sin.

But, Jesus declared “I AM the truth.”

How can the Holy Son of God who is the Truth, now deny Himself by ‘not correcting sin’ as He did before? He would have to first admit that He got it wrong when He preached and lived with us.

Can you see the utter contradiction of such thinking?

We insult the most Holy Son of God by attributing false thinking and ways to Him.

 

Surely this applies to us today?:

Jer. 17:9  You people of Judah are so deceitful that you even fool yourselves, and you can't change. CEV 

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is to be the Head of the Church:

Col. 1:18  He is the head of his body, which is the church. . .                                         CEV

Eph. 5:23  . . . as Christ is the head and the Savior of the church, which is his own body.  CEV

Col. 2:19  . . . of Christ, who is the head of the whole body.                                                   CEV

Eph. 1:22  God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything.   CEV

 

But, the Lord Jesus Christ is NOT the head of most church congregations today. He is not even ‘the truth’ any more when he differs from our ‘Christian correctness.’ No, we present ‘another Jesus’ on those occasions. We, in our arrogance, developed ‘better’ ideas. We had no right!

The head of most church congregations today, is man.

And man has conjured up a convenient form of a Jesus to preach and worship just like when Aaron made the golden calf to worship to keep the people happy.

The Church is full of spoilt, undisciplined, self-centred brats.

This is a picture of us:

Matt. 15:6 ......You ignore God's commands in order to follow your own teaching. 

7  And you are nothing but show-offs! Isaiah the prophet was right when he wrote that God had said, 

8  "All of you praise me with your words, but you never really think about me. 

9  It is useless for you to worship me, when you teach rules made up by humans."             CEV

 

This ‘sacred cow’, must be destroyed for the survival of a genuine Church. Otherwise the ‘remnant’ who leave ‘the Church’ will be the only true Church.

 

I have endevoured to present hard evidence that refutes our accepted Church traditions on this, in the hope that, it may cause some to question what they have blindly always believed. 

 

Now, take a look at the pictures we looked at the beginning of this book:


Hopefully, they grieve you and make you feel nauseated as they do me. Do you see how vile this self-focus is?

Do you agree with me that it feels like blasphemy, to elevate ourselves so highly before a Holy God?

And Christians post this destructive false emphases online every day.  And not only that, they feel they are doing a superior service because after all, 'love is the most important thing.'

 

Observe what Ignatius, a disciple of the apostle John,   had to say about mixing sweetness with heresy to make it more acceptable:

THE POISON OF HERETICS

 

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE TRALLIANS

CHAPTER 6

ABSTAIN FROM THE POISON OF HERETICS

 

I therefore, yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, entreat you that ye use Christian nourishment only, and abstain from herbage of a different kind; I mean heresy. For those [that are given to this] mix up Jesus Christ with their own poison, speaking things which are unworthy of credit, like those who administer a deadly drug in sweet wine, which he who is ignorant of does greedily take, with a fatal pleasure leading to his own death.

I therefore, yet not l, but the love of Jesus Christ, “entreat you that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” For there are some vain talkers and deceivers, not Christians, but Christ-betrayers, bearing about the name of Christ in deceit, and “corrupting the word” of the Gospel; while they intermix the poison of their deceit with their persuasive talk, as if they mingled aconite with  sweet wine, that so he who drinks, being deceived in his taste by the very great sweetness of the draught, may incautiously meet with his death. One of the ancients gives us this advice, “Let no man be called good who mixes good with evil.” For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to

it.[8]

 

Yes, we add the sweet poison of heretics. The poison of the Liberals – the hardhearted rebellion against God. And the poison of the well-meaning Conservatives - the blind, weak self-preservation and compromise.

 

In general, in the Western Church, the older members have forgotten who God really is. The younger members have never known who God really is. They only know and accept, some things about Him and there is precious little genuine seeking of God to know the truth.


 

Chapter  35. Consequences Of This Deception
Yes we are!

 

We give such great honour to one who is so kind and never has a strong word for anyone. This type of Christian is considered to have reached the pinnacle – the Christian version of 'nirvana'. Oh how we all want to be that kind of Christian.

Our hero image ought to be one who fearlessly speaks out like Jesus did, like the apostles did, as well as having a loving heart.

You see, one who never speaks out like that, shows a compromised love, not true love.

 

When you say that speaking truth might upset someone, or is going to scare people away, and that it is not helpful or does not achieve anything, tell me;

What it is that you want to achieve?

What is it that Jesus told us to achieve?

Our job is NOT to just get people into the Church.

Our job is to preach the full uncompromising gospel,

disciple those who come to Christ, and to discipline those who do not obey the commands of Christ.

 

As I spoke about earlier, this idea of 'just getting them in' is NOT biblical. So why have we believed the modern lie and done just that?

 

Let us very briefly look at a few of the consequences of this Sola Affectus gospel, things affected.

 

We find that :-

 

·       Now, God utterly hating sin is not understood

 

It petty-izes sin, because supposedly God cares so much about my every little hurt or even discomfort rather than vile sin.

 

And yet as Bill Muehlenberg points out sin really is very serious:

Given God’s holy hatred of evil, how greatly must we fear offending him? The fear of the Lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom. No wonder we read so much about fearing God in the Bible. Offending a holy God is the last thing any of us should want to do.[9]

 

·       Now, God being extremely Holy is not properly understood

 

·       Now, God loves us soooo much has supposedly made 'relationship with God the only thing that matters'

 

Something like this:

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·       Now, God loves everyone soooo much that we should not preach a hellfire message

 

·       Now, God loves us soooo much that hell barely exists any more

 

Universalism(all are saved) is now rampant in the Church.

Consider this from Peirce, a believer who has been a Christian for over 60 years. He shared a teaching in a group for discipleship and new believers, about how Gehenna (hell) is only really speaking of the rubbish dump, the Valley of Hinnon. Hell as a place of eternal suffering does not really exist God loves us too much to send anyone to a place like that:

 

‘In the light of several recent entries in this group, I found this very interesting and very important reading. Especially on the most interesting evolution of the our view of Hell (and what we hear when the Scriptures record Jesus talking about Hell) compared and contrasted with what his listeners would have heard.’            Emphasis added.

 

We really do have to stop preaching God’s love for heaven’s sake, we are sending so many to the ‘Lake of Fire’ hell. All the while they think they are saved, until….

 

·       Now, non-Christians use it against us when we try to expose sin and while witnessing to them

 

·       Now,  God loves us so much we must never offend anyone even with Truth

 

·       Now, God loves us soooo much, we demand absolute unity. Truth must be ignored if it is going to offend anybody(we can just go home and pray about it.)

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, demands that we do not preach the Law as Jesus did.


·       Now, God loves us so much causing Sola Affectus that severely compromises the disciple and training of the Church

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, which then makes our evangelism so weak and ineffective.

 

An evangelistic leaflet from the early 1970’s, from memory.  I seemed to have kept it as a book mark:

 

Think about this – if you were born after 1970, most likely you have never really known anything different. It has become so entrenched in our thinking and beliefs, because it’s all we heard.

 

That is why I say that we are deceived and why I say ‘we do not really know God any more.’

 

This is also why we feel we must fight and resist such a ‘fantastic’ accusation.

How dare you. How can you say that we do not really know God?

Some will even go to the extent of thinking it is of the devil.

Self-preservation is a powerful force in our lives.

 

·       Now, because we think that God loves so much, we are blinded on how to fix our churches

 

Tired frustrated pastors try every imaginable program to try and keep people interested and committed. If they could let go of the false assumptions on how much we need to protect people and start to truly challenge them instead, the change would come. Yes, you most likely will have a smaller congregation after do, so what? You will please God and you will see radical change.

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, causes us to present a shallow Christian worldview to the non-Christian world  

 

We feel we must portray God is a good light to the world. But the world says that anything that is not ‘nice’ is evil. So, we can only say something ‘nice’ on God’s behalf and the world is not exposed to God’s hatred for sin and demand for holiness.


·       Now, God loves us so much, presents a shallow form of Christianity to our children and believers in general

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, gave birth to the false criticism "that's not being Christ-like' when you are doing what Christ did.

 

Many times I have been told that ‘You are not Jesus’ or “You are not Paul’ to silence my call to Scriptural living.

Their accusation is confirmation of what I am saying – Jesus told us to ‘do what He does’ which includes speaking out against compromised truth and we would be hated for it.

Paul told them to ‘be like me.’

Years ago, I even had someone accused me of ‘hiding behind Paul.’ That continues to make me smile each time it comes to mind. J It is a completely false statement, taken from another context to give it accusation power in this context.

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, causes weak counseling and it is far less effective.

 

It seems that everybody ‘today’ is a victim of life. They have a personality disorder, a guilt complex, a regressive memory complex or a plethora of other conditions that make them so much the victim. Perhaps they had a terrible childhood, a bad marriage, a bad accident or just about anything, that allows for the sin in their lives to be dumbed down to virtually nothing. So any genuine responsibility or expectation to deal with sin is barely present.

No! Forget all the fancy named conditions and terrible problems.  Just obey Scripture. We are supposed to be soldiers in an army, overcoming the problems of the past, not spoilt children of the King.

 

When you think about it, the concepts and book Love languages is only needed because we refuse to obey Scripture and love one another sacrificially. As self centred people, we need to be told all the benefits for ‘me’, of loving your spouse in this special way, before we are prepared to sacrificially love them.  If we just obey the Bible as we are told to, books like Love Languages are irrelevant. But when we try to live our lives by these books, we conveniently side step the requirement to just obey Scripture, as it is written. The Word of God will revolutionize your life, if you want to grow. But the truth is, we do not really want to grow, we want to find an easier way to live the 'acceptable' even the 'trendy' Christian lifestyle.

 

Until we are prepared to truly die to self, we will continue on in a form of Christianity without power and one that does not please God.

 

·       Now, ‘God loves us so much’, causes a great pride in good Christians, believing that their theology of love is more superior.

 

Our ‘love’ theology is far more superior than anyone speaking uncomfortable truths. It causes us to 'take the higher moral ground'; to silence the 'un-Christ-like' which confirms in the minds of the undiscerning that uncomfortable truths are not to be spoken.

 

·       Now, we help Satan use 'God loves you so much' to silence any possibility of offending truth - to stop the voice/oracle/words of God for others or Church

 

·       Now, because we feel soooo loved by God, worship is reduced to a self-centred feel-good ‘singsong’

 

·       Now, God loves mankind so much that we must always help the needy however they treat you and do not even try

Somehow Jesus is supposed to have done this with all the people He interacted with, so we should too.

 

·       Now, ‘God loves us so much’, reduces our ability to suffer for a great cause, for we have become the centre and the cause of our lives

 


L

·       Now, ‘God loves me so much’, has caused us to believe and totally accept that God's love is 'unconditional'.  A free pass to take God's love for granted

 

·       Now, God loves me soooo much causes us to think we are so lovely to God that we barely repent of sin

How many Christians have a time of repentance as part of their daily devotions? Not many. How many confess sin during the day as it rears its ugly head?

When we first confess our sin and choose to follow Christ, we repent a lot, if we were truly saved. And this is supposed to be the beginning of a life of repentance. But now, we really do not feel that bad about our sin, after all, God loves us so much.


·       Now, ‘God's great love for us’ has birthed and cemented in our minds, the "I am special to God" syndrome. Spiritual conceit

 

Jonathan Edwards has some profound words about this:

This is . . . the difference between the joy of the hypocrite, and the joy of the true saint. The [hypocrite] rejoices in himself; self is the first foundation of his joy: the [true saint] rejoices in God. . . . True saints have their minds, in the first place, inexpressibly pleased and delighted with the sweet ideas of the glorious and amiable ]i.e., pleasant, admirable] nature of the things of God. And this is the spring of all their delights, and the cream of all their pleasures. . . . But the dependence of the affections of hypocrites is in a contrary order: they first rejoice . . . that they are made so much of by God; and then on that ground, he seems in a sort, lovely to them.[10] 

 

This, written in the 1700’s so aptly describes the normal believer today. We were made to feel so special to God, so we love Him. We feel so special to God, so we ‘worship’ Him with all manner of self-centred songs and feelings.

Yet, remove the feeling of specialness and we fall apart spiritually, we cannot understand why God has abandoned us.

Why is our focus and commitment so shallow? We do not love and serve God for who He is, but because we love being loved by Him. The former was a choice to serve the Holy Lord; the latter was a sentimental attachment that is easily shaken.

 

John Piper in commenting on Edwards above,  wrote about some of the problems of self-love:

‘…self-love inevitably embraces God not for the beauty of his glory in itself, but for the natural benefits God gives. Mere self-love savors the gifts of God without savoring fellowship with God himself…” [11]

 

·       Now, ‘God's great love for us’ over emphasis causes us to believe that God is wonderfully watching to arrange everything nicely in our life. A great self-centredness

 

When you post this sort of simplistic, self-centred rubbish…..:

 


 

…..what are you even talking about?

Are you into some 'other gospel' or something?

 

So I posted this:

 


 

Oh the joy of these things?

If you do not consider these things to be joyous,

you have not the heart of God; you have not a kingdom perspective at all, and you are probably not even saved.

 

I want to be like Christ. God commands me to be holy, and I want to be what God wants me to be. And He commands me to be ‘happy and excited’ about persecution and problems.[12]

No! Not just words, we have to really mean it.

If you are surrounded by people who only give it lip service in your Bible study or your Know Your Bible group, but would not let you talk about it as though we have to be accountable to do it, get out of that church and find someone who does mean it.

 

I have had Christians say “Oh but I cannot find any church like that.” So what, you keep looking with perseverance, and prayer till you do. ‘Ask and you will receive” if you ask, like the woman did of the ‘evil judge.’

Find one or two people and meet with them, making each other accountable.

You may say “On no, my pastor said that only rebellious people do that, it is too radical.”

I say ‘What is radical?’ Preaching about hell is radical these days! Jesus was radical, He only survived about 3 years after He began preaching and teaching.

I do not care about what is considered radical or what is not, I care about doing what the Bible says and thinking what the Bible thinks. If that means I need to not follow the crowd, so what. That’s irrelevant.

  

So I say again, if you cannot find a church with a proper Biblical perspective, find someone who does and meet with them. And include other hungry believers as you come across them. Make it place where you truly die to self, prayer with fervor and study the Bible.

 

·       Now, ‘God's great love for us’ belief, causes us to crumble in a tragedy thinking that God has abandoned us,  and many leave the faith

 

And this is just a short list in no particular order, of the more obvious ways, in which we are compromised. There are so many more  subtle ways that cannot even quantify the effects.

David Cooke posted a good article concerning these issues titled:

The World And Many Churches Have A "False View" Of Love. We Must Not Redefine What True Godly Love Is! True Love Is Not Devoid Of The Holiness Of God And Does Not Compromise With Sin                                         

A.      To many 'love' means we must accept, tolerate and even approve of sin and never speak out against it and to never give a word of warning or correction concerning false doctrine or ungodly living. But this is a false worldly love…read more[13]

It is worth reading the whole article.

Thank you brother.

 

How true this is.

Love is NOT devoid of the holiness of God; despite our feeble postmodern tampering, experiments and shallow claims. We can never win against God, we cannot somehow prevail against God and redefine ‘love’ for all eternity. These are mere futile efforts that will come to screeching halt the instant we die. And then we must stand before the Holy God and explain our stupid, carnal reasons for trying to do so.

 

And finally, DA Carson hits the nail on the head with his appraisal on what an over-emphasis on God's love does:

"I do not think that what the Bible says about the love of God can long survive at the forefront of our thinking if it is abstracted from the sovereignty of God, the holiness of God, the wrath of God, the providence of God, or the personhood of God—to mention only a few nonnegotiable elements of basic Christianity. The result, of course, is that the love of God in our culture has been purged of anything the culture finds uncomfortable. The love of God has been sanitized, democratized, and above all sentimentalized" [14]   (Emp. added)

 

 D.A. Carson; The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. Wheaton, 1L; Crossway Books; 2000, p.ll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Section 4  What Now?
Chapter 36. What Should We Do?
I am no expert in these things, I merely offer my thoughts after observing, grieving over and praying for these things for many years.

In fact, it was the so-called trained experts that largely got us into these problems, so I doubt that it is experts we need right now. No, it is the humble we need hear from now. The broken and contrite, those who intentionally live and move in God, daily. Listening with an attentive ear to what the Spirit is saying. Those humble, yet bold enough to call the so called ‘experts’ into account. Those few voices we hear calling from the wilderness.

It’s the broken saints, that I want to hear from, those broken by this evil world and rebelling church.


Those 'trained' pastors and the Bible college professors, the PhD's, they are supposed to be the Gate Keepers. But generally, they have let God and His people down very badly in the post modern church era.

 

Jer. 8:11 They dress the wound of my people

    as though it were not serious.

“Peace, peace,” they say,

    when there is no peace.

And:

Eze. 13:1 The Lord said:

2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the prophets of Israel [pastors and elders] who say they speak in my name, but who preach messages that come from their own imagination. Tell them it’s time to hear my message.

 

3 I, the Lord God, say those lying prophets [pastors and elders]  are doomed! They don’t see visions—they make up their own messages! 4 Israel’s prophets[pastors and elders]  are no better than jackals that hunt for food among the ruins of a city. 5 They don’t warn the people about coming trouble or tell them how dangerous it is to sin against me. 6 Those prophets [pastors and elders] lie by claiming they speak for me, but I have not even chosen them to be my prophets. And they still think their words will come true. 7 They say they’re preaching my messages, but they are full of lies—I did not speak to them!

8 So I am going to punish those lying prophets[pastors and elders] for deceiving the people of Israel[church] with false messages. 9 I will turn against them and no longer let them belong to my people. They will not be allowed to call themselves Israelites or even to set foot in Israel. Then they will realize that I am the Lord God.

10 Those prophets[pastors and elders] refuse to be honest. They tell my people there will be peace, even though there’s no peace to be found. They are like workers who think they can fix a shaky wall by covering it with paint. 11 But when I send rainstorms, hailstones, and strong winds, the wall will surely collapse. 12 People will then ask the workers why the paint didn’t hold it up.

13 That wall is the city of Jerusalem. And I, the Lord God, am so angry that I will send strong winds, rainstorms, and hailstones to destroy it. 14 The lying prophets[pastors and elders]  have tried to cover up the evil in Jerusalem, but I will tear down the city, all the way to its foundations. And when it collapses, those prophets[pastors pastors and elders]  will be killed, and everyone will know that I have done these things.

15 The city of Jerusalem and its lying prophets[pastors and elders]  will feel my fierce anger. Then I will announce that the city has fallen and that the lying prophets[pastors and elders]  are dead, 16 because they promised my people peace, when there was no peace. I, the Lord God, have spoken.                                              CEV

 

We must forsake our own fancy ideas of what the gospel should be and we must preach the gospel of the Bible.

The Lord Jesus Christ MUST be made the Head of the Church again.

We have glorified the ‘love of God for us’, exalted it, given it holy pre-eminence above all other aspects of God, that it is now the primary, the ultimate, the most pre-eminent standard, by which all things are judged. All other discerning principles have been degraded to the 'not particularly spiritual' level in comparison.

If we really understood just how much our church is centred on self, even while we lift the Name of Jesus, we would weep.

Humans can say all the right words, but be thinking in a virtually the opposite way:

 

Isaiah 1:10 You are no better than the leaders and people of Sodom and Gomorrah!

    So listen to the Lord God:

11 “Your sacrifices mean nothing to me.

I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; I don’t like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats.

12 “Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple!

13 Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can’t stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship.

14 I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying.                           CEV

 

Heart of man deceitfully wicked - our heart knows how to subtly live in a way that our words and thoughts will not.

We, the 'good' churches, even reject the 'seeker-friendly' theology, but we do not realize that we practice it.

Some pastors afraid of being seen as preaching a 'sugar-coated' gospel, will even preach a little tough at times to prove that they are not 'like that'. But they will not address the most needy issues. They  will not  preach the depth of sin, the reality of hell(and demons), the hatred God has for sin, the hatred God has for every kind of unnatural sex, the terrifying wrath of God, etc.....

 

Well, what should we be doing?

It seems to me that it would include a number of things I shall look at. I do not presume to know all that we should be doing, but surely it would include some things I shall outline.

 

Seeing the problem clearly

 

If your students believe that 0 + 1 = 6, how can you teach them algebra?

If your students believe that evolution created the universe, how can you teach them that God created everything in 6 days?

If your students believe the false traditions of men, how can you teach them who God really is?

And how can you teach a child anything if they are undisciplined? Unless you breakthrough and get their respect, it's all haphazard learning and maturing. Hit & miss.

False facts MUST be exposed and corrected before you can teach anything deep or lasting.

Jesus hated false facts and teachings, that's why He strongly exposed them as false.

False ideas is how Christian cults develop - JW's, Mormonism, etc… Christianity has been majoring on an aspect of God to the diminishing of other vital aspects, very badly. Christians now have such bad foundations that unless the errors are corrected, they cannot know God. We are becoming a ‘Christian sect’ in the way we view Jehovah’s Witnesses as a Christian set, rather than remaining as a church of ‘evangelical theology.’

 

A Christian sect?

A few examples of things we hold that are completely contradictory from age old ‘evangelical theology’ and the Bible:-

·       'Judge not that you be not judged'

·       'If God is a God of love, how could God destroy a whole city of people? Surely it's wrong?'

·       'We cannot push our Christian views on others'

·       'We just need to spread more love around'

·       'Jesus never condemned homosexuality so I won't’

·       etc..

So yes, we are fast becoming a sect.

 

These lies must be dethroned. Do you know of any other effective way of cancelling the effect of strong wrong belief, in order to get another message through?

 

In order to stain old timber, one must first remove the oils, wax, gunk and old paint. Wrong traditions of men, are the oils, wax, gunk and old paint, that prevents the truth from soaking in.

 

There is new anti-graffiti surface that it now used on signs. It causes any paint or permanent pen, put on them, to bead and it runs off the sign, and any  remnants can be wiped off with a cloth.

‘God loves you so much' is the anti-graffiti surface, we apply to our form of Christianity, nothing sticks to it.

So many in the Church are good looking, with modern signs, but little to nothing ever truly penetrates the surface.

A non-change people and a non-growing church, is an insult to a Holy God.

 

There is no systematic deconstruction of the lies and the traditions of men,  of the modern Church, with the  unequivocal establishing the clear nature, attributes and teaching about and of God.

The Church is sick with cancer (traditions of men), but the pastors and leaders give hugs for medication. Truly, they are not so different from the big pharmaceutical companies that hide genuine remedies and sell their concoctions of dependence to keep the people coming back for more.

 


 

I have people say to me "Oh my church is good, our pastor really teaches the Word."

But when I hear his preaching, I am grieved because this believer and pastor do not even comprehend what 'good Word preaching' is, he preaches the same insipid neutralized waffle with the odd strong word on something benign to give it the impression that he 'really does speak out strongly on important things' too.

Pastors will even declare that God is fearsome, that He will harshly judge the wicked, but these are all words to some ‘other’ people out there somewhere and has nothing to do with us. But these are mere words, they are not things that we really have to live by - they are not things that help us interpret the Bible. They are not things that show me how to live my life. They do not demand that I, personally, am humbled and broken over sin. These words touch us not.

 

Before any pastor can have any really meaningful impact, the traditions of men, must be exposed and dismantled, and this is what Paul did. He waged a war on every wrong belief in the Corinthian church:

2 Cor. 10:5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.   NLB

 

Dear pastor, if you are not destroying every proud obstacle today, you are throwing your life away for so little, maybe nothing.

 

·       How can anyone be disciplined by the Lord (or by others) when they subjectively believe 'judge not lest you be judged'?

·       How can believers be Kingdom focused and self-sacrificing, when they so firmly believe that God loves them soooo much and is concerned about their every little trouble?

·       How can believers deny themselves and seek the Kingdom, when they believe that God wants to prosper them financially?

·       How can believers really speak the truth to any sin, when they believe that it is not their job to expose unnatural sexuality in the Church, they must just accept these people in our church?

·       How can people know God and obey Him now, when they think that the 'Jesus' of the NT is so much nicer than the 'God' of the OT?

·       How can people truly hear the words of Jesus(or the Bible) when He is falsely painted as always being so kindly?

·       How can you genuinely challenge believers, when they think they are very special to God?

·       How can you train people who believe that the best way to grow, is only by 'encouraging' them in a nice way?

·       How can you do anything meaningful with  politically correct believers?

·       How can you have any real impact in believer's lives before the lies are exposed and they very clearly see, who God really is?

·       How are you going to impart the power of God to  your people, before you restore the power of who God is?

·       How will anything stick, if it all runs off like water on a duck’s back?


 

However, Paul is correct:

1 Cor. 9:16 .....Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!        NLB

 

Sadly, this is what we are doing today, we need a ‘disruption of grace’:

 


 

Pastors and teachers, until you remove their shield of 'God loves me so much' protection, your words of hard truth will NOT get through to your congregation.

You must disarm them first, only then will you have any real effect, only then will there be any sort of an agent of change:


Oh yes, and they will try to convince you that they are just trying to 'defend’ the lowly, but don't believe a word of it.

 

And how do you disarm them? By methodically disarming the many wrong traditions of men they hold to.

Remove the rose tinted 'God loves me' glasses. That is how it works and in order to get our proper eyesight back, we need radical surgery - cut out the 'God loves us so much' elements from our life.

Pastor, stop preaching it and preach Christ, Christ in repentance, Christ in holiness, Christ in judgment, Christ in deep humility, Christ in prayer, Christ in destroying vain imaginations. Preach it till the fear of God returns to all listening.

 

2 Cor. 10:5:

 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God…                                                                                       KJV

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…                                                                                  NASV

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…                                                                                       NIV

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God...                             NLT

 

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God…       ESV

 

and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God…                                                 GWT

 

For we overthrow arrogant 'reckonings,' and every stronghold that towers high in defiance of the knowledge of God…                                 Weymouth NT

 

A W. Tozer said in ‘Christian Leader’:

I preach to my congregation week after week and I pray that I may be able to preach to my people with such conviction that they sweat. I do not want them to leave my services feeling good. The last thing I want to do is to give them some kind of religious tranquilizer and let them go to hell in their relaxation.

The Christian church was designed to make sinners sweat. I have always believed that, and I still believe it. The messages preached in our churches should make backslidden Christians sweat. And if I achieve that objective when I preach, I thank God with all of my heart, no matter what people think of me. Jesus Is Victor!, 61-62.

"Lord, help me to preach with boldness—not concerned with 'what people think of me.' Amen"[15]

(Emph added)

 

I hear the immediate protest ‘You do not know about the people that are touched in my church when I preach a repentance message.’ You mean your people have a momentary touch of conviction but everyone knows it is not necessary to follow through with life choices?

Or do you mean you had people touched by a moving moment in your message or presentation – some touching sentimental story that brought a momentary emotional reaction but lead to nothing beyond that?

That is NOT the spiritual Christian lifestyle, that is mere emotionalism. Emotionalism does not get you saved or keep you holy. In isolation from spiritual obedience, it is spiritual trash.

 

Think of it this way. The global economy is currently operating in a huge bubble of debt, with highly over priced stocks and printing trillions of dollars of 'funny money' just to stay afloat.

We got here through greed and bad management. When the big bubble of the dot.com crash in 2001, and the housing bubble - global financial crisis occurred in 2008, the governments did not allow everything to revert to its true value, they merely put a band-aid on the internal sickness with huge bails outs. The bubble got much, much bigger. We are now in the 'Everything Bubble.'

This huge bubble is going to burst in the near future.

So too, the Western Church is living in a huge bubble

of 'God loves me soooo much and I am special'.

They have refused to expose the sickness over the decades. They only applied an external band-aid on the internal sickness - created a new dumbed down, glitzy, glamorous  gospel to get more people in; they created new whiz-bang programs to motivate their tired members; they made new laws that prevented any judging, confronting sin or speaking truth and many more traditions of men.

 

The bursting of the economic bubble will cause the stocks to crash back down to their genuine value. So too, the Church's bubble will crash back down to genuine value. Back down to reality - the reality that God is God, and we are not so special in the whole scheme of things after all.

I suspect that the Church bubble will crash shortly after the economic bubble crashes.

Oh we need a total reformation, not just revival or restoration.

 

In order to break this deception, we need more than a book or a sermon with some discussion. Like other things, it will be forgotten very quickly.

During discussions there needs to be a clear commitment to, and conscious effort to check ourselves and each other.

We need to develop ‘an ear for our words’, meaning train ourselves to  notice each time we think, and talk in this way. A clear commitment to correct each other.

We are told in Scripture; to 'take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.'(2Cor. 10:5) 

And it sounds as though Paul is saying in this verse, that if you do not capture every thought, then I will when I get there and I will do it harshly.

Our pastors and elders are supposed to be doing just that! But they do not!


We desperately need a post-modern reformation of the Church!

A great reformation that will be recognized as the great turning point for Christianity. Back to God. But I suspect that for the Church in general, there will be no great reformation. Rather, the Church will descend into the Great Apostate Church of the end times.

But, believers everywhere can and will be transformed. There will be great revival. Do not wait for the Church organization to change, do it yourself.

 

Not only has the Western Church neutralized the Biblical gospel, but we have been exporting it to every other country in the world, neutralizing the gospel in many places there too. India does not need our neutralized, self-centred, impotent, dangerous gospel. Neither does China, Vietnam, New Guinea, Ethiopia, Vanuatu, Peru or Nepal. If fact, we all desperately ‘need NOT to have it’ we need the truth.

Thank God that church leaders in some countries, see our false gospel for what it is and reject it.

 


 

"Oh Lord, please stop us and bring a great reformation."

 

Rom. 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.         NLB

 

What are we to preach?
What did Jesus preach?
What did the apostles preach?
What then, are we to preach?
Surely, the message that Jesus taught is the most important message.
What Jesus instructed the apostles to teach, and what they taught is the critical message.

What then was that message?

 

The Lord Jesus Christ MUST be actively and purposefully, made the Head of the Church again.

You say "we do that already. You do not understand how we really worship God in our church services."

I then have to ask, “Have you not heard anything I have said so far?”

 

We must in brokenness, repent before God and plead that He open our eyes to who He really is. We must 'destroy every vain precept of men' every 'tradition of men' that we have lifted up as Scriptural, and turn again to God- without reservation.

 

Here are some things that I believe God wants us to be doing now:

 

·       repent of cold, hard hearts, corporately - in our church services. Pastors, elders and congregation.


·       pray for forgiveness, and that you come to know God again, and pray for a new heart.


·       Stop all the singing and all the preaching.

Yes! Stop the self-centred singing and stop the self-centred preaching – just read the Bible from the pulpit.

Read the whole book of John. Aloud.

Read through each gospel account – Matthew,

Mark, Luke and John, noting down each time

Jesus strongly spoke truth that offended.

It will truly open your eyes.

 

Read the whole book of Revelation. Aloud.

Read the whole book of Romans. Aloud.

              Read the whole book of Jeremiah. Aloud.

 

The Western Church leaders are now so dull of     hearing, that God does not need the benefit of      your shallow insights of Scripture and of who He is.

Read the Sword of the Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to convict, teach, encourage and change hearts.

Read and pray for the whole length of the church service.

Read and pray like the ‘woman seeking justice from the unjust judge’, and keep reading and praying it until the Holy Spirit truly moves.

 

Forget about all the popular books written by popular authors. Don't quote them and follow them. Just read Scripture and pray.

 

We are called to follow Christ. We were not called to build a building and fill it with people.  In all our activity, we lose focus on what exactly we were called to do.

So give up the distracting loud music that makes us feel good, so that we can just worship Him.  Just worship God in prayer, in simple, humble words, pouring out your heart to God. What a great act of worship to God by giving up the music for six months.

"But we cannot do that" you say. Why? What, you do not want to give up something that is 'popular'? Sounds as though you need to, then. Or is it because you would not know how to worship God without the music? Well then, there is another reason to give it up; in order to truly worship God in truth and Spirit. Or is it because you would lose too many people? Then again I say, we were not called to build a building and fill it with people. We were called to make disciples - followers of Christ who would give up everything for Him. Be willing to give up loud distracting music that gave people good feelings but did not seem to produce changed lives of holiness and self-sacrifice, but rather, more self-centredness. Or is it that you might lose people and not be able to afford the new flash church building? If that is the case, your buildings are a liability that prevent you from pure, self-sacrificing worship and service to God.

 

This was something I posted online a few years ago, to address this need of abandoning our feel-good preaching and to read the Bible instead:

 


[1]https://books.google.com.au/books?id=wRSSXXqqEh8C&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&focus=viewport&hl=pt-BR&output=html_text

[2] https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-am-special-2/

[3]https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Finding_God.html?id=RsxTSGiASEMC&redir_esc=y

[4] My suggestion is to dump the 'job' part of the deal and stick with the 'ministry' part only. The general job description that is handed to pastors, really is a 'management job' with a whole lot of expectations attached, many unspoken. You must grow the church at 10% a year. Oversee all the many outreach ministry groups in your church. Oversee all the internal groups like prayer meetings and Bible study groups for each age group and gender. Etc….then there are the unspoken requirements as well, like, ‘do not have any damaging conflicts in your church’. ‘No immorality in your church’. ‘You must keep the people happy so we do not have any complaints’. ‘Do not preach on things that will upset people’. ‘Do not be unavailable whenever any bleating sheep needs you’. ‘But you must also be a good husband, father and role model for your family and the church.’

 

Hmmm, is it any wonder pastors suffer from depression and burnout?

These are all typical corporate 'job' expectations, not a Biblical shepherd. And now with the added unreal, politically correct expectations as well.

Biblical Shepherds preach the straight, tough Word. They take the time to heal a sheep when it is required, and only when it is genuinely required. At first, most of the time he will tell them to grow up, until they do. And they will, or leave.

Humans are quite good at being trained when there is  some incentive. No, not with treats like you do for a dog, treats do not tame the sin nature.

When a member does leave because of a hard heart, a biblical shepherd says 'Let them alone' and sleeps well at night. He does not stress about these kinds of things because, all he is called to do is to be obedient, hour by hour. He is NOT responsible for the success of all things, just to obey the simple commands of the Father and let everything else go. If he starts to stress, he is taking on a 'job' once again and is feeling the pressure to perform for 'the boss' - church board or denominational head.

If hardly anyone turns up for the prayer meeting, that's ok, bring revival with the couple you do have.

 

Free yourself today of the job and take on a ministry. Hey, you might lose your job, but then you can really do the ministry part, pleasing the Father so much.

But that's just my suggestion.

[5] Psa. 86:15  But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God. You are patient and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness.

Zep. 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst; he is a warrior who can deliver. He takes great delight in you; he renews you by his love; he shouts for joy over you."

Prov. 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

 

 

 

[6] https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/3-16.html

[7] goo.gl/1y8XPq

[8] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-trallians-longer.html

[9] https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/08/10/one-dare-not-offend/

[10] https://goo.gl/CTU1AA The Religious Affections, ed. by John Smith, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), pp. 249-250

[11] https://goo.gl/qErizz God’s Passion For His Glory John Piper pp. 110

[12] Matt 5:12 Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago. CEV

Luke 6:23 Long ago your own people did these same things to the prophets. So when this happens to you, be happy and jump for joy! You will have a great reward in heaven.   CEV

2 Cor 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   NIV

James 1:2 My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy.   ERV

[13] https://www.facebook.com/AflameforGod/posts/1314225285343885

[14] goo.gl/yLsZ4C

[15] goo.gl/9G5Hxv


 

 Chapter 15: God Didn't Create You to Be Average: Religion and Volunteering

Chapter 16: The Prognosis: How Far, and for How Long. Will Narcissism Spread?

Chapter 17: Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism[1]

 

Psychologists now tell us that the popular practice of praising our children so much more now, than in previous generations, is part of the problem.

I was a part of that too, unfortunately.

 

About 20 years ago I was attending a church that met in a secondary school hall. It saddened me to see a big poster of the popular poem by Jessica Hickmott, for all the teens in the school to feed on.

Here are a few lines from it:

I AM SPECIAL

I see the positive side of me,

I believe I could do anything I put my heart to,

…I am a good person.

I am myself always,

I dream to become a superstar,

…I am superstar.

…I am special.[2]

 

A while ago I saw a local electoral campaign leaflet with this printed on the back.  It was another sign of how deep this belief and practice is, for it to be on a political leaflet with seemingly no connection. It was just sentimentality and popular appeal.

 

So, I took a photo of it:


We adults too, ought to break the addiction to 'encouragement' and be cured of the allergy of 'correction'.

 

2) The Church


Then the question must be asked, have we been conformed to these things in the world?

 

Is the move to ‘self-worship’ in the world, influencing the Church?

Dr. Larry Crabb a leading Christian counselor thinks so.

It was about 25 years ago that I was discussing these things with someone who was constantly going to counseling and reading books about overcoming low self-esteem, yet constantly talking about God's wonderful love for us.  "Oh you should read Larry Crabb's book, Finding God"[3] she said and  I was handed the book opened at page seventeen.

She has read it, knows what it says, but does not understand it. There is a veil over her eyes, and without some startling revelation, she will not get it. We are like that.

How much worse is the problem in the Church now than it was 25 years ago?:

 

Thankfully, many have heard our Lord's invitation to come as we are, with an ache in our souls that won't go away. As never before, the church is aware that its people are in pain. But this welcome sensitivity has backfired. Rather than drawing others, this sensitivity has made us more aware of how intensely we long to feel better about ourselves and more determined to find ways to do so! The spotlight has fallen on us as abused, wounded, needy people, and God has been cast as the great Higher Power, waiting in the wings for his cue to come heal our hurts and restore us to responsible living.

Feeling better has become more important to us than finding God.  

Helping people to feel loved and worthwhile has become the central mission of the church.  We are learning not to worship God in self-denial and costly service, but to embrace our inner child, heal our memories,  overcome addictions, lift our depressions, improve our self-images, establish self-preserving boundaries, substitute self-love for self-hatred, and replace shame with an affirming acceptance of who we are. Recovery from pain is absorbing an increasing share of the church's energy. And that is alarming.  Although the gospel does bless us with a new dignity that was meant to be enjoyed, it calls us to higher values than self-acceptance, values like turning the other cheek, esteeming others as greater than ourselves, going the second mile, enduring rejection and persecution, living not for the pleasures of this life but for those of the next one, and clinging to the promises of God when we don't feel his goodness.  But these higher values, the kind that make people of whom the world is not worthy (Heb. 11:38), have fallen on hard times. We have become committed to relieving the pain behind our problems rather than using our pain to wrestle more passionately with the character  and purposes of God. 

Feeling better has become more important than finding God.  And worse, we assume that people who find God always feel better. As a result, we happily camp on biblical ideas that help us to feel loved and accepted, and we pass over Scripture that calls us to higher ground. We twist wonderful truths about God's acceptance, his redeeming love, and our new identity in Christ into a basis of honouring ourselves rather than seeing those truths for what they are: the stunning revelation of a God gracious enough to love people who hated him, a God worthy to be honoured above everyone and everything else. We have learned to praise God the way we tip a specially attentive waiter. Good treatment we accept, but exceptional treatment deserves special recognition.  And certainly God qualifies for extra notice: he has gone to great trouble to  feed our souls and bolster our self-esteem.  We therefore leave him a big tip, feeling benevolent and noble, and he, in turn, beams with humble appreciation as he hears us say, "Well done! You have served us well."

But this is backwards! We have rearranged things so that God is now worthy of honor because he has honored us. "Worthy is the Lamb," we  cry, not in response to his amazing grace, but because he has recovered what we value most: the ability to like ourselves.  We now matter more than God.  (emphasis added.)

 

Then is it no wonder that we do not even truly know God anymore? How could we?


Nicolás Gómez Dávila was an interesting character and of the people of the post-modern era, he insightfully stated:

"The only attribute that can without hesitation be denied man is divinity. But that sacrilegious pretension, nevertheless, is the ferment of his history, of his destiny, of his essence."

"Humanizing humanity again will not be an easy task after this long orgy of divinity."

Emp. added

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913-1994)

 

How profound.

Yes, the New Agers really do believe that they are a god, despite the vileness of mankind's sin. The Humanists believe they are a god, and can determine their own value system, while outlawing God.

And we Christians too, have taken on their lies and believed that we are special. So special in fact, that we have become, kind of, well…divine, in a way. We feel that God is so ‘in love’ with us, so besotted with us, because He died for us. But we are so very wrong.


Yes, we are ‘producing shallow narcissists obsessed with themselves.’

That's why we hate correction, or being 'judged', we are essentially narcissistic, conceited children of God.

And why we want to continually hear about God's love, encouragement and care for us.

And that is also why we do not want any talk about sin or judgment - it reminds us that we are mere fallen humans and that we have an evil sin nature.

That's why we hate the idea of capital punishment, it reminds us of how sinful mankind is and that such punishment is for sinful creatures, such as we.

No, we do not want to be just a mere 'creature' we want to be soooo much more than that, even a little divine. We want to be a hero while despising the idea of being average. That's why we post so many silly 'self-potential' memes on Facebook.

 

That's why we have built a whole theology in our modern Church of how special we are. We over state verses that say that we are 'seated in heavenly places' and play down the verses about how we are 'slaves obeying as we ought'.

We refuse to allow anyone to 'judge' another, in any way shape or form, and then we force 'love is kind' into a context of God's judgment and discipline, to thwart it almost completely.

To humble ourselves in tears of repentance is too low for us. No, we rather talk about how God loves us and wants us to have a 'good self-esteem.'

We feel so spiritual when we tell others that they are 'awesome' and we love them. We feel as though we have done a high good and a very spiritual thing, by encouraging another person in this way.

We are merely ‘drug addicts’ on the mind-altering drug of ‘God loves me soooo much.’ In our state of stupor, we have no idea that our thinking and judgment is impaired and our vision is blurred. Our cognitive dysfunction  intensifies our perceptions, reinforcing ‘our  truth’ deep within. It causes an unsteady gait – we cannot walk spiritually straight. There are moments of euphoria, particularly when we participate in the Church ‘concert’ we call ‘worship’ or yet again, another alter call of emotion that will provoke no real change.

We need to go cold turkey and truly find God.

 

And if we silence a straight talker from exposing this sin of over emphasis on God’s love, we feel so proud of doing the highest possible good, because Jesus would never correct wrong thinking.

Nonsense, we are not doing what Jesus would do at all.

We stand in God's way to protect our exalted ‘Christian  correctness.’ Unaware, that political correctness is merely 'peer group pressure' for adults. ‘Christian  correctness’ is NOT sanctioned by God! Though it certainly is by man.

If we do what we currently believe 'what Jesus would do' you will be most acceptable in the Church and considered to be a lovely Christian But, if you truly do 'What Jesus would do' you will be shunned like a leper.

 

Again, let me quote Søren Kierkegaard, he hits the nail on the head when he said of Christians:

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined."

 

Yes, that sounds like us.

I happen upon this devotional by Rick Warren:

 

Personalize God’s Word to Change Your Life

OCTOBER 23, 2016

How do you make God’s Word personal? Try the personalize-it method of Bible meditation. Anybody can do it. You don’t need any special tools or advanced theological training.

You simply put your name in the place of pronouns or nouns in Scripture. For example, if I were personalizing John 3:16, I’d write something like this: “For God so loved Rick, he gave his one and only Son so that Rick would not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

Why put such a focus on ‘God loves me so much’ when the Bible does not do it?

We know that the prosperity preaching churches major on telling people the nice things they like to hear and we disapprove. But the good old conservative, evangelical churches are following suite too. They may not talk about material prosperity, but emotional prosperity? Absolutely, and good times prosperity, and psychological prosperity, and self-esteem prosperity. And so many more.

 

There's a constant flow of books and preaching about it to feed our insatiable desire to affirmed.

 

I did a quick online search for Christian books about God's love, this is just a few that came up:

 


 

  

 


 


And we feed our children and grandchildren on a diet of the same. Here is just a few of them:


  


  


   


    


  


 

What do our churches teach on a weekly basis? I do not know, there is no data that I know of. So, I just did a quick internet search to find generally what sermon podcasts are uploaded. These figures are very general - we cannot make any more of these figures than observe a general trend:

GENERALLY A FOCUS ON MAN

"God loves you" podcast =                       about 343,000 results

"God's love" podcast =                              about 513,000 results

"God loves me" podcast =                        about 228,000 results

"the love of God" podcast =                     about 822,000 results

"unconditional love of God" podcast = about 234,000 results

"comfort of God" podcast =                     about 223,000 results

"God's kindness" podcast =                      about 127,000 results

"God cares for you" podcast =                about 129,000 results

"God's protection" podcast =                   about 145,000 results

"protection of God" podcast =                 about 211,000 results

"where is God in troubled times" podcast = about 232,000 res

"God help me" podcast =                          about 339,000 results

"God bless you" podcast =                        about 518,000 results

Bible says "love yourself" podcast =     about 649,000 results

God says "you are special" podcast =    about 289,000 results

God "good self esteem" podcast =          about 467,000 results

God Bible "enjoy life" podcast =             about 325,000 results

God Bible "fulfilled life" podcast =         about 470,000 results

 

GENERALLY A FOCUS ON GOD

"God's justice" podcast =                          about 69,600 results

"defeating sin" podcast =                         about 2,020 results

"God's discipline" podcast =                    about 19,200 results

"God the Judge" podcast =                       about 79,500 results

"God's holiness" podcast =                       about 77,500 results

"justice of God" podcast =                        about 65,800 results

"perseverance in God" podcast =           about 12,400 results

"being holy" podcast =                                            about 56,200 results

"suffering for good" podcast =                              about 35,700 results

"suffering for God" podcast =                  about 33,200 results

"defeating sin" in your life, podcast =   about 1,540 results

"anger of God" podcast =                         about 185,000 results

"defeating your sin" podcast =                              0 results found

"self denial" podcast =                              about 55,300 results

"deny yourself" podcast =                        about 168,000 results

"wrath of God" podcast =                         about 205,000 results

"dying to self" podcast =                           about 934,000 results

"Be ye holy" podcast =                                            about 36,600 result

"Hell and punishment" podcast =           about 12,800 results

"Hell is terrible" podcast =                       about 35,400 results

"Hell is real" podcast =                             about 174,000 results

"perseverance in God" podcast =           about 12,300 results

"Live in purity" podcast =                        about 14,400 results

"Living holy" podcast =                             about 42,700 results

Bible says "Be holy" podcast =                about 79,900 results

"kill sin" podcast =                                     about 12,800 results

"stop sinning" podcast =                           about 47,200 results

"die to self" podcast =                               about 414,000 results

 

Let's look at that data in a graphic form to get a better idea of the trend:


Ok, so let me get this straight:

We are the army of God;

We are in a war that is not against flesh and blood;

We were commanded to die to ourselves daily;

We were to grow in maturity and strong perseverance;

In order to devote ourselves to building the Kingdom;

Maintaining a Kingdom perspective - a missional focus;

But we feed ourselves and our congregations, on pampering preaching that grows no one?

 

Logically, how does that even work?

Jesus did not do that, nor did the apostles.

 

Tragically, Christians (and yes, pastors too) demand of me, the evidence of my claims. WHAT! No, the onus is on them to explain to God, upon what basis and truths, they build and practice their strange theology.

If an athlete is going to be able to perform, they MUST exercise. Their coach MUST take them through hard workouts to help them get stronger, fitter and develop real  endurance. 

But pastors claim they want to train the church to be stronger, spiritually fitter and develop real perseverance, by feeding them a diet of, 'nice' soppy preaching, with no genuine challenge.

And Christians claim they want to follow Christ - 

to be stronger, spiritually fitter and develop real perseverance, but they only allow the pastor to feed them a diet of, 'nice' soppy preaching, with no genuine challenge.

 

What is hard to understand in a clear Scripture like this?:

James 1:2 My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. 3 You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. 4 But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything. . . . . . . . . . .

21 You must stop doing anything immoral or evil.                                                              CEV

'You MUST learn to endure. And be glad about a lot of  trouble. You MUST stop doing evil.'

This is typical of what the NT teaches and commands of us.

But this is not what we preach. We preach about how God wants to comfort and He wants to encourage you in all your hard times. Over and over. We dare not put such 'pressure' on people to grow or even to stop sinning.

We do not put any pressure on people to grow. We protect them from any pressure or discomfort, by preaching soothing words of God's comfort.  

Jesus on the other hand, made sure that those who followed Him felt pressure to live up to their commitment. He understood, as we once did long ago, that to disciple and grow someone, there must be a certain level of expectation and pressure. That was once common sense and normal.

Jesus would never get a job in our churches.

 

What is going on?

Yes, we have become conformed to this world:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.                        NIV

 

We not only conform to the world, we sanctify it, develop it further, then give it back to the world as a weapon against God. “No upsetting people with your conviction, God. Can't You be more loving like Jesus?”

We are supposed to be teaching and training soldiers for God, but we are child minding. Child minding a therapy group, where we keep them warm and comfortable until the Lord returns.   

 

Pastors, if you are feeling burnt out, I do feel for sorry for you. You have a very difficult job these days.[4]

Double-think is normal in Christianity today. We say one thing, while believing and acting another.

We have developed a sophisticated, though subjective  theology to handle all the objections.

 

This atheist meme going around the internet, rightly challenges, even defies the 'God loves us soooo much' theory:


 

This will cause a mini crisis of conscience for many of you.

We no longer have a theology that can explain this atheist challenge.

That is because we view God as 'only' loving and it results in double-think(holding two opposing views at the same time without seeing any contradiction between them) - 'God loves us soooo much' and 'the Flood' are somehow compatible.

God's justice is also extreme.

In fact it is so extreme that it is frightening, hence the 'beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.' In the modern age of 'niceness' we really do not want to hear or know about Hell, because it is so extreme. Just a glimpse of it and our knees buckle and we are pleading with God for help.

God's justice and His holiness are extreme, but we do not want to know about that, nor do we know who God is any more.

We are ill-equipped to live the true Christian life and ill-equipped to preach it.

Our version is so compromised, it is to be considered to be a 'false' gospel, so STOP preaching and talking about God's love for us!

Yes, the Western Church, is indeed being conformed to the world. We value mankind more highly than we ought, and believe ourselves to be the worthy benefactor of God's great love and special attention.

 

CONCLUSION:

R Are we being conformed to something in our culture? = Yes we are.

 

 

 

Just a note about all the popular Christian self-help books:

 


 


You get the idea.

 

Forget about all the latest popular books, written by popular Christian authors.  Go back to the Bible.

Truly, it is in the Bible that you find the best answers.

 

It takes work, we hate work, but the power of the Bible to break through is huge.

Pray that God will give you understanding as you read and that the Holy Spirit will move powerfully in your life as you do. He will. And if He does not at first, then  persevere until He does. Have the attitude of Jacob - "I will not let the Bible go until God blesses me."

 

And if you say that you find it hard to understand the Bible, get a modern translation and devour it.

Get a Contemporary English Version (CEV). Read it over and over and when you read something that does not sound right, check with your regular Bible.

 

If a chapter seems to be saying something to you, but you cannot quite get it, read it over again, ten more times if necessary.

Take the time to read whole books of the Bible in one sitting. This helps develop an overview of a letter or work.

 

Take the time to listen to the New Testament on audio in 2 sessions, or 10 sessions. You can listen to the NT in two 11 hour sessions and it will open your eyes to the most wonderful overview of the NT, God and the Kingdom of God. Just a note: do not sit and listen to it, you will fall asleep, set up a very simple task that requires little to no thinking, to keep active and you can go all day.

If you want to listen to the Old Testament, which I highly recommend, it takes about 5 days of 11 hours.

 

 

 


 

Chapter 33. The NT Already Has An Over Emphasis On God's Love
The NT most likely already has an over-emphasis of God's love for man, and we do not need it in the same way as the people of the 1st century.

We need to tone it down a little if anything, rather than using this to exult something we prefer over other teachings.

 

Bear with me while I explain.

The New Testament must be read in connection with the Old Testament, they go together.

It can rightly be stated that the Old Testament is the 'context' of the NT.

When reading the NT, we need to understand the important aspect of OT context in order to correctly understand the NT.

 

Consider for a moment how the letter to the Galatian church was hard on false teachers, and this was entirely correct. The Judaisers were causing real problems.

Imagine if Paul had sent that letter, to the Thessalonian church in their time of intense persecution, instead of 2Thessalonians. It would have caused all sorts of confusion. It would have produced bad theology in the receivers as they tried to come to terms with its theological significance. This is because it came from a very different context.

 

Conversely, if Paul's much warmer letter to the Philippians had been sent to the badly erring Corinthian church, the same would occur - being taken from a different context would give rise to bad theology, and sin in the church would be tolerated.

 

Consider for a moment, the seemingly contradictory teaching of Paul to both Corinth and Galatia:

1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.

 

But he seems to say the opposite to the Galatian Church:

Gal. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

 

Why? Because Corinth was liberal and undisciplined, requiring discipline, while Galatia was affected by legalistic teachings, which required a very different emphasis.  They needed to be told that it is not Laws that save us, but faith in God alone.

In short, a document written to a specific situation, needs to be interpreted from the viewpoint of that situation.

Think of it this way, if someone comes to you, having a very deep seated self hatred, after advising them to repent of this, you will naturally emphasize God's acceptance of them. While another who comes in pride, needs to be humbled before a Holy God and be brought down to a more realistic view of themselves. It's the same God we serve, but with an emphasis on the proper aspect of God's character for each situation.

Now, also, to better understand the New Testament, we need to understand the background of the New Testament times and how they viewed God, in order to understand how much they would emphasis certain concepts; i.e. God's love for us.

 

Background

I propose that:

Israel in Old Testament times, did not know of, or understand the concept of a God of love, hence love is more emphasized in the New Testament.

 

The NT writers were leading the new Christian Jews out of Judaism and it's legalistic way of thinking .

Often, the Jews’ relationship and view of God, certainly in the NT times, was a cold relationship with a distant, hard-of-hearing God.

This is what people in the Old Testament heard about the God they worshipped:

 

Deut. 7:6“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,

8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face.

11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.                      ESV

 

Ok. So, God loves us because He made a promise to our forefathers, hmmm, but we have to obey His rules and He will protect us. But if we do not, He will destroy us. Right, ok. That sounds more like a duty than a warm kind of love. God would save them if they were obedient.

 

Hence, thankfulness, awe and at times, fear, seemed to typify their relationship with God.

Israel's had no concept of God as a father.

Jesus introduced the concept of calling God "our Father".

In the same way that they did not have a developed theology on 'heaven', so to, Israel did not have a developed theology or concept of God as loving. They understood God to be strict. But they also understood God having great mercy, if they repented. But they did not perceive God as a 'loving' God.

 

Zondervan Bible Encl. Vol 2-799:

GRACE: "Before Bethlehem the concept of a God of grace who gives himself, appears nowhere." 

 

It is not that the OT does not use the term 'love of God' for his people, because it does[5], but it also needs to be understood that it was not a developed concept or theology.

So when Jesus came along calling God his Father and says that we should also call him ‘Father’ it was a radical concept, that sounded very strange to the Jewish hearers, especially the Jewish leaders.

 

Commentary Series on the Bible - Dr. Peter Pett:

John 3:16. The reason that Jesus has come is because “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son”. This is the amazing new revelation that surpasses all that has gone before, that God was such that He had not only seen man’s need but has met it in the only way possible at greatest cost to Himself. ‘In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us, and gave His Son to be a propitiation for ours sins’ (1Jn_4:10).[6]

 

Expositions of Holy Scripture - Alexander MacLaren on John 3:16:

Before Jesus Christ came into this world no one ever dreamt of saying ‘God loves.’ Some of the Old Testament psalmists had glimpses of that truth and came pretty near expressing it. But among all the ‘gods many and lords many,’ there were lustful gods and beautiful gods, and idle gods, and fighting gods and peaceful gods: but not one of whom worshippers said, ‘He loves.’  (emphasis added)

 

MacLaren then goes on to make a vital point, especially for us to understand in this era. I urge you to read this carefully :

Once, it was a new and almost incredible message, but we have grown accustomed to it, and it is not strange any more to us. But if we would try to think of what it means, the whole truth would flash up into fresh newness, and all the miseries and sorrows and perplexities of our lives would drift away down the wind, and we should be no more troubled with them. ‘God loves’ is the greatest thing that can be said by lips.[7]  (emphasis added)

 

Exactly, we cannot even conceive of a God who does not love us, so very much now.

While the Jews had little concept of a God of love, who gives Himself, we now, have NO concept of a God who could NOT love and give Himself to us and for us. It has become the baseline of our expectations of God, rather than the most precious revelation, held in the highest regard with gratefulness.

 

We need to regain a deep awe for God, for the fact that God would even take the time to consider saving such evil creatures. We must regain and fight for the original concept of God as the fearsome God who can destroy the soul as well as the body, just as Jesus advised:

Matt. 10:28 Don’t be afraid of people. They can kill you, but they cannot harm your soul. Instead, you should fear God who can destroy both your body and your soul in hell.                          CEV

 

Once we have captured the concept of a fearsome holy God, we will begin to truly understand the love that God does have for us. And we will not again be presumptive on God and take Him for granted. We will no longer feel so very special. This new illumination would give way to a deep sense of humility before God.

For the simple reason that He love us, alone, without any other benefit, we ought to feel so privileged and never ever complain about any suffering or even a catastrophe again. That ought to be our baseline response to God.

Yet sadly, it is never enough for us. We want to be happy, feel good about ourselves, get a parking spot now, or somehow life has let us down and even God has let us down.

Of all the truths of the Bible, this is the most taught and deeply held by us. It causes us to maintain the great emphasis we do, on top of an already greater emphasis of God's love.

 

It is very destructive in many ways.

I look at just some of these ways, later in this book.

 

CONCLUSION:

q New Testament has a greater emphasis on God's love for us, than what we need to hear = It would seem so,  yes.

 

We then ought to be very careful not to focus on God's love for us, any more than the New Testament does, as a minimum.

 


 

Section 3 The Consequences
Chapter 34.  Depth Of Deception
So let us look at our checked list now:


 

As you can see, we have all the ticks and crosses in the wrong boxes. We need to get serious, throw off the pride, 'despise the shame' as Jesus did, admit we have seriously screwed up and repent in brokenness before God and one another.

 

So, if there is no emphasis on preaching and teaching about God's love shown in all these areas we have looked at, where does it come from?

The world!

 

Please Explain:

Pastors and church leaders, upon what basis have you preached and affirmed 'God's love for you' so much?

What evidence do you have from Scripture to make such a call? 

 

The general impression most Christians now have of Jesus' ministry, was that he went around preaching the love of God to people.

This is just so wrong.

 

You have been ‘conformed to this world’ just as you were instructed not to do.

We made it up. By trying to please man, we focused on all the nice things and we came to believe it ourselves as good theology.

 

I was asked why God in the OT was such a fearsome God, but in the NT He is seen as loving?

The problem is in our false perceptions, not in Scripture or the nature of God.

The fact is God NEVER changes!

Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.                                             

 

To say that Jesus is different in the New Testament than the God of the Old Testament, is simply wrong. It shows that one does not even know the Jesus of the New Testament. But we do not even see it when we read the New Testament. (Of course, there is the aspect, that once a person is be born again, the power of the Holy Spirit can empower us to change. Whereas, in the Old Testament  Israel did not have the Holy Spirit and there was the  need for a stronger hand, with severe warnings. Now, we are not supposed to need such severe warnings.)

 

2 Cor. 13:2 During my second visit I warned you that I would punish you and anyone else who doesn’t stop sinning. I am far away from you now, but I give you the same warning.

3  This should prove to you that I am speaking for Christ. When he corrects you, he won't be weak. He will be powerful!          CEV

 

We live under a false sense of security, thinking that God really is different than in the Old Testament.

When I say that we do not really know God any more, I really, really mean it.

God is seen as more committed to being 'kind' than to being holy or just or saving people from hell by confronting sin.  This is an utterly false view of God.

 

As Xue, a friend of mine said, 'if you continually feed a child only the nice things they want, rather than what they need, the child will not grow properly and will be very unhealthy.'

Exactly! You end up with a self-centred, spoilt brat, who does not like to suffer anything in the least unpleasant. This is our Western Church today.

 

Essentially we have taken this message and song and changed it:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

 


 

We have rewritten this chorus to be more like:

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look only at His wonderful grace,
And things that are hard will grow strangely dim,
In the warmth of His glorious embrace.

 

Christian authors and scholars write commentaries on the Bible, and books about all kinds of subjects from this skewed over-emphasis, arriving at shallow interpretations. Is it any wonder that Christians who are aware of this returning to the commentaries of the old masters - those who truly saw God as the great holy God who must be honoured as well as being seen as a loving God.

 

We are looking at the depth of our deception in this chapter, so continuing on, let's look at a just few differences in the Jesus we serve:

 

Lord Jesus Christ of God, revealed in the Bible

Jesus of the modern Church

Loves us enough to discipline us and tell the truth

Sentimental love – comforts us with a lie

Preaches 'Repent'

Preaches 'I love you'

Tells us to forsake material prosperity

Tells us He will bless us with material prosperity

I came into this world to be a judge  John 9:39 (not a civil judge)

Never judged anyone - did not come to judge in any way

He is greatly concerned for Kingdom’s work

He is greatly concerned about our every little hurt

He is immutable - unchanging

He is not the God of the OT

He is sometimes angry with us

He is never angry with us

Exposes sin in Church

Eph 5:11

 

He welcomes in, unrepentant sexual sinners of all types

He disciplines us

He only encourages us

He was severe at times

Matt. 11:20, Luke 9:41, Rom 11:22 

Was only kindly with people

He wants us to mature

He wants us to have a great self-esteem

He is holy and commands us to be holy as He is

He understands that we are only human so it's ok not to overcome sin

He requires that we are obedient

He is only really interested in a relationship with us

Jesus was like God

Jesus is like man

Lord Jesus Christ of God, revealed in the Bible

Another false Jesus of so many Church congregations Gal. 1:6 

 

Our modern Church Jesus, is another Jesus:

2Cor. 11:4  We told you about Jesus, and you received the Holy Spirit and accepted our message. But you let some people tell you about another Jesus. Now you are ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message.       CEV

 

And this 'another Jesus' is presenting 'another gospel':

Gal. 1:6  I am shocked that you have so quickly turned from God, who chose you because of his wonderful kindness. You have believed another message(gospel)                                  CEV

 

The real Jesus of the Bible was NOT concerned if someone was offended by the truth, unlike our ‘another Jesus’.  The real Jesus DID say harsh things too when it was necessary; and it was necessary often.  That’s why so much of Jesus being hard and so little of Him being so tender in the gospel accounts.

Let me put it another way.

We say that Jesus would not be hard on people today.

We say that Jesus does not judge people (falsely declaring that Jesus did not judge the woman caught in adultery. Jesus did judge her as wrong, but He did not judge her to death.)

We say Jesus would just ‘love’ gays and accept them as they are, without correcting their sin.

But, Jesus declared “I AM the truth.”

How can the Holy Son of God who is the Truth, now deny Himself by ‘not correcting sin’ as He did before? He would have to first admit that He got it wrong when He preached and lived with us.

Can you see the utter contradiction of such thinking?

We insult the most Holy Son of God by attributing false thinking and ways to Him.

 

Surely this applies to us today?:

Jer. 17:9  You people of Judah are so deceitful that you even fool yourselves, and you can't change. CEV 

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is to be the Head of the Church:

Col. 1:18  He is the head of his body, which is the church. . .                                         CEV

Eph. 5:23  . . . as Christ is the head and the Savior of the church, which is his own body.  CEV

Col. 2:19  . . . of Christ, who is the head of the whole body.                                                   CEV

Eph. 1:22  God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything.   CEV

 

But, the Lord Jesus Christ is NOT the head of most church congregations today. He is not even ‘the truth’ any more when he differs from our ‘Christian correctness.’ No, we present ‘another Jesus’ on those occasions. We, in our arrogance, developed ‘better’ ideas. We had no right!

The head of most church congregations today, is man.

And man has conjured up a convenient form of a Jesus to preach and worship just like when Aaron made the golden calf to worship to keep the people happy.

The Church is full of spoilt, undisciplined, self-centred brats.

This is a picture of us:

Matt. 15:6 ......You ignore God's commands in order to follow your own teaching. 

7  And you are nothing but show-offs! Isaiah the prophet was right when he wrote that God had said, 

8  "All of you praise me with your words, but you never really think about me. 

9  It is useless for you to worship me, when you teach rules made up by humans."             CEV

 

This ‘sacred cow’, must be destroyed for the survival of a genuine Church. Otherwise the ‘remnant’ who leave ‘the Church’ will be the only true Church.

 

I have endevoured to present hard evidence that refutes our accepted Church traditions on this, in the hope that, it may cause some to question what they have blindly always believed. 

 

Now, take a look at the pictures we looked at the beginning of this book:


Hopefully, they grieve you and make you feel nauseated as they do me. Do you see how vile this self-focus is?

Do you agree with me that it feels like blasphemy, to elevate ourselves so highly before a Holy God?

And Christians post this destructive false emphases online every day.  And not only that, they feel they are doing a superior service because after all, 'love is the most important thing.'

 

Observe what Ignatius, a disciple of the apostle John,   had to say about mixing sweetness with heresy to make it more acceptable:

THE POISON OF HERETICS

 

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE TRALLIANS

CHAPTER 6

ABSTAIN FROM THE POISON OF HERETICS

 

I therefore, yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, entreat you that ye use Christian nourishment only, and abstain from herbage of a different kind; I mean heresy. For those [that are given to this] mix up Jesus Christ with their own poison, speaking things which are unworthy of credit, like those who administer a deadly drug in sweet wine, which he who is ignorant of does greedily take, with a fatal pleasure leading to his own death.

I therefore, yet not l, but the love of Jesus Christ, “entreat you that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” For there are some vain talkers and deceivers, not Christians, but Christ-betrayers, bearing about the name of Christ in deceit, and “corrupting the word” of the Gospel; while they intermix the poison of their deceit with their persuasive talk, as if they mingled aconite with  sweet wine, that so he who drinks, being deceived in his taste by the very great sweetness of the draught, may incautiously meet with his death. One of the ancients gives us this advice, “Let no man be called good who mixes good with evil.” For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to

it.[8]

 

Yes, we add the sweet poison of heretics. The poison of the Liberals – the hardhearted rebellion against God. And the poison of the well-meaning Conservatives - the blind, weak self-preservation and compromise.

 

In general, in the Western Church, the older members have forgotten who God really is. The younger members have never known who God really is. They only know and accept, some things about Him and there is precious little genuine seeking of God to know the truth.


 

Chapter  35. Consequences Of This Deception
Yes we are!

 

We give such great honour to one who is so kind and never has a strong word for anyone. This type of Christian is considered to have reached the pinnacle – the Christian version of 'nirvana'. Oh how we all want to be that kind of Christian.

Our hero image ought to be one who fearlessly speaks out like Jesus did, like the apostles did, as well as having a loving heart.

You see, one who never speaks out like that, shows a compromised love, not true love.

 

When you say that speaking truth might upset someone, or is going to scare people away, and that it is not helpful or does not achieve anything, tell me;

What it is that you want to achieve?

What is it that Jesus told us to achieve?

Our job is NOT to just get people into the Church.

Our job is to preach the full uncompromising gospel,

disciple those who come to Christ, and to discipline those who do not obey the commands of Christ.

 

As I spoke about earlier, this idea of 'just getting them in' is NOT biblical. So why have we believed the modern lie and done just that?

 

Let us very briefly look at a few of the consequences of this Sola Affectus gospel, things affected.

 

We find that :-

 

·       Now, God utterly hating sin is not understood

 

It petty-izes sin, because supposedly God cares so much about my every little hurt or even discomfort rather than vile sin.

 

And yet as Bill Muehlenberg points out sin really is very serious:

Given God’s holy hatred of evil, how greatly must we fear offending him? The fear of the Lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom. No wonder we read so much about fearing God in the Bible. Offending a holy God is the last thing any of us should want to do.[9]

 

·       Now, God being extremely Holy is not properly understood

 

·       Now, God loves us soooo much has supposedly made 'relationship with God the only thing that matters'

 

Something like this:

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·       Now, God loves everyone soooo much that we should not preach a hellfire message

 

·       Now, God loves us soooo much that hell barely exists any more

 

Universalism(all are saved) is now rampant in the Church.

Consider this from Peirce, a believer who has been a Christian for over 60 years. He shared a teaching in a group for discipleship and new believers, about how Gehenna (hell) is only really speaking of the rubbish dump, the Valley of Hinnon. Hell as a place of eternal suffering does not really exist God loves us too much to send anyone to a place like that:

 

‘In the light of several recent entries in this group, I found this very interesting and very important reading. Especially on the most interesting evolution of the our view of Hell (and what we hear when the Scriptures record Jesus talking about Hell) compared and contrasted with what his listeners would have heard.’            Emphasis added.

 

We really do have to stop preaching God’s love for heaven’s sake, we are sending so many to the ‘Lake of Fire’ hell. All the while they think they are saved, until….

 

·       Now, non-Christians use it against us when we try to expose sin and while witnessing to them

 

·       Now,  God loves us so much we must never offend anyone even with Truth

 

·       Now, God loves us soooo much, we demand absolute unity. Truth must be ignored if it is going to offend anybody(we can just go home and pray about it.)

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, demands that we do not preach the Law as Jesus did.


·       Now, God loves us so much causing Sola Affectus that severely compromises the disciple and training of the Church

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, which then makes our evangelism so weak and ineffective.

 

An evangelistic leaflet from the early 1970’s, from memory.  I seemed to have kept it as a book mark:

 

Think about this – if you were born after 1970, most likely you have never really known anything different. It has become so entrenched in our thinking and beliefs, because it’s all we heard.

 

That is why I say that we are deceived and why I say ‘we do not really know God any more.’

 

This is also why we feel we must fight and resist such a ‘fantastic’ accusation.

How dare you. How can you say that we do not really know God?

Some will even go to the extent of thinking it is of the devil.

Self-preservation is a powerful force in our lives.

 

·       Now, because we think that God loves so much, we are blinded on how to fix our churches

 

Tired frustrated pastors try every imaginable program to try and keep people interested and committed. If they could let go of the false assumptions on how much we need to protect people and start to truly challenge them instead, the change would come. Yes, you most likely will have a smaller congregation after do, so what? You will please God and you will see radical change.

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, causes us to present a shallow Christian worldview to the non-Christian world  

 

We feel we must portray God is a good light to the world. But the world says that anything that is not ‘nice’ is evil. So, we can only say something ‘nice’ on God’s behalf and the world is not exposed to God’s hatred for sin and demand for holiness.


·       Now, God loves us so much, presents a shallow form of Christianity to our children and believers in general

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, gave birth to the false criticism "that's not being Christ-like' when you are doing what Christ did.

 

Many times I have been told that ‘You are not Jesus’ or “You are not Paul’ to silence my call to Scriptural living.

Their accusation is confirmation of what I am saying – Jesus told us to ‘do what He does’ which includes speaking out against compromised truth and we would be hated for it.

Paul told them to ‘be like me.’

Years ago, I even had someone accused me of ‘hiding behind Paul.’ That continues to make me smile each time it comes to mind. J It is a completely false statement, taken from another context to give it accusation power in this context.

 

·       Now, God loves us so much, causes weak counseling and it is far less effective.

 

It seems that everybody ‘today’ is a victim of life. They have a personality disorder, a guilt complex, a regressive memory complex or a plethora of other conditions that make them so much the victim. Perhaps they had a terrible childhood, a bad marriage, a bad accident or just about anything, that allows for the sin in their lives to be dumbed down to virtually nothing. So any genuine responsibility or expectation to deal with sin is barely present.

No! Forget all the fancy named conditions and terrible problems.  Just obey Scripture. We are supposed to be soldiers in an army, overcoming the problems of the past, not spoilt children of the King.

 

When you think about it, the concepts and book Love languages is only needed because we refuse to obey Scripture and love one another sacrificially. As self centred people, we need to be told all the benefits for ‘me’, of loving your spouse in this special way, before we are prepared to sacrificially love them.  If we just obey the Bible as we are told to, books like Love Languages are irrelevant. But when we try to live our lives by these books, we conveniently side step the requirement to just obey Scripture, as it is written. The Word of God will revolutionize your life, if you want to grow. But the truth is, we do not really want to grow, we want to find an easier way to live the 'acceptable' even the 'trendy' Christian lifestyle.

 

Until we are prepared to truly die to self, we will continue on in a form of Christianity without power and one that does not please God.

 

·       Now, ‘God loves us so much’, causes a great pride in good Christians, believing that their theology of love is more superior.

 

Our ‘love’ theology is far more superior than anyone speaking uncomfortable truths. It causes us to 'take the higher moral ground'; to silence the 'un-Christ-like' which confirms in the minds of the undiscerning that uncomfortable truths are not to be spoken.

 

·       Now, we help Satan use 'God loves you so much' to silence any possibility of offending truth - to stop the voice/oracle/words of God for others or Church

 

·       Now, because we feel soooo loved by God, worship is reduced to a self-centred feel-good ‘singsong’

 

·       Now, God loves mankind so much that we must always help the needy however they treat you and do not even try

Somehow Jesus is supposed to have done this with all the people He interacted with, so we should too.

 

·       Now, ‘God loves us so much’, reduces our ability to suffer for a great cause, for we have become the centre and the cause of our lives

 


L

·       Now, ‘God loves me so much’, has caused us to believe and totally accept that God's love is 'unconditional'.  A free pass to take God's love for granted

 

·       Now, God loves me soooo much causes us to think we are so lovely to God that we barely repent of sin

How many Christians have a time of repentance as part of their daily devotions? Not many. How many confess sin during the day as it rears its ugly head?

When we first confess our sin and choose to follow Christ, we repent a lot, if we were truly saved. And this is supposed to be the beginning of a life of repentance. But now, we really do not feel that bad about our sin, after all, God loves us so much.


·       Now, ‘God's great love for us’ has birthed and cemented in our minds, the "I am special to God" syndrome. Spiritual conceit

 

Jonathan Edwards has some profound words about this:

This is . . . the difference between the joy of the hypocrite, and the joy of the true saint. The [hypocrite] rejoices in himself; self is the first foundation of his joy: the [true saint] rejoices in God. . . . True saints have their minds, in the first place, inexpressibly pleased and delighted with the sweet ideas of the glorious and amiable ]i.e., pleasant, admirable] nature of the things of God. And this is the spring of all their delights, and the cream of all their pleasures. . . . But the dependence of the affections of hypocrites is in a contrary order: they first rejoice . . . that they are made so much of by God; and then on that ground, he seems in a sort, lovely to them.[10] 

 

This, written in the 1700’s so aptly describes the normal believer today. We were made to feel so special to God, so we love Him. We feel so special to God, so we ‘worship’ Him with all manner of self-centred songs and feelings.

Yet, remove the feeling of specialness and we fall apart spiritually, we cannot understand why God has abandoned us.

Why is our focus and commitment so shallow? We do not love and serve God for who He is, but because we love being loved by Him. The former was a choice to serve the Holy Lord; the latter was a sentimental attachment that is easily shaken.

 

John Piper in commenting on Edwards above,  wrote about some of the problems of self-love:

‘…self-love inevitably embraces God not for the beauty of his glory in itself, but for the natural benefits God gives. Mere self-love savors the gifts of God without savoring fellowship with God himself…” [11]

 

·       Now, ‘God's great love for us’ over emphasis causes us to believe that God is wonderfully watching to arrange everything nicely in our life. A great self-centredness

 

When you post this sort of simplistic, self-centred rubbish…..:

 


 

…..what are you even talking about?

Are you into some 'other gospel' or something?

 

So I posted this:

 


 

Oh the joy of these things?

If you do not consider these things to be joyous,

you have not the heart of God; you have not a kingdom perspective at all, and you are probably not even saved.

 

I want to be like Christ. God commands me to be holy, and I want to be what God wants me to be. And He commands me to be ‘happy and excited’ about persecution and problems.[12]

No! Not just words, we have to really mean it.

If you are surrounded by people who only give it lip service in your Bible study or your Know Your Bible group, but would not let you talk about it as though we have to be accountable to do it, get out of that church and find someone who does mean it.

 

I have had Christians say “Oh but I cannot find any church like that.” So what, you keep looking with perseverance, and prayer till you do. ‘Ask and you will receive” if you ask, like the woman did of the ‘evil judge.’

Find one or two people and meet with them, making each other accountable.

You may say “On no, my pastor said that only rebellious people do that, it is too radical.”

I say ‘What is radical?’ Preaching about hell is radical these days! Jesus was radical, He only survived about 3 years after He began preaching and teaching.

I do not care about what is considered radical or what is not, I care about doing what the Bible says and thinking what the Bible thinks. If that means I need to not follow the crowd, so what. That’s irrelevant.

  

So I say again, if you cannot find a church with a proper Biblical perspective, find someone who does and meet with them. And include other hungry believers as you come across them. Make it place where you truly die to self, prayer with fervor and study the Bible.

 

·       Now, ‘God's great love for us’ belief, causes us to crumble in a tragedy thinking that God has abandoned us,  and many leave the faith

 

And this is just a short list in no particular order, of the more obvious ways, in which we are compromised. There are so many more  subtle ways that cannot even quantify the effects.

David Cooke posted a good article concerning these issues titled:

The World And Many Churches Have A "False View" Of Love. We Must Not Redefine What True Godly Love Is! True Love Is Not Devoid Of The Holiness Of God And Does Not Compromise With Sin                                         

A.      To many 'love' means we must accept, tolerate and even approve of sin and never speak out against it and to never give a word of warning or correction concerning false doctrine or ungodly living. But this is a false worldly love…read more[13]

It is worth reading the whole article.

Thank you brother.

 

How true this is.

Love is NOT devoid of the holiness of God; despite our feeble postmodern tampering, experiments and shallow claims. We can never win against God, we cannot somehow prevail against God and redefine ‘love’ for all eternity. These are mere futile efforts that will come to screeching halt the instant we die. And then we must stand before the Holy God and explain our stupid, carnal reasons for trying to do so.

 

And finally, DA Carson hits the nail on the head with his appraisal on what an over-emphasis on God's love does:

"I do not think that what the Bible says about the love of God can long survive at the forefront of our thinking if it is abstracted from the sovereignty of God, the holiness of God, the wrath of God, the providence of God, or the personhood of God—to mention only a few nonnegotiable elements of basic Christianity. The result, of course, is that the love of God in our culture has been purged of anything the culture finds uncomfortable. The love of God has been sanitized, democratized, and above all sentimentalized" [14]   (Emp. added)

 

 D.A. Carson; The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. Wheaton, 1L; Crossway Books; 2000, p.ll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Section 4  What Now?
Chapter 36. What Should We Do?
I am no expert in these things, I merely offer my thoughts after observing, grieving over and praying for these things for many years.

In fact, it was the so-called trained experts that largely got us into these problems, so I doubt that it is experts we need right now. No, it is the humble we need hear from now. The broken and contrite, those who intentionally live and move in God, daily. Listening with an attentive ear to what the Spirit is saying. Those humble, yet bold enough to call the so called ‘experts’ into account. Those few voices we hear calling from the wilderness.

It’s the broken saints, that I want to hear from, those broken by this evil world and rebelling church.


Those 'trained' pastors and the Bible college professors, the PhD's, they are supposed to be the Gate Keepers. But generally, they have let God and His people down very badly in the post modern church era.

 

Jer. 8:11 They dress the wound of my people

    as though it were not serious.

“Peace, peace,” they say,

    when there is no peace.

And:

Eze. 13:1 The Lord said:

2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the prophets of Israel [pastors and elders] who say they speak in my name, but who preach messages that come from their own imagination. Tell them it’s time to hear my message.

 

3 I, the Lord God, say those lying prophets [pastors and elders]  are doomed! They don’t see visions—they make up their own messages! 4 Israel’s prophets[pastors and elders]  are no better than jackals that hunt for food among the ruins of a city. 5 They don’t warn the people about coming trouble or tell them how dangerous it is to sin against me. 6 Those prophets [pastors and elders] lie by claiming they speak for me, but I have not even chosen them to be my prophets. And they still think their words will come true. 7 They say they’re preaching my messages, but they are full of lies—I did not speak to them!

8 So I am going to punish those lying prophets[pastors and elders] for deceiving the people of Israel[church] with false messages. 9 I will turn against them and no longer let them belong to my people. They will not be allowed to call themselves Israelites or even to set foot in Israel. Then they will realize that I am the Lord God.

10 Those prophets[pastors and elders] refuse to be honest. They tell my people there will be peace, even though there’s no peace to be found. They are like workers who think they can fix a shaky wall by covering it with paint. 11 But when I send rainstorms, hailstones, and strong winds, the wall will surely collapse. 12 People will then ask the workers why the paint didn’t hold it up.

13 That wall is the city of Jerusalem. And I, the Lord God, am so angry that I will send strong winds, rainstorms, and hailstones to destroy it. 14 The lying prophets[pastors and elders]  have tried to cover up the evil in Jerusalem, but I will tear down the city, all the way to its foundations. And when it collapses, those prophets[pastors pastors and elders]  will be killed, and everyone will know that I have done these things.

15 The city of Jerusalem and its lying prophets[pastors and elders]  will feel my fierce anger. Then I will announce that the city has fallen and that the lying prophets[pastors and elders]  are dead, 16 because they promised my people peace, when there was no peace. I, the Lord God, have spoken.                                              CEV

 

We must forsake our own fancy ideas of what the gospel should be and we must preach the gospel of the Bible.

The Lord Jesus Christ MUST be made the Head of the Church again.

We have glorified the ‘love of God for us’, exalted it, given it holy pre-eminence above all other aspects of God, that it is now the primary, the ultimate, the most pre-eminent standard, by which all things are judged. All other discerning principles have been degraded to the 'not particularly spiritual' level in comparison.

If we really understood just how much our church is centred on self, even while we lift the Name of Jesus, we would weep.

Humans can say all the right words, but be thinking in a virtually the opposite way:

 

Isaiah 1:10 You are no better than the leaders and people of Sodom and Gomorrah!

    So listen to the Lord God:

11 “Your sacrifices mean nothing to me.

I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; I don’t like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats.

12 “Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple!

13 Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can’t stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship.

14 I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying.                           CEV

 

Heart of man deceitfully wicked - our heart knows how to subtly live in a way that our words and thoughts will not.

We, the 'good' churches, even reject the 'seeker-friendly' theology, but we do not realize that we practice it.

Some pastors afraid of being seen as preaching a 'sugar-coated' gospel, will even preach a little tough at times to prove that they are not 'like that'. But they will not address the most needy issues. They  will not  preach the depth of sin, the reality of hell(and demons), the hatred God has for sin, the hatred God has for every kind of unnatural sex, the terrifying wrath of God, etc.....

 

Well, what should we be doing?

It seems to me that it would include a number of things I shall look at. I do not presume to know all that we should be doing, but surely it would include some things I shall outline.

 

Seeing the problem clearly

 

If your students believe that 0 + 1 = 6, how can you teach them algebra?

If your students believe that evolution created the universe, how can you teach them that God created everything in 6 days?

If your students believe the false traditions of men, how can you teach them who God really is?

And how can you teach a child anything if they are undisciplined? Unless you breakthrough and get their respect, it's all haphazard learning and maturing. Hit & miss.

False facts MUST be exposed and corrected before you can teach anything deep or lasting.

Jesus hated false facts and teachings, that's why He strongly exposed them as false.

False ideas is how Christian cults develop - JW's, Mormonism, etc… Christianity has been majoring on an aspect of God to the diminishing of other vital aspects, very badly. Christians now have such bad foundations that unless the errors are corrected, they cannot know God. We are becoming a ‘Christian sect’ in the way we view Jehovah’s Witnesses as a Christian set, rather than remaining as a church of ‘evangelical theology.’

 

A Christian sect?

A few examples of things we hold that are completely contradictory from age old ‘evangelical theology’ and the Bible:-

·       'Judge not that you be not judged'

·       'If God is a God of love, how could God destroy a whole city of people? Surely it's wrong?'

·       'We cannot push our Christian views on others'

·       'We just need to spread more love around'

·       'Jesus never condemned homosexuality so I won't’

·       etc..

So yes, we are fast becoming a sect.

 

These lies must be dethroned. Do you know of any other effective way of cancelling the effect of strong wrong belief, in order to get another message through?

 

In order to stain old timber, one must first remove the oils, wax, gunk and old paint. Wrong traditions of men, are the oils, wax, gunk and old paint, that prevents the truth from soaking in.

 

There is new anti-graffiti surface that it now used on signs. It causes any paint or permanent pen, put on them, to bead and it runs off the sign, and any  remnants can be wiped off with a cloth.

‘God loves you so much' is the anti-graffiti surface, we apply to our form of Christianity, nothing sticks to it.

So many in the Church are good looking, with modern signs, but little to nothing ever truly penetrates the surface.

A non-change people and a non-growing church, is an insult to a Holy God.

 

There is no systematic deconstruction of the lies and the traditions of men,  of the modern Church, with the  unequivocal establishing the clear nature, attributes and teaching about and of God.

The Church is sick with cancer (traditions of men), but the pastors and leaders give hugs for medication. Truly, they are not so different from the big pharmaceutical companies that hide genuine remedies and sell their concoctions of dependence to keep the people coming back for more.

 


 

I have people say to me "Oh my church is good, our pastor really teaches the Word."

But when I hear his preaching, I am grieved because this believer and pastor do not even comprehend what 'good Word preaching' is, he preaches the same insipid neutralized waffle with the odd strong word on something benign to give it the impression that he 'really does speak out strongly on important things' too.

Pastors will even declare that God is fearsome, that He will harshly judge the wicked, but these are all words to some ‘other’ people out there somewhere and has nothing to do with us. But these are mere words, they are not things that we really have to live by - they are not things that help us interpret the Bible. They are not things that show me how to live my life. They do not demand that I, personally, am humbled and broken over sin. These words touch us not.

 

Before any pastor can have any really meaningful impact, the traditions of men, must be exposed and dismantled, and this is what Paul did. He waged a war on every wrong belief in the Corinthian church:

2 Cor. 10:5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.   NLB

 

Dear pastor, if you are not destroying every proud obstacle today, you are throwing your life away for so little, maybe nothing.

 

·       How can anyone be disciplined by the Lord (or by others) when they subjectively believe 'judge not lest you be judged'?

·       How can believers be Kingdom focused and self-sacrificing, when they so firmly believe that God loves them soooo much and is concerned about their every little trouble?

·       How can believers deny themselves and seek the Kingdom, when they believe that God wants to prosper them financially?

·       How can believers really speak the truth to any sin, when they believe that it is not their job to expose unnatural sexuality in the Church, they must just accept these people in our church?

·       How can people know God and obey Him now, when they think that the 'Jesus' of the NT is so much nicer than the 'God' of the OT?

·       How can people truly hear the words of Jesus(or the Bible) when He is falsely painted as always being so kindly?

·       How can you genuinely challenge believers, when they think they are very special to God?

·       How can you train people who believe that the best way to grow, is only by 'encouraging' them in a nice way?

·       How can you do anything meaningful with  politically correct believers?

·       How can you have any real impact in believer's lives before the lies are exposed and they very clearly see, who God really is?

·       How are you going to impart the power of God to  your people, before you restore the power of who God is?

·       How will anything stick, if it all runs off like water on a duck’s back?


 

However, Paul is correct:

1 Cor. 9:16 .....Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!        NLB

 

Sadly, this is what we are doing today, we need a ‘disruption of grace’:

 


 

Pastors and teachers, until you remove their shield of 'God loves me so much' protection, your words of hard truth will NOT get through to your congregation.

You must disarm them first, only then will you have any real effect, only then will there be any sort of an agent of change:


Oh yes, and they will try to convince you that they are just trying to 'defend’ the lowly, but don't believe a word of it.

 

And how do you disarm them? By methodically disarming the many wrong traditions of men they hold to.

Remove the rose tinted 'God loves me' glasses. That is how it works and in order to get our proper eyesight back, we need radical surgery - cut out the 'God loves us so much' elements from our life.

Pastor, stop preaching it and preach Christ, Christ in repentance, Christ in holiness, Christ in judgment, Christ in deep humility, Christ in prayer, Christ in destroying vain imaginations. Preach it till the fear of God returns to all listening.

 

2 Cor. 10:5:

 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God…                                                                                       KJV

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…                                                                                  NASV

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…                                                                                       NIV

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God...                             NLT

 

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God…       ESV

 

and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God…                                                 GWT

 

For we overthrow arrogant 'reckonings,' and every stronghold that towers high in defiance of the knowledge of God…                                 Weymouth NT

 

A W. Tozer said in ‘Christian Leader’:

I preach to my congregation week after week and I pray that I may be able to preach to my people with such conviction that they sweat. I do not want them to leave my services feeling good. The last thing I want to do is to give them some kind of religious tranquilizer and let them go to hell in their relaxation.

The Christian church was designed to make sinners sweat. I have always believed that, and I still believe it. The messages preached in our churches should make backslidden Christians sweat. And if I achieve that objective when I preach, I thank God with all of my heart, no matter what people think of me. Jesus Is Victor!, 61-62.

"Lord, help me to preach with boldness—not concerned with 'what people think of me.' Amen"[15]

(Emph added)

 

I hear the immediate protest ‘You do not know about the people that are touched in my church when I preach a repentance message.’ You mean your people have a momentary touch of conviction but everyone knows it is not necessary to follow through with life choices?

Or do you mean you had people touched by a moving moment in your message or presentation – some touching sentimental story that brought a momentary emotional reaction but lead to nothing beyond that?

That is NOT the spiritual Christian lifestyle, that is mere emotionalism. Emotionalism does not get you saved or keep you holy. In isolation from spiritual obedience, it is spiritual trash.

 

Think of it this way. The global economy is currently operating in a huge bubble of debt, with highly over priced stocks and printing trillions of dollars of 'funny money' just to stay afloat.

We got here through greed and bad management. When the big bubble of the dot.com crash in 2001, and the housing bubble - global financial crisis occurred in 2008, the governments did not allow everything to revert to its true value, they merely put a band-aid on the internal sickness with huge bails outs. The bubble got much, much bigger. We are now in the 'Everything Bubble.'

This huge bubble is going to burst in the near future.

So too, the Western Church is living in a huge bubble

of 'God loves me soooo much and I am special'.

They have refused to expose the sickness over the decades. They only applied an external band-aid on the internal sickness - created a new dumbed down, glitzy, glamorous  gospel to get more people in; they created new whiz-bang programs to motivate their tired members; they made new laws that prevented any judging, confronting sin or speaking truth and many more traditions of men.

 

The bursting of the economic bubble will cause the stocks to crash back down to their genuine value. So too, the Church's bubble will crash back down to genuine value. Back down to reality - the reality that God is God, and we are not so special in the whole scheme of things after all.

I suspect that the Church bubble will crash shortly after the economic bubble crashes.

Oh we need a total reformation, not just revival or restoration.

 

In order to break this deception, we need more than a book or a sermon with some discussion. Like other things, it will be forgotten very quickly.

During discussions there needs to be a clear commitment to, and conscious effort to check ourselves and each other.

We need to develop ‘an ear for our words’, meaning train ourselves to  notice each time we think, and talk in this way. A clear commitment to correct each other.

We are told in Scripture; to 'take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.'(2Cor. 10:5) 

And it sounds as though Paul is saying in this verse, that if you do not capture every thought, then I will when I get there and I will do it harshly.

Our pastors and elders are supposed to be doing just that! But they do not!


We desperately need a post-modern reformation of the Church!

A great reformation that will be recognized as the great turning point for Christianity. Back to God. But I suspect that for the Church in general, there will be no great reformation. Rather, the Church will descend into the Great Apostate Church of the end times.

But, believers everywhere can and will be transformed. There will be great revival. Do not wait for the Church organization to change, do it yourself.

 

Not only has the Western Church neutralized the Biblical gospel, but we have been exporting it to every other country in the world, neutralizing the gospel in many places there too. India does not need our neutralized, self-centred, impotent, dangerous gospel. Neither does China, Vietnam, New Guinea, Ethiopia, Vanuatu, Peru or Nepal. If fact, we all desperately ‘need NOT to have it’ we need the truth.

Thank God that church leaders in some countries, see our false gospel for what it is and reject it.

 


 

"Oh Lord, please stop us and bring a great reformation."

 

Rom. 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.         NLB

 

What are we to preach?
What did Jesus preach?
What did the apostles preach?
What then, are we to preach?
Surely, the message that Jesus taught is the most important message.
What Jesus instructed the apostles to teach, and what they taught is the critical message.

What then was that message?

 

The Lord Jesus Christ MUST be actively and purposefully, made the Head of the Church again.

You say "we do that already. You do not understand how we really worship God in our church services."

I then have to ask, “Have you not heard anything I have said so far?”

 

We must in brokenness, repent before God and plead that He open our eyes to who He really is. We must 'destroy every vain precept of men' every 'tradition of men' that we have lifted up as Scriptural, and turn again to God- without reservation.

 

Here are some things that I believe God wants us to be doing now:

 

·       repent of cold, hard hearts, corporately - in our church services. Pastors, elders and congregation.


·       pray for forgiveness, and that you come to know God again, and pray for a new heart.


·       Stop all the singing and all the preaching.

Yes! Stop the self-centred singing and stop the self-centred preaching – just read the Bible from the pulpit.

Read the whole book of John. Aloud.

Read through each gospel account – Matthew,

Mark, Luke and John, noting down each time

Jesus strongly spoke truth that offended.

It will truly open your eyes.

 

Read the whole book of Revelation. Aloud.

Read the whole book of Romans. Aloud.

              Read the whole book of Jeremiah. Aloud.

 

The Western Church leaders are now so dull of     hearing, that God does not need the benefit of      your shallow insights of Scripture and of who He is.

Read the Sword of the Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to convict, teach, encourage and change hearts.

Read and pray for the whole length of the church service.

Read and pray like the ‘woman seeking justice from the unjust judge’, and keep reading and praying it until the Holy Spirit truly moves.

 

Forget about all the popular books written by popular authors. Don't quote them and follow them. Just read Scripture and pray.

 

We are called to follow Christ. We were not called to build a building and fill it with people.  In all our activity, we lose focus on what exactly we were called to do.

So give up the distracting loud music that makes us feel good, so that we can just worship Him.  Just worship God in prayer, in simple, humble words, pouring out your heart to God. What a great act of worship to God by giving up the music for six months.

"But we cannot do that" you say. Why? What, you do not want to give up something that is 'popular'? Sounds as though you need to, then. Or is it because you would not know how to worship God without the music? Well then, there is another reason to give it up; in order to truly worship God in truth and Spirit. Or is it because you would lose too many people? Then again I say, we were not called to build a building and fill it with people. We were called to make disciples - followers of Christ who would give up everything for Him. Be willing to give up loud distracting music that gave people good feelings but did not seem to produce changed lives of holiness and self-sacrifice, but rather, more self-centredness. Or is it that you might lose people and not be able to afford the new flash church building? If that is the case, your buildings are a liability that prevent you from pure, self-sacrificing worship and service to God.

 

This was something I posted online a few years ago, to address this need of abandoning our feel-good preaching and to read the Bible instead:

 


[1]https://books.google.com.au/books?id=wRSSXXqqEh8C&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&focus=viewport&hl=pt-BR&output=html_text

[2] https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-am-special-2/

[3]https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Finding_God.html?id=RsxTSGiASEMC&redir_esc=y

[4] My suggestion is to dump the 'job' part of the deal and stick with the 'ministry' part only. The general job description that is handed to pastors, really is a 'management job' with a whole lot of expectations attached, many unspoken. You must grow the church at 10% a year. Oversee all the many outreach ministry groups in your church. Oversee all the internal groups like prayer meetings and Bible study groups for each age group and gender. Etc….then there are the unspoken requirements as well, like, ‘do not have any damaging conflicts in your church’. ‘No immorality in your church’. ‘You must keep the people happy so we do not have any complaints’. ‘Do not preach on things that will upset people’. ‘Do not be unavailable whenever any bleating sheep needs you’. ‘But you must also be a good husband, father and role model for your family and the church.’

 

Hmmm, is it any wonder pastors suffer from depression and burnout?

These are all typical corporate 'job' expectations, not a Biblical shepherd. And now with the added unreal, politically correct expectations as well.

Biblical Shepherds preach the straight, tough Word. They take the time to heal a sheep when it is required, and only when it is genuinely required. At first, most of the time he will tell them to grow up, until they do. And they will, or leave.

Humans are quite good at being trained when there is  some incentive. No, not with treats like you do for a dog, treats do not tame the sin nature.

When a member does leave because of a hard heart, a biblical shepherd says 'Let them alone' and sleeps well at night. He does not stress about these kinds of things because, all he is called to do is to be obedient, hour by hour. He is NOT responsible for the success of all things, just to obey the simple commands of the Father and let everything else go. If he starts to stress, he is taking on a 'job' once again and is feeling the pressure to perform for 'the boss' - church board or denominational head.

If hardly anyone turns up for the prayer meeting, that's ok, bring revival with the couple you do have.

 

Free yourself today of the job and take on a ministry. Hey, you might lose your job, but then you can really do the ministry part, pleasing the Father so much.

But that's just my suggestion.

[5] Psa. 86:15  But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God. You are patient and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness.

Zep. 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst; he is a warrior who can deliver. He takes great delight in you; he renews you by his love; he shouts for joy over you."

Prov. 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

 

 

 

[6] https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/3-16.html

[7] goo.gl/1y8XPq

[8] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-trallians-longer.html

[9] https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/08/10/one-dare-not-offend/

[10] https://goo.gl/CTU1AA The Religious Affections, ed. by John Smith, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), pp. 249-250

[11] https://goo.gl/qErizz God’s Passion For His Glory John Piper pp. 110

[12] Matt 5:12 Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago. CEV

Luke 6:23 Long ago your own people did these same things to the prophets. So when this happens to you, be happy and jump for joy! You will have a great reward in heaven.   CEV

2 Cor 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   NIV

James 1:2 My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy.   ERV

[13] https://www.facebook.com/AflameforGod/posts/1314225285343885

[14] goo.gl/yLsZ4C

[15] goo.gl/9G5Hxv


website statistics
Comments