Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elders of a Different Faith
Heb.11:1-2 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
I Tim.5:17 - Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
L
ittle by little, piece by piece, the bottom of the hourglass grows by assimilating the sands from above. The transformation is determined and constant and will not cease until all falls into the voracious bottom. And just like that hourglass, the natural gravity is transferring sound doctrine into error filled teaching. And with that same determination and constancy it will not cease until there much more on the bottom than remains on the top.
The western church has been straying for some time. And the cumulative effect grows exponentially. But there is an amazing component to this growing apostasy. It wasn’t the congregation at large that walked away from the faith en masse. No, it was the elders who were ordained to feed and watch over and protect the flock that led the masses away with the dexterity and cleverness of a Pied Piper. And error compounds error until that error encroaches into the gospel itself. And then you have a different faith altogether.
It is time for us to come out and say with conviction and sadness that many streams of the catch all label of evangelicalism no longer practice Christianity. Is the faith that calls itself Christian so expansive and so esoteric that almost anything can say it’s Christian as long as the name of Jesus appears somewhere? And if that is so then the Scriptures are irrelevant, and to be honest, are misleading.
But that is not so. Never. And we must not only defend the faith of Christ, we must embrace and display it. The evil one is very shrewd and he not only leads people astray by denying truth, but he also deceives many of us into energetically defending truth while not so energetically manifesting that truth in practice. This is the challenge which lays before us. In these days of doctrinal apostasy it is necessary to Scripturally confront the growing deception. However it is also paramount that we humbly take inventory of our own personal allegiance to the truth we defend. And by allegiance I mean more that aligning our doctrinal statements with Scripture.
I speak of aligning our lives with what the Scriptures teach. Is the Scriptural phrase “For me to live is Christ” observable in our lives? Is “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” a description of our lives or of our theology? How about “He must increase but I must decrease”? Is that apparent in us or does it just describe John the Baptist?
But today there are literally thousands of Pied Pipers who appeal to the flesh and create elegant bridges to nowhere in their so called theology. They are captivating and entertaining, but they are hollow communications that soothe the conscience rather than point to Christ. Although we do not worship the written revelation, we must never, ever compromise its authority and exclusive role as arbiter of all we know about God.
I love demonstrative and freedom in worship. I love worship music that exalts Christ and that either uses Scripture or speaks truth. I have no problem with a genuine altar call as long as it doesn’t get stale and traditional and that we don’t use it as an assembly line for conversions and members. I have no problem with a man of God getting emotional as he delivers God’s Word.
But what has been constructed today is a theatrical display that tickles the ears and sends people away feeling good about themselves but oblivious to their spiritual condition. And these ecclesiastical thespians have less power than cheerleaders at a high school football game. Rob Bell says “love wins” but he might as well say “Cubs win” since his teachings are not just hollow, they are eternal death. You think I am too harsh? You will not think that one nano-second after your spirit crosses over into eternity.
There are churches who sing and play secular songs from all sorts of entertainers. The church which will hold Whitney Houston’s funeral sang her songs during the Sunday service. And all over the country churches construct services designed to excite the flesh and make people happy they came. Finney once remarked that if a lost sinner could smile and feel good as he left the church after you just preached, then you preached nothing.
But these are not just churches with a slightly different perspective or a little more dangerous way to evangelize the lost. No, these churches have changed the gospel and have sculpted a religious practice that denies the Risen Christ and denies the Suffering Savior as they hold a carnal party they call “worship”. Do you not think that Jesus would scourge the whole mess if He came and walked among us?
These modern elders do not have a good report. And they do not labor in the Word, and they certainly do not even care about doctrine. And unlike the elders in the Book of Acts they are not dedicated to prayer. They watch more television than they pray. They play golf more than they pray. They give more attention to the words of men than the Word of God. They dress in the current fashion and shop in upper class stores. Most drive very expensive cars and live in luxury.
The deception has found a home inside the hearts and minds of men who claim to believe the Scriptures. They no more believe the Scriptures than does Hugh Hefner, and in fact you might think they consulted Hugh Hefner on the issue of sex. Make no mistake, these men do not speak for Christ. They do not speak for God’s Word. They do not speak for the first century apostles. These men may have been ordained somewhere, and in their own church they may be called elders. In fact, they may be recognized as elders throughout the western world. And they may well be elders.




But they are elders of another faith.



From such turn away.

1 comment:

William Birch said...

Lol ... we may not always see eye to eye on every single minutiae, but I thoroughly love reading your posts (and comments on my blog). But, of course, on this post, I agree!!!

The Lord bless you, Rick!