Saturday, April 14, 2012

Worshiping the Temporal

Worshiping the Temporal
Trashing the Eternal

Last year a man named Rob Bell wrote a book called “Love Wins” and made the obligatory “sell more” book tour. One of his stops was an interview with Martin Bashir, an MSNBC host. In that interview Rob Bell said that although responding to Christ in this life is “relevant”, what happens to unbelievers and believers after they die is completely “speculative”. Digest the implications of such a suggestion.

If we do not know our eternal destiny, and even cannot know such a thing, then we are no more than religious philosophers. And in Bell’s theology, this present life is primary while eternity is “speculation”. Now at the crux of such theology is a reworking of the Scriptures themselves. Or in other words, a rejection of their teachings. Bell makes all references to hell about earthly things, and he perceives the New Testament as a broad story rather than specific teachings.

I Jn.5:11-13 - And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

We can know that we have eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the hallmark of our faith and it is central to that which is called Christianity. If our faith is only for advancing our temporal existence, then we of all men are miserable. In fact, many other philosophies seem to make unbelievers wealthy and successful without Christ on this earth. He that has the Son has life and he that has not the Son has not life. Obviously that statement refers to something much deeper than a blood flow through a body.

Lk.16:24-28 - And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

In this parabolic teaching our Master tells us that we can and should warn others about going to a place of torment. I know, archaic and out of date, but true nonetheless. How can we warn people if the eternal is purely speculative? And if “love wins” then why the warning? Men like Rob Bell are extremely dangerous and are working against the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we worship the temporal, we trash the eternal.

If our focus becomes social justice, world peace, and all kinds of noble earthly endeavors, then we have lost the vision of eternity. Even John 3:16 becomes a fringe issue and a nebulous truth rather than the core of our faith. Men like Rob Bell, Rick Warren, and Joel Osteen are evidence that we are in the last days. Many are turning to fables and rejecting the truth. Preachers are now rich and famous rather than scourged and ridiculed. These false teachers are leading sinners to worship their earthly lives and use Christ to advance their own fallen agendas. They make merchandise of those who will listen, and with their enticing words of men’s wisdom they lead men away from Christ. In fact, they have gone so far from redemptive truth that they count the blood of Christ (almost never mentioned) as an unclean thing. This is no laughing matter; it is as serious as it gets in the world of the Spirit.

Col.3:1-4 - If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Do not get fooled, brethren. Do not incline your ears to lies all dressed up as deep spiritual truths. There are wars and rumors of wars. There are all kinds of diseases. There is starvation. There are calls for peace. And millions upon millions of professing believers live like heathens. But in the midst of all of this there is an organized effort to undermine the faith and bring reproach upon the name and work of Jesus Christ.

II Pet.2:1-3 - But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

This is not the time to be spiritually lethargic. It is not the time to be ambivalent concerning Christ. This is the time to lengthen the cords and deepen the stakes of our spiritual lives. We must seek Christ with our whole hearts. It is not enough to reject false teachers. We must be sitting at our Master’s feet and doing our Father’s work. Worshiping and witnessing. Praying and praising. Sharing and seeking. Rejoicing and mourning. Interceding and sacrificing. The end draws near and our lives are with Christ.

The temporal is to be used sparingly, but the eternal should consume us. One second after we are on the other side of death we will know with fullness how little we gave to this thing called eternity. And in that moment, even those who may have gained the whole world will realize in terror that they have lost everything. This is no game and no philosophical discussion. This is life or death, eternal life or eternal death.

1 comment:

Ariel Luciana said...

Wonderful post! The wolves in sheep's clothing & prosperity teachers have led the Church astray, as prophecied and left to us a sign of the end times. People who believe these lies are deceived and choose to be so, as 2 Tim 4:3-4 says "3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. "