Category Archives: Deadly-wrong Theology

Offering Our Children to Molech

In the disastrous wake of President Obama’s decision to put the full faith and finances of the Federal Government behind the destruction of human life, I have come to a shocking and bone-jarring conclusion:  As a society, we are engaged in child sacrifice and we are unashamed.

In large measure, this post is not directed at the irreligious, the anti-religious, the atheist.  Rather, this post is meant to be a punch in the gut to the people that call themselves “Christians.”  The irreligious, anti-religious, and atheist are, by nature, sinners.  We should expect them to sin and to call sin “OK.”  All too often, however, those who claim the name of Christ look no different than the irreligious, anti-religious, and atheistic people of the world.

The Problematic Situation

For years, society has been heading in the myopic “I-Me” direction.  This devolution has resulted in an insanely selfish society.  But, again, what else do we expect sinners to do?  The church, though, has followed along with society.

1. Worship Wars abound in churches over the style of the music.  Nowhere in the New Testament is a specific style of music commanded.  Since, in the Old Testament, God decrees the minutiae of worship–down to the very thread in the priestly robes–we might expect the New Testament to decree a style of worship.  It doesn’t.  That’s strange and very telling.

Rather than being a gracious and giving lot, our church folk have turned on each other to devour each other.  Why?  because they want the style of music they are most comfortable with.  Arguments are “invented” to keep the status-quo in place.  This is not New Testament piety; this is worldly selfishness.  This is seeking your satisfaction at the expense of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Now, I’m not commenting on a particular style of music.  If I had my preference, the church I pastor would do Bach and Handel (after all, I am a classically-trained trumpet player).  What I am commenting against is the selfishness displayed in our churches.  Why not have a variety of musical styles?  Why not rejoice with someone who prefers “contemporary” styles when, on one Sunday, a contemporary ensemble leads the worship service?  Sure it’s not your preference.  But, church is not about you!  Church is about God and God commands us to be gracious to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to rejoice with and for them, and to be a people known for self-sacrifice.  Instead of a Godly “give/give” idea, we are left to see a worldly “take/take” idea.  How sad and how un-Christian.

2. Churches have become outwardly focused to the exclusion of the fellowship of believers.  Do we need to do mission work?  Absolutely!!  However, mission work is not to be done at the expense of building up the members in our churches.  All too often churches are acting like they exist only to do outreach.  Remember, outreach is only one aspect of church life.  The edification (or building up) of the current members (brothers and sisters in Christ) is also required of the church.

Where this becomes a problem is that the builders and the outreachers are usually fighting over which is more important.  How stupid!  That’s like doctors fighting over which organ a patient can live without–a heart or a brain.  Both organs are necessary and both aspects of church–edification and outreach–are necessary as well.

Yet again, we, in our myopic selfishness, do not work with the other “party.”  No, instead we call them names and brand them as “less spiritual.”  Maybe we do this to justify our own selfish desire to be right?  Maybe we do this because we are so spiritually deficient that we need to feel sufficient and rather than looking to Christ–who is Himself the only all-sufficient One–we demonize our brothers and sisters in Christ to exalt ourselves?

If it is true that our actions speak louder than our words, and it is, Christian have much to be ashamed of.  We look too much like the world.  Selfishness is rampant in the church–almost at the same level as the world.  Essentially, we look no different from the world.

Selfishness is Idolatry

All selfishness is, in one way or another, idolatry.  We seek to place our own thoughts and desires over God’s thoughts and desires.  When we seek to justify ourselves at the expense of our brothers and sisters in Christ we commit the sin of idolatry–self-idolatry.

Idolatry is a struggle.  I don’t mean to speak ill of those who are constantly engaged in the struggle.  I do, however, mean to correct those who refuse to even engage in the struggle!

The Worldly Parallel

One of my biggest frustrations is shopping carts left in parking spaces in the supermarket.  This really is the height of self-absorption.  This is the idea of “I’m too important to be bothered with taking my cart to the cart return.  Someone else, who is obviously beneath me, can do that for me.”

If I had a dime….never mind.

How in the world does this relate to Molech?

Leviticus 20:1-9 says:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. 4 And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, 5 then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech.

6 “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. 7 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 9 For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.

Molech was one god of the Canaanites.  Worshiping Molech was on the same level as worshiping Baal.  Baal, being the storm god who brought the rain and made the crops grow, was worshiped so that the people of the land could eat.

Parents would sacrifice their children to satisfy their own appetites.

The Canaanites practiced child sacrifice.  Child sacrifice is the height of wicked selfishness.  What parent would sacrifice their own children so that the parents could benefit?  How many examples of parents sacrificing themselves, selflessly, so that their children could live have we seen in the history of the world?  What about Moses’ parents?  They might have been charged with treason and subsequently put to death had the Pharaoh discovered they disobeyed his order to kill the male children.  What about parents who shield their children from tornadoes–using their own bodies to absorb the debris?

It is natural for parents to sacrifice themselves and their desires for the betterment, survival, and support of their children.

So, how can it be the case that women are having abortions because it is summer and they don’t want to look bad in a bikini?  How can parents give their embryonic children to the scientific butchers to grow new parts and pieces for some type of Owellian chop-shop and garage for human fraility?  Why are parents not yelling to the scientists “Take me and leave my children alone!”

One reason: Selfishness.  A selfishness that seeks your own good and your own comfort over the very life of your child.

Molech in the Church

How does this all come together?  Our churches have raised a generation of people (and I purposely didn’t use the word “believers”) who care only about themselves.

If we truly cared for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we would lovingly (notice: lovingly) correct them when they act outside of God’s will.  If we really cared we’d seek the good of our brothers and sisters before we sought our own comforts.  You do not need to look far to see the demise of proper church discipline.  Usually proper church discipline mutates into one of two un-biblical extremes–people seek to crucify, not restore, the brother or sister in the wrong or people refrain from any discipline whatsoever.  Both extremes are wrong.  Both extremes are born out of and serve perverse selfishness.

Is it any wonder the church is shrinking?  We care more about numbers of baptisms than we do about true Christian discipleship and growth.  We don’t discipline each other because the confrontation will take us out of our comfort zone and trying to discipline someone may make them leave and our numbers will fall.  We concentrate on baptisms and the number of people on our church rolls because it serves our own egos, not the ultimate well-being of our brothers and sisters.  See?  Selfishness, again.

The shrinking church is evidence that God has turned His face away from us (I’m not talking “America;”  I mean that God has turned His face away from the church).

May God forgive us for our rampant selfishness.  May we repent and experience His face shining on us once again as we seek to be properly Godly and properly Biblical in all we say and do, both in public and in private.

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

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Lookin’ For [Joy] In All The Wrong Places

Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places was a popular country song back in the 1980’s (yes, when I was in grade-school, I was an avid country music fanatic and I’ve got the Alabama albums to prove it!). This song still strikes a nerve in me today because people still do this! People seek what they think of as love in so many wrong and God-less places. For un-regenerate, worldly people to act this way should not be surprising. However, Christians do the same thing, and that is surprising (to some extent) and it is also very sad. What is even more sad, perhaps, is that today, some Christians seem to spend their entire lives looking for Joy in all the wrong places.

Whether it is the recapturing the joys of when we are first saved or looking for a “hit” of joy, many Christians are simply seeking after the wrong thing…or, at least, they are seeking it in all the wrong places.

Addicted to Feelings

Many new believers have unrealistic expectations about their faith. Namely, they expect the “feeling” of joy to last unabated. You remember when you came to Christ or had a fresh “mountain-top” experience, don’t you? We’ve all had those joyous experiences that made us feel like spiritual super-men (or women). The feeling is quite a rush–so much so we feel as if we could walk from New York to England or cast Satan into the pit ourselves. This feeling of joy can become quite addictive, and it is quite dangerous–it can become our idol.

Unrealistic Expectations

It is unrealistic to expect this particular feeling to last. When you look through the Bible you see almost every major person, from Moses to Peter to Paul and even Jesus Himself dealing with what I will call “dark” times. Being in a dark time does not imply being in sin (although that is possible), but dark times refers to times when you feel God is distant.

Did you notice I used the word “feel?” Feelings are the problem–feelings can deceive you and you can become addicted.

In Search Of Experience

In one of my favorite movies, Star Wars, Obi-wan Kenobi tells young Luke Skywalker: “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them…stretch out with your feelings.” Unfortunately many Christians today live life this way–they look for that which will help in the boosting of their feelings.

This is one reason I think there is growth in the so-called charismatic denominations. Many charismatics consider the experience of speaking in tongues as the mark of the Holy Spirit (now, that is quite un-biblical and a topic for another time). For these charismatics, faith is confirmed experientially and emotionally, not rationally or scripturally. A large amount of credence is given to the subjective personal experience with the Holy Spirit as seen in tongue-speaking or some other “visible” gift of the Spirit. Sadly, what is lost in the feeling-driven culture is the objective truth of scripture. It is as if the objective Bible is interpreted through subjective experience. This paradigm is backwards because joy is measured by experience.

So, the result of the backward paradigm is that people search for experience after experience as a drug-addict searches for his or her next “high.” No emphasis is placed on the truth of scripture and all emphasis is on what you experience. So, the result joy-addicted druggies looking for their next fix.

What makes this problem worse is the experience-driven culture we live in. The next time you have a chance to really listen to a conversation, see how many times the conversation is actually a superficial conversation filled with nothing more than experience-swapping. Experience one-ups-man-ship is the mark of a superficial conversation between people only interested in themselves, not the other person.

On the other hand, some people choose to live vicariously (yet superficially) through other people’s experience (just look at the popularity of the celebrity-news shows and the paparazzi).

Experience-seeking Christians tend to to act in a way that suggests they believe “The Bible can deceive you, don’t trust it…stretch out with your feelings.” Experience drives our world but placing your faith in experience is fatal to your Christian life because it robs you of true joy.

Putting your Eggs in the Right Basket

Rather than put your faith in the fleeting “joy” of subjective, personal experience, place your faith in the truth of Scripture.

(1) Evaluate your experience through the truth of Scripture; Do not evaluate the truth of Scripture through your experience.

Many of us fight this. We have dark times. I’ve heard of someone thinking that God didn’t love them anymore because they had not had that emotional “feeling” that God loved them in quite some time.

For a true Christian, a feeling is not the proof of God’s love. A crucified and risen Savior is. If you read your experience through the light of Scripture you can easily come to the conclusion that God loves you precisely because He died for you. His death was a demonstration of His love for His people (see Romans 5:8). Since He publicly demonstrated His love for His elect, there is no need to doubt His love, even in the darkest of dark times.

Look at Job. God caused amazing pain in Job’s life. Did God not love Job? Of course God loved Job and that is demonstrated in the last few chapters of the book (ch 38-end) when God gives Job an unparalleled vision of Himself, His Majesty, and His power. In the darkest of times for Job, God was at work to reveal Himself. In our darkest of times, God is still there and is working to make us what we should be. Actually, the dark times, we can assume, are the times God is demonstrating His love the most. If He didn’t love us he wouldn’t discipline us in cases where we bring the darkness on ourselves through sin (See Hebrews 12:6) and He wouldn’t care to make us more Christlike–even through suffering.

(2) Work diligently to know the scriptures so that you can “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

We usually leave one of these things out, don’t we? Or, we place too much emphasis on one part…like “Heart.” Humans are emotional beings and those emotions are not necessarily bad. However, emotions can control us. Here is an example (and it isn’t a perfect one). Many children think that monsters live under their beds. Why? Because the world, for the most part, is still very new to them and they have not learned to fully separate reality from fantasy. Consequently, a child can have fantasies that a monster lives under the bed and this can scare the tar out of them.

As the child grows, however, the separation between fact and fiction grows and the child learns, objectively, that monsters do not live under the bed. So, while their emotions may still get a jolt at hearing a noise under the bed, the brain tells the emotions that there are no monsters under the bed and the emotions are quieted.

In the same way, Christians must so educate their minds with the truths of Scripture that we can evaluate everything through the lens of Scripture. So, when we are having an emotional response, we can evaluate that response, according to Scripture, to see if that response is, in fact, legitimate. If it isn’t the brain can step-in and control the emotions. Also, if you witness something that should cause an emotional response and, for some reason, doesn’t, you can evaluate the situation, again–according to Scripture, and respond with the proper emotional response.

So we can seek to always have a proper and biblically balanced response, the brain must control the emotions; the emotions must not control the brain.

(3) Seek your joy in God Himself, not the things He offers.

This is a tough one for us. John Piper nailed me with this one. It is easy to get lost in longing after the things that God provides–Eternal Life, freedom from sin, etc.–and loose sight of the Giver of the gift. Ask yourself this question, “If I get to heaven and Jesus isn’t there, would it still be heaven?” If you think heaven will be heaven without Christ, you are sorely mistaken. Heaven will still be heaven with Christ and nothing else. He is the ultimate Gift and, therefore, He must be our ultimate treasure. The things He gives to us are just icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, many of the so-called “health and wealth” preachers of today who want you to have your best life now preach and teach in such a way that makes people think that God exists to give us big-ticket items like 5,000 square-foot houses, expensive BMW’s, large plasma-screen TVs, and real-fast power boats. Nothing could be further from the truth. God exists for His own glory, not our creature-comforts.

(4) Seek your Joy in God Himself through the truth of the Scripture.

If you want to know what God is really like, you must read and know the Scriptures. Only then will your concept of God be correct. Also, we are not to pick and choose what like about God–God, as revealed in the Bible, is an all-or-nothing God.

I once had a friend who professed to be a Christian but said she didn’t think God would send anyone to hell. From reading the Bible, it is clear that people do go to hell and it is God who sends them there. It is simply not biblical to separate God’s attributes and pit them against one another or to remove a clear teaching of Scripture because it happens to offend our wrong, subjective, and experientially-based sensibilities.

Conclusion

Finally, take special care not to seek emotional highs as an addict seeks a fix. This practice leads to cheap, superficial faith and cheap, superficial churches devoid of true joy.

Rather than seek quick hits of so-called joy in our fleeting experiences, allow my dad, who is heavily influenced by John MacArthur, to suggest the way we should view joy:

True biblical joy is the deep and abiding confidence that my God is sovereign and that regardless of whatever circumstance I find myself in, He will cause everything to work to my ultimate good and to His glory.

The world we live in is a sad world–a world of despair, depression, lack of fulfillment, and dissatifaction. Man defines happiness as an attitude of satisfaction and delight based upon present circumstances–he relates happiness to happenings or happenstance.

Joy is something that cannot be planned or programmed.

Biblical joy consists of the deep and abiding confidence that I live this earthly life under the protection of a loving and sovereign God. Because of God’s sovereign care, I can rest in absolute confidence that God will, regardless of circumstances or difficulty, work all things together for His glory and my good as I remain obedient to His calling.

Biblical Joy is very different from worldly happiness. Biblical joy is always related to God and belongs only to those in Christ. It is the permanent possession of every believer–not a whimsical delight that comes and goes as chance offers it opportunity.

Perhaps you can conceptualize this concept this way: Joy is the flag that flies on the castle of the heart when the King is in residence. Only Christians can know true and lasting joy. A Christian’s joy is a gift from God. Joy is produced in the Christian by the Holy Spirit as the word is received and obeyed. A Christian’s joy is mixed with trials and it is rooted in God’s sovereign providence and a hope set on future glory.

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Heath Ledger–Part II

One of my friends sent me a link to a foxnews.com article saying that the people of Westboro Baptist Church (in Kansas) were planning to picket Heath Ledger’s funeral. The people of Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) have become famous for their “God Hates Fags” vitriol. I have visited their site (which I DO NOT recommend) and let me say this: Any church website that has a “Picket Schedule” should be ashamed of themselves. According to the article the WBC crowd is upset because Heath Ledger played a homosexual in Brokeback Mountain.

There are many issues to address, but there are too many to address them all. First a few statements:

  • I do not condone homosexuality. It is a sin which, in the Old Testament, required the death penalty.
  • All of us are sinners. The people of WBC seem to have forgotten that.
  • Except for God’s intervening grace, we would all be destined for an eternity in hell.

Now, to address the WBC issues.

  • Since homosexuality is a sin and speeding on the interstate too is a sin, does WBC picket the funerals of those who died in car accidents?
  • The people of WBC claim their picketing is “Preaching the Gospel.” It sounds to me that their “God Hates Fags” rants are not the Gospel. The Good News of the Gospel is that, though we are all sinners justly deserving Hell, Christ offers us salvation.
    • Have the Bible-toting people of WBC conviently forgotten what 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13 (ESV) says: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    The above passage makes it quite clear that homosexuality in a church is a huge problem and the church must judge the person. However, notice Paul’s unwillingness to “judge outsiders.” Who is it that will render final judgment? It is God and Him alone.

    Now, through the Bible, God has revealed to us what He thinks about certain issues. Homosexuality is called an abomination. But this sin, and it is a sin, is no different than premarital heterosexual sex, adulterous sex, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. Sin is sin. Sure there are different levels of sin, but essentially all sin is the same in that sin separates us from God and makes us all deserving of God’s eternal judgment in Hell. And Christians too are sinners. Christians are just forgiven though the death of Christ on the cross.

    If you are a Christian and you are reading this post, this is what you need to understand:

    • God will judge all sin, not just Homosexuality
    • The sin of Homosexuality does not have a place in the Church
    • As Christians, we must demonstrate our love for homosexuals by telling them that their lifestyle is sinful. It would actually demonstrate something other than love if we were silent and left them ignorant in their sin.
    • We must “Speak the truth in love” and saying “God Hates Fags” is not speaking the truth in love.
    • Rather than picketing funerals of homosexuals and U.S. Service Men and Women (who, ironically, by there service allow WBC members to have free speech), true Christians are to go and share the Gospel with all types of people (including homosexuals). It does no good to picket funerals if you have not, first, shared the truth of the Gospel, in love.

    Now, if you are a non-Christian reading this post, please understand this:

    • WBC is not an accurate representation of what it is to be a Christian. Saying that they represent Christianity is like saying The Pope represents what it is to be a Muslim.
    • The WBC people are darkly and deadly wrong about the nature of the Church’s mission.  From reading the blog on their site it is obvious that they revel in so many things a true Christian would not revel in.  A true Christian would weep bitterly about the state of their nation, not lash-out with pseudo-bible-babble which discounts the notion of “Speaking the truth in love.”
    • While WBC is right that Homosexuality is a sin, according to scripture.  But they must understand that they are to clean and purify their own fellowship and leave the “judgment” to God. His judgment is far more severe than any picketing they might do.
    • While WBC does not represent Baptists or Christians, they do represent the worst of humanity and you should not lump true Christians in with their depraved lot.
    • Christians should demonstrate our love for homosexuals by telling them that their lifestyle is sinful. It would actually demonstrate something other than love if we were silent and left them ignorant in their sin.
    • We must “Speak the truth in love” and saying “God Hates Fags” is not speaking the truth in love.

    Now, I believe in the 1st amendment, in free speech. I believe they have the right to do what they wish. But true Christians also have the right (and I’d argue the responsibility) to tell the WBC crowd that they are a bunch of idiots, and so does anyone else for that matter. I seriously doubt whether the people of WBC have ever truly trusted in Christ for anything, and as such, they too must be confronted (in love) with the truth of the Gospel. To me, it seems that they hate homosexuals and have used the Bible (which does condemn Homosexuality) to bludgeon people, while conveniently forgetting that we, as Christians, are to be salt and light while sharing the good news of the Gospel that God offers us forgiveness from all our sins, not just Homosexuality.

    Well, that’s what I think….

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