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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Getting Use to the Dark . . . Ages

Consider this a sequel to the 'would you rather blog' blog. For a recap, I mentioned that what Dan Rather has in common with many preachers is that they do not what to be held accountable for what they deliver as to be 'truth'. Both want us to just take them at their word and believe it; after all, they are the experts. In many churches, for a church member to test the teaching of their pastor would be dubbed a mutiny. He or she would be stigmatized as a combative church member, trying to stir up strife, and "cause the devil to get involved and ruin the church." Preachers and teachers, like Dan Rather, use scare tactics and threats to church members saying that their pursuit of the truth is not only wrong but rebellious and the work of the devil. But how is this so? Aren't preachers to be the first to have sound doctrine, precise theological statements, and a faithful presentation of Scripture. Unfortunately, this adherence is words without weight. I find it intriguing that people call these good Bereans as being a part of the devils work. Think about it. The devil is quite a theologian. He knows how to quote Scripture. I would say he probably knows it better than most of us. Yet he is also the father of lies and a deceiver. So you can see how he would use the Bible to deceive people and corrupt the truth. Isn't this what false teachers and the devil have in common? They don't want the truth to be told, for if that were to happen, then they would be exposed for who they are. Today you can hear believers say, "God said it; I believe it; that settles it." And now it can be said that they say, "My pastor said it; I believe it; that settles it." No investigation. No discernment. No testing the teaching with the Word of God. I submit that the Berean willing to hold his or her pastor/preacher accountable is never more like a New Testament believer - not the devil!!! The devil works in secret, in deception, behind closed doors. The New Testament believer proclaims from the rooftop what was told in the secret and operates in true transparency in doctrine and in life. Today there are more resources available for in depth Bible study and spiritual growth than ever. Concordances, Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, lexicons, grammars, surveys, and so on. Yet there has never been a time where believers appear to be so naive, theologically inept, biblically illiterate and irresponsible, and bad stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:1). We have become more devil-conscious when it comes to theology than God-conscious and automatically assume that anyone questioning someone's theology (especially a leader) is working as a cohort of the devil. Where did this come from? Why do they say this? Are they afraid of being true to God and His Word? If the questions are legitimate, then they should be answered. And if the person questioning is wrong, then they should learn from their pastor. But what if the pastor/preacher is wrong? That cannot be the case because it would appear that the lay member is more studious and serious about the matters of doctrine that their spiritual authority. But aren't we all a part of the holy priesthood and all accountable to our doctrine? Today, we are more content to know God minimally that know him rightly and truly. We cannot know him fully because we are finite beings, be we can know him truly, and this should be the aim. To accuse anyone of being in that enterprise of being the devil is only tactic and ploy to deter from the reality and fact that we would rather live in the dark ages. There was a time when the believers did not have a copy of God's Word. The priest would teach them the Bible, and the only thing the person knew was what the priest told them, so they assumed it to be true. Interpretation and study was left to the priest until the Gutenburg press came along and mass Bible production came into being. More and more persons began reading the Bible for themself, and soon, a man named Martin Luther came upon the scene and taught the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and held the battlecry of Sola Scripture. This was the ending of the dark ages and the beginning of a Reformation to which we all are indebted to. Yet I am concerned that even though we all have our own Bibles (some a whole collection), we want to go back to the dark ages and leave theology and doctrine up the so-called priest (preacher/pastor). Theology is relegated to the spiritually elite in theological academia or higher education rather than every who calls Christ their Lord. The Puritans were a people who held everyone including their children accountable to knowing God arightly. With catechisms, confessions, and intense Bible training, these people sought God together. Many historians have said that their society was the greatest Christian society our world has ever known. On the other hand, today, we are getting used to the dark. More interested in Oswald Chambers and popular preachers comedy than a preacher teaching the deeper truths of the Christian faith. Happy with milk, we prefer to be babes and be coddled with the comfort of a padded pew. All the while the modern day Martin Luther is being taken to court and discinplined for having a passion for knowing God. These Bereans intimidate the Laodiceans who have become lukewarm and apathetic to theology and the study of God. To these and others who have felt the pressure to conform and cower down to the preachers and teachers who would rather threaten than be transparent, I understand where you are and have been there. I call upon the Reformer himself and his words as the conclusion and cry of our heart: "Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God." May we never get used to the dark and go back to the dark ages. History and the Author of it will hold us accountable as to how we represented God in truth and in our transformed lives.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jimmy said...

This is encouraging and even moreso challenging and convicting. One gets the feeling in many churches that the pastor is an infallible celebrity. And while the pastor should be respected highly, I believe a genuine Christian would always want to be confronted and challenged (in a truthful, loving manner, with helpful intent) on any perceived error. I have had leaders thank me for holding them to truth, and these are the ones that I respect the most.

This is also a great challenge to me to chase after God and gain wisdom and insight. I have miles and centuries to travel in that. We cannot possibly expect to be able to discern truth from error if we know nothing of the truth.

I would venture that the devil is already greatly involved in the church, but it isn't through those who question for truth so much as those who thoughtlessly absorb everything that comes their way.

3/23/2005 02:08:00 PM

 

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