I responded to a blog on my church’s website. It was about the Pope’s visit to the US, more specifically, the White House. We all know that it seemed that President Obama was provoking the Pope, and probably showing his contempt for the Pope at the same time, by the people he invited. It is obvious that the president was sending a message to the Pope but the Pope didn’t get upset or withdraw from the White House visit. He went and I am sure he was a gentleman. The blog posted explained how it was an opportunity for the Pope to show a Christ-like persona or humility in a situation constructed to upset him.
I commented on the blog post to ask why we are aligning with the Roman Catholic Pope. The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) persecuted the early Reformers, instituted the Inquisition and generally harassed those who opposed the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. The RCC also held the Council of Trent from 1545 to 1563 to discuss their response to the Reformation. In the end they decided to denounce all the teachings of the Reformers: faith alone, scripture alone, grace alone, Christ alone and glory to God alone. The RCC did not want to lose the authority and power they have consolidated and assumed in regards to how much access the “common” people should have to the teachings of God.
The RCC wants to keep the RCC relevant in regards to salvation. They teach that salvation in Christ and into heaven can only be achieved by those who are members of the RCC and actively participate in the Roman Catholic sacraments. The Reformation takes that power away from the RCC and teaches that all Christians have access to the scriptures and have access to their Heavenly Father. We receive salvation through faith alone in Christ, not through works. We do not earn grace, it is freely given. Scripture is the infallible and available and is the final authority. Salvation is in Christ alone through faith alone, the church has no part in an individual’s salvation. The RCC teaches that salvation is not possible without the RCC, performing good works and obeying sacraments, basically whatever the RCC deems is necessary is what is needed and must be added to the gospel. The RCC teaches a gospel of salvation plus RCC dogma plus works.
The blogger answered my comment by basically saying that unity on meeting the social needs was more important than doctrine. That is a topic for another blog post because the gospel is much deeper than good works.
The Reformers were correct to seek to reform the teaching of the RCC. Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is in and through Christ alone, faith alone and grace alone. And the faith required to believe the gospel and the ability itself to believe, and the grace received as a result of the faith are gifts given to us from God. Salvation is at no point accomplished or completed by the believer.
John 19:30: When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 42“It is finished,” and he bowed his head and 43gave up his spirit. This means that Jesus fulfilled the Law and the satisfied the necessary requirements of the Law, namely, a blood sacrifice of the Passover Lamb for the covering of our sins. It is finished.
“Unity, unity, my kingdom for unity in the Church!” Is that found in the gospels anywhere? Have I ever read where either Jesus or His apostles make this statement? Are we to compromise orthodox doctrine for the sake of a unified front? Does the formation of soup kitchens, centers for donated clothing and furniture, and shelter for the homeless trump essential truths? Are we to ignore questionable teaching and beliefs just because someone or some organization is performing good works? Does good works mean more than basing those works on a solid orthodox foundation?
I know that someone will say that James said that faith without works is dead, but works without faith are also dead. If we doing works under any false pretense then those works are not a result of saving faith but a works-based salvation. If the notion that one must serve as proof of Christian maturity is put forth then the teaching of essential doctrines will viewed as too divisive and will they will not be taught. Christian maturity is evident by spiritual growth in increased knowledge of doctrine so one defend and contend for the faith, and humbly working out one’s salvation without calling attention to the works being done.
Focusing on unity and performing good works so the church can put on a persona of being Christ-like and appearing compassionate to the needs of society is only a half right. Doing the good works by living the gospel and actually verbally sharing the gospel are meant to be done side-by-side. We are not called to just show compassion by being socially active in meeting the needs of society, we are to show compassion by sharing the gospel. We cannot hope that by meeting physical needs that people will somehow want to know more about Jesus. We have to talk about Him, too.
We also cannot water down or tell only part of the gospel, talking about God’s grace and mercy and love because of Jesus dying on the cross, while ignoring the reason why he died on the cross. We are sinners destined for the wrath of God but the shed blood, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ spared of that dark eternal future. Unity should start with a solid foundation on the whole gospel message and sound doctrine and all other good works will flow from that.
Does a church save people? Is the purpose of the church to save people, meaning is the church capable of saving people? Is it the right thing to do to modify the inspired word of God so that it is more palatable? People’s ears are so sensitive that the truth hurts too much. We cannot make people feel bad about their sin, that they are doing things that God doesn’t like. We have to tell them that God loves them as they are and they can still receive Jesus as their Savior. The Lord part can come at some later day. You can still live as you have been living and volunteer at the church as evidence of your becoming a member of the family of God, that will help you feel saved.
Jesus saves people. The church does not. Pastors do no. People do not. The gospel is preached. The Spirit convicts. People are saved.
The Law is revealed to show deficiency in each person before God the Father. God the Father expects perfection and we will never achieve it. God established the sacrificial system in the Temple as a symbolic requirement that only blood can cover anyone’s sin, but animal blood was not enough. It had to be done over and over but it would never be enough. A sacrifice of blood that would have eternal implications needed to be given in order for God to appeased in the eternal sense.
Grace is revealed through Jesus the Son of God. Jesus was born of the Spirit in the flesh of man. He was clothed in that which He created that we corrupted. He was fulfilled the Law because He obeyed the Father and remained perfect. He became the Perfect Passover Lamb that finally appeased the wrath of God the Father so we could receive the grace of God through the Son, and then God the Holy Spirit enters in so we, through the Spirit, can live out our salvation through the grace we have been given.
The body is there for believers for nourishment. The pastor is to teach about Jesus and to teach about the doctrines of the bible. We are to be a part of the body, helping one another and lifting up one another in prayer, encouraging one another that our Redeemer will come for His bride. Our hope is found in Christ, not in the church.
We have got it backwards today. We swim in the kiddie pool of the bible. I would say that we are still feeding on spiritual milk but we keep pulling away from the nipple so we can consume the sweet candy from false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing. Then those wolves accuse those who question what they teach as those who are the cancer in the body of Christ.
What has happened?
Terri Savelle Foy has a YouTube channel. She teaches messages that will help us to be better Christians and experience the joy of wealth and health that God promises. She teaches all types of false doctrine and self-help advice that would be as effective if she didn’t feel the need to reference the bible. Well, she keeps coming up with different ways to deceive and fleece those who choose to listen to her, buy her material and follow her advice. But on one episode she talked about past mistakes that may be keeping you down because you won’t let them go, but I don’t want to talk about the “mistake” but the bigger picture.
When she was in college she got pregnant. This was her example of something in her past that was holding her back because she wouldn’t let go. She explained that when she realized she was pregnant that she became filled with guilt and shame. She was now carrying a baby and the evidence of her sin would be noticed by everyone. She was afraid to her parents and her church because of the judgment and condemnation she would receive. And she would not let go of that guilt and shame, according to her, and she believed it was holding her back from accomplishing God’s purpose for her life, blah, blah blah.
What I noticed was that she did not feel guilt and shame until she became pregnant, until the evidence of her fornication would be seen by all and not just her and her boyfriend. She did not feel convicted of her sin until people would be able to see her womb enlarge. Actually, I am not sure she felt convicted of her sin but only was embarrassed because people would know about it. Did she feel guilty of her sin of fornication, sex before marriage, or did she only feel guilty of the results of the act of fornication? Does letting go mean she repented of her sin or that she moved on past the guilt she felt?
This is an important distinction. Today’s teachers do not teach repentance. They only teach grace. Grace cannot be received without repentance of sin and an acknowledgment of sin and the need for grace. We can feel guilty of being caught in our sin but not feel guilty for committing that sin. There is very little teaching concerning the purpose of the law which is to convict us of our sin so that we realize we need a Savior. The teachers are preaching cheap grace and an empty conversion to a false doctrine.
I cannot believe all the bad teachers that are around today. Heath Mooneyham is relatively new to the national scene. He has popped up due to the chosen lifestyle he lives which he believes is not contradictory to the conduct of a pastor. In the epistles to Timothy and Titus Paul outlines the duties of a pastor and Heath Mooneyham does not fit any of them, not even close. He abuses alcohol, flirtatious with women who are not his wife, and I do not think he has any clue what the bible is about or could explain sanctification never mind give a sermon. He is a fraud.
A year ago an online magazine did an article on the renegade or rebellious leader of a growing church. Two weeks after the reporter spent time following Mooneyham and gathering data for his article, Mooneyham was arrested for a DWI or DUI, depending on what state you live in. In the article the reporter relates part of his time with Mooneyham at a bar where he “pounded beers with his bros and flirted with the buxom waitresses”. His molded public image is one who a man who has a set of giant testicles and lives his life stampeding over the Pauline outline of proper characteristics for a pastor and smacking everyone around with him with his giant testicles. He is a fraud.
I have heard a few of his “sermons” and they are difficult to follow. He talks like he has marbles in his mouth and that he should be an MC for a WWE or UFC event, not a pastor allegedly preaching from God’s word. He claims he started his church because he did not want to conform to the standards required to be a pastor. So he began his own church. He has not seminary training. I don’t think he has any kind of educational training in relation to the bible. It seems he just simply reads it and makes up a message that he thinks sounds good. He bristles against people who are orthodox in their teaching by calling them judgmental but his sermons are messages that pile on law with no reference point to the gospel. I am not sure he even knows what the gospel is. He is a fraud.
He believes he needs to a bad boy. He believes he needs to drink beer, hang out in bars, oogle women, and sound like and use language that would lead young men to want to be his beer and hunting buddy. He believes that he has to reach young men by being a person who is like them in every way except that he claims to have a personal relationship with Jesus. It seems he believes that by making that claim it makes him a Christian and qualifies him to be a pastor. It seems he believe by inviting people to his church is advancing the kingdom of Christ. His services seem to be like a club without the beer but I am not sure that that will always be the case. He has swallowed the church philosophy of megachurch with multiple sites and the idea that increased attendance means that God is with you. He is a fraud.
I know I have called him a fraud and I will explain. Part of the article was done at his house. He is in the process of building a home on a piece of land consisting of 2,000 acres. He is building a large log home that will have a full-sized working bar with a theater room. It will essentially be a bachelor pad. The reason why he is a fraud is that his “congregation” is paying for all of it and providing the labor. He somehow has convinced himself and those who are assisting him in the building of his house that they are doing the work of God. They are building Mooneyham his dream home and I do not see the lasting impact it will have on the advancing of the Kingdom of God. He is exploiting the people he preaches to for his own personal gain.
He is a fraud.
There has been a push for the church to become relevant to modern culture and society. This has become more evident in the last twenty or thirty years or so with the advent of megachurches. This desire and backwards thought process of becoming relevant to the current trends in today’s society has also encouraged new strategies to reach those who are not Christian. I don’t like the term “unchurched” because it doesn’t make any sense and being “churched” doesn’t make anyone a Christian. Besides, these proponents for relevancy have set out to redefine the church experience. What seems to have happened is that they also decided that redefining the gospel message to be more hearer-friendly.
Hear is the big problem: the gospel has always been relevant, is currently relevant and will always be relevant. Man will always be born into sin because of the inherited spiritually dead nature from Adam, will always be in need of deliverance from the wrath of the Almighty God, cannot do anything in and of themselves to get out from under that wrath that is due them and is need of the shed blood of the Passover Lamb to cover the sin before and the imputed righteousness of Christ in order to stand before the Father free from sin. This fact is always relevant now and will always be relevant no matter what new theories are presented my man-centered thinking. Man cannot rewrite the word of God, the bible, to sanctify their souls without repentance of their sin.
What happens is now the “negative” aspects of the gospel are not preached. The focus has been on the love and grace and mercy of God so that God is now a partially senile grandfather and Jesus is your best buddy, BFF. And when the focus changed to that well, the natural inclination is to ask if God is love then why would He send people to Hell? Then the message is changed to just say you believe about Jesus and you will be saved. Volunteer to serve in the church and you will have good works because of your easy believism. But is the person’s eternal destiny changed? Are they now trying to attain salvation on their best effort to not live how they used to live?
No part of salvation has to do with us. We cannot do anything. Even the faith and the ability to believe are gifts from God, read Ephesians 2: 8-10. The works we do are not added to our salvation but are a result of our salvation. We must study like the Bereans and verify that all the teaching we hear is harmonious with the bible and that verses are used out of context in order support some man-centered teaching and a false gospel.
Sometimes I think I am an odd person. I am not sure if anyone else feels this way or has times and moments when they go through a similar time of offness. The best way to describe what I mean is through a series of descriptive sentences that shed some light on what I mean.
- Sometimes I feel sentimental about my younger years; sometimes, when I see people from my school days on Facebook, I ask myself if I really care what’s going in their lives.
- Sometimes I see the carefree and oblivious way people live and would like to live the same way; other times I cannot believe how ignorant, intentional or unintentional, they can be of their eternal prognosis.
- Sometimes I want would like to drink to excess and wake up at noon a stinking mess; most of the time I feel sad because of the people who do that because they believe that is all there is to do before they die.
- Sometimes I watch shows or movies, witness how easy it seems to have a roll in the hay with someone without consequences, and want to do it; other times I see the same stuff and I am troubled by how shallow and self-indulgent we have become as people.
- Sometimes I wish I could be ignorant of the heartbreak we cause our Creator and Savior; other times I mourn the sin, callousness and empty worship I offer.
- Sometimes I want to ride the wave of trendy church programs and emotionally experience false godliness; most times I endeavor to use the brain God had given me to be a Berean and test all doctrine against what scriptures teach.
- Sometimes I want to blend into the background; most times I feel to stand up for what I know is the plain teaching of scripture.
There are a lot more I am sure I can think. I am probably not the only one who feels this way.