I Was Just Thinking About – RELIABILITY.
A subtle but major consideration for the Church today is whether or not it is guarding jealously the truths of the inspired Word of God or allowing for reinterpretations and cultural norms to reach a determination of what Scripture really means. It is an issue of that which is reliable and that which is radical thought. In October 2015, I wrote and published a book whose title is: The Twenty-First Century Church – Is It Waxing or Waning? Part of the thesis was: “Why is the Invisible Church failing to be visible? What factors are present that result in the diminishing effectiveness of the visible Church?” Has its reliability succumbed to a radicalization norm?
One of the ongoing discussions is focused on the necessity of the historic view of justification. Recently published is this thought by Ed Stetzer who serves as the Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. A publication, SLATE (By William Saletan - November 25, 2018), reports: “Ed Stetzer is grappling with a moral crisis…(he) is preaching the Gospel to his fellow-Christians – and – they’re not listening.” A summarizing statement about the influence of that which is occurring is: “The family values concerns of 10, 20 or 30 years ago – homosexuality, premarital sex, women in the military – have been overtaken by a different set of moral issues…social justice. A sub-heading of this article is: “Polls show that on immigration, race, and poverty, White Evangelical Protestants have surrendered moral judgment and social responsibility.”
How did this happen and why is it gaining a foothold? A conclusion drawn by the author of the article is: “White Evangelical Protestants – more than any other constituency are standing on the wrong side. The problem isn’t that they’re imposing their morality on others... What they’re imposing isn’t morality - It’s wickedness.”
What should the message of the Biblical Church be today? Jesus was clear in the primary message – John 8:31-35 – “He said to the Jews who had believed Him: If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. We are Abraham’s descendants, they answered: We have never been slaves to anyone. How can You say we will be set free? Jesus replied: I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” I John 5:11-13 states emphatically: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” This is as simple and clear-cut. This is the only true and reliable message of the Gospel. Anything other than these precise declarations are radical perversions and heresy.
When these perverted choices occur, it reminds one of the severest example of the one who betrayed Jesus Christ. When one makes choices that betray Jesus, eventually one’s life becomes one filled with sorrow. Even well-intentioned followers find that their desire to love and serve Him is frequently on a collision course with the lure of cash or other seductions. But the things we have gained at His expense ultimately and inevitably become clanging symbols of sorrow and regret. The sorrow of Judas is indicated in Mathew 27:3-5 – “Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying: I have sinned by betraying innocent blood. They said: What is that to us? See to it yourself. And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.”
An obligation for those who claim to be called by God to proclaim His Word is Second Timothy 2:14-17 (AMP), “Remind the people of these facts, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good…and ruins [the faith of those who listen. Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman tested by trial who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. But avoid all irreverent babble and godless chatter with its profane, empty words, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their teaching will spread like gangrene.”
Prayerfully – Consider These Things With Me.