Monthly Archives: January 2013

The attraction model

cross

When my home church of 15 years started using the “the attraction” model to drive church growth it seemed like a good idea, at first.
But after 5+ years of watching this model in action, I’ve witnessed the scattering of sheep (believers) from that church in search of a “shepherd” and the same apostasy in an alarming number of churches as I’ve sought to find a new home church.

I say apostasy with certainty because the attraction model is in direct conflict with God’s word. It is a different gospel — one based on social justice and “love” for all. Nowhere in the bible is there an example of Jesus making friends with nonbelievers, or Him starting a campaign or vision to right a social injustice.

No, He went right to the heart of the manner with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4: 7-32), at the dinner table with Levi and the publicans (Luke 5: 27-33), and with the young rich man who wanted to know how to go to heaven (Matt 19:16-30), just to name a few examples.

He didn’t lift the woman at the well from her “circumstances.” Instead He gave her liberty from her sin (Romans 6:18). Believers are not instructed to liberate people. That is Jesus job. That is why He died. He’s the ONLY one who can set people free. Even in the worst circumstances — slavery, abuse, poverty — people CAN be free.

Jesus told them the truth and that was the most loving thing He could do. He proclaimed the the gospel Romans 6:23 puts it in the most succinct terms – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gal 1:6-10 warns against another gospel. It says – 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

The other reason I say this is apostasy is because James 4:4 and John 15: 9-19 both say that friendship with the world is to be an enemy of God. If the world hates us, know it hated Him before it hated us.

James 4:4 says – Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

John 15: 9-19 brings the point home. It says –
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18 If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

People who insist on making friendships and alliances with lovers of the world need to check their doctrine against God’s word. And I don’t mean the watered-down version of the holy book, but a literal, word for word translation of the bible (ESV, NASB, KJV etc.).

The truth is offensive because it IS narrow-minded and unchanging, but Christians are tasked with proclaiming the good news (the gospel of Jesus Christ) – Mk 15:16.

Even when the culture changes, God does not.
If He kowtowed to men’s whims or changing self-centered values, what kind of God would He be?
I’m afraid not powerful enough.

Our God is almighty with resources and power beyond what we can imagine. He is unchanging, merciful and long-suffering.
And I’m so thankful for that.

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The defenseless

armor

I have a question for you. Do you take your bible to church anymore? I mean, with the advancement of technology, many churches now broadcast scripture, poems, quotes and other passages onto large screens that can be seen even in the nosebleed section of the sanctuary. Heck, you don’t even have to wear your glasses to read them because they are printed in XL font, I’m sure.

With this kind of access, you might be wondering who needs to bring their bible anymore?

This is a popular belief in most churches today, but do you understand how dangerous and vulnerable you are when you do not use your own bible?

To take a pastor’s word about a passage leaves you vulnerable to “his” interpretation and because there are so many translations of the bible out there, many times the scriptures being put on the screens are paraphrased from an already paraphrased bible (The Message, NLT, etc.) A common practice now is for a pastor to craft his sermon and then look for scripture that supports his theme, and then he looks for the translation of the verse(s) that fit most accurately with “his” point of view (theology).

Pastors are charged with preaching God’s word and teaching the “flock.” 1 Timothy is such a rich text for godly living, pastoral and elder duties, and contending for the faith. And 1 John 4:1-6 tells us to test the spirits as does 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

Believers should never take man’s word alone, even a pastor’s word, because we are living in times that Matthew 24 warns about — a time when false prophets with false doctrine will be rife. When you don’t have your bible with you at church to look up the scriptures the pastor is using, you are at his mercy and his understanding of it. Men can easily twist God’s word to fit the theme of their sermon for the day.

To put this in terms that make more sense, pretend you are a soldier on active duty, and you’re supposed to be on the front lines of defense in a war. You saunter out of the barracks with your street clothes on and no weapon. You stand in front of your officer for inspection before going directly into the battle. That’s pathetic, but to make matters worse, the commanding officer gives you a “pep” talk and then sends you into battle as you are.

Does this EVEN make sense?

Heck no. You’re not ready to defend anything, and the officer has basically sent you on a suicide mission.

I’m imploring believers to get into their bibles. God’s word is the “Sword of the Lord” and you can’t fight a (spiritual) battle without it. When Christians don’t read their bibles, they in effect have turned in their weapon. Carry it with you everywhere you go. Easy enough to do with “bible apps” for any kind of technology. Read it everyday, test your pastor’s words against the truth he has been ordained to teach.

We are in a serious spiritual battle, especially in our churches, and while Ephesians 6:12 tells us the battle is against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness, and evil in the highest places, we are defenseless against this kind of power, but God’s word is our armor and the weapon we use to fight the good fight – Ephesians 6:10-20.