..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Tipping Point

For months now, all the warning lights have
been lit up on my inner dashboard. Not in the
sense that something was personally ready to
crash and burn within me, but in the Christian
church at large. Something has seemed "rotten
in the state of Denmark." Although it is not
Denmark that appears to be the problem, there
seems to be an interesting corollary in
Shakespeare's Hamlet. In the story, the ghost
of Hamlet's father comes back and appears to
him to try and warn him of the evil lurking
in the person of the new King.

I am thinking that the Holy Ghost sent by our
Heavenly Father has been zealous to warn the
hearts of many. I realize that the world has
always been crazy, and the Christian church
has always had issues, and even factoring in
that I am somewhat re-entering the public
arena after a long semi-eremetic season,
does not account for the sense of
foreboding that I feel.

If I am called as a sentry, then I am
sounding the bell. Biblically sound,
Spirit-led Christianity, that properly honors
the holiness of God and the atoning work of
Christ seems to be at the top of the endangered
list. The assault is coming from so many angles
and in such over-the-top ways that I keep
thinking I must be dreaming. While it is not my
calling to point fingers and list sordid details,
I will briefly review some of the issues of concern
that are causing a boiling pot of controversy on
the landscape of American Christianity. I realize
some who read this may not be aware of them, and
for this rude cold basin of water in your face,
I apologize.

Only a few weeks back the controversy with Ted
Haggard surfaced and while we can hope it is a
somewhat isolated experience we have to know in
our hearts that it is not. Things just don't get
to where they get to by accident. Our way of
isolating leaders while at the same time putting
them on pedestals in a society that makes it
increasingly easy to have a public persona far
different from your private life will be sure to
reap devastation. There is meant to be
accountability in the church, I am meant to watch
over you, and you are meant to watch over me.

I used to work for a major Christian ministry
who put young Christians in the public eye because
they were well-known for some secular gifting.
I would always cringe when I would see these young
Christians expected to know God and minister Him
simply because they were good at something
completely unrelated in life, like singing or
acting or politicking. A recipe for disaster.

I can guarantee we have not seen the end of
high-ranking Christians falling off their
pedestals. We set them up for it. We cannot
safely assume that just because folks finds
themselves in a leadership position that they
are prepared or even called to lead. Even
if are called, they should not lead outside the
protective umbrella of a faith community which
functions in a scripurally-prescribed manner.

Then there is the whole Rick Warren
controversy that threatens to set off, if it
has not already ignited, fireworks of global
proportions in the growing war over what makes
us Christians and how we interface with people
of other religious and political persuasions.
It is painfully hard not to believe that
his notoriety will not lead to the downfall
of his eternal soul. It's not the
hula ministry, its the, dare I say it,
dangerous if not unholy alliances, he is
crafting, and the social gospel kingdom
he is building. If the real gospel is in
there somewhere, I am sorry to say I have
missed it. You can be sure that Stephen
would not have preached a Warren-style
speech to the Sanhedrin, and that John the
Baptist would not have forgotten to warn
those in need of repentance.

Consider too
George Whitfield,
in an eerily similar situation,
addressing his free-thinking
friend, Benjamin Franklin, "as you
have made a pretty considerable
progress in the mysteries
of electricity, I would now humbly
recommend to your diligent unprejudiced
pursuit and study the mystery of the
new-birth. . . . One at whose bar we
are shortly to appear, hath solemnly
declared, that without it, 'we cannot
enter the kingdom of heaven.' You will
excuse this freedom. I must have "aliquid Christi"

[something of Christ] in all my letters."
Mmm. Something of Christ in everything.
Oh, if only it were so.

As a younger Christian I could never see how
the Antichrist could get large groups of
Christians to follow him. I totally get it now.
But you know, that whole Antichrist idea is just
one of the many silly notions of "bible-bashers."
What is amazing to me is that I might now be
called one of these bible-bashers by people I
had fellowship with just a few short years ago.
Make no mistake about it, an ugly line is being

On another front the very tenets of the gospel
are being reworked by substantial factions such
as the Emergent Church. Yes, lets take a burgeoning
movement, full of young people eager to serve and
find meaning in the gospel, and yes, let's
encourage them to do it, but let's
rework the idea of why Jesus died.
They will never know or mind the difference. It's
all post-modernly relative anyway, isn't it?

Well, isn't it? Dear ones, please go to the Lord
and ask Him to lead you to the Truth. Let God take
a look at your heart. A very wise man, a man who
had leaned on Jesus breast and felt the beating of
His heart, a man who had touched the very Life of
God said, "Beloved, believe not every
spirit,but try the spirits whether they are
of God: because many false prophets are
gone out into the world. Hereby know you
the Spirit of God: every spirit that
confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the
flesh is of God: but every spirit that does not
acknowledge Jesus is not from God and this
is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you
have heard that it should come; and even now
already is in the world,
" (I John 4:1-3.)

These matters will not be won by mental debates and
doctrinal tribunals. These matters are deep matters
of the heart and will be rightly divided by God alone.

Our enemy is not of flesh and blood, but the
evil one who sows deception and lies. Let us buy from
Jesus salve for our eyes that we might see, so that
in that Day we will stand, not with the goats, but
with the Lamb of God. He shepherds His little lambs
in peace and truth, and lets them lie down in
safety. Who would want to stray from Him?

We have probably tipped past a point of no-return.
The journey shall be arduous from here on in.
The house is burning. Sound the alarm.


Gary said...

Regarding your plea, "Dear ones, please go to the Lord
and ask Him to lead you to the Truth. "

I'm all for that. I've been walking with the Lord for 16 years and it seems only recently the Lord is pulling through all of the Christian-ese, church branding, and the such, to bring me consider seriously what grace really means.

My wife and I visited a few times an offshoot of the Mars Hill church and the emphasis seems more to make the congregation go out and be a missionary to neighbors and associates before taking a close look at our own relationship with the Lord and seek a life in the Spirit first. It seems to me, telling people to "just go out and do it" makes it becomes a new "justification by works" problem.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, in earnest pray seek a life in the Spirit, and let God through us help the dear ones!

The Pen of The Wayfarer said...

Thanks,Gary, it really does all start with Jesus and our relationship with Him and end with Jesus and our relationship with Him. There are so many thing that try to draw us away from the simple life of intimate communion we are offered in Jesus Christ.God bless you on your journey toward Him.