February 27, 2011

Stop Pretending

"We believe that the policies, practices, and worship of the church should be ordered by the Word of God. The Word clearly says that the local church is "the house of God, the church of the living God" (1 Tim. 3:15). As such the will of God revealed in the Word of God must regulate church life. `Lord Pragmatism' (`what-will-work') and `Lord Tradition' (`the-way-we've-always-done-it') rule in many churches, not the Lord Jesus. Our modern generation of church-goers needs to be told that when these two `Lords' rule the church the result is condemned as "will-worship" (Col. 2:23) by God's holy Word!"

So concludes a brief portion of testimony from a modern day baptist confession.  In Titus 2, Paul exhorts a young under-shepherd to teach sound doctrine and more importantly - to live it in reverence to a Holy living God.  He ends by stating, "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority.  Let no one disregard you." 

Imagine a church claiming such confession, where the Senior Shepherd has lived a life of reproach and shame both by the words of his mouth, the thought life which those words betray, documented immoral and unprofessional actions, witnessed, documented, and recorded false witness, bending local ordinances and breaking laws for selfish causes.  In this church, all this is excused because the Senior Shepherd is loved by his people.  

Now imagine a church, the worship leader will not talk to their own in-laws and has not for years, even though they attend the same church - because of family dispute.  This same leader allows all kinds of evil entertainment into thier home with the excuse that if they did not, their children would not "fit in" with others.  This same worship leader is adored by the church because of great skill in the lead musical instrument which is played in service and because the father of this individual has always been involved in worship leading, even though the other biblical red flags are common knowledge.  Ephesians 4:30 says that such behavior [specifically within the body] grieves the Holy Spirit.  Christ says in Matthew 5:24 not to worship before being reconciled to one another.

Now imagine a Church where the elders have on several occasions, chosen to protect these and other individuals rather than obey Gods Word to correct and rebuke these individuals in private and, if necessary, in public so that others will fear God [Holy Fear 1 Timothy 5:2
20-21].  Paul tells the Corinthians [1 Cor] in 5:11-13 not to associate with someone inside the church who claims to be a Chrisitian, but acts in such manners.  He actually says to "cast them out" of the local body and calls them "evil".  He later says that doing so publicly with love, reminds everyone that God is Holy, and not to be mocked(1 Timothy 5:20-21 gives the strictest charge and imperative to obey this command without exception).  

Imagine a group of elders charged with governing God's local body, who don't know the biblical qualifications to be an elder, and in many cases, the instructional content of the Bible.   Because of this handicap, they are forced to continually uphold their actions and decisions by referring to every conceivable authority [denominational decisions, websters dictionary, church constitution, their own poor memory] except for the Word of God.

Now imagine all of this in the same local body.  Would you call this the Kingdom of God or a kingdom of a few men, maybe even one man?  Would you call this Christ's Church or man's?

God has given us His words and a few non-negotiable directions for governing for a purpose.  Some things in church government are negotiable, others are not.  Contrary to popular pinion, we are to judge each others conduct within the Body for the purpose of honoring God.  To withhold obedience to these instructions in order to "preserve unity" or "peace" is a facade and a condemnation on those who know.  

When men choose to love each other over Gods holiness, they have deceived themselves into believing they are demonstrating love.  Anything that denies a love for God's holiness, a respect and fear for His Word, and a humility that the Kingdom belongs to Him first and foremost, is not real love.  It is a false love and a masquerade of peace.  Proverbs calls such people who continue to operate as such are misusing the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and calls them fools.

The Lampstand has been removed from such Church's because their first love is not the Lord Jesus Christ and His sovereignty, but their own proud establishment (Revelatins 2).  To remain with them if not possible to cast them out or reform, is a direct disobedience to God in lieu of Titus 5:11-13, 20-21.  

God wants true worshipers.  He is interested in His glory and His kingdom not ours.  This is the problem with the emergent church and church leaders [elders] who do not know how to rightly divide the Word of truth.  

The sad thing is that many churches today are like this.  Leaders rule ignorant congregations through ungodly manifestations of authority, loyalty, and truth hoarding.  People simply don't want to believe that their leaders or their family members are part of this group, so they ignore obvious signs.  There are many buildings filled with dead people every weekend singing songs about themselves and thinking they are praising God and thinking they are headed for heaven, but Jesus says he will tell them that he never knew them.

The time has come for people who claim to know God and His Word to become leaders of the Church of Christ.  The Church is the greatest Living Image Bearer of our Great and Holy God.  Problem is, the lost world is justifiably disgusted by the dead, man-centered zombies claiming to be the Living Churches.  There is a difference between fallible and being a foolish steward.

We should be appalled at weak willed, apathetic, poorly educated, unqualified, and subjectively prejudiced men leading others in a masquerade of worship; those who lead others "in the name of Jesus" but love a false peace more than the integrity of God's Word and His Bride.  Thank God for His grace.  May He bless the blind to see and worship Him in Spirit and Truth that all may know the Glory and majesty of our God.  The tragedy is not that churches are closing, but that the local bride of Christ somewhere is completely estranged to the words of their own Lord.  The only idea they can gleam from Scripture is "love", but they don't have any idea what God means by it.  

It time to stop pretending that everything is ok as long as we use the words "love" and "peace".  God forgive us and open our eyes.  Please remove false shepherds and give us those whom would honor You in all that they do.  You said that the leaders of Your Church are to lead so that they may present to You a mature Bride in every way.  Please, please deliver your Bride from her captors, and give us those leaders.

With you for His glory

1 comment:

Elisabeth LaMouria said...

For cross reference and contextual support:

2 Corinthians 7:11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.

Galatians 2:14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith

Titus 2:15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.