Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Evangelical Idolatry

In every corner of the American Evangelical Church today I find problems in theology. Now, I know that Christians don't agree on everything. Shucks, I am a Baptist. It is said that wherever two Baptists gather together you have three opinions. But what I am talking about goes beyond simple disagreement among brother and sister Christians. It is a wholesale abandonment of the Bible in favor of something else.

In many sermons I have heard preachers make reference to "Burger King Christianity." You get it your way. I have also heard of "buffet style Christianity," you pick and choose what goes on your plate. Evangelicalism is obsessed with "Seeker Sensitive" Christianity. You find out what draws people to church (or to a large gathering of people) and you give it to them. There is "market driven Christianity" in which Jesus and the gospel are treated like products. You have to sell your product in a way that makes it more attractive than the competitors.

Now, the latest "movement" is the "Emergent Church." Emergent Christianity tries to redevelop a Christianity for people who are turned off to church and who do not believe in ultimate or absolute truths. The Emergent preachers will cuss, use lewd or sexual illustrations for their sermons and engage in all manner of behavior and belief to set themselves apart from their counterparts in the previous generation. Now, I know this is a generalization and not a hard and fast truth for every single Emergent preacher, however, enough examples can be found that this trend is well established.

In all these examples, the trend is to find a God and a Christianity that is acceptable to people. What is missing is an attempt to find a Christianity that is acceptable to God. Current American Evangelicalism is almost completely anthropocentric (man-centered). What is missing is a theocentric (God-centered) beginning point.

Theocentric Christianity is a Biblical Christianity. One of the first activities in the early church, according to Acts 2, was that they continued steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine. They studied what the apostles taught and they continued in it. That means they believed it and tried to live according to it. Theocentric Christianity believes the Bible and lives according to it.

More than that, theocentric Christianity accepts, as a truism, that the Bible is the inspired word of God. It is God's words given to men through the pens of inspired writers. Therefore, the Bible, in it's plain reading and proper context, is to be accepted as God's word and will without question. The Bible does not need to be reinterpreted, or made acceptable, or made relevant, or (fill in the blank). It needs to be accepted for what it says.

The further we get from what the Bible truly says, the more we live in a Christianity we have invented with our own minds. The further we get from the God of the Bible the more we worship an idol we have invented for ourselves.

The God of the Bible is the sovereign ruler over all creation. Creation itself continues to exist by the power of His word. He has judged sin and sinners, yet, has mercy on whom He wills. He gave His Son Jesus Christ as a substitutionary sacrifice for the people He desires to save. His Spirit will find those whom He has chosen and will bring them, sooner or later, to saving faith in Jesus Christ. God has predestined these beloved to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. And so they shall be conformed, because the God of all creation will accomplish His own will.

The more modern Christians turn towards a God who exalts man, the more they turn away from the God whose ultimate purpose is His own glory.

Soli Deo Gloria - to God alone be the glory. Let God be true and every man a liar. God never does for man what man can do for himself. God moves men to a place of total dependence on Himself, then He moves so that no one can claim credit for what was done. All will know that the work is of the Lord.

Beloved Christian, search the scriptures, read the scriptures, believe the scriptures, live the scriptures. Find in the scriptures the doctrine that gives all the glory to God for all things. Settle for nothing less. Because anything less than the biblical God and biblical Christianity ... is idolatry.

4 Comments:

Blogger David Flick said...

John Sneed wrote: The God of the Bible is the sovereign ruler over all creation. Creation itself continues to exist by the power of His word.

John, if God really is the sovereign ruler over all creation, and if he really does maintain creation by the power of his word, why does he not he just say the word and make everyone become Calvinists? Why does he not, through his sovereign power, straighten out all the evil that pervades the world?

10:00 PM  
Blogger Rev. said...

Sorry to interrupt...just wondering if you were going to answer the question, John.

David, I'm curious about your question. Is the belief that God is sovereign merely a "Calvinist" belief?

The Apostle Paul declares in Colossians, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things consist." (1:16-17)

Proverbs 16:4 states, "The LORD has made all things for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom."

If God is not "in charge," then how can we trust His promise to work out "all things" for our good? (Romans 8:28) Doesn't Ephesians 1:11 comfort us by letting us know that God "works all things according to the counsel of His will"?

I have no interest in being labeled a "Calvinist," but I'm very much interested in being a "Biblicist."

9:24 AM  
Blogger Rev. said...

John,
I think if you aren't careful, you'll write off the "Emerging" crowd as a whole, and without warrant. I think you over- generalize when you state that "Emgerent preachers will cuss...", etc., and state that "this trend is well established." It's sort of like someone declaring that all Calvinists are Hyper-Calvinists, that they don't believe in evangelism & missions, etc., and that such is "well established."

Your point is well taken that there is a trend "to find a God and a Christianity that is acceptable to people." That's not a new trend, by any means. It is certainly right to seek a theocentric approach in our worship, devotion, evangelism, service, etc.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Jon L. Estes said...

Amazing, God is not sovereign (to Dr. Flick) because He does not do things the way Dr. Flick thinks they ought to be done.

A sovereign God does not owe us any answers but we owe Him our all.

3:24 AM  

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