In the events leading up to the Civil War it seemed as if culture was changing to understanding that slavery was wrong, and should b abolished. Later there was a cultural change that called for equality of rights for citizens of the United States. In each of these cases there has been people who call themselves Christian on both sides of the table. There were those who were against the idea of slavery being illegal, and there were those against the idea of people having the same rights. These were church going people who presumably believed the Bible was the inerrant word of God. It has always seemed as if the church has been lagging behind culture or at least that is the narrative that is being put forward by many today. Has the church always been right behind culture? The answer is no. In many ways the church has been leading the way in culture. It was churches who were the ones who first started hospitals and general care for the sick. It was churches who first started to understand that God is a God of order and thus made a universe of order as well and so started to study it to peek at the mind of God. While this was a para-church movement it was a Christian that started to educate the children in the church building which was known as Sunday school. There were Christians at the forefront for abolishing slavery and fighting for equal rights. There are some times when the church has stood it's ground against culture. The idea that culture is moving forward and the church has been behind trying to keep up is a nice way to make the church look like it is irrelevant and inferior to culture and thus should submit to the cultural norms. I would argue that if the church had always done that and had not called culture to repentance and resisted culture, then slavery would still be legal. This is not to say Christians had all influence in this discussion, however I think many people forget how involved Christians were in this issue. The same is true for civil rights. MLK Jr. was a preacher after all. Sometimes the church should be leading the charge even though culture is not ready to follow, and sometimes it is important for the church to call culture back from where it has gone astray. How do we know what we should do? This is where scripture comes in. Many secular people hate the fact that Christians use the Bible as a defense of what they should or should not do. I argue that the statements made from the authority of scripture in its entirety are the best arguments that can be made. What has God declared through his word what we should or should not be doing as a culture? Christians if we believe the Bible has been inspired by God, then we should stick to what it says, seek to understand it correctly and call culture to follow our lead which is the path of life, not death. I fear that too many Christians are content to sit and allow culture to dictate how and what they should think and feel, but I say, "Do not be conformed to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Are we going to lead the way in transforming culture through the power of the Holy Spirit in us as we live the life of one who has been forgiven by Christ Jesus or will we allow culture to transform us? "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
I like history. My 3 favorite subjects in history are church history(bet you didn't see that one coming) The Revolutionary War and the history around Greek mythology. Even at a young age I found all these fake gods interesting to learn about. It almost seemed like the Greeks had a god for everything. They had all kinds of different names and duties as gods. Of course you know about Zeus and Hades and well who hasn't heard of the half god half man Hercules? Believe it or not Idolatry still exists today, but it has changed a bit. Just like riding a horse has changed to driving a car, but the principle of using something faster than you to travel stays the same, the idea of worshiping a false god is still around, but there is one important change. All these gods have the same name. Can you guess what the name is? No it's not money or fame, or even yourself. All of these false gods are named Jesus. Yes you read that right, but let me clarify. First when I say all, I don't really mean all. There are false gods out there by different names, but I am mainly speaking to trend I am seeing in the US to make a god whatever kind of god you want and call it Jesus. Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio made the analogy to the Build a Bear Workshop. At the Build a Bear you go and you get to make your very own bear, or for most people reading this your kids get to make their own bear. I believe you can pick out what type of eyes it has and what color its fur is and everything. When you get done you go and name your bear whatever you want. May I suggest that people have done the same thing with God, but instead of coming up with a different name most people are fine to name their god Jesus.(You know for brand recognition) I have heard of all kinds of things that Jesus said or did not say, and all kinds of things that Jesus will or will not ask you to do and oddly enough the Jesus's beliefs always seem to match up with whatever person is talking. god can be as loving or as harsh as you want him to be. If someone else says that you are doing something wrong, well that's not your Jesus, your Jesus does not say what you're doing is wrong, or even if it is wrong, well your Jesus still loves you no matter what and just wants you to be you and wants you to be happy. After all he, or she, because Jesus can also be female is whatever you want to make for yourself. The problem with these false gods named Jesus is that they aren't real. They have not existed eternally, they are the one in whom all things were created, and most important of all they cannot save you. So how do we tell the real Jesus from the fake one. Would the real Jesus please stand up, please stand up. Man did I just date myself there or what? There will probably be like three people who get that reference. Anyway to understand who the real Jesus one should look for the book that was written about him. Turns out there are 66 really good books that not only talk about Jesus but were also inspired by the Holy Spirit, who is God. Who knows God better than God? Holy the Spirit not inspired these 66 books, for the sake of argument let's call these 66 books the Bible, but he was inspiring writers who had actually seen and talked to Jesus. People who listened when he taught, witnessed his many miracles and even saw him after he came back from the dead. To make a long story short(TOO LATE nice little Clue reference in there) If want to learn about the true Jesus and in fact the true God then you should read what is considered to be his word, and this means all of it. Not just the red letters, but all of them. Some people may ask, why do we need to read the whole Bible, are you saying that I can't be spiritual unless I'm reading the Bible and following the God in there? While you might be able to feel spiritual without reading the Bible I would ask how do you know if you are worshiping the True God, or just one that you made up? That's the problem is that god at that point is simply whatever you feel, and as good as feelings are, they are subjective. God is not subjective. God is not what you make of him. God is who He is, and will always be that way no matter how we feel towards Him. This quote from scripture alone I think represents the importance of allow scripture to show you who God really is. Without a firm foundation, a discernible standard, an unchanging and unchangeable rule, we are left to construct a theology that can ascend no higher than majority opinion, that cannot claim divine authority" When we stop looking to scripture for our understanding of who God is, we can no longer claim to really know. Think about it this way. If God is all powerful and is in fact way beyond our thoughts, aside from understanding God exists, what can we really know about God aside from what He has revealed to us? I would there really isn't anything we can know about God except what he has revealed to us. The problem with many people is that when the read the God that the Bible speaks of they don't like him. In the same way that the Pharisees didn't like Jesus. Even though they spent much of their time reading the scriptures and practicing all the laws and statues they did not understand who the scriptures were about and so when the encountered Jesus they hated him and nailed him to a cross. Jesus called them white washed tombs, and he also said that they honored God with their lips but their hearts were far from God. Unfortunately I believe this is the condition of many people in America today. I'm not God so I don't know their hearts, but listening to what they say, and what they say about Jesus, well it does't add up with the word of God. This is a temptation that we all should be careful of. We do not need to make the Christian God whatever we want, or just have a build a god workshop, but instead we need to allow God to be God, and Christ our king and bend a knee to whatever He says. Do we bend a knee to the true God. To the one revealed to us in scriptures, the one that loved us enough to send us his to die for us, and by repenting of our sins and trusting in him we receive forgiveness of our sins and we are made righteous in Jesus Christ, not because of any works that we did, but by his grace and our faith, which is also a product of His grace. This is the God I serve. What about you?
What are your thoughts on this? Do you know of any examples of people making their own gods and calling said god Jesus? Do you think I'm just crazy? Comment below and let me know.
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor