Because the church is right about Jesus, we have assumed we are right about everything. Like the early church fathers, we have not become students of the Word nor true disciples of Jesus. Like them, we have trusted for salvation and then sought to find security by subtly incorporating our cultural beliefs and personal fears into the repertoire of our personal theology.
Those who come from a background of satanism, occult, or new age, attack anything in the Bible that looks like their background. In the lack of security in Jesus they cloak their fear in self-righteous legalism, giving undue trust to those places from which they have come. Those who come from cults think that everything that sounds like what their cults embraced is, in fact, a cult belief. These are not people who, like Paul, believe that all things are pure when used for pure reasons. They pass judgments rooted in unbelief based on their intellectual concepts that mask their insecurity. They are weak in the faith!(Rom. 14)
Sadly, we must remember it was the church that killed people who proclaimed the world was round and the sun was the center of the solar system. Because the information didn’t come from the churches pseudo-scientific perspective it was considered to be “of the devil.” The most trivial disagreements were relegated to a demonic opposition of truth and punished with excommunication, exile, or death.
Our predecessors have fought against everything they didn’t understand with a blinded fervor (zeal) of convenient scriptural misinterpretation, factual ignorance, and cultural insensitivity that resulted in God and the church being rejected by the world. And as the Scripture says to believers in both the Old and New testaments, Because of you the name of God is blasphemed everyday. (Is. 52:5, Rom. 2:24)We, not the devil, are the main cause for the world turning its back on God and the Gospel.
Jesus said that because of our tradition, i.e. culture, we make the Word of God of no effect. (Mark 7:13) There are very few things that happen in a typical Sunday service that are actually scriptural, but we feel safe with those things and consider them godly, not because they are in the Bible, but because they are our culture. That doesn’t make them evil, it just means we tend to eventually adapt to the cultural norms and call them holy. Yet, anything outside of our culture that is incorporated into worship, we call cult or demonic.
When something comes that challenges our “current cultural concepts” we immediately make it of the devil (and he’s not that smart.) Then we shift directly into attack mode. Traditionally, the church has opposed nearly every advancement of civilization… until it becomes culturally accepted. Then, in time, when it is accepted by a large enough part of the Christian culture, we declare it to “no longer be of the devil.” It is now of God, just because we are comfortable with it.
Approximately 90% of the world’s population believes in a higher power. 50% of those believe in God, but they don’t know who He is. Between 70% and 90% of Americans believe in God and claim some form of Christianity, yet, they don’t attend church; they have corrupted values, destructive morals, and as a whole, their life isn’t working. Our world is sinking into destitution and depravity while the church clings desperately to tactics of outreach that haven’t worked in hundreds of years, and are rooted more in religious tradition (culture) than Bible truth. We attack what we don’t understand seeking to find security in our intellectual segregation.
Our impotent methods fail to reach the world Jesus came to save. Our dogmatic resistance to anything beyond our current scope of logic causes the world to reject the truth we do hold. And all the while the world is falling into eternal oblivion without God! And that seems to be alright as long as we don’t have to “think outside of our religious box.”
While we can’t get the promises of God to work in our own life, we fight against those things that we do not understand. All the while, demanding that the world be like us. They see that our faith isn’t really working that well. We are not dealing with sin much better than they. Our divorce rate is higher than theirs. And we’re always begging for money! We do not live a life of righteousness, peace, and joy that attracts the world to Jesus, the church, or the Gospel. The truth is that waitresses, businessmen, and scientists hate to see Christians coming. They don’t tip; they want everything for nothing, and they don’t know how to reconcile science and the Bible!
Because of the church’s intolerance and disrespect for others, we are hundreds of years behind where could have been had we not arrogantly rejected the discoveries of other cultures. We could have had aircraft, steam engines, and who knows what else hundreds or even thousands of years before we did. But we, the people of God, destroyed libraries, books, and inventions that did not come from “Christian sources.” We think that which is discovered by anyone other than our approved sources is of the devil. From our erroneous theology of dualism, we have created a false secular and sacred dichotomy that denies the very teaching of the New Testament. To the pure all things are pure. (Titus 1:15)
When the apostle Paul wrote to Titus he quoted a Creatian prophet to make a point. When he preached at Mars Hill he went to an idol and said, this is the God I’m going to tell you about. When John wrote to the Gentile world he called Jesus the “logos” which is a philosophical term describing the natural power in the world that causes things to flow as they should. The Chinese New Testament calls Jesus the “tao” as a suitable concept for logos. There are dozens of places where the writers of the New Testament were inspired by the Holy Spirit to use terminology and communication styles that were understandable to the people they addressed to create effectiveness. They were not threatened by a false sense of the sacred and secular.
Even Abraham, the father of faith of both Jews and Christians, made a sacrifice to God that was identical to the sacrifices made by the heathen to the false gods they served. Yet, he acknowledged God in his sacrifice. It was not only accepted by God but followed by a visitation. (Gen 15) Satanists quote Scriptures to conjure demons, but we don’t stop using those Scriptures and label them “of the devil.” Every religion in the world knows things we know and says things we say. We are not responsible for how they misinterpret those truths; we know the Source of all truth is God! The misuse of truth does not invalidate the truth.
Many people ignorantly discover a biblical reality, use it, and in the end worship the creation instead of the Creator, the process of God instead of the person of God. They dishonor God (the Creator) by worshipping the process (the creation.) We dishonor God (the Creator) by rejecting the process (the creation.) He is the God of Creation. We should know the laws of creation better than any people who inhabit the Earth, yet we don’t.
If we valued God’s creation and the cultures of other people, if we just valued people as God values them, we could close the gap between the church and the rest of humanity. We could find common ground that would open the door to the Gospel of Jesus. Additionally, we could all live a greater quality of life if we were open to all God’s blessings and provision, even those on the natural plane. As the Apostle Paul said to Timothy, Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (1 Tim. 6:17-18) Enjoying the benefits of God’s creation will not make us trust Him less; on the contrary much, much more! When we value and enjoy God’s creation we honor the God of creation.
Read all the articles in the August issue of Impact Magazine.