Monthly Archives: October 2010
“We warned you ’bout all that verse-by-verse expositional preachin’, pilgrim. Now this is yer last warnin’. Get relevant or get hanged. Afterall, it’s 1827 for cryin’ out loud… We’ll never be able to git 50 people attendin’ preachin’ unless we broaden our appeal. Now what’ll it be?”
I wrote several articles a while back about a radio station in the Miami area that bills itself as Christian but the content of the DJ discussion could best be labeled as culturally tolerant and traditional Christianity intolerant. As a brief reminder of previous content I have heard from this station over the years, once the morning DJ said he doubted the existence of eternal hell and encouraged a guy who claimed to believe in soul extinguishing (a Buddhist teaching), many times the morning team has staged skits and call-in contests with careless and disrespectful references to Jesus, and several instances where the morning crew totally mislead callers with answers to questions that are much more new age than Christian in content.
Yesterday, I heard the morning guy tell a caller that he did not care for going to church! He said he preferred a more interactive experience where there was no “preacher yelling at me about how bad I am” but where someone would encourage and affirm him. Now I agree that yelling is not necessary but that is as far as I can agree with the morning DJ dude. People who are lost do not need to be affirmed and encouraged to remain lost. Immature Christians need to grow in conforming to the image of Christ and not to be affirmed and encouraged to remain novices. Nothing good can be accomplished with an ”Anything goes, dude” mentality. Read 1 Corinthians if you do not believe me.
How immature and self-indulgent can you be?! I only want to hear good things about myself and I want someone blowing smoke into my ear about how great I am… Give me a break! The danger in this immature and culturally tolerant stuff lives in the fact that people on the radio claiming to be Christian carry some credibility. Others listen to the radio assuming they can trust what they hear to be true and beneficial to them. When Emergent garbage is spewed from people who are too immature themselves to be in Christian leadership, the result is confusion and even deception.
Look at the book of Acts. God’s people met together. The total truth about God’s grace through Jesus and why people need it was clearly discussed. When Peter, Paul, and others preached in the open square or in the synagogues, they confronted people about their sin and their need of the Savior. How else can lost people hear? God’s plan is for His people to take His message to the world. God never asked for anyone to encourage and affirm the lost or spiritually immature Christian to remain in their current state.
“Emergent Radio” is another example of what happens when all solid, doctrinal teaching gets removed from life. People become worldly in their thinking. To be Christian is not to simply ” be nice ” within your own self-defined concept of niceness. To be Christian is not to drift around on every wind of false doctrine that replaces truth from the Bible because it is more palatable to the flesh of the worldly.
Every town in America probably does not have an Emergent Radio like this one. However, I can guarantee you that every Christian radio station in America is under pressure to broaden their appeal and gain more monetary support. The pressure comes from without even if it does not come from within. Increasingly, more stations are scuttling teaching programs in favor of continuous music. Also increasing is the extent to which the music being played on Christian radio merges with the current worldly culture. Much music remains solidly appropriate for honoring Christ but too much of it has shifted to a style-driven sound with lyrics that are indecipherable. Does sound alone honor God? Maybe or maybe not. It is above my paygrade to make that determination. Does recording otherwise worldly music and throwing in a casual reference to God or Jesus once in a while honor God? You be the judge based upon what scripture teaches about the glory of God and His Son who sits at His right hand in splendor.
To downgrade or not to downgrade… that is the question facing America. How will she respond?
Emergent Expository Sermonette:
” Wow, man, like Jesus is Awesome. Whoa, dudes, He is killer, man. You know what I mean? It’s like, He’s da bomb and all that. He’s crazzzy, man. Somewhere in the Bible (or maybe it was Joel Osteen’s book) it says something like He don’t care which religion you are from or something like that… He just has an awesome plan for your life and will fulfill all of your dreams, dudes. Now let’s pray…”
If you think you can lose your salvation and then get it back again… you might be an Arminian.
If you believe that man can sovereignly choose good or evil apart from God’s grace through election… you might be a Pelagian.
If you believe it’s a good idea to replace Biblical sermons with drama, topical sermonettes, and dance… you might be a pragmatist.
If you believe that you have God within and you just need to find a way to connect to it… you might be a newager.
If you think that you know everything and that the world owes you everything you desire… you have to be a teenager!
Last time I stated that the giving of the gospel is not an academic exercise but a spiritual one. Paul and Barnabas were opposed outwardly by the magician Bar-Jesus but they were also being opposed inwardly as well. The magician apparently sought to not only distance Sergius Paulus from Paul and Barnabas but to convince him not to believe them as well. We will also see later how a growing disagreement between Paul and Barnabas would lead to the separating of this ministry team that God had sent out with a definite mission. The opposition to God’s work was indeed fierce.
Paul addresses Bar-Jesus directly giving him an ear-full of revelation about the false messenger’s lack of character. Paul also pronounced a time of blindness to be upon him which did indeed occur. The proconsul believed the message of Paul and Barnabas according to verse 12. He also witnessed the power of God in seeing the judgement upon his deceitful sidekick.
So, did the proconsul carefully weigh the information and “decide” to accept Jesus based upon his intellect alone? There is no example of such a thing anywhere in scripture. To the contrary, we are told over and over again how God rescues the perishing by His grace by producing faith in those who believe. Romans 1:16 says that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. The sovereign hand of God plucks out a people to be His own. We never see someone give out info about Jesus and wait while people carefully consider the information as if they were deciding whether to buy a used car. We never see the apostles give out the gospel and then try to manipulate the audience to get “decisions” in a pragmatic way.
What we do see however is God’s message being proclaimed and people responding. Those who are the elect will believe is the general idea. Those who are not have no capacity to do righteousness or it would be works that demand a credit to their accounts. In Phillipians 2, Paul tells believers that it is God who works in believers both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Jesus stated very plainly that those whom the Father gives Him would come to Him, would be kept by Him, and nothing could take them from His hand in John 6. Again in Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 we see God’s sovereign election of His own unto salvation and eternal life. Many more examples of the same idea exist throughout scripture.
So what do we take away from this knowledge? We MUST evangelize the world! God has chosen to use the spreading of his word to call out His elect. In Jesus’ great commission to His followers, He told them to take the message to the world. He didn’t say to conquer the world politically nor militarily. He didn’t say to build mega-churches nor to repackage His message into gobblygook that doesn’t resemble the original idea in order to bring into a social group those who would not respond to the gospel.
In our day as well in any day, we must not lose track of the central truth that God is doing His work using us as His tools. His will will be accomplished with or without us. God is sovereign, we are not. God has the roadmap. God is the pilot. He drives the bus…you get the message.
We see an excellent example of His sovereignty in Acts 13. Sergius Paulus responded in belief despite cultural, political, physical, economical, social, and religious differences. May God be praised for His sovereign grace.
Discerning Passenger: Dude, there’s a train coming. Don’t drive onto the tracks!
Emergent Driver: Whoa, man. You are sooo negative! Lighten up, dude. That train is in YOUR reality, not mine. I see nothing but clear blue sky.
Discerning Passenger: Stop, dude! The train will hit us!
Emergent Driver: Your dogmatic, absolute truth stance is the reason you have few friends. Relaaaax, man. Enjoy life…
Discerning Passenger: This is not an opinion, the train is REAL!
Emergent Driver: Dude, truth is only valid if it is well-received by your audience. I am texting pastor Zed to tell him what a zero you are. He says never let truth get in the way of viewing life through the monist hologram construct where I find my inner peace.
Discerning Passenger: I’m bailing out…
Emergent Driver: You’re stuck in the 1900s, dude. I choose to be relevant to today’s culture……….CRASH
Ricky singing: ♫ Jesus is my friend, yea Jesus is a cool dude, yes Jesus is my homeboy ♪ ♫
John: Is that what you folks sing over to that Tumbleweed Community Church, Pilgrim?
Ricky: Yes, what are you, a pharisee or something…?
Dean singing: ♪ Rock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood, from Thy wounded side that flowed. Be of sin the double cure, cleanse from wrath and make me pure.
Ricky: Double cure…what’s that?
John: Just as I suspected…