“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” – Romans 1:21-22
Earlier this year I was sitting at Starbucks enjoying my Cinnamon Dolce Latte (That’s a hint for my local friends.) when I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation going on at the table next to me. I guessed this group to be in their late teens or early twenties, probably college students who all seemed to have some sort of church upbringing. They were discussing their opinions on how faith and Christianity should be applied to certain hot-button social issues. I listened as each one assigned characteristics to God that were formed not from a thorough studying of scripture, but rather an attempt to make God into someone who wouldn’t challenge anything in anyone’s life. Ever.
As someone who is still young myself, with many young friends, and an avid Facebook user, I wasn’t really surprised by this. I am reading more and more posts from young Christians who look at their faith as something pliable that can be molded to more comfortably fit their popular worldview instead of weighing everything against the complete body of scripture. This trend has always concerned me, but lately it has gone beyond concern. The rampant, blatant disregard for the whole and literal word of God in His own Church has become a burden that is keeping me awake at night.
I spent a summer in China when I was in High School smuggling Bibles into a country where entire villages of believers would very often share ONE between them all because they were so scarce. Raffles would be held among these groups to see which family got to have the village Bible that night. Thousands of Chinese Christians have since been swept away into cults and deception because they had no tangible way to gauge truth. American Christians are swept away into cults and deception because we have a tangible way to gauge truth but never read it. While everyone is talking about the fear of Ebola or terrorism right now, this one thing frightens me more that those ever could.
I have been praying about what, if anything, God wants me to do with this burden that has been so heavy on my heart. I’m not a person with any real influence or credibility to speak of. I don’t have a degree or a title, just blog with a small following, most of whom will agree with this anyway, so is speaking up just a wasted effort? I don’t know. Maybe. But a tweet I came across this morning from a prominent Pastor, Ed Gungor, actually broke my heart so much that I can’t sit silently anymore watching this unfold, even if no one is listening.
Oh, man. Where do I even begin? If holding fast to the truth of scripture makes me a “slave of biblical ideals and words” then shackle me up! Our faith is in the person Jesus Christ, yes, who is revealed to us through Biblical words. Without those words, I can make Jesus into whatever or whomever I want Him to be. I can make Him have blue hair and give him a unicorn horn and say he was a member of PETA. Why not? If all scripture is relative, and I get to design my own Jesus, then I can also pick and chose which passages I want to apply to my life and which ones could “use updating.” I could also define salvation itself, as unfortunately well-known author Rob Bell has done, so that I don’t have to bother with the reality that people are actually going to go to Hell, because hey, that’s harshing my mellow, man.
Belief in Scripture is all or nothing. It’s either truth or lies. People are writing their own religion and putting a “Christian” label on it in droves. It’s a progression that begins with the neglect of the Bible and snowballs into an open dismissal of its legitimacy. When it gets to that point, it is no longer Christianity, but something else entirely.
Hmmmmm……. A scritpure taken WAAAAAYYYY out of context to prove an ungodly point….. where have I seen that before? Oh yes, Satan started that in the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11:
- Satan temps Jesus the first time.
- Jesus responds to Satan with the truth of scripture
- Satan tempts Jesus a second time, only this time, throws a verse in there to try to make his point. (v.6)
- Jesus is able to identify and refute the out-of-context use because of His thorough knowledge of the complete work of scripture (v.7)
- Satan tempts Jesus a third time and a third time Jesus responds with…. you guessed it: scripture! (v.10)
My Pastor once said, “Postmodernism is meant to deconstruct the Bible, but the Bible is meant to deconstruct us.” I couldn’t agree more.
Now, more than ever, we have to dig into the Word of God and guard our hearts. I am literally begging as I write this to the Church: Stay in the Word. Read your Bible. You and I aren’t immune to the tactics of the enemy, and the minute we start to think that, we’ve got a real problem.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:1-2
“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.” – Deuteronomy 17:18-20
THIS fabulous video clip from Ravi Zacharias: