Before you think that I'm about to counsel that we abandon our Biblically-endorsed doctrines or compromise with the culture on any matter that is not found in, authorized by, or based on the Bible, I think you know me better than that. But I would like to ask you to consider stepping outside of the box of our man-made suppositions on how the Church or the Body of Christ is to fulfill our commission to the unsaved of the world.
Perhaps it is just me ... I have always been unconventional in my thinking, and I have a natural propensity for looking at alternative ways to accomplish the same goal. I tend to look at things from a different perspective than the majority of people, and when it comes to the Church, I feel that the Holy Spirit is telling me we need to throw off our biases of how Church is to be conducted, and be bold in our efforts to reach those who desperately need Christ's saving grace in these last days... before it is too late!
That is not to say that we give in to changing attitudes on the divinity of Christ, or the authority of the Holy Bible, or question if only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved. That might sound like a ridiculous assumption, but believe it or not, many churches and denominations are doing just that! For instance, a 2011 survey of pastors in the Presbyterian Church revealed that 41% said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that Jesus was the only way to salvation, while 45% said they disagreed or strongly disagreed. This was the opinion of PASTORS! That is defying the core of Christian faith and doctrine! All you have to do is open the door to other ways to salvation, and that reasoning leads you to acceptance of all kinds of biblical sin within the church. Once you've compromised on that core principle, it is easy to accept anything that the Enemy presents.
Let me take it a step further ... if "doing Church" as we've been doing it was accomplishing Christ's goal for reaching the world and saving them from the Adversary and their own fleshly nature, would we have 55,000,000 dead fetuses; or would we be seeing the destruction of God's model for marriage and the family; or would a website that advocates infidelity make $55 million per year? Shouldn't we have made a bigger impression on the culture than we have? After all, look at the impact that only 12 disciples made on the Middle East, parts of Asia and even into Europe! Yet a Pew Research survey in 2014 revealed that 70.6% of Americans identified themselves as Christians -- that's over 225,000,000 "professed disciples of Christ", folks! I think you would agree with me that based on the state of our society, we haven't done a very good job.
Can we agree that in order to minister to and rescue lost souls we need to be doing more than preaching and teaching the Word of God from within the four walls of a church building? And can we agree that preaching and teaching are not enough? Oh, the Church is good at telling us who God is, but I think we have failed to tell our fellow Christians about who Satan is; and how he can not only fool and deceive the world into following after him and his servants (just look at our culture!), but he can also oppress Christians with false messages about our limited role in defeating him.
When Jesus gave the Disciples their commission to share the Kingdom of God, He was very specific about the tools He was giving them to accomplish that job ... preaching and teaching the gospel; healing the sick; and casting out demons. Until we realize that Satan wants to keep us from recognizing that Authority and Power, we will never be able to deliver non-believers from their broken state. And until we deliver ourselves from this false understanding, we will be ineffective in delivering and feeding others.
But here's the catch ... because we have kept to the same old model of the Church, we have been indoctrinated into thinking that as long as we are associated with a Church denomination or sit in a pew every Sunday, then we are doing the right thing; and there is nothing wrong with how we see ourselves as the Church. But all the letters Jesus wrote in the Book of Revelation were to the Church, and they were mostly about what needed to be corrected!
I believe that all we have to do is take an honest look at the state of this country -- our schools, our entertainment, our government, our communities and families -- and we will see that maybe it is OK to step outside the box (and exchange Church ritual for unconventional methods) in order to reach all the lost souls. It isn't hard to realize that the majority of lost souls are outside the church walls. The personal experience of my husband and myself has taught us that principle. The Holy Spirit has brought us into touch in recent weeks with two young women who have both led lives plagued by the Enemy. They have been oppressed in varying degrees, and one is desperately seeking to know all she can about God, spending many hours reading the Word and asking countless questions in her journey towards deliverance and salvation. I am in awe of her desire and her commitment.
The other's struggle is even more difficult. She has huge trust issues, and while she says she wants to pursue God and be rid of the overwhelming oppression in her life, she is struggling against forces that physically won't allow her to open her Bible. Every time she makes the effort to read the Word of God, she feels a weight on her body that keeps her from being able to turn a physical page. The Enemy is trying to convince her that she is not worth our trouble. Of course, that is a false and damaging message!
I can honestly tell you that these are two young ladies whose souls need to be snatched out of the hand of the Enemy, and through God's sovereign means, they have been brought into our lives. I can further tell you that we would never have encountered them inside the church. I truly feel that, as The Church and the Body of Christ, we are running out of time to fulfill our commission; we have but a short time to win souls and claim victory over Sin. It's time to step out of the pew, engage the lost, and start winning souls! With the help of our Lord and Savior, we can be assured victory!
Matthew 10:7-8 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.
I totally agree with what you have written, Belle. I continue to be amazing at the number of people who say they are "Bible-believing" Christians, but then fail to actually study the Bible enough to realize that practically every thing seen in traditional church congregations is made-man, not God-made traditions.ReplyDelete
Yes, so much of that doctrine and ritual is man-made -- God never told us to practice "religion", but to follow Christ's example. That righteous model is so much easier and more productive than what man has turned it into.Delete