No wonder the Church is so ineffective today, and Christians cannot seem to "unite with one mind". We no longer seem to be "of one heart and soul". Those terms are how the Early Church was described in Acts, Chapter Four. And when I say "early" Church, that's exactly what I mean. These terms were used to describe the body of believers shortly after the Day of Pentecost when the Church was born. In the midst of their tumultuous beginning, the new believers were unified in their faith and commitment to the teachings and deity of Christ.
The Sanhedrin were agitated and frustrated at the preaching of Peter and John about this man Jesus, whom they had recently crucified. They thought they had quelled His grassroots movement and silenced His influence, and here were these men continuing to spread His seditious message. So the Book of Acts tells us that the ruling class delivers their own message to the followers of Christ: "We have the power. If you are allowed to preach, as you have been preaching, it is because we have permitted you to do it. Anytime we want, we can arrest you and carry you off to jail. We demand that you be silent about your disruptive faith"!
But that doesn't sow near enough confusion among the faithful. We also have an Episcopal priest writing articles for a liberal-leaning website in which she argues for the power of “queer virtue” to combat “heteronormativity” and revitalize a Christianity that is too wedded to traditional ideas of human sexuality and marriage. In her article, the Reverend Elizabeth M. Edman asserts that "Pride" is central to the LGBT movement and integral to an authentically Christian life.
Excuse me, I'm no theologian and have never been trained by a certified School of Divinity. In fact, my only instruction has come strictly from the Bible and the Holy Spirit, but if I recall correctly, Pride in the Bible always seems to be about self-worship. God abhors pride because it hinders an individual from seeking Him. In fact, it seems to be that those who hang their hat on Pride are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts are far from God and they think they have no need of Him or, worse, that God should accept them as they are because they deserve His acceptance. After all, it was pride that captivated Lucifer, who is the picture of self-worship, seeking to become like God. And can you see the confusion and contradictory message he is spreading in this denomination of the Church?
Edman goes on to extol Pride as a virtue, claiming that it should be redeemed and embraced (regardless of what the Bible says) and that "Christians must become aware of and resist the impulse, conscious or subconscious, to deny the existence of LGBTQ people". I don't believe that there is anyone I know in the Christian Church who wishes to deny the existence of LGBTQ people. We just wish to stand by the commandments of God on how a Christian is to live their life. Everyone must make their own life choices, and certainly has the free will to do so. But, as a Christian, I cannot abandon the dictates of my Savior. Edman makes it clear that her objective is "to proclaim a more authentic gospel" and to dismantle (within Church doctrine) what she calls "heteronormative impulses", and what I call disobedience and rebellion against God. She wants to "strip the Bible of its “heteronormativity” and remake Christianity in the image of a society that glorifies gender fluidity and pansexualism." With that philosophical doctrine, I would say she has successfully embraced Pride. And I'm going to be bold enough to declare it a lie from the devil. Pride is not a Biblical virtue, nor will God exalt it.
But that is not the only misguided notion and deception being perpetrated by the Enemy upon the Church. The leading mega-Pastor in the country, Joel Osteen, is also spreading a misleading message. In one of his latest sermons, he is quoted as saying, "God will fight your battles if you'll stay at rest. If you'll quit worrying about the medical report, if you'll quit being upset over the contract you didn't get, if you'll quit being stressed by those people who are talking about you. If you'll remain at rest, God will fight your battles." This is akin to what Osteen and fellow evangelist Joyce Meyers say is the key to peace in our lives ... keeping a positive attitude. But I do not believe that is enough to ward off the attacks of our Adversary.
And that philosophy goes against the Bible telling us to put on the full armor of God. If He is going to fight all our battles for us, why do we need any armor? We must get in the fight and we can do that in a number of ways: by sending our prayers directly to the throne room of God; and declaring our testimonies to the spiritual realm; by binding and rebuking, in the Holy Name of Jesus, those demons and spirits that come against us; and participating in the healing powers of the Holy Spirit to set people free -- that is the way you defeat the spirits of worry, anger, stress and depression. Because that is what Pastor Osteen fails to tell you; those are very real spirits that are attacking you and causing all those emotional reactions. Your real rest comes when you stand steadfast, confident in your authority and the power of Christ to work with you in victory. That's when you find real rest and peace in your spirit.
But the devil is doing a darn good job of tossing grenades behind our lines.... deceiving us with messages [from within the Church] that Pride is a virtue; and that we just have to stay positive and wait for God to deliver us from our troubles. And there is a false message that is becoming increasingly louder, in both the Church and our culture: we must reduce or diminish the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it might offend others. The whisper has grown into a shout: that we must become more inclusive and less intolerant; that there is more than one way to Heaven and we can get there through faith in more than one god.
I say that it is imperative that we recognize this message as heresy and unacceptable. We have already allowed God's enemy to infiltrate His Church and gain too much ground. Just reading back over these various viewpoints produces so many emotions: sadness, anger, exasperation, and a heavy spirit. How have we fallen so far, so fast? Where are the warriors for the faith; those who are willing to stand and declare God's Truth against this apostasy? Where will the Church be in another decade? And will those of us who declare the truth of God's Word even be allowed to speak in defense of our faith? Yes, the devil has done a good job; Christianity is under clear and organized assault. It's time to fight back for ourselves and the generations to come. It's time to glorify God, His Word, His Character, and His Church.
2 Corinthians 10:5 "We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,"