I love it when I refer to myself as a simple country boy from Mississippi. It sets my brother off because he knows I came to Chicago as a two-month old and have not really spent any significant time in the South.
Although it is is true I do not have a lot of actual experience of the South I do love it’s simplicity and laid-back environment. I especially appreciate how people are so polite and everyone speaks and waves from the porch as you drive through the neighborhood.
In a lot of ways I am a simple guy, not simplistic to be for sure, but simple in a good way. When I joined a fraternity they sold me on the concept of brotherhood. So, being the simple guy I am I expected to experience brothers sharing and embracing that same worldview. Sadly, I was quickly shown that was not necessarily the case as I witnessed two brothers fighting and back-stabbing one another over some girl. When you tell me something and I come to believe I am all in. See, real simple.
This past Sunday I was blessed to hear the Word of God preached in a mighty way. I relish when the Man of God brings forth the Word of God with power and conviction. The preacher (don’t even remember his name) taught from the Book of Revelations as Christ delivered His pronouncements to seven churches in Asia Minor through the Apostle John.
While Christ is viewed by many as a lovable big brother who wants to make our lives more meaningful and enjoyable the Holy Writ presents a more full-orbed picture of Christ. It pictures Him as the Lamb of God who will execute His wrath upon those opposed to His rightful rule. Read the warning of the writer of Psalm 2 when he says, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in your rebellion, when His wrath is kindly kindled. But what joy for all who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 2:12).
The preacher spoke so eloquently about how we typically view Christ as He “was” as opposed to as He “is.” We have really emasculated the Biblical Christ. We have detoothed the King of Judah. We do the same with our portrayal of what a man is supposed to represent but that is a topic for another day.
Christ spoke in stern terms to several churches. One, He spoke about bringing a sword because they refused to confront error. That speaks of our society in spades. We are intimidated to make declarative pronouncements. Everyone has a right to their opinion and there is nothing such as objective truth any longer. In fact, just yesterday I engaged in a dialogue with a processing Evangelical and their conclusion was I had my truth and she had her view of the same truth.
Granted there are secondary issues which Evangelicals can and do view differently but matters that directly intersect with the Gospel are not among them. We must posses the moral courage to let our yays be yays and our nays be nays. Granted, we need tremendous amount of wisdom and stand ready to grant liberty regarding secondary issues but NEVER on cardinal doctrines. NEVER! NEVER! and NEVER!
We do no one any favors when we give people who veer from the essentials a free pass or to remain unchallenged or unconfronted. In fact, according to Ezekiel’s revelation we bring God’s judgment upon ourselves. Considering how I have a whole truckload of other sins to wrestle with I can’t afford to unnecessarily add additional ones.
While running this morning I believe God was speaking to me and He was revealing His anger and His desire for me to speak to those in my sphere of influence. I grant I could be wrong and was only suffering from the exertion of running at o’ dark thirty (military slang for before the sun comes up) but heaven will have to reveal the final outcome whether it was God who spoke to me.
Acknowledging that possibility I will proceed as if it was indeed God that was prompting me. The individuals that were impressed upon my minds were Creflo Dollars and Joel Osteen. There are certainly other names but these are the ones that galvanized in my thinking. I do hesitate but must bring up a controversial matter since I am going out on faith (might as well as jump in the whole way). I add the entire Roman Catholic faith to those who must be confronted.
I do not advocate that all Roman Catholics are unsaved or everyone who attends Osteen’s or Dollar’s Church is unsaved (ultimate decisions are left to God alone) but I do not believe the teachings of any of the aforementioned lead one to authentic faith. If people are indeed saved in these contexts it is in spite of, not because of their teaching.
Just yesterday someone shared a video from Dollar and posted “preach” in response to whatever Dollar was hawking in the video (I dared not even attempt to listen). I know enough of the Bible and Theology that we cannot be mostly right concerning the Gospel. It is ALL or nothing! Preaching is not like horseshoes. The aim is not to get it close but to hit the bulls-eye. Now again, there is room for charity in the non-essentials.
Christ is not sitting passively by and hoping we get our act together. He is the Lord of Lord and King of Kings who is soon to return and He promises His reward will be with Him. He is similarly preparing to unleash His Wrath upon all false doctrine and those who promulgate such false teaching in His Church.
Rome continues to espouse faith and works are necessary for salvation. In fact, they still pronounce an anathema (curse of eternal damnation) upon anyone who says all that is required for salvation is faith alone. (You better check official Roman Catholic Doctrine, not what some lay Catholic parishoner spouts. Go directly to the source).
The next time Joel Osteen preaches the Gospel will be his first and there are so many erroneous teachings from Dollar and his cohorts from Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) that would necessitate a separate blog post altogether.
Evangelicals must cede from shrinking into the background and stop it with the flank attacks. In my hopefully forthcoming book I will name names. Why? Not because I love conflict or even think I am better. I do so because the Bible exhorts us to protect the sheep. Well, how are the sheep going to know the wolves unless they have been taught. Those gifted as pastors and leaders must sound the alarm. Well, here is my alarm!
Look at the Apostle Paul’s example in his letter to his protege, Timothy in 1st Timothy Chapter One. He identifies the culprits. Why? So Timothy would not be beguiled and left unawares. The most loving thing Timothy could do for both the offenders and those offended would have been to speak the truth and boldly and unapologetically confront the error. Better to pay now than to pay later when it is TOO LATE.
There are many other names that can fill these pages. Some I am aware of and many others I am not. It is beyond my scope (remember I am only a simple country boy from Mississippi) to be exhaustive. I am content to address the ones I believe God wanted me to speak about.
Feel free to identify others so the Body of Christ is forewarned. Church, we are the Pillars of the Truth. We are God’s Bulwark, His Buttress. If we lose our salt we will be the generation that witnesses the virtual eradication of the Gospel presence.
Thankfully the threat is only “virtual” as God promises there will always remain a remnant upon the Earth. I will likely never meet Creflo Dollar or Joel Osteen or the Pope but from my station in life (which I concede is not much) I want those who might not be enlightened to be aware of these individuals. They are individuals believers should be yoked together with.
Believers who believe in the sufficiency in the finished work of Christ ALONE should have nothing to do with Roman Catholicism. I know that is not PC but I can not escape the Apostle Paul’s clear instructions,”But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Let it be stated in the most explicit terms, “Rome preaches ANOTHER Gospel.
The English word accursed comes from the Greek word anathema, which again means to be set aside for eternal destruction. Paul says under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit anyone who tampers with the Gospel is to be eternally destroyed.
Remember Christ is coming with a two-edge sword to the church. Let that sink in. Read the Book of Revelation. We have all been warned! Those who attended the Sunday Worship Service at First Baptist of New Braunfels will ever stand accountable for the truth that was proclaimed on this past Lord’s Day.
It is fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!
I invite and welcome your feedback.
Keep your hand to the plow!