Thursday, February 10, 2011

If I...

If I were to wage a war against the “enemies” of this nation, and annihilated “evil” men in the name of “God and country”, I’d be seen as an American hero.

If I were to write a best-selling “Christian” book that made everyone feel all warm and fuzzy inside about their Christian ways, despite how worldly their lives may be, I’d be considered an inspiration to many.

If I hosted a radio show that attacked “the evil leftist agenda”, I’d be revered as a pioneering trendsetter.

If I stood on a street corner and told everyone that they’re hell-bound unless they become like me accept Jesus as Lord, I’d likely be considered by many to be bold, standing for what is right.

If I marched outside of a mosque and shouted about how this country is “ours” at the top of my lungs, most Christians would rally beside me with great angst and emotion.

If I were to question our current government and how it's crowding out our "rights and privileges" as Christians, I’d be cheered on as a true Christian American patriot.

But…. if I were to confront the denominational teachings and doctrines of men and challenge Believers to examine how their religious ways just might be in direct opposition to God’s Word, I’m deemed a prideful and arrogant heretic that needs to just shut his mouth.

I find this mysterious fact to be quite interesting. The religious roots of American Christianity run deep my friends. If we’re too close-minded to even ask if we might have some things wrong as Believers (even if it’s our religious Christian/American heritage), we’re treading on dangerous ground. Who will hear what the Spirit is saying to The Church in this hour?


Bradley M. said...

I just made my way over here for the first time (found you on Viola's blog). I must say, this resounds to be so true. It's always seemed odd to me how it's insinuated to be completely wrong if you question Christian leadership or traditions. I agree that we must address this issue. It's so great to see others who are likeminded. I'll be back! said...

Just read Acts 17:11 and really appreciated the fact the picture it paints cast a very positive light on being open-minded and testing the word of spiritual leaders with the Word of God.

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. NLT

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. KJV

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. NIV

Also really digging 1 Corinthians 4:6 that tells us if we known the Scriptures (and don't go beyond "what is written") our loyalty will be more in Christ than any specific teacher/pastor/preacher.

Alan Knox said...


I agree with what you're saying. This post raised another question in my mind. Obviously many people think that they are following God through what you (and I) call "denominational teachings" and "doctrines of men." So, it's easy to see why they would bristle against someone who claims they are not following God.

So, in general, how should we respond when someone suggests that we are not following God in something?


Joel Spencer said...

Bradley: Welcome! I assure you, you're not wrong to bring up questions regarding the current status of the Body of Christ and its function. To me, it's simple spiritual maturity to move into a place where you just don't settle for what you're "fed". When questions cannot be asked, in any place that deems itself a "gathering of Believers", red flags fly. Keep searching Bradley. The explorers find the treasure! I LOVE the Scriptures that you used here! (especially Acts) It goes in hand in hand, to me, with "Study to show YOURSELF approved". The sad reality is that much of the Body are spectators fashioned to be solely sustained by church leadership instead of studying and examining for themselves.

This is, of course, not to say that others cannot assist us in our journey but we are primarily responsible to discern what is and what is not what the Lord is speaking.

Thanks for posting the verses!

Alan: Well, I think wisdom would have us, no matter what the allegation, sit back and examine how we arrived at our belief in and approach to how the Body is to gather and function. I always challenge people to simply reflect on the origin of how they, as you put it, "follow God". Are the means that we live out rooted in what we've personally discovered in the Word and things that the Lord has spoken to us or is our foundation simply in family traditions and passed-down activities?

It ultimately all boils down to the fruit for me. Is my life commonplace Christianity that +is primarily driven by service attendance or am I daily living the Christ-life that permeates EVERYTHING that I do?

It's always possible that we stray and "miss God" of course. Spiritual maturity would say that when I do and someone reveals this to me, I'm blessed to have someone in my life that spurs me to go deeper. That is, after all, why the Body exists.

Thanks for stopping by Alan. :)

Joel Spencer said...

I've really been dwelling on the Acts 17 verse that was mentioned above. If Believers were responsible with searching the Scriptures to "approve" what they're being taught (and willing to immediately throw out what doesn't line up), I believe Christianity as a whole would sure be alot closer to healthy.

This is of course possible, even within the order and traditional setting of "church" but the problem is, it's just simply not required of you. When only a small handful (at best) of Believers interact with one another on a deep level and the rest are surface-level acquaintances, it's far too easy to just coast through it all without examining the real issues and/or questions that we all have.

As much always comes back to, it is just insinuated that one does not ever question the "clergy" as they are somehow always be correct and immune to error. This is yet another reason why one must never be elevated to an untouchable level of authority.

The entire Body should be able to confront and question one another, should it be necessary. Ideally, actually using their Bible's daily to study and show oneself approved, corporately and within ones own home.

Daily searching the Scriptures should not be some oddity that it most surely is today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks once again Joel for your honest challenge. Seems we as human beings so often choose to take the easy route in all we do. Unfortunately we do this in our walk with God as well. It is far easier to ‘not question’ what man or a Ministry says the Word is saying instead of looking it up for ourselves and asking the Author/Creator of Scripture what He says it means. May this be my continual quest.

Joel Spencer said...

Kay: I'll always choose water directly from the spring as opposed to the bottled and shelved variety. :)