Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Spiritual Discernment

We know from the Scriptures that the Lord gives us discernment in all areas of life. What continues to baffle me is the lack of spiritual discernment among Christians. This lack of discernment has resulted in weak theology and weak doctrine. Churches that once stood rock solid on the scriptures now operate as social clubs and business organizations. Just look at the Methodist church-wouldn't John Wesley be horrified by the liberal theology that has as it's slogan "Open hearts, open minds, open doors." The fact that denominatonal bodies are arguing about the abominable practice of homosexuality is evidence enough of their slide into the "slough of despond." If you visit the main Methodist websites in the U.S. and the U.K. you will learn more about their social causes than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have even taken our Lord's command to love our neighbors as ourselves to the extreme. I was visiting a Baptist website the other day and one of their major focuses was to eradicate poverty worldwide. While this is a noble aspiration, where do we find that as the mission of the church in the Bible? Christians today are very fond of talking about the love of God without referring to His justice and holiness, which is evidenced by the casual approach to worship so many take.

My own denomination, Southern Baptist, is not exempt from criticism. Baptists have always been know as a "people of the book." Most Southern Baptist churches today
are a "people of the world", focusing themselves not on Jesus Christ and Him crucified, but on programs and innovation. It is disgusting to me the way some of our churches fall all over themselves to welcome visitors and make them comfortable. I agree that we should be warm and inviting to all visitors, but this gushing over visitors reeks of pop-psychology. A lot of Baptist churches have embraced the theologically inept Willow Creek and Purpose Driven models. I do not find any of these models in the book of Acts when souls were being added to the church. All of these pragmatic approaches to church growth speak loudly to the world that the church no longer trusts God to bless and add to His church as He sees fit. Many churches no longer live at the foot of the cross, but at the feet of Warren, Osteen, Willow Creek, etc.

Recently I attended a business meeting at my church and the subject of elders and deacons was being discussed. The pastor was listing the qualifications, and it was as if he threw a cherry bomb into the center of the sanctuary when he said that the leadership of the church should be of the male species. Most of the women present were quite upset with this statement. Over the next hour or so we heard things like, " I feel like a second class citizen; what kind of role model are we providing for the young ladies of the church, blah, blah, blah. I was told recently that one of these women had done a lot of research on the matter and the other ladies were quite impressed by her knowledge. New flash-it doesn't take a scholar to know the Lord's thougths on the matter, which are clearly laid out for us in 1 Timothy 3. God made us male and female and gave us different roles to play not only in the family unit, but also in the operation of His body of believers. Those churches and denominations that employ female pastors and elders/deacons have tossed aside the Scriptures in favor of popular culture.

Why is the church being tossed about with every wind of cultural and liberal doctrine? The answer is simple-most Christians no longer study His Word and seek to live by it. They are anemic Christians and don't even know it. They can talk all day long about God's love and loving their neighbors, but please do not attempt to discuss theology with them. They would rather read some fascinating book from the local Christian bookstore than the book that God Himself wrote for us. How many Christians know what men like Wyclffe, Tyndale, and the translators of the Geneva Bible went through to give us the Bible in our native tongue? Do they even care? Actions speak much louder than words and by their actions they are dishononoring the testimonies of those great Reformers. All that live in the Word daily must be as the watchmen in Israel of old and call the church back to it's anchor. I close with Psalm 119:105: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."


Anonymous reformed_sc said...

well said. the excuses made by most professing Christians today, in reference to omitting a daily reading, only go to show why tje many and varied doctrinal winds of the world have scattered these people over the landscape. but more importantly, the unsaved look at this as yet another reason for dismissing the light the gospel will assuredly bring into their darkness.

10:03 AM  
Blogger carolinabaptist said...

I couldn't agree more. And some groups have traded doctrine for unity, which is also unbiblical.

10:25 AM  

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