Yesterday evening, I posted this on my Facebook wall. No, this was not some off the wall church, but a long-established church considered well within the realms of evangelicalism. Some preachers of old came from this particular denomination and would probably roll over in their graves if they knew what was being spoon-fed to gullible sheep.
“Well that church visit was a one-timer only! We knew we were in for a treat when the sermon notes had a picture of Clark Kent / Christopher Reeves with a big Cross in place of the “S” on his chest. The sermon title says it all, “Super Christian, A Fat Woman, and an Old Camera.” Wow, two hours of our lives we will never get back.
message inspirational talk, the first large chunk of the time was taken up trying to get the hearer to see how they relate to the Superman of the movies. Basically, we each have our Kryptonite and the reality is that we are far from being SuperChristian. However, if we work hard, in 5 years, we can become closer to the SuperChristian ideal than we are today. It only takes a desire on our part to use our willpower to change.
Here were a couple of quotes from the person who was tasked with delivering the whole truth of Scripture, but failed miserably:
“Love is the most powerful change agent in our lives. So we must love God and love ourselves. The change process includes asking Him to be your Lord and GIVE Him authority for what you become in the future.”
Shades of Joel Osteen. How much biblical knowledge does a person have to unlearn in order to spout these kinds of comments to a listening congregation? Even worse, how shallow does a believer have to be in order to accept these comments from the pulpit?
Let us clarify a few things here. 1) Yes, love is important and is the greatest of faith, hope, and love. However, for believer and unbeliever alike, only God can be the most powerful change agent in our lives. An unbeliever cannot truly love with a biblical love unless he or she is completely and powerfully changed by the God of the universe. For the believer, we are called to renew our minds and to die to self daily, not to love ourselves.
This kind of thinking quickly devolves into the false teaching that we must forgive ourselves and there are even churches that are teaching that in order to move forward in our lives, that we must learn to forgive God as well. This is blasphemy. God has nothing for which He can be forgiven. Only a sinful creature needs to be forgiven, and this comes from God for our wickedness against His holiness.
Here is another quote –
“God loves you just how you are and will love you completely EVEN if you never change.”
Excuse me while I get sick. My stomach should be ok in a few days, but my head will struggle for awhile. This is absolute drivel to coin a good Greek word. Is it true that God loves each of us? First, John 3:16 makes it clear that God loved the world that He gave the ultimate gift of His Only Begotten Son. However, in that same passage, Jesus continued and said in verse 36 that for those who do not believe that the wrath of God abides on them even now. God hates sin. God detests sin. God loathes sin.
This is the problem with much of evangelicalism. It wants to focus so much on the love to the complete, or almost complete, exclusion of the wrath of God. God is equally a God of love and a God of wrath. If there was no wrath, there could be no love exhibited. God had to hate sin infinitely in order to love infinitely.
Further, this last quote smacks of a complete misunderstanding of Biblical truths, and here is why. 1) God does NOT love you just how you are for you and I were once dead in trespasses and sins. The wrath of God bore down upon our heads and we were bound for destruction. God could not place His love upon that which rises in ultimate rebellion against His holiness because He accepts you the way you are. No, no, NO! If God loves you the way you are, then there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to have become the ultimate sacrifice.
2 Corinthians 5:17 makes this abundantly clear. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
God will be glorified in all things and one day, every knee will bow down before Jesus Christ. This will be true of those in heaven, or earth, or in hell. However, the Bible is clear that when God sets His love upon you and redeems you from the slave market of sin that you WILL NOT remain the same. You CANNOT be the same person and choose to abide in your sin with no discipline or correction.
If there has never been a change or if you never change, the wrath of God will remain upon you and one day, in the pits of hell, you will find yourself cursing God with all of your being.
If you are a true believer, then you will not be able to keep from changing anymore than a baby can by willpower choose to remain an infant.
So, while the sheeple were being entertained, the Holy Spirit must have been grieved. The music and announcement time comprised right at 60 minutes of the total service time. Many swayed and clapped with the music driven by the band at the front, but few sang. People laughed at the jokes and little anecdotes, and I presume they went away feeling like they had accomplished something special by filling in the Church/God box of their lives for another week. Yet, there was no change.
It was a very sad commentary on what happens when the pulpit gets away from the Bible as the standard, and a very sad commentary on what happens when the people in the pew have no clue whether what is being said is actually in the Bible or not. We were grieved at the realization that here was another full church full of people who had no clue what it means to biblically worship a holy, righteous God.
Superman is not real, but God is real. Superman does not belong in church, but God does (Rev. 3:20). Our God came into the world to save sinners and to change them. He doesn’t turn us into SuperChristian, but His Holy Spirit guides us into all truth so that we become more like an image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“God loves you just how you are and will love you completely EVEN if you never change.” … Seriously? If I’m not mistaken in the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” If it’s ok to never change how come so many bible verses demand a complete change?
2 Corinthians 7:9
The entire bible is a cry to stop what we are doing and “Change”
This is a battle we must fight to save our poorly educated brothers and sisters. Yes God is love, but He is more, SO much more. To exaggerate one of God’s attributes to the point where His Justice and Holiness and all other attributes are ignored is heartbreaking. The purveyors of prosperity preach are leading lambs and goats alike to slaughter.
Preaching that “God is Love” only is like trying to describe the Rocky Mountains by simply saying “There’s snow on the top.”
Doug, thank you for stopping by. You are correct. We cannot exaggerate one attribute over another. And I like your analogy of the Rocky Mountains.
The place for souls of men are not fought in the “heavenlies”, but behind the sacred desk. For if that hallowed ground is compromised, the war for the culture is lost before the first “shot” is even fired.
I loved reading this, as I am a firm believer that Satan has so many fooled with his all love, no repentance, no judgement to come salvation plan. I am no more a super-anything without the Holy Spirit’s power, On my own I can change nothing, He can do the impossible. He leads me to repentance, quides me with the light of the Word of God, and directs me into being more Christ like. ~ Blessings ~
Mark – you are absolutely right to be sick at your stomach at such nonsense. But I must point out that John 3:16 does not say Jesus loved the world so much … It says He loved the world in this way … The Greek word represented by “so” in English is always an adverb, never an adjective. Never.
My apologies, brother. You are correct. As I was writing this, I had contemplated expounding on John 3:16 to include the caveats. It is that whosoever believes shall have eternal life, not just anybody. We are NOT all God’s children and He is Father only to those who are actually His children through salvation.
Mark – I don’t doubt your knowledge of the truth and was hoping that phrase was simply an oversight caused by the fact that we live in a culture that thinks John 3:16 describes a god with a crush on the world.
Press on, my brother!
A great delusion will be sent that is it were possible even the elect…..
As has been said the biggest danger is not between truth and blatant error. Rather it is between the truth and things that are almost true. A half truth is still a whole lie. When pastors doubt the inspiration of and the perspicuity of the scriptures they stop teaching the whole council of God. They are no longer under shepherds but have become self serving hirelings. Because they have become hirelings they protect their jobs by teaching deistic therapeutic moralism.
This present trend will lead to the tares, the present majority, to labeling the “born agains” as the heretics. We reject everything the tares love. In their blinded eyes and stopped up ears and stony hearts we, and our gospel, are exclusive and judgmental and intolerant and unloving. Soon enough the teaching and preaching of the gospel will be classified as a hate crime. such loons as this pastor will applaud and promote it.