Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Final Authority?

When it comes to Christian belief, what constitutes The Final Authority? If you answer: The Bible, you would be out of step with mainstream Christian philosophy.

Mainstream Protestant Churches are characterized, today, as "Liberal." This is not a form of biblical belief. It is a competing belief system. This belief is rooted in feelings and social justice, not biblical principle.

For example: Liberal churches support women in pastoral roles, abortion as a woman's right to choose, homosexuality as the way God made them, socialist public policy and pacifism. Each of these are dealt with in Scripture which concludes the exact opposite of what Liberal religious philosophy teaches.

Evangelical Churches have begun sacrificing biblical authority in search of more people to fill their pews and bank accounts. The Seeker-Sensitive Movement, The Contemporary Church Movement, The Emergent Church Movement are all efforts to make people feel more comfortable and/or close to God.

The only real problem is that none of these ideas are supported by a Bible that clearly sees "Church" as made up The Redeemed of the Lord, not seekers. Corporate worship [which is spiritual not physical], prayer, instruction, training and mutual accountability are the Bible-ideas for what is called "church."

The Charismatic Church began with the desire for assurance of God's presence and power in their lives. The Arminian is never quite sure, since his salvation is the product of his "decision." A decision he could just as casually forsake, since he has Free Will.

Speaking in tongues fit their Bill. The only problem is that the gibberish they spout is not supported by a Bible which defines tongues as known languages, for evangelistic purposes. Not to mention that it occurs when and if the Holy Spirit chooses to express Himself through you, that way. It's not really a "Gift."

But it makes people feel close to God, at best, and superior to others, at it's worst. The subtext is "I'm speaking in tongues, which demonstrates God's power on my life, so you need to pay attention to what I'm saying and doing!"

The Word-Faith Movement is an extension of the Charismatic Idea. It is made up of charismatics who are not satisfied to wait on the Lord for a divine expression. They have further maligned the Bible by teaching that Christians are "gods." Their words, therefore, have creative power. Of course with every creative word spoken, the Bible is further maligned and minimized.

In their effort to get wealth they teach what's being called the Health-Wealth Gospel. This is nothing more than a Side Show gimmick or a Medicine Show. The world sees right through it. They see these folks as shysters and charlatans, or worse. The Church? The Church isn't so sure, not wanting to judge people. It makes one wonder which group has the greater spiritual understanding.

Now we're seeing new heresies and new expressions of so-called Christianity. Open Theology, Occultism, Mysticism and Eastern Religious techniques. A Church in the Raleigh area actually has a "Prayer Maze" on their property with a Shinto Gate. We are calling Eastern Meditation, biblical. And listening for God's "individual word" by which our life will be specifically guided, without reference to Scripture.

Generally, Christians seem confused about what's going on. On the one hand we want to maintain our biblical stance. But, on the other hand, these churches are growing while our's is shrinking and aging.

I would submit to you that this expression of Church has a lot to answer for!