Monday, June 30, 2014

Attitudinally Challenged

I was driving down the road, having just talked to several individuals on the phone who were tending to be unreasonable, inconsiderate and not conscious of other people's time constraints. 

I threw my eyes up toward the heavens and said, "God I really don't like people! Why in the world did you ever send your Son to die for these losers?" Immediately He spoke to my heart very loud and clearly. He said, "If I hadn't sent my Son for losers, you wouldn't be saved right now. Also, think about the things that you have done recently. Now, if I were going by your standards, I would hate you too!"

Message received!

God's grace is extended from His perfection to our depravity, from His altogether loveliness to our utter ugliness!

Consider, if you will, the grace extended to Spurgeon from Rev. Parker.

Spurgeon’s Orphanage

Charles Spurgeon and Joseph Parker both had churches in London in the 19th century. On one occasion, Parker commented on the poor condition of children admitted to Spurgeon’s orphanage. It was reported to Spurgeon however, that Parker had criticized the orphanage itself.

Spurgeon blasted Parker the next week from the pulpit. The attack was printed in the newspapers and became the talk of the town. People flocked to Parker’s church the next Sunday to hear his rebuttal.

“I understand Dr. Spurgeon is not in his pulpit today, and this is the Sunday they use to take an offering for the orphanage. I suggest we take a love offering here instead.” The crowd was delighted. 

The ushers had to empty the collection plates three times.

Later that week there was a knock at Parker’s study. It was Spurgeon. “You know Parker, you have practiced grace on me. You have given me not what I deserved, you have given me what I needed.

--Moody Monthly

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Should We Submit to Human Leadership?

Following a Man

Follow me as I follow Christ - The Apostle Paul, I Cor. 11:1

I recently read a thread of social media posts regarding solely following Christ. Not a soul among the posters indicated they would submit themselves to the spiritual leadership of another person. "Only Christ is worthy," they chimed in unison, “I don’t trust men.”

Thanks to the Jims for messing things up royally! Jim Jones, Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker.

Distrust of authority and leadership. Such is the attitude of our Laodicean age. "The people decide." "Christianity" is riddled with autonomy. Church members, for the most part, are going to do their own thing, as long as it pleases them. Churches "pay" their preacher to preach interesting homilies, chair committees ad hominem and live ordered lives within the walls of their glass houses. But they must not make demands upon the contemporary Laodiceans requiring faithfulness, generosity, holiness and service.

Those things tend to be strictly optional and dependent upon whims, comfort zones and the convenience of the christianettes.

Scripture teaches no such "obedience optional" conducts. Paul, in chapter 11 of I Corinthians sets up a clear flow chart:

In the home: God > Christ > Husband > Wife > Children > Kitty cat > Mice

In the church: Apostles>Pastors>People

You have no argument with the blogger if you disagree. Your beef is with God and the Apostle Paul.

Clearly, some pastors and husbands are as lowdown and vile as the dog droppings you stepped in after the neighbor's Pomeranian wandered into your yard. Such pastors should be run out of town on a rail, after a good ol’ tar and feathering. They connive, cheat, lord over, abuse and manipulate.

If you are subjected to such vermin, let me know, I know a couple of guys who will come and discreetly take care of the situation for a love offering. (Just kidding - sort of)

God wasn't merely brain-storming when He set up biblical authority, putting His system into place until a better plan would come along in the 1960's, spawning NOW and NARAL. At such a time, autonomous chaos could then emerge as a much more efficient system of governance of the home and church.

How's that working out for you?

"I'll not follow or submit to any man!" is the war cry of First Facebook Church of the Non-Assembled.

Question: Who then is going to sidle up next to you at the judgment seat and give an account for you with joy and not with grief? Oh, you want to go it alone on that day? Good luck with that.

For those of us who would like to stave off the spirit of Laodicea as long as possible, preferring a more Ephesian or Philadelphian model, we will continue to respect God-ordained leadership.

Shall we then follow some man?

1. Only as they follow Christ - I Cor 11:1, Paul wasn't perfect, but he was worthy. His dedication could not be questioned. His zeal was peerless. His logic was flawless. But, he tended to be a bit over-bearing. Over-bearing was not a pastorally impeachable offense. Duplicitous living, impure motives and tainted doctrine were. If a preacher keeps his nose in the Book and his eyes on Christ, he will fare well as a leader.

2. Only as they are ordained of the Lord as a leader - Paul affirmed time and again his position as apostle, evangelist, soul-winner and church planter. Others questioned his authority, impeached his character, but the proof was in the hummus, he was God's man.

3. Only as they teach solid doctrine – 11:2. As Paul said to Timothy, pay strict attention to your doctrine. Friend, do not make the mistake of placing yourself under doctrinally corrupt leadership. Find a Bionically-based, Christ-centered church and pastor. Join and serve with gusto. The same could be said of finding a mate. You had better be looking at the right criteria or you are headed for a lifetime of misery, or divorce court, or the mortuary, whichever comes first.

Warning, when contemplating employment, government, marriage or church attendance, you are willingly placing yourself under the authority of others. Don't decide according to fluff. Don't be deceived by guile. Pray, procure counsel, test the spirits, get God's go ahead and then follow well.

Or, become a nun! Then you will have only Mother Superior to answer to.