29 March, 2013

For All...

With Resurrection Sunday soon upon us, the ads have begun to grow more frequent. Churches are setting out to fill the pews with those who rarely frequent their doors. sad to say, but it is sort of a religious "sweeps week" for many.

Don't misunderstand me: there is nothing wrong with radio ads for churches. In this fast-paced society, you have to take whatever means necessary to announce your existence to world. I'm just tired of  the silliness that is overtaking many of our churches. One such ad caused me to look the place up. They claimed to be a place that "actually does what it says it believes." After hearing them spend the totality of the ad praising themselves, I had to look them up.


Oh boy... 

On this Good Friday, I want us to remember that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for ALL people - rather than for the select few that many have been duped into believing about.

It still bothers me that so many churches can have the audacity to preach and teach the despicable notion that God plays favorites. The doctrine of election states that God, before the foundation of the world, predestined those whom He would allow to share in the gift of grace, while subsequently condemning others to an eternal damnation in Hell. It was His choice. It was His Sovereign Will. It cannot be changed.

And it was all done before time began.

Think about that for a moment: before time ever began, God determined who would have the opportunity to go to Heaven and who was destined for Hell. Before the foundations of the world. That means that eternal damnation was God's Will before He ever created this place. How can that be so? The only way for that line of thinking to be possible is for Lucifer's deception in Eden to also be the perfect Will of God. He would have had to intentionally set Lucifer on the Garden, because He needed an antagonist to tempt humanity into the Fall, so that those whom He predestined for Hell would have a means of getting there. It is absurd.

I read on this churches statement of faith (where they were pounded the election doctrine home with gusto) that people dying and going to Hell is proof that God's Will is does not include salvation for all.


God's Sovereignty does not stretch so far as to declare that everything that happens in this earth is His Will. a lot of things happen in this earth that are not the Will of God. If they were, that would again lead us to the conclusion that God's perfect Will for this earth was The Fall. He would have had to author the deception of Eden. That would ultimately make Him the devil. Disease, poverty, rape, murder, depression, civil wars, calamities and atrocities of all kinds - these are a direct result of the Fall of humanity. They are not the perfect Will of God for any of us. Likewise, the death and subsequent eternal damnation of any human being is also not the Will of God.

Every Scripture that people twist and manipulate to support the election myth (see what I did there??) can be seen properly through one simple Bible verse. 

[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
~1Timothy 2:4

All simply means all. This is not all of the "elect," but every human spirit who ever enters this earth. Jesus paid an enormous price for our redemption and salvation. It not simply "going to Heaven," either, but a complete freeing from all the Curse that came upon this earth at Eden. 

His blood redeemed us. His stripes healed us. His punishment gave us peace. It has all been done. It is finished. We don't have to beg; we need only believe. Churches need to preach this without fear and without disclaimers. God's perfect Will for all people, for all time, is perfect healing, provision, peace, and love. His perfect Will is that everyone be saved from both the Curse and eternal damnation. And just because that doesn't manifest itself to every human being who walked this earth does not change God's Will or His Word. 

I will leave you with the most cliche Bible verse imaginable. But I ask you to stop and read it very slowly, very carefully. Let it's truth wash over you this Resurrection Sunday.

For God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that THE WORLD through Him might be saved.
~John 3:16-17 (all caps mine)

25 March, 2013

Church Lied

I need to stop doing this.

I need to stop being so reactionary. Having a child makes sitting down and spending time listening to instructions from the Lord more difficult. No excuses. I have been convicted. I have made the adjustment. New material is on the horizon. But I'm starting on a personal, reactionary note...

I had a professor in college who always took issue with a lack of what he liked to call "jazzy titles." The first batch of papers in each of his classes were always met with disappointment as he glanced over the tops of the pages and muttered, "no jazzy titles..." We learned real quick that a good piece of writing always comes with a catchy title. However, "God has A.D.D." or "The Inconsistencies of Jesus" are too inconsiderate - even when used for no other reason than to catch an audience. So we will go with this one.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
~2Timothy 2:13

If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.

Why is this so difficult for us as "believers" to grasp? Jesus cannot deny His character. Jesus cannot do something contrary to His Word or His Nature. And yet, I have been confronted with endless teaching to the contrary. It is infuriating. It is frightening. And worst of all, it is detrimental to my faith and to yours. 

Contradiction is the word I have used in the past when discussing the church and the Word. I stand in churches and hear about the faithfulness of God. I listen as pastors and lay-people declare that our God can and does do great things for His people. Everybody gets excited and praises God for His goodness and faithfulness.

Then it happens.

The CYA moment.

God's faithfulness comes crashing down when someone in authority says something along the lines of "sometimes God does, and sometimes God doesn't." Other times it sounds like "sometimes God delivers, but there are times when His Plan doesn't allow Him to deliver His people." 

"God gave me cancer."

"The Lord told me He needed me to hurt a little bit."
 "God decided I needed a trial."

"Lord, we don't know why You choose to do what You do."

Inconsistent. Contradictory. Faithless.

If I were the type of man that the Church has portrayed God as, I would have no credibility with anyone. I couldn't do anything for anybody, because I wouldn't be able to establish trust with anyone. My question to anyone who will listen is this: how can we trust God when we claim that He is inconsistent? How can we call God 'faithful' and continue to claim that He is responsible for things that He promised to redeem us from? We are unintentionally proclaiming that God cannot be trusted.

This proves that many of us do not believe the Bible as we claim to. It proves we have more faith in negative testimonies than we do in our Father's own Word. Just because something bad happened to a person, just because we see atrocities within the Bible itself, does not mean that God is inconsistent. Our faith must be in God - not in the bad things that happen to people.

Just because God turned a horrible situation into a good testimony does not mean that the atrocity was His Will. If that line of thinking were true, then sin itself would be the Will of God. Jesus has redeemed us. Redeem means "to rescue." He rescued us from the Curse (Galatians 3:13), but we are still hanging onto the curse with all our might, rather than proclaiming (by faith) the freedom that belongs to us by right. Just because we don't see the promises of God come to fruition in our lives or in the life of another, does no mean that those promises are not sure!

We are promised protection. We are promised abundance. We are promised health and healing. We are promised freedom from addiction and oppression. The question is: do we believe in these promises, or do we put our stock in the words of tainted testimony? Does someone's misunderstanding carry more weight than the Words of our God?

We're told to test the spirits to see if they are from God (1John 4:1). We hold the testimony of others up against the Word of God. If someone claims "God said," but their testimony flies in the face of Scripture, God didn't say that! That is why we're given this more sure Word (2Peter 1:19).

There is no might with God. He will do the things He promised us. He will deliver. He will heal. He will save. He will protect. That is our covenant right with God as His people.

The question is not "why did You let this happen?" The question is "why couldn't You protect me?"

Set you up pretty good for next time, didn't I...?