Sunday, October 03, 2010

THE CONSTITUTION MATTERS IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE

Many political leaders today are ignoring the Constitution. They largely don't know it, understand it, or follow it. They are their own authority, and they do what is right in their own eyes. The problem is, it is not limited to people in government - it is just as widespread in the church. The spiritual Constitution given to us by God is the Bible, and people are cherry-picking the Bible just as those in the world cherry-pick the Constitution. The results are dismally similar. You see, written Constitutions are well thought out. They have checks and balances. They are not subject to the emotions of the moment or a particular situation. They are written to have a yardstick for all situations. The Bible was also not written in the heat of the moment. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, which though it is an inspiring document it is not the work of God, the Bible was dictated by the Holy Spirit and is inspired of God. The U.S. Constitution was not infallible, and in fact it has been amended 27 times. Oddly, in terms of prohibition of alcohol, it was changed to prohibit it and then to allow it again! The 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18 was approved in fewer than 4 months from when it was proposed, while not surprisingly, the 27th Amendment took 203 years from the time it was proposed until it was passed! Why do I say unsurprisingly? Because it prohibited pay raises for Congresspersons from taking affect until the NEXT Congress! Follow the money!

In contrast, the word of the Lord endures forever. God changes not, though by the disdain many Christians have for portions of the Bible, in their minds God changes about as often as do politicians on their positions on issues before the election. A pastor told me he had to leave the seminary of his denomination because most of his professors did not believe in the infallibility of the Word of God. I was actually at a wedding reception, which rented a function room at that same seminary, and shared that with someone at the table. Though my wife was kicking me under the table, the young lady nodded and said her pastor husband told her his experience was the same. The difference is that my friend LEFT the seminary and went elsewhere. This ladies husband was still there. How can ANYONE put themselves under the spiritual instruction of those who do not trust totally in the foundation document of our faith? It is not simply the material presented in class – it is the spiritual impartation done. I know that I sure could never put myself under someone like that. Yet people put themselves under the authority of pastors and churches that deviate from the word of God – sometimes large and sometimes small, but why tolerate ANY deviation? Did Jesus? Did Paul? Did Peter? Did John?

So what is substituted for our foundation document? In the terms of the Constitution, it is the whim of the moment, the latest politically correct notion, or a law that those in power have enough votes to pass. Of course, that is tyranny and it sets in motion a vast decrease in rights, consistency, and the rule of law. You see, all valid laws have to be consistent with the Constitution - that is the authority. What has happened is that advocates for this or that go judge shopping and seek to get someone to say the Constitutions deals with something it plainly does not mention or that it means the opposite of its plain meaning to any rational person.

In terms of the church, it is much the same. The ideas of man are exalted above the ideas of God. People shop for pastors or other spiritual leaders who will tell them that the Bible doesn't mean what it says so they run their lives the way they want to instead of the way God wants to.

I was at a Christian rap concert (believe it or not) and a lady rapper from Delaware was rapping away. As musicians often do between pieces, they pontificate. She was sharing her experience of how God was speaking great things to her. It went something like this - "I was sitting up in bed thinking about it, being careful not to wake up my boyfriend...." One and done. Problem is, most people would never assume making such a comment would go unchallenged so they do not say what they are doing. Rather, they never challenge evil. They let people in their church live together, be homosexual, you name it, all in the name of tolerance and spreading God's love. My wife was ministering to a woman physically abused. Do you know how many wives of pastors protect violent men in the pulpit? They need to be exposed! The Bible says not to show partiality in these matters. If the elder sins, he must be rebuked. Yet the wanderings of pastors are covered up and if found out there is a rush to restoration instead of dealing with the core causes. Churches would not dream of turning the souls of sinners over to Satan as Paul did in order that the cleansing of God could come into their lives. I was speaking to a pastor who said confronting people coming to his church who lived together was the hardest part of his job. Hey, pastoring is more than pulpit time - it takes using the crook to keep the sheep from falling down the canyon and it takes confronting wolves and bears to protect the sheep, even to the extent of fighting them bare-knuckled as David did. Yet some leaders would view that askance as it might get some mud on the tires of their shiny Mercedes parked in their reserved parking space.

In a social work class at a Pennsylvania Christian college, students were queried on how they would deal with a pregnant unmarried teenager - only 2 or 3 in that class took the anti-abortion position that is consistent with the word of God. This wasn’t Penn State – it was a so-called Christian college. Tons of women preachers now call themselves pastors, bishops, and even apostles despite the repeated and universal prohibition of that in scripture. Women twist the law of God more than Sonya Sotomayor and the rest of the liberal Supreme Court justices to find rationalization to fulfill their dreams. And the beat goes on. Many churches, despite the fact that man-made rules are of NO value against fleshly indulgence, have lists of man-made rules that are about as lengthy as Tolstoy's lengthy tome, "War and Peace". The Bible prohibits vain repetitions, and while some Protestant love to apply that to Hail Mary's, they sing the same chorus about 50 times until they are in a hypnotic state and accept anything the leader says regardless of its absurdity.

My friends, we have to be governed by the Word of God as it is plainly written. Very little of the Bible is hard to understand. The vast majority is pretty simple. "In six days, God created the heavens and the earth..." Just to be sure there was no misunderstanding about how long a day is, Christ wrote with his own finger on the stone tablets given to Moses that we needed to rest the seventh day because God made the earth in six days and rested the seventh. Yet people will get almost violent with you talking about the gap theory, day-age theory, and theistic evolution, all of which have absurd consequences and were dreamed up because more confidence was held in the ideas of man than in the words of God. They are no more rational than those who find a right of privacy or a ban on Christianity in the Constitution. Those words must have been written in the margins in invisible ink!

What concepts have you found by making the invisible ink in the margins of your Bible visible? That homosexuality is one of the designs of God? That all roads lead to heaven? That Christ's sacrifice will save everybody, even those who have rejected him? That being "slain in the spirit" is a normative or even desirable Christian experience? That you have classes to teach people how to speak in tongues? That modesty does not include spending a lot on our appearance, with lots of gold, braided hair, and expensive clothes? That the pastor is elevated to rock star status instead of having functioning elders and a Body of Christ where every member is valued and participates in every gathering? That prosperity is guaranteed in the atonement and that poor Christians are faithless Christians? Or even that physical healing is guaranteed in the atonement despite the context of all the proof-texts which indicates spiritual healing and the testimony of the Holy Spirit that God did not heal Paul, Timothy, or Trophemus, all of whom were certainly atoned for?

My friends, politicians repeat the same untruths so often, many people believe the lies. Tell a lie often enough and almost everyone will believe it. This post is not particularly political, but I have to mention to make the point that it is like the endless lie that President Obama and his friends have told that he inherited an economic situation caused by President Bush. The recession/depression situation was caused by the irresponsible acts of the Democratic Congress that took office in January of 2007 and their quintupling of the deficit, the more than doubling of unemployment, and nutty policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that triggered the meltdown. Up until they got their way, as CONGRESS holds the purse strings, things were humming along just fine, thank you! I freely tell people that the last six years of Clinton were good economically as were the first six years of Bush. What we had were twelve years of a GOP Congress. When Congress does not spend inordinate amounts of money and controls government power, the people prosper.

Go back to 1932 – you will see a direct prosperity linkage with who controls Congress. Our nation’s darkest days over the last one hundred years were the four times so-called Progressives were in control – the economic mess under Woodrow Wilson (in many ways worse than the Great Depression, though not as long), under FDR, whose policies greatly lengthened the Depression, under Jimmy Carter, whose almost fatal blow was partially recovered from under Reagan who was limited by a Democratic Congress, and now under Obama, whose grossly irresponsible spending and government control has made everyone poorer and put the poorest in even greater misery.

The church has followed suit - there is much discussion about the state of the church today. The fact is, you can attribute most of it to the folks who are now running churches and ministries. They are on TV spouting feel-good messages and appealing to the flesh every which way they can. They decry fundamentalists and even accept comparisons of moral people to the Taliban. They allow homosexuals to not only be their organists but to remain in the church without repentance. Women out of order in prohibited roles are in increasing abundance teaching strange doctrines and undermining God’s order for society. Some denominations are finding it rare to even have a male or straight pastor anymore. Men consumed with their own greed invent new ways by the day to extract money to pay not for spreading the gospel of Christ, but for lavish lifestyles to advance their own little kingdoms. Worship is often about worshipping self and coming to catharsis after a tough week instead of giving GOD a sacrifice of praise and true and unhurried spiritual worship. Instead of developing a culture of giving and generosity, where no one has too much and no one has too little, but where there is also no compulsion, Pastors are putting congregations under bondage with high-pressure tithing and giving schemes using the money not for advancing the gospel or for the poor, but in too many cases for other purposes including the building of monuments, paying salaries far beyond the "double honor: due those who labor among us, and buying expensive toys. I know one place that does this - two top line Mercedes and a 7 series BMW while many in the church have to take SEPTA or hock a ride to get to church to give after being harangued about it. God help us! We can’t say we weren’t warned. Two books of the Bible deal almost exclusively with false teachers. See if you can find them (hint – they are near the end, just as we are!)

How about things closer to home? Praying without ceasing. Studying to show ourselves approved unto God. Being God's witnesses. Making disciples of all nations. I talk to lots of people. Many Christians do not even have time each day dedicated to God. Did you know that God has an infinite amount of things to tell you? That will not happen if prayer is limited to grace before meals and a mumbled farewell to God as we fall asleep. We MUST give attention to what the Word commands us to do. If we do not, our Christian community will slide into irrelevancy just as the United States is by forsaking our founding document, our authority, the source of truth that protects us. It is not too late. Many are speaking up about the prescient evil of runaway government that seeks to take the place of God and conscience in people's lives. Others are disgusted with the state of organized Christianity and seek to return to true Biblical Christianity pure and simple. Both are worthy pursuits.

Our Constitution was written with the idea that America could only work when people had a moral compass and were not depending on a government to bring righteousness. Without a Godly populace ruled by the Word of God, the Constitution would really not work. Our founders ASSUMED that people would be ruled inwardly by the Bible. Today, very few are. Instead, an amazing number of Christians are welcoming extreme government intrusion because they believe it will bring righteousness and better economic results. They are just as foolish as those in the New Testament who put confidence in the law instead of grace. My friends, if government could really help us, the God-ordained Old Testament system would have saved us. It did not, and modern governments cannot either. Utopian governments are running out of money. More people are poorer now than for many years. The future looks bleak. Unless we have a resurgence of faith and vigilance against the political tyranny that Satan now has most of the world under, we too will slide into irrelevancy. Are we willing to be ruled by God and his unchanging Word? It starts one person at a time.

We have a new covenant. We have a better way. It is called the Kingdom of God. Do a study and find out all that Christ says about his Kingdom. For a start, you may wish to check what our Statement of Faith says about the kingdom at www.kingdomgospelministies.org. Are you dissatisfied with the status quo? More importantly, are you with me in seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and being governed by his word alone?

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