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Lies & The Church – 7

21 Mar

One of the things we need to be careful of as Christians, and that is we need to not blindly believe what other believers tell us. We cannot assume that just because they are Christian everything they say is true. This includes the focus of this series. Not every statement we examine are actually lies but are a product of people’s personal subjective opinions.

To find out if something really is a lie we must check these statements against God’s word to see if they contradict anything the Bible has told us or if their source is from anywhere other than the Bible. God sets the definition of what is a lie or not, not fallible humans, including Christians (and that last group includes pastors, missionaries, church leaders, Sunday school teachers and so on).

God has not bestowed upon anyone the authority to declare what is or isn’t sin. Nor has he given anyone the authority to redefine what a lie is. What he has done is given us the definitions and we must be humble enough to accept those definitions and abide by them. He sets the standard not humans.

Our job is to make sure that we hear and tell the truth, not to stand there and point a finger at someone who may honestly be mistaken and say ‘thou sinner, you have lied…’ Our job is not to be judge or to condemn of others but to be like Christ correctly.

This means that we do not take Christ’s words against the Pharisees and then go and do likewise, calling people names and accusing them of sins they may not have committed. Jesus did not arbitrarily condemn the Pharisees nor did he act out of personal subjective opinion. He also did not sin when he condemned the religious leaders of his time.

He acted out of who he was, holy, sinless and had the evidence that actual sins were being committed. He also acted out of genuine love and did not use that as an excuse to interfere in the lives of others. So if we want to be like Jesus and act like hi, then we need to really see who Jesus was and allow God to bring us to that point before we jump on other believers and make their Christian faith more difficult than it already is.

In this next to last installment of this series we will look at the content of the article, ‘Top 5 Lies Christians Believe’ By Nicole Cottrell and is found at:

http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-blogs/154842-nicole_cottrell_top_5_lies_christians_believe.html

  1. Church is not necessary.

I do not agree with her explanation as I think it is off the mark. Her next line states:

In other words, it’s OK to be a lone Christian

Every person I have met who held to point 1 has not had it in their heads that it was okay to be a lone Christian. They usually have the idea that they do not need to go to a church building to be with God or to be a Christian.

To counter those people the verse, ‘forsake not the gathering together…’ (paraphrased) tells us that while we do not need a church building to be Christian, we still need other Christians in our lives. We still need that fellowship, encouragement, that corporate practice of our faith and so on.

The book of Acts provides support for that verse as we read in different chapters that Christians were meeting together in private homes. They were not establishing ‘house churches’ but practicing what that scripture taught. They were gathering together because of need, fellowship, worship and so on.

So a church building is not necessary but being with true members of the church is.

  1. All Christians need to do is be “good” and act “nice.”

Haven’t heard this one either and I suspect that the people who make up these lists, take these supposed lies from those religious organizations that may not truly be Christian. We have to be careful about using generalities because while some people may say these things, they may not actually be born again. They may be some person who uses the Christian label for their own peace of mind yet are nowhere near salvation.

The Roman Catholic Church is one such organization which focuses on being good and nice because they think good works brings salvation. Good works is a result of salvation, not an act for it.

So when people say that there are lies believed by ‘Christians; we need more details to see if the word Christian actually applies. Then, if one looks at the fruits of the spirit we see that Christians are to be different from the rest of the world and that difference includes being good and nice. Though we do not practice those all the time as there are other characteristics we are to employ which may not look good and nice. For example when we dispense justice or rebuke those in sin and other situations.

  1. God doesn’t care about your small things.

It is easy to see why this one may be believed. Some of us have low views of God and ourselves and we do not expect God to care about us, even in our little details. So while we may agree that this one may actually be a lie held by some people in the church, it is easily solved. The solution usually comes from other believers who take the time to care about others even in the little details of their lives.

People do not normally see God unless his followers get involved and demonstrate God to them and that he cares. God uses people and if his followers do not do the job, then evil may take advantage and lure people away with kindness and caring. Christians do not have a monopoly on those two behaviors.

  1. We believe that only pastors or those in “leadership” can, in fact, lead

Uhm…that is one of the duties of the pastor and for those in leadership. While they may not be the only ones, who have leadership abilities, they are the ones appointed by God, hopefully, to lead that congregation and we must be careful not to oppose their leadership wrongly.

Moses had this trouble and those who opposed him were not met with rewards for their actions. Being given leadership qualities does not mean one just goes out and leads regardless of who is already leading the church but they must learn how to use that ability God’s way and for his glory.

Churches use words like pastor, counselor, minister of whatever or lay person. They are essentially stating that you must be a professional to serve or lead within the body.

This is just not true. Those terms do nothing to say who can or cannot lead nor do those terms imply you must be a professional to lead others. There are plenty of leadership opportunities in the church and we take the position, no matter how minor it may be, and do a good job so that God will promote you when you are ready.

There is order in the church and that order includes guiding the office of leadership. One may have leadership qualities but he may not have the ability to lead a whole church or even a youth group. Or they may not have the experience to handle the duties of leadership. One just does not identify a leader type quality then demand to be made head of the church.

There is a lot to learn before one becomes a leader.

The beauty, however, of the Body of Christ is that God calls ordinary men to do His extraordinary work.

You do not need a seminary degree, a certificate of training or a title from your church’s administration to serve, disciple or equip those around you. You need three things: willingness, faithfulness and the Holy Spirit

That author really does not understand what it means to be a leader or how God used those people. Yes God does use ordinary men for extraordinary work BUT that extraordinary work does not  run counter to the rules God has set for leadership. It also doesn’t contradict what we just said about being place in minor roles and letting God promote a person to more responsibility.

God will raise people up but that act follows God’s rules not human understanding or expectation. People like that author have a false view of degrees, certificates and so on. Those pieces of paper do not make one a leader, and we had this problem in Korea where some Westerners obtained their teaching diplomas or Bachelor of Education degrees and thought they were teachers and experts on education.

Far from it. All those pieces of paper tell anyone is that the holder of them completed the course requirements and graduated. They do not make people leaders or teachers. God does that if the candidate is willing to learn the lessons they need to in order to become a good leader or teacher.

  1. God wants us to be happy.

How can we not be happy when we receive salvation and freedom from evil? While some people define happiness differently than others, our peace of mind, our contentment and other aspects of Christianity can make us happy.

So we will disagree that this is a lie. We are going to live with God forever how can one not be happy about that? But that author says more:

Happiness in scripture is usually mentioned in terms of a fleeting moment or a temporal, earthly event. Neither the scriptures or Christ (or anyone else for that matter) ever tell us that God wants us to “be happy.” He wants us to be a lot of things: righteous, holy, godly, pure, sanctified, etc … but “happy” ain’t in the list.

Her definition of happy is focused on a fleeting emotion, like being sad, and is not the happiness we feel with Jesus in our lives. If one is righteous, holy, godly, then we will be happy and it is a deeper happiness than say having parents give us the gifts we wanted at Christmas.

So we can say, yes God wants us to be happy but in a different more spiritual way than the earthly feeling we experience when we get good things from others. How people define words or understand what the Bible is talking about influences their lists.

What they call lies are merely statements that they have not understood correctly and they have leapt to the wrong conclusion. This is why the Bible says to get understanding.  We need understanding to avoid making a fool of ourselves by creating erroneous lists of ‘lies’ and to correctly grasp what God is telling us. The content we have addressed so far and will in our last installment comes from people who do not understand correctly and they have assumed things they should not have and instead of helping the church, they have brought strife and sin into it.

Getting understanding is not wrong but helps us to see clearly and it helps us to identify the beams in our own eyes first so that we deal with those problems first before attacking others and their supposed lies.

We are not being Christian because we ‘expose’ supposed lies and accuse other believers of lying. We are being Christian when we understand that those supposed lies may not have been told on purpose but have been mistakenly believed as truth and we gently and biblically correct those who tell them.

We are also not being Christian when we impose our subjective ideas upon others and leave God and his instruction out of the exposition. Our personal views do not replace the truth. Our personal likes and dislikes do not establish what is or isn’t a lie. Then just because we think we are spiritual does not mean we know what is or isn’t a lie nor does it mean we have not mixed in our own personal or secular ideas into our understanding of what others say.

We need to understand much when it involves others and we need to add grace into the equation when we analyze what others say for if they think it is the truth then they are not lying but repeating what they consider to be true. It is a mistake and we know how to correct mistakes.

We do not leap automatically to the worst charges but take the time to honestly find out if the other person lied intentionally or not. Then we go from there but we do not falsely accuse others when there is no evidence of a crime. Just because someone may disagree with you does not mean that they are lying.

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One response to “Lies & The Church – 7

  1. jbcowgill

    March 21, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Reblogged this on John Cowgill's Literature Site.

     
 
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