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A Pet Peeve

28 Apr

We are sure everyone has one or some. Here is one definition of the term:

A pet peeve is a particular thing that bugs you every time.(https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/pet%20peeve)

What bugs us this morning as we try to rest up is the idea that humans think that they are the owners of the keys to heaven and get to determine what or who is Christian. The owner of Formerly Fundie does this all the time and his most recent post is just another in a long line of his attempts to reshape Christianity after his desires and claim that he not God gets to determine who is or isn’t a Christian.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/you-cant-be-christian-if-youre-not-caring-for-the-poor/

Personal preferences do not qualify a person to replace God or his criteria for being a Christian and that is all that is contained in that post. He wants people to do as he wants not as God wants and that is very dangerous ground to walk as people are not called to follow other people but to follow Christ.

Here are a few quotes that need to be addressed:

#1. People often falsely assume that the word Christian has a clear, singular, meaning but that’s not necessarily true.

The word Christian does have a clear, singular meaning, the problem is that too many people do not accept that definition and alter it to fit their selfish desires. The altered definitions do not define Christianity but define the alternative belief masquerading as Christian.

#2. Of the thousands upon thousands of people who belong to the first two types of Christianity, (approximately 78% of Americans), fighting poverty isn’t high on the radar. Various studies over the years have actually shown that the number of Christians who tithe amount to approximately 5-7%. This means that at least 93% of Christians don’t even give money to the church they attend, let alone give money to fight poverty.

Not everyone is called to fight the same problem nor support the same problem.While Christians are to care for the less fortunate, they are also to care for the wealthy and the middle class and then those who do the caring need leaders to guide them, spiritually feed them and so on.People are called to care for those who care for the poor, just as there are people called to be evangelists, teachers and so on.

Tithing has always been a problem for the church but all the money tithed does not belong to the poor. Pastors need a decent, living salary and the Christian Post just had an article detailing how far too many pastors are part of the poor because their churches refuse to pay them properly. That is a disgrace to the church as much as not giving to the poor. God’s workers deserve better treatment than they are getting.

This does not mean that they get extravagant salaries that are so high that the church cannot take care of other needs but the pastor and other church workers should not have to live in poverty or take second jobs to make ends meet.How we treat our pastors and missionaries financially sends out a message to the secular world and it is not an advertisement the church really wants.

We do not use the words ‘they will get their reward in heaven’ as an excuse to not pay pastors and other Christian workers correctly.

#3. But here’s the problem: You can’t be Christian if you’re not actively helping and serving the least among us.

Really? So the Bible has been altered to say that salvation depends upon our charitable sacrifices instead of being saved by grace through faith and that salvation is not the result of works? This is what inspired our article title. This bothers us greatly as that writer thinks he is greater than God now that he has received his doctorate and other graduate education. Where does he get off making statements like that?

When did God die and leave him in charge of heaven and the Christian faith? People do not have the authority to change scripture to reflect their preferences. Nor do they have the right to use their preferences to bully those who disagree with them or have been called to other ministries into doing what they want  and forcing them to ignore what God has told them to do.

The difference between his website and ours is that we seek to help people grow in their faith and become better believers in Jesus. We do not tell people that they are not Christian unless they become teachers  or teachers to the ghetto population. There is a difference here and we must make sure that in our Christian lives we do not cross the line between being a follower of God and taking God’s place. No one can take God’s place for they are not the Creator of all things nor the owner/head of the Christian faith. The last we looked, Jesus was still occupying that position.

#4. Honestly, I think we have a problem that we must face here in American Christianity: 97% of Christians (noun) aren’t Christian (adjective). Jesus taught his disciples to first take the beam out of their own eye before worrying about the speck in their brother’s eye, and I think it’s time we get a crowbar and start yanking this beam out.

He needs to start with himself first and maybe he will see clearly enough to recognize that his preferences do not comprise the Christian faith and that God has his will for people and that will does not match with that author’s.

#5. For the one who desires to be Christian, we have a non-negotiable model to follow. Scripture tells us that Jesus lived his life in such a way that serves as an example for us to follow, and that we are to walk in his footsteps—even if that means sacrifice or suffering.

If it is a non-negotiable model, we must ask, why is he a progressive Christian, one who ignores God’s teaching and helps people disobey God? It seems he has taken a wrong tun somewhere and has gotten confused about what Christianity is all about.

#6. Well, Jesus spent his time preaching good news to the poor, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and helping the lame to walk again. In fact, helping the poor and sick was so absolutely central to Jesus’s ministry, that he commanded his followers to continue this tradition—and even warned them that if they refused to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or welcome the immigrant, they would find themselves facing an everlasting punishment on judgment day

His vision is a little colored by the selective rose-colored glasses he wears. Jesus did more than focus on the poor. He healed and fed all levels of society or is that author forgetting the healing of the centurion’s servant or that the Bible does not record what classes of people that comprised the multitudes that followed him? He also seems to ignore the fact that illness and other health problems affect the rich and middle class as well.

When Jesus healed the paralyzed man, whose friends had to go through the roof to get to Jesus, the Bible does not tell us what his financial status was. It does tell us through the recording of his friends’ actions that his friends were true friends and did everything they could to get their buddy healed but that is a point missed by that author as he focuses on his pet ideology alone.

#7. The fact that 93% of Christians in America are not doing something Jesus said was a requirement of being his disciple presents a major discipleship challenge for the next generation of pastors and teachers. It’s one that absolutely cannot be ignored—because you can’t be Christian if you’re not helping the poor.

Here is another point that author misses completely when he makes such blanket and generalized statements– the poor can’t be Christian then because they are not helping themselves or other poor people. This is the problem with such broad and narrowly focused declarations. It says no one can be Christian because they are not doing everything that author demands or expects.

#8. I’ve been traveling in the Dominican Republic with World Vision, and have been overcome with emotion at some of the stories I’ve listened to.

That author seems to forget that in Jesus’ instructions to help the poor, he did not say to ignore biblical teaching and partner with those who are going astray in their Christian faith. In other words, we do not ignore other biblical passages and sin in our helping the poor. Nor are we to give all that we have away so that we do not have enough to take care of ourselves or our families.

If we give everything away and become poor then who will help us take care of our responsibilities? We are adding to the problem thus blind care of the poor is not what Jesus taught here. There are biblical alternatives to just throwing money at the problem which will also help the poor.Sometimes the church  and people like that author get so narrowly focused all they can see as an answer is give money. But when most of the money is spent in administrative or other costs, how are we helping the poor?

{We understand that those running the charities need to be paid so that is not what we are referring to there}

But getting back to World Vision and that author. We do not give false teaching, sinful ideas a pass when those groups are helping the poor. The Bible is very clear about not partnering with those who do not believe. ‘Be ye not unequally yoked’ does not just apply to marriage.  When those who claim to be Christian go astray , we do not ignore biblical teaching to correct or rebuke them simply because they need money to help poor people.

We are not to sin when we help others nor do we accept, condone or partner with sin when we do charity work. When organizations stray from God’s teaching then we must act in correcting them not ignore their sinful behavior. We have other duties that need to be done and when we do those, the poor will be helped as well.

#9. Will you join me today in sponsoring a child through World Vision?

We skipped a lot to get to this little sentence. So that author’s whole article was not about helping the poor but to enlist people in working with an organization that is going off the rails of Christianity. How sad that he ruined his position with such a plea. There are more poor people than just the children of  World Vision and we take offense by World Vision’s use of emotion to manipulate people in enlisting in their organization.

If you want to help children then help the fathers get work so they can provide for their families. Or build wells to help a village provide water for everyone, and everyone includes children so you would be helping them as well. We do not ignore the needs of the adults when helping the poor. If that author wants to appeal to Jesus to encourage people to help the poor then he needs to paint an honest picture and show that Jesus helped adults, probably more than he did children, for he knew if he helped adults he was also helping their children.

Let’s not use Jesus to manipulate people to a selfish desire but be honest and paint the correct picture of Jesus’ ministry so that people can be open to God’s specific will for their lives. It is not smart to channel people to one’s personal preference at the expense of those people missing out on what God wants them to do. The poor will be helped as people learn to obey God in the right way and follow all of scripture not just the cherry picked verses fitting one human’s personal preference.

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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in academics, Bible, church, controversial issues, faith, family, General Life, illness, Justice, leadership, politics, theology

 

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