It is amazing how society is shaping the culture of the church. The church is supposed to be salt and light. Salt is a preserver but it also stings when it is put in a wound.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend. But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” [Proverbs 27:6].
Light is supposed to lead people out of darkness not farther into it. Jesus said this about deception, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?”
I was reading an article this morning about a “controversy” at the Crystal Cathedral Church in California. Choir members were asked to sign a covenant document stating that “God intends for sex to be between married heterosexuals.”
The article stated this, “Crystal Cathedral Ministries believes that it is important to teach and model the biblical view” and “I understand that Crystal Cathedral Ministries teaches that sexual intimacy is intended by God to only be within the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman.”
Aaaarrrrggghhh! Can you believe a church of the Lord Jesus Christ would not only teach this but actually expect their members, and choir members to live up to a Biblical standard?
The senior pastor, the daughter of the founder of the church has issued an apology for the fact that people “have been hurt”. Wow! See Proverbs 27:6 above!
“I am sorry that teaching on the Biblical lifestyle of purity and marriage has “hurt you””. Ma’am, please do not cave in to the pressure of those who have no intention of truly living for Christ.
As if this is not enough, this is what her dad, the founder had to say about this “controversy”. The article stated he told the Orange County Register, I strongly disapprove of the covenant because it goes against what I have built this church upon. I ask, “what have you built that church upon?”
Then this article quoted him as saying, “I have a reputation worldwide of being tolerant of all people and their views.” He is again quoted as saying, “I’m too well-educated to criticize a certain religion or group of people for what they believe in. It’s called freedom.” Well, he just told us what he built his church upon ~ himself.
Well, I have no problem with being tolerant of other people’s views. But no real church leader can be tolerant of sin. When church leaders allow obvious sinful behavior to become the norm in the church the church has lost her saltiness and is now irrelevant. And what is this “I am too well-educated” comment. Are you smarter than Paul the apostle, or the other writers of the Bible, or Jesus?
There is no foundation that can be laid other than the one that has been laid, which is Christ Jesus [1 Corinthians 3:11].
We see the word ‘relevant’ on various advertisements with the definition after it. Churches use this to attract people to their church. “We are relevant”. I wonder what they mean by saying that. If what they mean is they will tolerate behavior that is contrary to sound Biblical doctrine then I question who they are relevant to.
Friends, or foes for that matter, hear me and hear me clearly. The only relevance the church of Jesus Christ is responsible to is Jesus, not the world. When we reduce the standard of holiness clearly stated in the Bible, which is Christianity’s handbook for all life and ministry, we have just become irrelevant.
Relevant comes from the medieval Latin word “relevant” which means “raising up”. Christ raises people up. But relevance has been reduced to the people lowering the standard of Scripture so as to attract more people.
Listen, I would much rather have His cloud than a crowd. Jesus changed the world starting with twelve men, one of which hung himself because he tried to reduce the call of Christ to his own agenda.
Listen to some of the comments of the members of the Crystal Cathedral.
Don Nuen, who directed the choir for ten years ~ “I think it is horrible. It’s the antithesis of what Christianity should be. We should be reaching out and embracing and showing love to all people who are peaceful.”
That is from a former leader in the church. Let’s look at his wisdom.
“I think”. Well, now we understand the problem. Instead of thinking he should have been studying the Scripture.
“It’s the antithesis of what Christianity should be.” Who gave him the authority to determine what Christianity should be? Don, Jesus is the Head of The Church, not you, or the founder of Crystal Cathedral.
“We should be reaching out”. For what purpose should we be reaching out? Jesus hung on a cross to pay for the sins of the world so that people would be free from sin. I bet you don’t consider sex outside of marriage to be a sin.
“And embracing and showing love to all people who are peaceful.” Actually, Christianity is about loving our enemies too but that would be way over your pay grade. Love lifts people out of the hell hole that sin digs for them. But again, I am sure that sin is not a part of your vocabulary.
Mindy Kim, a former choir member is quoted as saying this, “The covenant is an example how new leadership is eroding the church.” Forgive me as I laugh so hard I almost wet my pants.
I believe what new leadership should do is tear down that crystal edifice that man built. Christianity the movement started in a food trough. It began in a manger because there was no room at the Inn. The “in crowd” never makes room for the real Jesus. “He came to His own and His own did not receive Him.” Things have not changed much!
Listen to what Paul said to the church he founded in Corinth. “Become sober-minded as you ought, AND STOP SINNING [emphasis mine]; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” [1 Corinthians 15:34].
This statement followed this one, “Do not be deceived, ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.” When the fox runs the hen house chaos ensues.
Here is something he said to the leadership of the Corinthian church. “It is actually reported [I am shocked] that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles [non believers] . . . . Are you puffed up [do you think you are wiser than me, or Christ. How come you have not dealt with this?], and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from you? For I indeed, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have already judged [as though I were present] him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying [self-aggrandizing] is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven influences the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump . . . .” [1 Corinthians 5:1-7a].
Here is what Jesus said about discipline within His church. To set the context of His statement we must understand that Jesus only used the word “church” two times. The first time He said that He would build the church [Matthew 16:18], and the second time He detailed how to discipline a Christian that would not repent of their sinful lifestyle [Matthew 18:15-20]. There are four steps to disciplining a sinning Christian. I will not list all of the steps except the final two. You can read the context yourself.
“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile [unbeliever] and a tax collector [turncoat]” [Matthew 18:17].
Paul, says this about how to deal with a so-called Christian that refuses to repent. “I wrote to you in my [earlier] epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world [the unsaved] [the Corinthian church misunderstood what he was saying to them] . . . . since then you would need to go out of the world [die]. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother [fellow Christian], who is sexually immoral, . . . . not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside [not Christian]? Do you not judge those who are inside [the church]? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person [who claims to be Christian but lives as if he is not one]” [1 Corinthians 5:9-13].
Maybe I am not well-educated enough but these mandates seem very clear to me. God’s love does not make excuses for sin. God’s love provides the only remedy for sin, the blood of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
The wages of sin is still death, even to a Christian. Sin kills! Sin will kill a person and allowing sin to exist in a church will eventually kill that church. Oh, there may be crowds of people in the building but the presence and anointing of the Holy One will cease to be there [Read Joshua 7].
Jesus said this about Jerusalem as He stood over it and wept. “How often I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate” [Matthew 23:37, 38].
This was right before He was crucified. The religious system had deserted the purity of the covenant of God. The religious leaders could not see the Lord of Glory as He stood in their midst. God had come and the religious elite had rejected Him. Jesus said their house, which I understand to be the one they built and wanted to control, was being left to them. In other words, you want your way, I am going to let you have your way. I am not going to join you in your way. I am THE WAY! I am THE TRUTH! I am THE LIFE! Come and join Me!
They refused and forty years later destruction came upon them. Wisdom is proved by her decisions. Just because we do not see Jesus take swift action does not mean action is not going to be taken.
The word church literally means “those called out of darkness and placed into light”. Christianity is only relevant is if upholds the high standard of Christ. Paul said to the Roman church, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not” [Romans 6:1, 2]!
Jesus’ ways are not our ways. He is not afraid to offend our sensibilities when they do not make sense [to Him]. The Lord is funny at times. The Bible, in its original form, did not have chapters and verses, or punctuation for that matter. All of these were added later for clarity. Some times these things actually bring confusion.
But, in John chapter six we have an event where Jesus offended the sensibilities of His closest followers. He said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” [John 6:53,54].
These statements followed His teaching on how He was the true bread of life that came down from heaven. This offended the Jewish religious leaders and now He is attacking the mindset of His disciples. Both groups had very strong reactions to what He was teaching. Yet, He did not change the message. He continued driving through their sensibilities. “For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever” [John 6:55-58].
“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a hard saying, who can understand it'” [John 6:60].
Jesus dug deeper and said, “Does this offend you” [Verse 61]? He keeps on digging deeper until He requires a decision [verses 62-66]. Please notice Jesus is not caving in to the opposition to His message. He never changes, or reduces His message.
Finally in verse 66 of John chapter six [666 – the number of the spirit of the antichrist], we read, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” What was Jesus’ response? It was not, “I am so sorry what I require hurt you.” No, He turns to His original twelve disciples and says this, “Do you also want to go away” [verse 67]?
I hope you get the brevity of what Jesus just said. This statement was made with just over a year left of His time on the earth. He was fast approaching the last year of His life and ministry on the planet in human form. The Cross is coming within His view and He has the audacity to say to His closest followers, “It is okay if you want to desert Me too.”
How could Jesus do this? Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Because He is the Lord, and He changes not.
This is the same Lord who told Moses to stand back because He was going to destroy the whole nation of Israel for their rebellion and start completely over with ~~~~ Moses!
Jesus had, and has enough confidence in Himself to start completely over, even as time seems to be running out. Time does not restrict God. God lives outside of the constraints of time and distance.
Jesus will not dilute His message so people will not be offended. One of His names is the Rock of Offense. We cannot afford to reduce His message either.
Leaders who allow the pressure of numbers to sway them are irrelevant leaders. Leaders lead and people follow. Men follow courage, not titles. And if no one if willing to pay the price to follow a leader who is principled as their Leader then bummer for them. But that leader who will not change the message will receive a far greater reward at the end of his life that the leader that caved in to the pressure in order to keep the crowds happy.
The writer of Hebrews said this, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back. My soul has no pleasure in him. BUT WE ARE NOT OF THOSE WHO SHRINK BACK TO DESTRUCTION, BUT OF THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH TO THE PRESERVING OF THE SOUL” [Caps for my emphasis] [Hebrews 10:36-39].
It’s amazing how the unsaved, or the weak members of the Body of Christ are influencing the church.
Where are the leaders who will stand up when the pressure is on? Where are the leaders that will follow Christ even if no one follows them? Where are the leaders who are more interested in pleasing God and serving people [the whole Gospel] and not interested in pleasing people by reducing the Gospel so people’s feelings will not be hurt.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury