Monday, September 12, 2011

Something Old/Something New: 9/12/11.

Please take the time and effort to get the Gospel right: your eternal destination depends on it.  

Since I am getting a lot more traffic on my blog, I am starting up another new feature that will help newcomers read some of the important points I have made in the past: I will be "recycling" old posts under the heading, "SOMETHING OLD". Since this weeks gift givaway deals with "doctrine/Theology, I want to stress the importance of a proper, biblical understanding of it through a couple posts I have made. I may make some minor changes to the actual posts as necessary. If you have already read this recycled postpost, I will supply some new material for your spiritual feeding at the bottom under the heading, "SOMETHING NEW".

Imagine, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, on a bright Saturday afternoon on the planet Zexbu, you are taking a nice, relaxing drive around Methane lake. You are so absorbed in the beauty of the Qavunka trees and the sparkling, olive-green waters of Methane lake that you don't notice the fast approaching car on your right side; it blows a stop sign and T-bone's your car!  Fortunately, you and the guy who hit you are not injured, but your car? Well, it's a complete wreck! And according to the insurance company it is totaled. You will need to buy another car.

You can't afford a new car, so you start looking for a dependable used car. You try Methane Motors, a used car dealership that just opened about a month ago in the town of Ix. It's a good thing you  know something about buying used cars; ask a lot of questions, examine the condition of the car, and then take it out for a test drive.

As you stroll down the rows of cars, a striking orange 673 Xizanpf catches your eye. It is a beautiful car! And at .503000 vaxokla, it's a steal! You notice that the car dealer is aggressively approaching, with his large, black,  bulging eyes, and his articulated antenna twitching like mad (he has a head that looks something like a praying mantis!).

"I just got this one in last week, are you interested?". You reply, "Yes I am". Zarfax (that's the car dealer's name!) confidently tells you that his trustworthy mechanic thoroughly examined the car and then took it out for a test drive. He goes on to tell you how mechanically sound and dependable this particular 673 Xizanpf is.

But you don't want to just take his word for it, after all, you met him only ten minutes ago. So you  start asking lot's of questions. "How many owners has this car had?", "How many Kilometers are on it?", "Has it been well maintained?", "Do you have complete service records on the car?", "Does it get good fuel mileage?" "Has it ever been involved in an accident?", "When your mechanic test drove the car, did he notice anything wrong with it?"

He confidently answers your questions one by one, but you notice he is a slick talker whose answers lack clarity, and when you ask him some tough questions, his overall demeanor is defensive and evasive. I mean really, the only service records available are just a couple of hastily scribbled pages? You suspect that Xarfax is not telling you the whole story and is withholding details of the car on purpose. Maybe this car isn't such a good buy after all. But you still want to check things out, just in case your instincts are wrong.  

Now you examine the condition of the car yourself. You crack open the hood and check out all the components of the engine compartment. it all looks clean and mechanically sound. Then you peer at the underbelly of the car; everything appears to be in place, and there are no signs of leaking fluids.

Now you take the car out for a test drive. Right away you notice an unusual noise coming from the engine.  "That's not good." Then you notice that at high speeds the car shakes, and has a tendency to veer to the right. "Alignment issues, and maybe chassis problems." You also notice that the dashboard lights don't work, and now, you detect an acrid, burning odor on the inside of the car; as you become more and more irritated you cry out, "Now what!".

You finally get back to Methane Motors, park the car and once again peer underneath; sure enough, there is a steady "drip, drip" of a brown, viscous fluid coming from the engine area, puddling on the pavement.

You conclude that Zarfax is a cheap, smooth talking, good for nothing used car salesman trying to sell you a lemon. You will never go back to Methane Motors again, and if anybody ever asks you if Methane Motors is reputable, you will tell them to stay away because Zarfax can't be trusted.

You tell Zarfax what you think, but he interupts and says he can explain everything. But before he can say another word, you jump into your loaner car and start looking for a car elsewhere. So much for Methane Motors!
And such the way it is if you ever go shopping for a used car. If you can tell the difference between a dependable car and a worthless piece of junk like you did in the story, then you will be much less likely to end up with a lemon for a car.

However, if you go used car shopping and you are totally clueless on what questions to ask the car dealer and how to inspect that car for mechanical problems, then you run a far greater risk of getting fooled into buying a lemon; after all, you only have the car dealers word that what he is telling you is the truth.

The same principle applies to anyone who is looking for a new church home, that is, "church shopping" to keep the metaphor intact. Remember the Bible is Truth (Psalm 119:160). It is objective reality. In other words, it says things that are True about God, creation, man, sin, redemption, heaven and Hell, and so on, whether you believe those things or not.

When it comes to finding a new church home, Truth is of utmost importance, after all, who really enjoys being lied to? We feel betrayed when someone deceives us, don't we? Christians are people who defend the Truth and point out error because God fiercely opposes error, and people can get hurt, and damned, by believing errors.

The problem with heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching churches like The Crossing is, they don't just come right out and say that they teach a pack of lies. (Matthew 7:18-20). They want to seductively lure people in, not scare them away. False teachers are often confident, charismatic leaders, experts at sounding very Christian-like, they quote Bible verses and pray, and are very articulate at peddling a gospel lemon to undiscerning, church-shopping victims.

That's why it is so important to study the fundamentals of the Christian faith, that is, doctrine (2Timothy 3:16-17). Use that knowledge as the foundation to examine a church's doctrinal statement; is it in line with what the Bible teaches? Can each statement of faith be backed up by Scripture? Does it lack clarity and definition? Is the language fuzzy and confusing? Are there doctrinal points that should be included in their statements but are suspiciously absent?

When you start attending a heretical, abusive, legalistic, non-gospel preaching church, it really appeals to you. The people there are usually helpful and friendly, the building is warm and inviting, and the preacher has lot's of character and charisma, his message is always interesting; he certainly seems to know what he's talking about. Things feel right and you believe that you have found a church home that is perfect for you.

But once you take the church out for a two month "test drive", things don't feel right anymore and you begin to ask, "Is that what the Bible really teaches?", "Are they conducting their ministry and vision in unbiblical ways that are abusive and controlling?" Sadly, people who  become devoted followers of their church leader and live for his mission don't understand how far from the Truth they are; they are spiritually blind, deceived!

They adopt the unbiblical idea that they are to trust and obey their leader and not ask questions that would challenge the leaders theology or practices. They live under the false assumption that what they believe is true, and tragically, their entire faulty worldview affects the particulars of how they live their life: a life in bondage to a non-gospel preaching church and exlusive devotion to it's influential leader and his burdensome, all-consuming demands.

If you are church shopping, or belong to a church and you don't really know what they believe, then ask for a doctrinal statement that describes what that church believes about the Christian faith. Ask lot's of tough questions and have leadership back up all they believe and practice with Scripture. Scrutinize your leaders and see how skillfully and biblically they answer you. Arm yourself with the Truth of God's Word and you won't be sold a gospel lemon.

If you are a member of The Crossing Church and are curious to find out if what they teach and practice is biblical, then I encourage you to follow my blog. Check in every day or so and I will provide material as to why The Crossing is a dangerous church to attend. I will also bring you Gospel Truth in the way of sermons, Christian bloggers, and articles. Christ will release you from your bondage to legalistic rules and spiritual abuse and beckon you to to find perfect rest in Him.


Tullian Tchividjian|10:21 am CT

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
It’s Okay To Not Be Okay avatar

The gospel liberates us to be okay with not being okay. We know we’re not okay—though we try very hard to convince ourselves and other people that we’re basically fine. But the gospel tells us, “Relax, it is finished. The pressure’s off.”
Because of the gospel, we have nothing to prove or protect. We can stop pretending. We can take off our masks and be real. The gospel frees us from trying to impress people, appease people, measure up for people, or prove ourselves to people. The gospel frees us  from the burden of trying to control what other people think about us. It frees us from the miserable, unquenchable pursuit to make something of ourselves by using others.
The gospel frees us from what one writer calls “the law of capability”—the law, he says, “that judges us wanting if we are not capable, if we cannot handle it all, if we are not competent to balance our diverse commitments without a slip.” The gospel grants us the strength to admit we’re weak and needy and restless—knowing that Christ’s finished work has proven to be all the strength and fulfillment and peace we could ever want, and more. Since Jesus is our strength, our weaknesses don’t threaten our sense of worth and value. Now we’re free to admit our wrongs and weaknesses without feeling as if our flesh is being ripped off our bones.
The gospel frees us from the urge to self-gain, to push ourselves forward for our own purposes and agenda and self-esteem. When you understand that your significance, security, and identity are all anchored in Christ, you don’t have to win—you’re free to lose. And nothing in this broken world can beat a person who isn’t afraid to lose! You’ll be free to say crazy, risky, counterintuitive stuff like, “To live is Christ and to die is gain”!
Now you can spend your life giving up your place for others instead of guarding it from others—because your identity is in Christ, not your place.
Now you can spend your life going to the back instead of getting to the front—because your identity is in Christ, not your position.
Now you can spend your life giving, not taking—because your identity is in Christ, not your possessions.
Real, pure, unadulterated freedom happens when the resources of the gospel smash any sense of need to secure for myself anything beyond what Christ has already secured for me.

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