"Oh to Grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be.
Let thy goodness, like a fetter
bind my wandering heart to Thee!"


Monday, December 31, 2007

An Emerging Dilemma

The more I study and learn about the Scriptures and the Doctrines that the Christian faith is founded upon, the more certain I am that they are in complete contradiction with the ways of this world. That may seem very simplistic and obvious, but it is a truth that the Lord is making very plain in my life. It is a truth that, if grasped and believed upon, can set you free from many chains Satan would like for you to be trapped in. For instance, prior to the Lord awakening my soul to His holy righteousness, I got by a lot of the time in life because of appearance. No, not by my clothes or by the way my hair looked, but by the way I "appeared" to be living my life. For 20 whole years I was able to make it look like I was the most humble person, but in actuality I was one of the most prideful. Because I had mastered how to appear humble, I was able to peacefully live the cultural Christian lifestyle with virtually no conflict or interruptions. No it wasn't all candy canes and lolly pops, but as far as peace with the world, I had it. Why? Because no one was ever confronting me with truths that would have been in direct conflict with my pride, and nor was I confronting the world with them either. If you ever questioned my belief or salvation, well all I had to do was point to myself...my works...my character, and it usually sufficed. People saw me going to church and leading high school Bible studies and not cussing and not going out to parties, so there was no grounds for questioning right? Oh great goodness, if there was one thing that I wish I could change, it would be that there would have been some way some how my heart could have been examined a decade earlier than it was. I never lacked affirmation from people in my life. There was never a time when the people around me weren't encouraging me and patting me on the back and telling me I was doing a great job. I thought I was truly blessed, and there is no doubt that I was (my point is not to say that encouragement is a bad thing), but I was also equally cursed.

Ok, here is the tricky part...I was completely 100% dead set that I was sincerely following Christ during this time. I confessed that everything I did was to give God the glory, and while I knew I wasn't perfect, I really did desire to glorify the Lord in all that I did. Or did I? That isn't a question added for clever interjection...I seriously don't know if I did desire that or if I was just deceived into thinking that I did. It wasn't like I knew that I was prideful and I was purposefully getting up every morning planning on tricking people into thinking I was humble...No. I truly believed that I was humble. Do you see the problem? I believed with all my heart that I was walking in truth, when really I was deceived. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? (Jer 17:9). I knew the truth. Some of it at least. It was common knowledge to me, however it wasn't a reality in my life. And it took the Word of God to change that. I don't get too meticulous when I look back at that part of my life, not because I take my deception lightly; no way, there have been plenty of sleepless nights spent with tears and godly sorrow and repenting for the times that I lived deceived by the idols in my life. I simply don't get too meticulous in trying to define exact details of why I was this way and why I was that way because it is simple. I loved my darkness and sin more than the light of Jesus Christ and I am held responsible for that, while at the same time, God is sovereign and was working out my salvation on His timing. The most important thing that I learned was that I was not the author of my own salvation, and that the opening of my eyes to truth was completely dependent on a gift from God....so who am I to boast?

But with many people today, the emerging church specifically, it is completely alright with them to appear to be living the Christian life. As long as they have fooled themselves into thinking that what they are doing and believing is true simply because of their experience and their feelings affirm them, well of course they are going to object to anything that is on any other level than the one they are on. Reaching any deeper might cause them to have to question this "nirvana" they have reached. That is not a truth seeker my friend, that is a personal peace seeker. The ways and thoughts of God are at utter variance with man's thoughts. The emergent, seeker-sensitive church is not producing converts with new, regenerated, heart of flesh souls, they are simply bringing thoughts and ideas of this world which agree with their natural fleshly state and sprinkling a little talk about God and Jesus and the Bible and WAHLA, of course people are going to eat it up. It's like personal peace served up on a platter to them, and even better, it satisfies the question of eternity for them too. Great, killing two birds with one stone! It is true that Jesus Christ meets the sinner directly where they are, but not so that they can stay there and enjoy a latte and worship on a comfy couch. It is so that their lives can be transformed by the renewal of their minds. And the renewal of their minds comes from nothing other than the truths found in GOD's Word.

To tie this all back together...what is my point? My point is that for 20 years I appeared to have it all together, especially in the eyes of the world. And all the while, the 'Christian' aspects of my life at the time were doing a great job in fueling this deception. I'm not writing this post to say that I have all the answers. All I am simply doing is sharing my concern for a situation that I was firsthand right in the middle of. I thought I was living for Christ. My feelings and emotions confirmed that for me, and of course so did the others that were right there in it with me. But I wasn't. And going to many of what the world calls Christian functions did nothing but further me into this deceived state. SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH THIS?!!

Well, really it is simple, and it is the only thing that rescued me from the pit of this deception: preaching the ENTIRE counsel of God. If the heart is wicked, and if there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12), then wouldn't it be wise to look outside our feelings and emotions and personal experiences to define what it means to be a follower of Jesus? We need to preach the character of God that comes from Scripture. The one thing that bothers me so much about seeker sensitive churches is how much they talk about being like Jesus, and following Jesus, and loving Jesus, and Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, when in all actuality they don't even know the true character of Jesus, the Son of God. And even if they have some grasp, why do they spend so much time and effort refuting the people who embrace the idea that doctrine (the actual TEACHINGS OF JESUS) should be studied thoroughly and diligently in order for the correct Jesus to be portrayed? It boils down to this: the emergents preach an all-inclusive (non)gospel that is unoffensive to sinners (this is not an exaggeration, they are proud of this fact), all the while God's Word, when preached in its entirety is very offensive to people and to the very nature of mankind. It offends the self-righteous, which includes, um, everyone in their unregenerate state. That was me. It was only when my pride and self-righteousness were confronted head on with the preaching of the character of a God who will have nothing to do with anything of the sort that my form of godliness was brought to the exposure of the white light of Christ. In Philippians 1:10, Paul's prayer for the brethren of Philippi is "that you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ." In the Greek, the word sincere (eilikrinēs) means judged by sunlight, that is, tested as genuine. WOW! Why are people afraid of the preaching of doctrines from the Bible? Is it because they are afraid their true identity will be exposed? It certainly exposed mine.

It is frustrating, but it makes perfect sense. The ways of God are in perfect variance with the ways of man. When I was a professing believer I was known as a humble person, but since the Lord, in His loving and underseving grace, has opened my eyes, to the world I am probably looked at as a prideful and arrogant person who thinks she is always right. But in all actuality I am more humble now than I ever have been (I say that in an unprideful way, for it is by the Grace of God alone). I used to be so full of self-righteousness that I couldn't see past my own selfish ambitions. Now, I am more aware of my sin and my faults and my selfishness and my unrighteousness before a holy and perfect God than I ever have been, and that usually results in a prostrated position on my dorm room floor. I am so aware that every part of my flesh wants to be prideful in myself, and because of that I still struggle with it, but I fight it with the power of Jesus Christ risen. And yet the world sees me as arrogant because I believe in objective truth and believe that the doctrines of this objective truth should be taught. If that isn't evidence to the Lord's ways being directly contrary to man's then I don't know what is.

I kind of got off track in this blog post. I meant for it to be about how dangerous it is to have what the Bible calls a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5) and how the emergent church and seeker sensitive movement is only leading people down this path. I may or may not have stayed on that track, I really don't know, but you can see that I am very passionate about this subject. But one thing that I have learned is that it is completely, 100% possible to be walking in complete and utter darkness and yet be deceived in thinking you are in the light. It may sound obvious, but I've been there. The only way to get someone out of the darkness is to make them aware that they are walking in it in the first place. It is like man's default position is to think that they are fine right where they are and walking in the light, but we know that this is not true (total depravity). For the longest time I had myself and others fooled by my appearance of godliness. But it took hard Biblical preaching to shine the light of Christ on my life to expose it. Did it hurt my personal peace at the time? Very much so. But looking back, there isn't anything in the world that would make me go back to the deceived state. Why? Because the personal peace is a fraud. It is an idol that is ultimately being served. It is not eilikrinēs and it will not withstand the test of sunlight. Only through living in the truths of Christ can you obtain the peace that passes all understanding.

Ultimately it is not important if you know something is true; it is only important that the truth becomes a REALITY in your life. The confusing part is that not everything preached at these particular churches that I am referring to is untrue. It is, however, severely one-sided. They spend too much time trying to convince people that they really are sincere, when they need to be holding up themselves to the mirror of Scripture and then determining if they pass the sunlight test or not. Not running full speed away from the light in fear that they will get burned, and ultimately, exposed. When God finally held my life up to the entire counsel of His word, I flunked the sincerety test with a capital F. My idols couldn't stand the sunlight and they came rushing to the surface, and well, that didn't go over very well with my personal peace. And whether we realize it or not, the emergent church and a lot of these 'seeker sensitive' ideas are creeping, one by one, into a lot of evangelicalism, and I'm afraid that the disdain for hard, Biblical preaching is one of them. The plead to dig deeper is labeled as Pharisaical, and that thought alone makes me cry.

Because the power of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can save a blind person from falling into the pit of deception, join me in praying that the Lord will save His people from this horrifying dilemma.


Here is a video by a Sis that knows exactly what I'm talking about:

3 comments:

J & J Bible Ministry, Lancaster, Pennsylvania said...

Hi Susan. I'm visiting your blog for the first time. It's a wonderful blog and I enjoy all your video clips on youtube.

Blessings,

Josh from Truth Matters

Nicole said...

Dear Susan,

I found your blog while googling for some writing I am doing. What a blessing your writing has been to me - you are a young woman who has a strong heart for God - God will use you greatly when you continue to look to Him and to His Word.
In Christ,
Nicole

Criosd-Fianna said...

Hi,

Found your blog, via your youtube testimony, via LaneCh, via paul washer's video.

Paul Washer's video hit me hard. Raised some questions and doubts I'd been pushing away for a long time.

I'm desperately searching now for answers about the state of my own 'salvation' and position with Jesus. It's haunting me.

Thanks for your testimony anyway.
I hope to share in that feeling one day.