Monday, October 10, 2005

PROPHETIC VOICE - Offering Works Without Self!

Long ago, David saw the light ...
O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:15-17
A blogging friend has "hit the wall"; he's spiritually burned out, that's what he is.

From His post it sounds as if he's genuinely tried to please God; but in so doing he has, at least in my opinion, been caught up in works righteousness ... similar to the legalists amongst the wilderness Hebrews, and so too many evangelicals today. They diligently and genuinely seek quantity and obedience, but miss quality and surrender. Sort of a "Mary-Martha" Syndrome.

The surveys seem to support this contention. Inquiries concerning abortion, divorce, pornography, extramarital activity, drug use, family life, church hopping, pastor abuse, church splits, unwed mothers, homosexuality, single parent homes, as well as moral and ethical lapses amongst church and denominational leaders have given us an MRI of the Body of Christ, and what it reveals is not pleasant to see ... all forms of damage caused by cancerous sin.

It is frightening to remember that God does not look upon the outer man, He sees the inner man of us all. [1 Samuel 16:7]

Another blogging friend is asking questions about what's being taught in our seminaries; he's looking for answers to the health question conscerning the church.

I don't suggest I have the answers, but I've intuitively known something was wrong for as long as I've been a Christian (25 years). Since I am naturally a cynic and critic, I at first thought it was just me; however, I'm not alone in my cynicism or criticism of the church any longer (here and here).

For some reason we've spiritually morphed the bible into a "Law Book," when in fact it is and always has been a "Grace Book." Jesus did not die to set us free from the Law only to burden us again with a new law. God did not bring His word incarnate in order that we would become overwhelmed in our efforts to be obedient to every jot and tittle. If we have been set free by the Son, we have been set free indeed [John 8:36].

This first happened somewhere between Abraham and Moses. Abe knew of God's grace before he went up Mt. Moriah with Isaac; he believed in Jehovah Jireh before he needed provision.

The Hebrews revealed themselves at Mt. Sinai when they said "whatever the Lord requires we will do." [Exodus 19:8] Their view of God was one of fear not love, and they saw their relationship with Him as one of earning rather than receiving; a relationship dependent upon obedience God rather than submission to God.

For a time, under King David's leadership, the nation relearned submission and reverence but lost it by the time Solomon's reign was over. Around the time of Micah, prophetic teaching had recovered a sense of submission ...
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

John the Baptist and Jesus both taught reverence without works, submission without dread, quality of spiritual life with God versus quantity of religious life under God. Somewhere between Paul and the Dark Ages we lost it again; the Reformation resurrected spirituallity and threw down religiosity, but somewhere in the past five centuries we've fallen back into its grasp.

I know this: you don't need an MDiv to know when something is wrong ... and something is wrong.

In the short time I've been a Christian, I've seen the landscape of the Church littered with the refuge of curriculums, programs, theories ,and theologies. Even now we have more of the same ... the Seeker Sensitive movement, the Emergent Church movement, the Missional movement, the Charismatic movement, the Tongues movement, the Experiencing God movement, neo-Fundamentalism, neo-Reformation movement, neo-Orthodoxy, and neo-Neoism ... even the Commission Driven Church.

And this is only the recent stuff and doesn't touch on
the Jesus movement, the Holiness movement, Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, Pentacostalism, Latter Rain, etc. Not to mention all the cults, false religions, and psuedo-Christian bodies.

My conclusion is the same as the preacher of Ecclesiastes ...

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
12:13, 14
The preacher also says "there is nothing new under the sun" and I believe that. I feel that we've approached Mt. Zion with the same attitude as the Hebrews in the wilderness, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!"

I'm a card carrying member of the Revelation of God movement (aka: the Bible is all I need for faith and practice; if I'll just study it). And when God finished His revelation He left us a warning ...
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
Revelation 22:18, 19

Nearly two thousand years ago, God decided He was finished with His revelation and laid down His pen. In spite of the fact that man thinks he's so smart, I wonder, if God had more to reveal to the "Church," why He would not have revealed it?

Perhaps the Preacher of Ecclesiastes was also aware of this ...
"Vanity of vanities, ... all is vanity!" In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly. The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body."

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