The only thing that some people want to be certain about anymore seems to be uncertainty. The world, the flesh, and the devil have sold American, “intellectuals”, Social Engineers, Global movers and shakers, and yes even some professed Bible believers, a bill of goods, that is working wonders in the construction of continual confusion. From political, national, social, and individual matters, to doctrinal, spiritual, and Biblical discussions, the only thing that some people want nailed to the wall, is a person’s right to philosophical jello.
It’s like the Non-Denominational Churches who tout that they do not preach doctrine. Which is the socially accepted way to say, what we are going to teach you for sure is absolutely nothing. Doctrine is by definition a “teaching.” It may be a false teaching or a true teaching, but nonetheless it is a teaching. Preaching a sermon without doctrine has all the reality of a four year old fighting naval battles in his bathtub between a purple Barney and a yellow ducky.
It seems that in practically all serious matters of life, the open ended answers, and the tag line of “in my opinion at least” is the highest form of chivalry, and the favored form of response to whoever we are speaking, and to whatever we are speaking of. The really amazing thing is that at the tail end of all of that people still wonder why Christendom, the Country, and the Culture are in the shape that they are in.
Certainty is ruled out.
Fundamentals are considered foolish.
Truths are debatable.
Now some are going to say this seems to be the only song I like to sing, after reading through a number of other articles. The fact is that this one sour note constitutes a primary cause of conflict and confusion and ignoring it will never, ever change it.
First of all, we must take an honest look at “us” on the inside of attempted ministry. Among many reasons for this attitude, is a facet that Christians cannot ignore, and that is the fact that many professing preachers have behaved like unthinking lunatics. It is one thing to never compromise fundamental truths that are undebatable, and it is another thing to foam at the mouth, and evacuate the mind about it. I am reminded of the scripture that ought to serve as an anchor point in every effort to “keep the faith” and to “light the world.” 2 Timothy 2:24-25 “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Possession of the truth is not permission to abuse. I know that God spoke through a donkey once, but that does not mean God’s men should behave like a bona fide, club registered jack ass. Truth presented on a trash can lid is never received and is unbecoming of it’s holy nature. The primary problem among many preachers today, is their incessant demand to just “preach it” without any heart for men to receive it. I have heard the statement of a so-called preacher before boldly declaring, “They’ll take the message however I decide to give it to them, or they won’t take it all.” . . . and we wonder why people aren’t flocking to Jesus. That attitude betrays the real issue. The motives in their heart is not the welfare of the people they preach to, but rather the self-righteous gratification of a flesh thrilled man.
Brethren, I will not now, nor ever say, that the doctrine that I preach from the sacred pulpit of God is a matter of my own personal interpretation. We are called to preach the facts as they are, not as we see it, or interpret it to be. I hope and pray that I am always unbending, but never unbearable. I am no so foolish as to say that I understand everything there is to understand in the Bible. What I will say, is that there are far more things that we know to be factual, and actual, than many want to admit.
Second – We have to look and see what such a “jello to the wall” philosophy has fostered in country, culture, and Christendom. It has aided in the furthering of a scandal filled clergy, secular ideologies, sinful public policies, and unbiblical theologies. Some are going to say, those problems have always been. Yes they have, what I am saying is that our rejection of settled certainties have helped fertilize them.
I must ask the question, would there be so many scandals among the so-called clergy, were we as hardline about holiness as the Bible is. Not that hardline holiness would vette the faithful from the phony, as much as raise the standard of acceptance by which men would become more afraid to let their spiritual guard down, and fall to the devices of the devil. When holiness is not held high, saved sinners still have a tendency to live low.
There are three types of men involved in clergy scandals. The first is the outright phony. He never was what he said he was, he was just good at fooling people, and a charlatan from day one. The second is the good man with his guard down. He never believed that he himself would stoop to such sin, so he did not guard against the wiles of the devil or the cravings of the flesh, and acted according to what he was, rather than who he is. The third is the man who lives in both worlds. He wants to be a Christian and Cool at the same time. Too often these guys use the terms like “relevant” and “authentic” as though if it weren’t for them the Bible wouldn’t be. They play and live close to the fires of the worldliness, and then desire sympathy when they get burned.
All of that being said, we come to the place where I want to point out that the Bible, that is, “What God has said to us” is far more hardline about truth, and certainties, than the world is comfortable with. The world will never be comfortable with the truth revealed in scripture, and we really have no business trying to make them such. As Vance Havner once said, “The truth is not to comfort the afflicted, but to afflict the comfortable.” The primary problem a lot of preachers have is letting the truth do it’s own afflicting without trying “pile on.” The Word of God can do the Work of God, and our place is never to “Compromise it” with an “in our opinion,” to become “relevent” but neither is it our place to “Utilize it” for self gratification by making sure the people get the pain of it. Preachers often forget the Word doesn’t need me, I need the Word.
Here are hardline scriptures that can stand on their own and do the necessary work all by themselves.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Heb 12:14 (KJV)
“they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8 (KJV)
” . . . Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9 (KJV)
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” 2 Cor 6:14-15 (KJV)
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5 (KJV)
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. ” Col 2:8-9 (KJV)
Yes, I know that there are more. These are merely random samplings.
All of this being the case, the cause for holilessness is lack of unadulterated fellowship with Jesus Christ. He alone can settle our souls, and certify the truth we know. He alone can give us the spirit we need to approach the conflicts we face, and preach the Word we’ve been given. Without Him, everything else is wrong, with Him everything He does is right. He is the difference between faithfulness and foolishness. As always, He is the first and only real change worth making.