An annoying level of religious legalism

08/17/2018

These are a few of the websites that my grammar checker assumes I plagiarized. All of the examples have to do with my scripture quotes, as they are quoting large passages as well. Considering the common usage of scripture and how that I, with few exceptions, have noted the source, I would not remotely think this is plagiarism.

I did take a minute to look at a couple of these sites and I will direct some comments to those as I progress. 

The first one that came to my attention was arewelivinginthelastdays.com.
At some point, if we are all going to write about end times prophecy, w
e are going to use comparable biblical terminology, such as we do when we reference a scripture passage that covers the subject. Having never seen this website prior to this, I can tell you now that I do not agree with the assertions and analysis; besides all that, it is an overwhelming amount of information. 

Gog Magog: The key event that sets the stage for Tribulation. http://www.arewelivinginthelastdays.com/article/gogmagog/gogmagog.htm

In Touch is another website I have not visited prior to today. The article is entitled Exposing False Teachers – In Touch Ministries.
https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/daily-devotions/exposing-false-teachers

Centering on several paragraphs I noticed in Charles Stanley’s “In Touch” website. I found they that have a disturbing level of religious legalism that I feel must be addressed. I did not notice who the author was, but merely assumed that it was the work of Dr. Charles Stanley, as I have heard him on the radio, and this sounds like something he has said in the past.

False teachers’ lives and messages are self-indulgent. Their enticing ideas appeal to their listeners’ fleshly nature. In fact, false teachers will often permit activities prohibited in Scripture. Some deceivers describe God’s grace as a license to live without restraint (Jude 1:4). Paul clearly denounces this lie, teaching that believers have died to sin and shouldn’t live in it (Rom. 6:1-2).”

  • ” False teachers’ lives and messages are self-indulgent.” 

I have a friend who reminds me constantly that certain faith teachers are false teachers (these, for the most part, have become successful to the point of having their own television programs.) I am not arguing with my friends’ assertions, as there are many others who say the same thing; I just don’t care to hear it continually. I, however, am not their judge, God is, and He will deal with them. Besides that, I separated myself from that group years ago. And though I agree that faith is essential to our communication with God, I do not believe that God is the least bit interested in the amount of stuff you have, nor it’s value. In general, people with money, even if you came about it by begging it off of little old ladies, tends to make you self-indulgent.

An irritating aspect of this assertion that the false teachers’ life and the message are self-indulgent, is that a similar declaration was used on me by my pastor (thankfully, he is stepping aside and a new guy is coming on as pastor.) Having someone actually say that you are, in a form, self-indulgent, especially when you anything but that and have struggled with self-esteem issues due to abuses as a child, is really quite annoying.

  • “false teachers will often permit activities prohibited in Scripture.” 

Statements such as this make me want to scream, for if you think about it, isn’t that the pastors perceived job – making sure we, as a flock, are perpetually steered away from anything that looks like sin? An acquaintance of mine believes that Star Wars and Jurassic Park movies can and will lead you to the devil. That is the most asinine of thinking.

As I was hacking my way through this idea of me permitting sin simply because I have found the mercy and grace that is in Christ, I talked with my wife and said, I can take this a couple of ways:

    1. Because I lean heavily upon grace and mercy, I do not find it necessary to judge and beat people up verbally about their sins; I let the word of God take care of that. So, the implication is, that by displaying mercy I am condoning their sin. Wow, that opens a can of worms, because the presumption is, that I, by showing you mercy – the kind of mercy that draws many to Jesus, is “permitting” your sin. [Sin, by the way, is simply an old English term, for missing the bullseye on a target. If that target is a long distance away, and now looks like a black dot about the size of your thumbnail, what are the probabilities that you are going to hit that bullseye? Now, add a few of life’s distractions and the fool of a friend that is willing to tickle your ear with a feather just about the time you are ready to shoot]. The mere fact that you hit the target from such a great distance is monumental, but at least you tried. Then there are those who shoot themselves in the foot, and a few that never even come close to hitting the target (whatever that target may look like.) You might think, they don’t even try; and, you could be right. But mercy, so often, demands that I show them, love. Having spent some time in recovery, I saw this process happen many times as people repeatedly “fell off the wagon.”
    2. An alternate interpretation would be that I, because of the mercy that Paul preached, advocate the freedom to indulge in sin. As the author puts it, “activities prohibited in scripture.” Again, this opens an ugly can of worms. Allow me to give you an example: Moses comes off Mt Sinai after forty days and nights with the ten commandments. Since one has ever survived that long without food and water, he is presumed dead by the reluctant masses Moses has rescued from Pharaoh’s grip. As a side note: God’s chosen people had effectively been Egyptians for four hundred years. Even after seeing the signs God performed in Egypt, and then, watching Pharaoh and his armies become consumed by the Red Sea, they still clung to the gods they brought out of Egypt. Stephen, in Acts chapter 7, gives a history lesson to the Jewish council that was about to kill him, on how that these people brought the temple of Moloch and the star, the symbol of Rempham out of Egypt with them. Acts 7:42-43 LITV “… O house of Israel? And you took up the tent of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, the figures which you made in order to worship them. …” Commentaries tell us that what Israel did with Moloch and Remphan were so detestable, that they would not speak of the acts committed there. Some might argue that these chosen people, at that time, had no law, but I disagree, and we can take this argument all the way back to Cain where God says to him –

      Genesis 4:3-7 NASB So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering, but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7) CJB If you are doing what is good, shouldn’t you hold your head high? And if you don’t do what is good, sin is crouching at the door—it wants you, but you can rule over it.

      How inappropriate it would be to make such a statement unless God had first, in some way, conveyed what was right and good. Most will not see it as they read the garden account, but the answer is there and we find some of the clues in Genesis 3:21 where it says, “ The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” NASB  God, in the process of making them clothes, had initiated the pattern of sacrifice for sin; this is the same pattern that He showed Abram the dream. In this dream, God laid out the covenant of blessing and cursings. I understand many of you will doubt this, but does God ever change? The answer is NO, and so we see a consistent pattern in His nature and character.

      In God’s interactions with man, what did you see? You see God say, “as for me.” Are there repercussions for not sticking with the rules? Certainly, and I think I heard Dr. Billye Brim convey it well when she said, “Adam handed the trust deed for this earth over to Satan.” Because of that act, and without the authority of the name of Jesus, we can and will be dragged through the mire which is the only thing this earth has to offer. The damage from Adam’s act is simply something that is there, and the worst of it comes when someone chooses against turning their life to Jesus Christ. Even as I write this I am aware of those that say, there is a sense that God does not care. And perhaps that is the point, for He is certainly not throwing around violent condemnations, as he tries to get you to stop sinning. The choice is ours; on one side is life, while on the other is death and quite possibly an eternal separation from the God.

As I try to think through this morass, I find myself asking, what directive did Jesus give us? To go and preach the gospel, the good news.

Mark 16:15-16 NASB And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16) “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Were we given a directive to condemn and prohibit the activities of people? No.

I am also aware that Jesus words were directed to Jewish disciples, and it was more than just the twelve. However, as recorded in the book of Acts, most took the message to the Jewish community. The Jewish community deemed the nations – the Gentiles as the pagans. Surely, the Jews were not a crowd that needed condemnation. It is always those people who are different; well that, and the fact Jewish disciples were not eager to set a foot in the homes of Gentiles. It took a bizarre dream by God to get Peter to go to the Centurian Cornelius’ home.

When I think about the Jewish woman that was brought before Jesus, in a public environment, for the express purpose of humiliating and condemning her (To what degree they wanted her to be condemned I am not sure, although stoning was a prescribed method, for both the man and the woman.) What was Jesus response to the woman after her accusers had left? Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more. Short of an internal change, that admonition was pointless as we have no strength on our own to stop this brokenness inside called sin. Since Jesus, as many would suggest, did nothing more than counsel her to not sin, did he then give her permission to sin? No, the laws against sin were fixed by the law of Moses. Under grace, we want to believe we are free to ignore such admonitions, but we are not. An example of this comes when a police officer orders you to comply. Under current standards, if the officer feels that you are threatening his life, then you will be shot. Is God to blame for you being shot? Hardly, for there is little defense for you to not grasp the law, especially if the officer I spoke of is screaming commands at you. Simple logic tells us that ignoring caution signs, simply because you think you know better, should put all responsibility for the hazard that is about to befall you, is entirely on you.

Dr. Stanley’s post ended the segment with this –

The body of Christ is expected to use Scripture as the standard against which to measure our leaders’ lifestyle and words. When we seek divine truth, we are given the discernment to differentiate between a holy message and a misleading one.”

I understand that the motivation behind this entire diatribe has everything to do with false or corruptive teachers. Unfortunately, misleading teachers can be difficult to spot at times; and flashy suits and bright smiles will draw many into the web of deception.

Having attended a men’s Bible study for several years at an Assembly of God church, you might think I would have received much truth there, when in fact it was just the opposite, as the leader taught from skewed tradition and opinion. If you hold tradition and opinion up against the Word of God, they will typically fail, and that is exactly why I left. Confronted by the Word of God that particular false teacher would not submit to the authority of the Word. That means he held his opinion and church traditions, no matter how incorrect, higher.

I will add, that Jesus told the disciples, and therefore us, that when he goes he would send the comforter. Well, He did just that. The comforter, he said, would lead you and guide you into all truth. Trust him and allow that to happen. If you think you are struggling to hear God’s voice; that voice that will lead you, it sounds very much like the Son’s, and we have those words in this book we call the Bible.

This entry was posted in comfort, Cult teachings, Deception, Dispelling myths, false teaching, God's character, grace, healing, Jesus, judgment, Law of liberty, Mercy, recovery, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to An annoying level of religious legalism

  1. gaustin00 says:

    Excellent post …it is hard to discern these false prophets/teachers i agree…you are wading into the stream of them and ferreting them out. Great!

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