Monday, December 31, 2007

Regarding My Last Post...

OK, here are my thoughts. First of all I have no need for a TV preacher sitting in my living room. I belong to a local church and have people there that pray with me and for me and from which I receive guidance. I am familiar with the "name it and claim it" doctrine since it came to my area in the late '80's. There was such a backlash against it in my church that there wasn't much of a chance that I would believe it. Actually I never heard any of that doctrine preached I only heard it called "blab it and grab it"- my Dad coined that one.

I hate, hate, hate bad theology. Bad theology can ruin lives. Bad theology is what causes men to walk for miles on their knees to earn their salvation, to whip themselves, starve themselves, take vows that humans weren't meant to endure (Rolando del Campo took a vow to crucify himself every good Friday for 15 years because God delivered his wife and child safely through a difficult labor), to endlessly confess Hail Mary's or any other endless repetition in order to be saved or to be closer to God or to repay Him for some act of kindness. Or it can fool people into thinking there is no need to confess Christ as their savior. That being "good" is enough.

I lost a friend to bad theology. "C" and I met during my sophomore year in college. He hadn't been saved a long time but he was very focused and was a pre- seminary major, I think. And according to he and other people that I was friends with the Lord taught him how to play the piano. He wasn't a concert pianist but he could lead worship from the keyboard (how very 90's). Anyway, he and I sang one night during a worship service and ended up having a connection through worship. It had only been about a year since my divorce and it was actually that night that really confirmed to me the direction my life would take. So "C" and I would talk and he'd ask me every time how my "devotions" were going. And I'd always say something like "oh yeah, I should do that" or "Um, I prayed in the shower this morning". And finally he said "Amy, if you don't seek the Lord you will always stay the same". His words really struck me and it was the beginning of my really seeking the Lord and of a tremendous time of spiritual growth for me.

So how does this tie in to the article you ask? Well, just wait there's more. Southeastern started a worship ministry with an alumnus as the leader and "C" was his right hand man. Part of the ministry was called Worship Choir and the other part was worship class. It wasn't for class credit or student ministry credit I just took it because I was passionate about Christ and worship was the area to which I felt called. And the crux of what the worship classes was based on grace. The grace of God that covers a multitude of sins. The grace that doesn't look at what we do for acceptance into God's kingdom but at the blood of Christ covering us as our acceptance as righteous. Sounds good, eh? Well, it should because it's true. However, when you separate one nugget of truth- albeit and incredibly important nugget- from the rest of the truth you can find yourself out on a limb. And "C" was no dummy. He recognized that. I clearly remember him drawing a tree with the trunk representing Christ and saying that if you climb out on a doctrinal limb- such as grace- you're separated from Christ. But that's exactly what happened. He and several people (close friends) moved a few hours away to a "prophetic" church. I went there and I saw things that happened and it was messed up. The doctrinal issues were small- almost undetectable- but the fruit of it was obvious. The pastor and her husband divorced and the worship leader left her husband and married "C"s best friend- 30 years her junior. C's best friend was my friend too and it made me ill to see him married to the sea hag. C and I had a falling out, I don't remember the exact context but it was big and our friendship was over. I actually don't think I have ever had a fight like that with someone where there was no possibility for reconciliation. It was a really tough time for me personally and thankfully my voice teacher was there to be the voice of reason in my life- to talk me down from a ledge, so to speak. Because there was some seriously weird spiritual 'mumbo b'jumbo' going on.

So my point in that is that bad theology typically has a nugget of truth, which is why people don't reject it outright. And back to the article, the Bible does talk about giving and God blessing you. But any responsible preacher, pastor, teacher, evangelist, etc. has a responsibility to put that in proper context. In the new testament the church members were selling everything they had and giving it to the church to be distributed among those that needed it. But in reference to the woman in the article that has given everything she had, what she could borrow, and what she got from payday advance places, there is no scriptural precedent for giving what you don't have or have to borrow at 99% interest. I understand her desperation for a miracle but she's believing a lie and apparently doesn't know the scriptures. I know, I know I'm blaming the victim but it is true. It is most definitely looking to God as being your genie in a bottle. I understand the desperation and "black hole" that financial strain brings so I understand why she did it. I'm not without compassion for her. On the contrary I'm disgusted that there are preachers on TV that preach this crap- there I said it.

1st Timothy 6:3-6 (-ish because this is the Message and the verses aren't marked)

"These are the things that I want you to teach and preach. If you have leaders there who teach otherwise, who refuse the solid words of our Master Jesus and this godly instruction, tag them for what they are: ignorant windbags who infect the air with germs of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, suspicious rumors. Eventually there's an epidemic of backstabbing, and truth is but a distant memory. They think religion is a way to make a fast buck. A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God."

The NASV says, "But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment." Contentment? I would say that contentment in whatever circumstances you are in is one of the great "secrets" to life. I can post more about that later.

So what should we do about those wolves in sheep's clothing? I'm not sure. If you google any of the names that are mentioned in that article you'll find thousands of articles of people already calling their bluff. I'm not one of them because I don't follow any of them and don't watch them so I couldn't really tell you anything about them other than what I've heard. I do get nervous about the government intervening and regulating or dictating theology. That is a slippery slope. However, when the government gives a tax-exempt status for ministries they have every right to investigate that and determine whether that is being abused. I don't want the government to be that answer. But when you have "mega-stars" that aren't accountable to anyone there is no way for a church body to govern that.

I'm not sure that I've said everything that I have to say. One could debate endlessly on everything that's wrong with such things. But I think I've said enough.


Mary said...

Very well said. I mean, I don't even have a real comment because it was so well said.

Mom said...

Dad wants to co-author a book with you. What you said is so true.

Amy Button said...

Funny. Dad ALWAYS wants me to co-author a book with him :)

Of course, a lot of what I know about the Bible I learned from him.

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