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Friday, February 12, 2021

"Those In His Own House"


Jesus warned the apostles about all sorts of things. And one of the things that he emphasized more than once, was the fact that those who would be the greatest enemies of the faithful would be those who were in their own households. If one is to examine history and the church, it will not be long before a starling reality begins to come to the fore: the church truly has been persecuted most savagely by those who proclaim themselves, often loudly and proudly, the friends of God.

Take the apostle Paul, in his previous life as Pharisee Saul, as an excellent example of this trend. By his own admission, he was a persecutor, blasphemer, murderer, and so on. And he committed all these atrocities against the church. And why did he zealously (to use his own word) persecute the church? Because he thought that he should wipe out what he saw as a blasphemy and an affront to the true faith of Israel. In the end, as history tells us, Saul became Paul and from perhaps one of the strongest opponents of the church, he became its strongest and most ardent proponent. 

Fast forward to the 21st century and our American society in particular. With the election of the Biden-Harris ticket in the fall, America has decided that it will move in a direction that disrespects God and does all it can to wipe out His name from the public square. And they do so while all along calling themselves "people of faith." The other day Jen Psaki, the presidential spokesperson, answering a question by a Catholic journalist concerning abortion, said that President Biden is a man of faith who attends church services frequently (Biden claims to be a Catholic and, to be fair, does attend, or at least did before becoming president, regular church services). 

Thus, those who supposedly are the friends of the church, the friends of God, are among its most strident and violent opponents. And they do so because they have redefined what it is to be a Christian. Western society has been working at doing so for decades. Up to now, however, they had met with limited success because the church was strong enough to resist the trends. Now, however, with a church that is weak and anemic and in love with its comfort, it has become easier for people such as our current masters to change the meaning of words to the point where they no longer mean what they used to. You can call yourself a Christian while not behaving like one or believing little, if anything, of what Christianity teaches. As the famous line from "A Princes Bride" goes "that word you keep using, I don't think it means what you think it means."

Worse than all this, however, is the fact that what the world overwhelmingly sees as the church--mega churches that specialize in the entertainment and health and wealth gospel, along with well-meaning, but grossly deceived liberal churches--have become some of the strongest opponents of the true church. Evangelicalism has become so "woke" that it has turned on those who are, in their enlightened view"asleep" with a vengeance. The true Christian, rather than finding help in these churches in his attempt to defend the faith from the secular culture, is instead faced with individuals who have become allies of the very people who find them so distasteful. All this in the hopes that, as the proverbial saying goes, the tiger will eat them last.

One recent example of how this opposition is taking place from within the ostensible church provides an instructive and cautionary tale. Reginald Lyles, described as "a deacon, adult Sunday school teacher and Old Testament instructor in the Leadership Institute at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California" wrote an article in the Baptist Press decrying Tom Buck's characterization of Kamala Harris as Jezebel. And the beginning of the article says it all: "On Jan. 22, Tom Buck, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas, equated Vice President Kamala Harris with the biblical Jezebel. It was a strategic insult designed to terrorize and imbrute Harris. He joined Steve Swofford, pastor of First Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas, in this insult." 

As though all this is not head-spinning enough, we then have to contend with so-called biblical scholarship. What passes for biblical scholarship today is nothing of the sort. Not only is it shallow, ignorant, and non-self reflective, it is also overwhelmingly unbelieving. The mass of those who purport to study the Bible and tell the rest of us what it means, don't themselves believe what it says. Accordingly, such "scholars" go about attempting to redefine the eternal truths of God as simply myths, legends, and the ideas of an ancient people about "their god." Truly, these folks are as ignorant about the Bible and God as the Gnostics of old!!

We may think that the warning Jesus issued related only to those within our physical, familial households. If we did, we would be off the mark. Yes, Jesus referred to our physical, blood families; but He did not make reference only to that group. There were many times when he also warned of those who would be "wolves in sheep's clothing" who would terrorize and seek to destroy the flock from within. The face of today's persecutor is soft and amiable. But it is as insidious, dangerous, and treacherous as it has ever been! "What I say to you, I say to all: watch" (Mark 13:37).



3 comments:

  1. Praise the Lord for, thus far, giving us the discernment to readily identify the wolves! They are getting better every day at looking like sheep, and as you point out, are striving to redefine what a “sheep” actually is. We must stay on the alert...and have an unwavering description of true sheep from the word. May God continue to sanctify His sheep.

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  2. Praise the Lord for, thus far, giving us the discernment to readily identify the wolves! They are getting better every day at looking like sheep, and as you point out, are striving to redefine what a “sheep” actually is. We must stay on the alert...and have an unwavering description of true sheep from the word. May God continue to sanctify His sheep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed the Lord will ALWAYS protect His true church. Charlatans come and charlatans go, but the church continues to march onward to its heavenly calling. Every generation, though, has to fight that battle. I'm reading a biography of J. Gresham Machen and, even in the early years of the 20th century, liberalism was a problem. As Solomon said "nothing new under the sun." Although the Lord is the one who watches the city, the watchman nevertheless must keep awake!! Thanks.

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