“Lord, whatever it takes to get me from what I am and where I am, do it!” It was the summer of 1984 and I was in desperate trouble. I remember lying in bed, weeping. I cried out that prayer from some place deep in the bottom of my soul. God had broken me and there was nothing left. I was a nobody. I was nowhere. I was nothing.
Ten years later, I was a missionary in the backwoods of Venezuela, married with a small son. Today, I am retired, ministering on Facebook, teaching in my church but at odds with many people there. God’s answer to that prayer has left me at odds with the world. Being where and what God wants you to be is not an easy place to find yourself… God just does not think like most of the people you know.
This could become a book, maybe it will, but the question is, what do I believe that sets me at odds with the church? My statement of faith would offend no believer in Jesus Christ. I believe the Bible is the Word of God, it is my final authority and the answer to my every question. I have rejected the interpretations of the Bible made by many men. The Bible, to me is straightforward and plain. The Holy Spirit explains it and interprets it for me.
- I believe the creation story.
- I believe the story of the fall.
- I believe that Satan is the god of this world.
- I believe in giants, Nephilim, Gibborum, sin, and Noah’s flood.
- I believe the story of the Tower of Babel and that it was God himself who, for his own purposes divided mankind into tribes, and tongues, and nations…
- I believe the call of Abraham.
- I believe that God set Israel apart as a nation unto himself.
- I believe the stories of Egypt, captivity, and the call of Moses.
- I believe that the people occupying the promised land were descended from the Nephilim.
- I believe that there were giants in the land.
- I believe that God gave the Law and authored the Old Covenant.
- I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered, died, was buried, rose again, ascended to the Father and is coming again.
- I believe that I am saved by grace through faith in the Son of God.
- I believe that I am under grace and free from the law.
- I believe that I am to deny myself, die to myself, take up my cross, fix my eyes on Jesus and follow him. Doing so leaves me with no need of the law.
- I believe that we are in the end days, that the Tribulation is upon us and that Jesus will come for us.
- I believe that it is he who endures to the end who will be saved.
Where I seem to get into trouble is with Americanism, Denominational Distinctives, and commonly held fairy tales…
I believe that the American Dream and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are opposites. They are directly opposed, one to the other, and they emanate from different gods…
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
The Declaration of Independence says:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
This is the whole theme of Plato’s Republic in a nutshell… This is rebellion from God. This promises life and Jesus says that he who finds his life shall lose it… This says government gets its authority from the people. God says that Government gets its authority from God… This sounds so good that Christians just must believe it… Forgetting that one third of the Angels in Heaven thought Satan’s lie was too good to reject.
Anyway, these words were penned by Thomas Jefferson, a man who had the nerve to rewrite the Bible, leaving out the supernatural and any reference to the divinity of Jesus…
But most of my Christian friends are more American than Christian…
Somewhere around 1986, God moved me from the Southern Baptist Church to the Church of God. This put me in a unique position to examen Denominational Distinctives from a quite different perspective. Both groups believed the same Bible but distinctly different interpretations of that Scripture, made by the founding fathers of those denominations had placed them at odds… What I discovered is that most of those distinctives, belonging to both denominations, were squabbles about insignificant matters and that they seemed to be motivated by a sincere desire to be better than the other denomination… If you can tell your parishioners that we believe this and they do not believe this, we are right and they are wrong, it is easier to keep them in the pew at your church… But, over time, these distinctives become more important than the Scriptures themselves.
Truth, taken to an extreme and believed at the exclusion of all other truth, becomes heresy. Grace that excludes all law is heresy. Law that rejects grace is heresy. With too much emphasis, Eternal Security becomes a cult. Too much emphasis on tongues and the gifts of the Spirit can build a cult. My rejection of denominational distinctives has made me the enemy of churchmen everywhere.
Fairy Tale Religion:
Few churches have escaped the curse of fairy tale religion unscathed. This religion is sold to the biblically ignorant in every church of every denomination, but some are hit harder than others…
This religion is built on a handful of incredibly good sounding promises, isolated, removed from context and ripped out of the Scripture. If you arrange those verses properly, you can sell this religion to almost anyone ignorant of the Scripture.
Precepts of Fairy Tale Religion:
- God is Good, He would never hurt anybody.
- God never judges men or nations.
- Do as thou wilt is the full extent of the law.
- Jesus will save everybody.
- God already forgave all your sin. Live life as you like.
- All things are possible with God.
- God can be made to do whatever you want him to do.
- You can manipulate God in three easy steps:
- Give me a large seed offering to prove your faith.
- Quote these verses at least a thousand times.
- Really believe that God is going to do what you tell him to do.
- If you do all those things and it does not work, it is your fault, you did not have enough faith.
- God can be bought if the offering is big enough.
There are a million different mixes, but this is the foundation. Some groups only believe one or two of those things. Other groups believe this and add ten more to this list. Almost every Christian I know has believed at least some of these things…
I get in a lot of trouble when I speak of the judgment of God, sin, Hell, death, and repentance.
One last and new conflict is this new Dominion Revival, based on new prophecies from new prophets… We saw this on full display at THE RETURN in Washington DC. This idea that God, apart from repentance, is going to save America and the world and that the Church, united with pagans of every religion, is going to take control of the earth, kill off all the bad guys and prepare the way for the Messiah…
I have not listened to it all, but most of it seemed to be baseless and unbiblical prophecy of a New Christian World Order. Promises that an unrepentant America, killing 3,000 babies every day, is going to be marvelous and unprecedented salvation of America… Everything I know of God and Scripture is calling for judgment. The idea that the church must redeem the world, install the Noahide Laws, and kill all the bad guys before Jesus can return is simply unscriptural… It is a fairy tale.
Here I quit…