Saturday, April 03, 2004
Faithful readers, I apologize for not posting last week but I was out of town on business and unable to get to the mailing list. This week I have decided to give Gamaliel another week off and let him enjoy his much needed rest. He works very hard keeping the world safe for Pharisees and it is only fair to let him get a little relaxation from time to time. This week I was hoping to continue the theme of the decline of contemporary Christian music with a particular focus on Christian artists who leave Christian music altogether and "cross over" to the secular side. Unfortunately, Diotrephes, one of Gamaliel's deacons, decided to tackle a slightly different topic. I hope you don't mind.
Howdy, folks, I'm deacon Diotrephes and I'm filling in for our good Pastor Gamaliel this week. Rick has asked me to take a stab at dealing with "cross-over Christians." You know them. These are the folks who have left the faith, they've abandoned the flock, and they've gone over to the "other side" as it were. They are no longer sold out for Jesus and are flagrantly looking to make money any way they can. They are no longer serving God but they are serving themselves and their own interests. Let me give you an example.
Bob, one of my former buddies, used to be one of the finest Christian bricklayers I knew. He was a great all around guy. He started out small in the masonry business building an occasional church here and a parsonage there. He wasn't getting rich but he was serving God, doing what he was called to do in life. But then what do you think happened? He found out that his skills were in demand and that he could make more money and be more famous in the secular world than he could in the sacred. Oh, it didn't happen all at once, it just came on him gradually. Here's his story.
At first Bob was content to build churches and parsonages but then he began to slip away. What really started him down the slippery slope was a church that asked him to build an annex. Bob rationalized it away. He said, "Well, it belongs to the church so it must be OK." What he didn't realize was that there were no worship services in the annex. While the building belonged to the church, it was used for a mixed purpose. Some spiritual things were done there like carry-in dinners and wedding receptions but the church also used it for carnal things such as community meetings, so-called "outreach" ministries which were really nothing more than social gatherings and eventually the church let the community use the annex as a polling place. This just goes to prove the point that once we start down the path to carnality, there is no telling where we'll end up.
But how did this affect Bob, you ask? Surely Bob was serving God by working for the church even if the church went secular with the building. That's just what Bob tried to tell himself. He explained to himself that he couldn't control the actions of others and it was between them and God what use they put his buildings to. Well, this was just a sop that he threw his conscience as he continued down the ruinous path to perdition. He had no sooner gotten used to the idea that it was perfectly all right for him to build annexes than another church came up and asked him if he would build a recreation center. You and I know what his answer should have been but Bob was so blinded by greed and his compromise with the world that he accepted the job readily.
It was then that he faced his greatest danger. Recreation centers don't go up cheap. Bob made a lot of money off the rec center and was getting used to his high-end lifestyle. The next thing he toyed with was the idea that he needed to branch out, to expand his opportunities, to build more things (and make more money). So he started laying bricks on Christian schools. Some of you might still think that Bob was in full time Christian ministry because he was doing Christian schools after all but from there it was just a short hop to hospitals and then to secular schools. Once that began, the floodgates let loose, Bob lost all his standards and was just as likely to build one thing as another with no regard at all for maintaining Christian separation.
The last I heard, he was getting ready to build a bar.
Who would have thought that that is where Bob would end up - a servant of Satan? I believe it is our solemn duty as Christians to maintain our separated existence from the world. We are supposed to be in the world but we aren't supposed to be of it. If Bob had truly been a Christian bricklayer, he would have dedicated himself to a lifetime of Christian service building only things that honored and glorified the Lord. Instead he went after the highest bidder and built whatever building he was asked to build with no regard for decency, morality or the value of his Christian testimony. He was no longer taking a stand for Christ and with that the reputation of all Christians is harmed because of the compromise of the few like Bob. I don't know what this world is coming to. Bob tried to tell me that as long as he was doing a good job and honoring the Lord with his labor, it was all right for him to build whatever he wants. You and I both know that is so much hogwash.
The next thing you know we'll hear about Christian musicians leaving the faith and "crossing over" to perform secular music instead of singing only the sacred tunes we hold dear. Once that happens, we might as well mark it down that America has sunk into apostasy.
There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.
Deuteronomy 12:7 (NIV)
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