Friday, June 09, 2006
Liberal Libertines (Part 1)
The saddest event that can happen in the life of a Man of God such as myself is when a promising young man allows himself to be drawn into falsehood and apostasy. I had this very experience happen last month. Young Gaius had a wonderful gift with young people and I had great hopes for him. Even though there were less than half a dozen young people in our church, Gaius was doing a marvelous job with them. Unfortunately he allowed the heady responsibility of being Youth Pastor turn him away from the faith.
I suspect that he was possessed of a rebellious heart because he started asking a number of questions that challenged much of what I was preaching from the pulpit. Had he been content with the answers I gave him instead of coming back with verses that he believed contradicted me, I'm sure he would have turned out just fine. Instead, he was lured into apostasy by one of the modern non-denominational churches in town called, "The Agora." I sent him an e-mail expressing my compassionate concern over his willingness to ally himself with a godless, liberal, apostate, contemporary church, warning him of the danger of such a course. I closed with an appeal not to forsake the faith but to keep his mind pure and untainted from the worldly forms of hedonistic worship he was subjecting his family to. He sent back this reply:
Thank you for your concern. I would like to encourage you not to worry about the welfare of my family and me. The Agora is a wonderful church. It is filled with people who love the Lord and one another.
The reason we are attending there is because I feel more liberty and more love than I ever felt in your church. I am having more fun and I find myself enjoying church for the first time in a long while. I am so glad to be free of the awful legalism I found in your church. The sermons at The Agora are filled with grace and compassion. They are not full of criticism and condemnation like the ones you preach. It is so much nicer to be ENCOURAGED by the pastor instead of being JUDGED all the time.
I appreciate your interest in our welfare but you don't need to worry. We will not be returning to First Pharisee Church anytime soon.
It was clear to me from his reply that young Gaius had grown lackadaisical in his church attendance. Everyone knows that the Agora is full of backslidden, lazy Christians because they don't hold Sunday evening or Wednesday evening Bible study services.
Sure, they have a Saturday night "seeker" service but those are widely regarded by most Pharisee pastors as obvious attempts to appeal to worldly people through a watered-down version of the gospel. They tone back their preaching on sin, and appeal to the flesh by playing God-dishonoring rock and roll music and movies.
In order to assuage the guilt of Agora members who feel guilty for not attending midweek services, they encourage people to attend Home Bible Studies. However, these are such casual affairs that no serious study of God's word could possibly take place. First of all they are not led by trained professional ministers, second they encourage people to dress casually and finally they have no set curriculum or study guide. It is clearly a case of every man doing that which is right in his own eyes. Besides, Ephesians 3:21 says, "Unto him be glory in the church," not in a Home Bible Study.
I could also tell from his reply that Gaius was putting more emphasis on recreation and relaxation with his family than on the rigorous practice of worship. Like most young people, he would rather focus on sports, the great outdoors or the endless variety of activities that are unconnected to dedicated, godly service. Our church, by way of contrast, would never sponsor recreational retreats. We recognize that it is more important to study the word and feed the spirit than it is to canoe down some river or camp in some national park in the company of other lukewarm Christians bent on satisfying their fleshly desires.
Christians should not meet to play. They should meet to pray.
They shouldn't be wrestling over a football. They should be wrestling over the truths of God's word.
People who want to spend time with their families rather than the Family of God are not worthy of the name. The only thing these people want is a thin veneer of some shallow Christian service. They do petty little things like working in the local homeless shelter, soup kitchen or Habitat for Humanity project. These so-called Christians have no interest in digging into the Word with hard, diligent study. All they want to do is "minister" to the needs of the poor and unfortunate as a poor substitute for real service to God – condemning sin and preaching the gospel of repentance.
My duty is clear. As a spiritual Christian, it is incumbent on me to restore wandering sheep like Gaius and his family. The most loving thing I can do is to rebuke him sharply for leading his family into error and apostasy. I shall also admonish him to be true to the Pharisee faith once delivered to the saints. He needs to heed my warning, repent of his declension from the truth and return to the fold of the fundamentalist faithful. I will keep you posted on my success.
The inspiration for this post can be found here.
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