Hello All. Ginger Taylor of Adventures In Autism here.
I have been doing an increasing amount of God Blogging lately, so I decided that it should have its own space… so welcome to the new space. It was born out of my growing concern and alarm for all the false teaching and flat out bad ideas that are passing as biblical messages in God’s Church these days. Daily Discernment will be offering resources for good biblical teaching from the reformed perspective of Luther and Calvin, taking a critical look at some of the questionable and outright bad theology that is being consumed in post-modern America, take a look at the lives of those who claim to be disciples of Christ and have taken leadership positions in the church (to see if they are living what they preach, or confessing and repenting when they don’t) and be a place for good (respectful) debate about what the bible really says.
As God is want to do, he brought into our lives a couple of extreme events to get us to where we are now, and that got me writing what I am writing now. The first was the diagnosis we received in 2004 of our two year old son Chandler that brought us back to a seriousness about our lives and the things of God again. The second was seeing corruption in our former church that gave us a wake up call as to what is going on in the church in 21st Century America. Allow me to share how I started down the road of desiring discernment.
In 2005 and 2006 we were members of a large, metro megachurch and were seeing behavior in the staff that was not in line with scripture. We started taking a closer look and found some serious areas of entrenched sin. Naively, we thought that because the church claimed to be bible practicing church in the reformed tradition, that of course they would be teachable and practice biblical church discipline in those that were stubbornly unrepentant of wrong doing
We were way, way off.
After several months of trying to navigate through the process with not much success or cooperation from the church, I attended a meeting with the number three and four staff people in the church, and the more senior man gave me a long list of things that he wanted to see happen and wanted me to do. When he was done listing off the actions he expected me to take, almost all of which were out of line with what God teaches in scripture and even a few things that contradicted the sermon that we both had heard from the pulpit only three days prior, I replied, “…that is not biblical”.
His astonishing response was, “I don’t know what’s biblical here, this is just how I do business.”
I was completely baffled by the exchange. I looked to the ordained pastor that was present, expecting him to be as ruffled by the statement as I was, but he had no reaction what so ever. It was as if his superior had just said, “What a nice day it is today”.
Long story short, we decided to do what the bible said instead of following this administrator’s unbiblical instruction, and he ran us out of the church.
As we were leaving and talking with our friends there about what was happening, almost all of the advice that was being given from other church members consisted of some form of the statements, “Well I think that you should just …”, “Well if you want __________ to happen, then you should ____________” and, “Do whatever you think is best”.
It was not until we had cleared that place and it’s influences for several months before we really wrapped our brains around the fact that no one that we dealt with (except for one person, who bowed out eventually) from the newest attendee to the Senior Pastor with a Ph. D. said, “Here is what God wants, (insert scripture quote here) so lets all do that”.
It was all about man’s desire and man’s wisdom.
Now this was not a controversial church. It was a church with a decent reputation for the last ten years or so. So my husband Scott and I started rethinking all of the messages that we had been just uncritically swallowing and scouring scripture and we honestly were ashamed that it had taken us so many years to wake up and smell garbage that was being packaged as God’s Truth. We were also ashamed that we had ignored all of the red flags that we saw in the lives of the leadership and in our own lives.
The disturbing thing is that this church is operating pretty much the way most large churches are operating these days, and after looking again at the instructions that Christ gives to his disciples, we started to see that Standard Operating Procedure in modern ‘Christian Culture’ today stands in opposition to much of what Jesus taught.
During the conflict, someone gave us a “Christian” book called, “The Bait of Satan” to offer us instruction on how to deal with being wronged by the church. It is a book about forgiveness, and is one of those that sounds good, unless you are really testing all its pronouncements against scripture. Reading this book with my new critical eyes, I was appalled at what I was seeing. One faulty premise in the first few pages of the book detached it from what God actually said, and the rest of the book, which is based on this premise, falls apart because of this flaw.
It claims in the first few pages that Jesus forgives everyone, so we must forgive everyone.
Except that He doesn’t. He is pretty clear that some people are not forgiven and will spent eternity separated from Him because of it.
This faulty premise, taken out to it’s logical conclusion, becomes a blue print for abuse in the church. (I will be writing a fuller criticism of The Bait of Satan by John Bevere down the road.)
The strangest thing… the book was given to us by a man who was a foreign missionary. He firmly believes that the population that he is preaching the gospel to is trapped in sin and will not see heaven, and he loves them, so he turned his life upside down in the hopes that they will respond to the message that he has brought to their little part of the world. But He praises a book that preaches that Jesus forgives everyone.
If Jesus forgives everyone, then he can pack it up and bring it all home, because all those people he is preaching to are forgiven and will go to heaven!
I scribbled notes on pretty much every page of the book point out the scripture that the author contradicts and the faulty reasoning and gave it back to him, but rather than saying, “man… I had not thought about this… I am going to check this out and see if you are right”, we just never heard from him again.
So what has happened to discernment in the church? Are we swallowing dirt and calling it dinner?
This blog will taking a critical look at the popular messages in the church today, some of the bad messages that we have gotten from people who claim to be speaking for God, and connecting the dots between lessons that need to be brought together and balanced in order to receive the WHOLE counsel of scripture.
A few notes:
One… I seek to be teachable here, so not only will I not be offended by people challenging me, I am soliciting it. Because we are flesh, criticism can be unfun sometimes, by my goal is to become a woman who comes to love correction. To receive it well is to become refined, and sanctified and more and more like Christ.
Two… I seek to maintain a liberal comments policy. I don’t think that it is many peoples best interest to suppress speech, and it is not something that I see Jesus doing in scripture (He just gave amazing responses), so I really try not to remove comments.
At AdventuresInAutism.com I describe my comments policy as a, No ‘you suck’ Comments Policy. Posts have to have a point, so if they are nothing more than some variation of telling someone that they suck, then I will remove them. If you are a professing Christian, I expect that you will use 2 Timothy 2:25-26 as your guideline for critiquing another’s comments, if you aren’t, and you really want to tell someone they suck, then be sure you make a good point so that I won’t be able to bring myself to take down your comments 😉
Comments will not be edited, merely removed if they violate the comments policy. When I remove one, I usually encourage the person to repost their comment, but with less mean.
Thank you for visiting and make yourself at home.