Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Church of the Sin-of-Choice

I've been using the term, "orthodox"; I'm afraid a little different than intended. Orthodoxy is a description of the Catholic Church before east/west schism in 1054 A.D. By that time the Roman Catholic Church had deviated tremendously from biblical doctrine. The Eastern Orthodox Church deviated in a similar manner up until that time. I would never intentionally propose that Christians return to the days of the early Catholic Church. So, what did I have in mind? A return to "practical Christianity"; the way the early Christian community worshiped in the days of the apostles.

Many churches have tried that: Pentecostals, Churches of Christ and so forth. This is called "The Restoration Movement" and is a noble attempt, but it puts emphasis on ritual as well as doctrine and for many, those rituals and practices have led to dogmatism. Many "born-again" Christians are excluded from membership in the universal church because of petty practices and non-essential doctrine.

"Dogmatic churches" are those which claim their beliefs and practices are incontrovertibly true. There is no room to admit "maybe, just maybe , we are wrong and others right"! Again, that's noble, but on issues not crucial for salvation, drives a wedge in the Christian community. Such dogmatism divides Christians who are told to love one another!

Let me define what I mean with the term "practical Christianity". It's not the method of worship or the ritual of worship, but the ideology practiced in apostolic times. However, the early church had special miracles and happenings which were for the growth of the early church. 

Let's take a quick look at one aspect of dogmatism; "speaking in unknown tongues". Let's never argue. The early church did speak in "unknown languages"; languages not known to the listener. They may have been contemporary languages, but they were unknown to the hearer. However, let's give pentecostals the benefit of the doubt! Let's say that some "Godly language" was practiced in the early church; a language unknown to any nation. What happened to it? There is no record of any "church father" after the apostolic age speaking in tongues. They may refer to others, but not themselves and they were the heirs to the apostles!

One group which did speak in "unknown languages" were the Montanists. Montanists were a sect, of course devoted to an individual, which the church ruled to be heretical. Those so ruling were "early church fathers". What the Montanists taught was not "practical Christianity" within the early church. Speaking in tongues was not common in post-apostolic days nor was it at all until 1906.

John Wesley endorsed the  Montanists, but made no claim to speaking in tongues personally. It seems that speaking in tongues was not common among early Methodists at all! 

In 1906 a black holiness church on Azusa Street in Los Angeles had a series of revivals where attendees exhibited all sorts of bizarre behaviors including speaking in tongues. That church is where the modern pentecostal movement originated and leaders justify their practice on the backs of early Montanism; a cult within the early church.

My question: What happened between the time of the apostolic church and 1906 that Christians, even martyrs, never spoke in tongues? It would appear that speaking in unknown (to the hearer) languages were for the growth of the early church. In 1906 African culture still had a strong existence in some black communities. Azusa was one of those communities. I believe that practical Christianity became influenced by African culture in 1906 and is destructive to the modern church. Many of those denominations are dogmatic in that if a person does not speak in tongues, their "born-again" experience is not real, and they are not true Christians. This dogma would have kept most, if not all, of the church martyrs from even being Christians!

That's my take on pentecostalism and there are many fine people in that movement. I just disagree with the efficacy of speaking in tongues. It adds to "grace" with works as most offshoots of "practical Christianity" do!

I made my point using one movement, but there is a most awful movement within the church right now which dwarfs any previous schism. The modern schism was spoken of in Revelation and was within the Laodocian Church. I'm going to call it "humanistic Christianity". Those adherents accept Christianity, but have redefined what it is to be a Christian. Jesus' teachings, it seems, takes a back seat to what's popular. It's a cult of rationalizing. By that I mean that each individual, even Christians; decide if, what and how much; of Holy Scripture they buy into. Usually, Christians exclude their own "sin-of-choice" (SOC) from "practical Christianity". What results are millions of cults each dogmatic in their adherence to their demand that they are above scripture and have a right and obligation to decide what is right!

For instance, many Christians "shack up". They are not in a traditional marriage, but justify their fornication  because they are committed to each other! Their commitment in reality, is not a commitment to each other, but a commitment to use each other for pleasure. Their commitment is to make no commitment because that's what marriage is! The same applies for Christians in a sexual relationship. It's okay for them because God is forgiving, and after all, society accepts, even encourages promiscuity!

That cult, as I describe it, would be "The Church of Adulterous Christians". It's in existence, but they are a sect of your church! They are there to split and divide and to encourage others to join their movement. As each day goes by that sect grows. In some denominations, that cult has become the majority. In apostolic times, they were spoken of:
Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
A deacon named Nicolas was the one who authored this heresy and the sect which followed him. This sect was part of the early Christian church and believed in wife-sharing and polygamy. They were adulterers and pimped it just as was Balaam in The Old Testament. The early church dealt with that cult and it was ended after a spell. However, we still today have Christians who practice Nicolaitanism, although they have no idea who he was, but rationalize it as acceptable behavior.

Adultery within the church is just one heresy. There are many other cults within the church: We have the Churches of Ill-will, Churches of Riches, Churches of Addicted to Sports, Churches of Gambling, Churches of Immodesty, Churches of Feminism, Churches of Drug Use, Churches of Abortion, and now Churches of Homosexuality and "Churches of the SOC". All these are Nicolaitans and God hates their practices. Nicolas not only propagated sexual promiscuity, but any type of indulgence. Pleasure was his principle and the allowance for  pleasure was made part of the church.

By "rationalizing" their Christian laxity, no face it, "sin", Christians ignore what Christ taught against! We are to obey his commands to show that we love him! If we don't obey the "don'ts" there isn't love being shown. These little individual churches people have created just don't love the Lord! I propose that they form their own association and name it "Associations of Churches who Minimize Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross"!  Their God, the one of "rationalization" is the "God of Reason". It's secular humanism. It's leaving God out of everyday living in favor of pleasure, wealth and power.

When our forbears ate of "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" they wanted to be like God and know what he knows. Now, they believe that they know better than God. They believe that righteous living is not for contemporary times, the same thought that Nicolas taught! My, how times have changed (sic)! However, "there is nothing new under the sun" as the wise man knew!

The "cure" for all these little individual churches is "obedience". However, to obey and not love Jesus is an effort in futility! We can only show our love by our actions, but first one must love. In order to have divine love people must repent and be saved. When you, the rationalizer, are truly saved, your individual cultish church will die and Christ's "practical church"  will give you hope! We know who wins! It's Christ. Don't go with the loser. Be practical!

No comments:

Post a Comment