[A Broken Image]
When I was a kid, my parents would take us down to the local beach. It was a small little place but we enjoyed going there from time to time. No one in my immediate family was a great swimmer nor were we enthusiastic about it either. But, at least three times during the summer, we would travel the 20 minutes it took to go down there and enjoy our day at the beach.
Since we were not big on swimming, we often found other ways of entertaining ourselves. My older brother and I would often build sandcastles. If you are a brother, then you know that you live in constant competition with your brother. I don’t know why that is but I know there is some unspoken law about that. That being said, my sandcastle always had to be bigger than his.
My brother, being older and wiser, would build his sandcastle much closer to where our parents would be relaxing, bathing in the sun. I, without fail, would build mine close to the waters edge. The sand was close enough to the water to be a little more muddy and as such, a bit more stable and so I could always out build him. My sandcastle was always bigger.
It is also without fail, my brother would warn me against not building so close to the water but I always ignored the advice. Then, after completion, I would mock his sandcastle and we would go for a quick swim. When we returned, my sandcastle was gone. The tide had come in just enough to wash it away and there was my brothers sandcastle, still standing tall.
I was, of course, devastated!
My beautiful creation was destroyed and my hard work was for nothing! That being said, I cannot begin to imagine how God felt when he walked through the garden, calling for the man, only to find his created beings hiding from his presence. They had fallen into sin. God’s creation, it seemed, to crash down, right before his eyes.
While I was growing up in the church, the christian world had its share of “shocks.” I still vaguely remember the suicide from a Christian musician artist and later two more christian artists who had engaged in an extra marital affair.
Here’s the thing, over the past month, I have read more “shocking news reports” than ever before! Here’s a small snap shot of what I have seen and read…
1] Mark Driscoll and Acts 29|
Mark Driscoll is the lead founder and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church and also began a church planting network, Acts 29 several years ago. Over the past few years, a high number of interns and elders have left Mars Hill citing Driscoll’s leadership as a concern. Driscoll has been flagged for plagiarism, leadership abuse and mishandling church finances.
Due to the concerns, Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church have been removed from the Acts 29 Network and Driscoll has since stepped down while an internal investigation is being conducted into the reports concerning him.
2] Vicky Beeching|
Vicky Beeching is a well known and well established worship leader, She has come out as being a lesbian. She has gone on record to inform the Christian world that she believes God loves her the way she is. This of course has led many to question whether or not to support any of her ministry, present or past.
3] Victoria Osteen|
The co-pastor and wife of Joel Osteen has made the announcement that when we go to church and worship God we should do it for ourselves. If taken at face value, it is a message of entitlement and happiness.
As a writer/blogger, I have already come across the numerous blogs that have been written about ALL of these issues. If, for any reason, you think this blog is going to launch into a debate about these people, move on.
I’ve come to find that when Christian leaders say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing, there comes a flood of responses. This leads to the question, how does God feel when his children fall and what should our response be?
[Should We Call Christians out?]
If we believe it is right to call out leaders for moral failures or sharing a “watered down gospel” then our theology is built around the idea that we need to “guard the truth” and “exposing the darkness.” (1 Tim. 6:20)
If we believe we don’t have that right, our theology is often built around “Not judging others.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
A biblical approach is outlined in the gospel of Matthew 18:15-17
Go to the person IN PRIVATE!
If they are unrepentant, take the matter to them again with 2-3 witnesses.
If they continue to be unrepentant, bring the matter to the church.
If they are still unrepentant, remove them from the body and treat them as unbelievers.
Now here is the point, we do have the right to judge other believers. However, I wonder how many of us have actually personally met Joel Osteen and or Mark Driscoll and discussed these matters with them. If you are not one of those people who have done this, then you’re ignoring the Scriptures call, which could place you yourself in the same category as a “false teacher.”
Guarding the truth should occur within the confines of your own church and congregation as these matters arise. The disciples and early church fathers dealt with false teachings and false teachers as they arose.
Some people will call out Christian leaders left and right for preaching a “watered down gospel.” I’m not really sure what that means because, let’s be real, there is only ONE GOSPEL. If you can water down the gospel then its not the gospel so that should tell you right away that you should stop calling it a watered down anything.
Defending the truth does not mean we start with false teachings; rather the Gospel of Jesus is the starting point!
[Don’t Call Me A Christian}
As believers, we can easily get wrapped up in our own theology and allow our theology to be our starting point and our guide for life. Make no mistake-what you and i believe about God will ultimately determine how our lives are lived. How we respond to God is how we will respond to others!
The way we respond to God is how we will respond to people!
It is, without a doubt, a touchy and tricky topic when dealing with moral failures of leaders and false teachings. As Christians, we are representing Christ at all times. With that in mind, let’s remember these two things…
Who’s Getting the Glory?
“It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.”
Paul knew in his heart some preachers and teachers were sharing the gospel for false purposes. Some of them liked the idea of exerting authority over people and knew that authority allowed them the opportunity to manipulate them. Others saw the gospel as a way to become financially stable because they could appeal to the commands of tithing. What Paul saw in the midst of this turmoil was Jesus’ name being preached and through that, the Spirit’s work of regeneration was changing lives.
Follow the Leader.
“Peter turned around and saw behind him the disciple Jesus loved…Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
A quick context lesson is this-Jesus reinstated Peter following his denials of Christ. Peter was then called to care and feed the flock of Christ and then Christ, in essence, informed Peter he would die a terrible death. Peter got fixated on John (the disciple Jesus loved) and asked, what about him? Or we could say, “Is it fair for me to die and not John?”
Jesus redirected Peter’s attention. Don’t worry about him, don’t worry about the plans I have for others; you need to do one thing, follow me. As Christians that is our call-to follow Jesus.
Jesus is in the midst of his people, redeeming, restoring and transforming us into his own image.
don’t call me a christian| written by mike monica
Check out these resources|
8 Things Christians Should Be Known For
Was Victoria Osteen Really That Off Base?