Monday, July 4, 2011

Pagan Principles, Spiritual Ignorance or Christian Truth

A new believer can go one of three directions to get information to decide how they will live their new life:
  1. They can remain in the Pagan state of mind and continue to use their old world’s system of values, morals and priorities to evaluate circumstances and discern right from wrong. (1 Corinthians 12:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
  2. They can become involved in a Christian church or organization that is not founded on the Word of God, but instead teaches cultural values, emotions and the remnants of a biblical heritage that has been watered down or lost through the years. (Ephesians 4:14; Colossians 2:8)
  3. They can be given the pure teaching of the apostolic revelation found in the Word of God. This will result in them growing up to maturity and being enabled to discern what pleases the Lord and function from a world view that lines up with the Holy God. (1 Peter 2:2; 1 Corinthians 2:6; Romans 12:2)
If a church applies "2" above it is likely that the leadership that is "training" the people are under the same condemnation as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. If they do get a convert to their brand of “Christianity” they make their new convert twice the child of hell as the teachers who are doing the training. The "convert" or "proselyte" will be deep in darkness and confusion by the time they finish their training in the corrupt doctrine and its application. As Jesus said to the religious teachers of his day:
You travel heaven and earth to get a convert and when you do you make them twice the child of hell that you are.                                                      - Matthew 23:15
Before a church can do anything (good deeds, service to community, evangelism, worship, etc.) they must first teach the word of God to its members. The Word of God is the source of the New Birth and, so logically (and, according to the Apostles), the same Word of God is the source of spiritual nutrition, growth, maturity and fruitful production. All works of service and worship of a believer spring from and are produced by God’s word (the seed) in the soul (the mind, the field) of a person. We continue in the same Truth we began in.

The three basic directions a believer in Jesus Christ can go after their conversion to Christianity through faith in Jesus Christ. But, only one of these will result in maximum production as the believer continues their spiritual journey: A) They can continue in their Pagan world view, B) They can get involved with an ignorant Christian group, C) They can learn the Word of God, preferably in a Bible teaching church:

A. Pagan - Continue in a Pagan world view
“You must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” -Ephesians 4:17-18
B. Ignorance - Embrace a form of Christian ignorance that replaces Biblical truth with:
  • Mysticism – believe that God impresses on them his will; allow God to speak to them in order that they can “hear” God and they just “know” his will; mysticism can trump the written Word of God with a vision, a dream, a voice or a simple impression from “god.”
“Every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God.” - Jeremiah 23:36
  • Emotionalism – they do what they “feel” is right; respond to situations based on feelings and emotions, not the truth of God’s word; emotionalism will often want to change the written word of God or reinterpret it so that it seems to be more Christian
“How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?”   - Jeremiah 23:26 
  • Legalism – some form of asceticism that provides religious regulations that flatters the person practicing it and gives them a feeling of being spiritual; this is godliness that denies the transforming power of the true Word of God:
“ ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’ These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”  - Colossians 2:20-23 
“Having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” - Second Timothy 3:5
  • Fractured Literacy – created by people who are limited to splintered and fractured portions of Bible truth. This incomplete study or lack of desire to know the full revelation creates a warped world view and an unbalanced life. This is manifest by very shallow Bible understanding or in Christian groups who use limited Bible verses such as “God is love,” or, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated,” or, “Repent and be baptized,” or, “we know that we have what we asked” as the basis of everything they believe. Bible verses that are contrary to these “Bible-quotes-on-steroids” are twisted by false teachers to fit their desired doctrinal position. When fractured literacy combines with mysticism the believer exists on devotional material:
“Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas (“contradictions”) of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith." -First Timothy 6:20
  • Evening Shadows - this is the doctrinal remains of a distant Christian influence from another time; most often based on bits and pieces of scattered Christian traditions; people embrace the religious traditions in a post-Christian setting; the memory of a previous Christian age has left a shadow but the substance, meaning and life are gone and replaced with human traditions:
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”  - Colossians 2:8
God explains to Jeremiah why the culture and the "believers" of that day were collapsing and facing judgment when he spoke to Jeremiah in chapter 23 of his book. Jeremiah recorded these words around 593 BC:
‘I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. 
‘Am I only a God nearby,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord. 
‘I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. 
‘Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak if faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?’ declares the Lord. ‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’ 
'Therefore,’ declares the Lord, ‘I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,’ declares the Lord, ‘I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, “The Lord declares.” Indeed I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ declares the Lord. ‘They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least, ‘declares the Lord                        -Jeremiah 23:21-33
Of course, there is the third option that is always promised victory, fruit and rewards in the Scripture  - that is learn the Truth of the Word of God which is both your physical and spiritual reality in both time and eternity.

C. Word of God - Learn the Word of God
“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God…this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”        - First Peter 1:23-2:3
(This is a portion of Chapter Six from Galyn's new book The Word: Apparatus for Salvation, Renewal and Maturity)

Galyn Wiemers
Generation Word

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