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Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Sad State of Modern Christianity

I'm pausing briefly in our parallel series on Walking in the Spirit and Walking Worthy of our calling to comment on a sad interchange I had online. What's going on in Christendom in these last days is chronicled well by other ministries (such as HisChannel and J.D Farag), so I'll just provide a representative example of the lack of discernment prevalent in the church and what I sense (I admit this is subjective) is a desire to signal one's virtue above defending the faith (or even defending Christ).

Contemporary Christianity is rife with this sort of thing, and it is particularly prevalent in contemporary music. Readers of this blog will note that I have no problem with the music itself, but doctrine and practice are always subject to scrutiny.

In this case, we see the typical progression:

  • Declare something beautiful and comforting which denies Christ... BUT it's beautiful and comforting! Declare you don't understand it, you only know it feels good.
  • Be shown that what you are publicly endorsing, in fact, denies Christ (and condemns you)
  • Make sure everyone knows you already know, but you don't want to judge!
  • Be shown you are called to love Christ more than you are to be seen as "not judging" (note:  acknowledging clearly taught doctrines is not "judging," it is simply stating fact) 
  • Claim you know all that, but it's about beauty and comfort, not doctrine!
  • Then throw in a personal shot by indirectly accusing the informer of being "Old Testament."
  • Say this shouldn't be public... despite you going public at the start

Again, readers of this blog should find accusing me of going Old Testament hilarious!

In this case, a musician ( a tremendously talented musician in my opinion) decided to say that his Christianity had become "stagnant", but he found joy in the Catholic mass. Note his own words:

I don't understand much of what's happening during mass, b[ut] the size and scope of the church and the sound of so many voices have really drawn me to the awe of a God I don't fully understand either. And I really like it.

My initial response to his public post which states he doesn't understand the mass:

Educated in it and taught Religious Education in it. The mass is a denial of the finished work. There’s a lot more, but that should be sufficient to reject it. The catechism officially condemns me to the flame for leaving the church. Again, I’m only scratching the surface.

I resisted a long post heavy with quotes. I noted the catechism and was prepared for a reasonable request to prove what I had proposed. He didn't seem interested in my opinion, so I noted it wasn't my opinion. He said he didn't understand the mass, so I continued by giving him a brief introduction to the mass by referencing what the Catholic Church itself teaches about it. So, as he is informed that the Catholic Church forbids him from communion and that he risks "eating damnation unto himself" (their doctrines remember), he decided I was wrong for pointing out what he openly stated he "doesn't understand."

He responded in part:

I didn't walk into the church blind and ignorant.

But he started by saying he "[doesn't] understand much of what's happening during mass." And then he tried to compare the Catholic mass with his experiences as a Baptist. Why the reluctance to defend the finished work? Why not kindly say you totally reject the doctrines I referenced? That is between Heath and God, but I felt as though, in light of his refusal to defend the finished work (he allowed a Catholic to recommend a book by a Catholic apologist), I needed to educate Christians.

I don't think you're following. You have an obligation to Christ first and also to your followers. If you truly know what they teach, why seemingly endorse it? What if I found a Mormon service "beautiful" or "comforting," do I have no duty to warn of their denial of Christ?

Not wanting to appear judgmental does not outweigh our primary call to honor Christ and our obligation to contend earnestly for the faith. They deny his finished work on Calvary, we must not appear to endorse that as legitimate. You don't have to judge individuals to judge false and Christ-dishonoring and Christ-denying doctrines.

If you know they deny the finished work and they exclude and warn non-RCs of damnation... isn't that worth noting? I get it. It's the easy path. If I came on here and said my church is the only true ark of safety, outside of which there is no salvation, and if you perchance do get to heaven, it's because of my church because all grace from God flows through my church (etc.)... I don't think you or your followers would be so forgiving... for some reason the RCC gets a pass.  -Michael 

I tried to make it easy by creating a comparative stating that if I endorsed a Mormon service to a large group of my readers, don't you think I'd owe them an explanation about what Mormonism teaches? Isn't it incumbent upon us to defend sound doctrine concerning the Lord Jesus Christ's person and work? Should we not warn the faithful about wolves among the sheep? Paul spent three years in Ephesus weeping and warning them. Of course we must do this if we have influence. But apparently it's easier to accuse me of being "Old Testament" (again, this is insane in light of my beliefs).

Dude if you said you went to a mormon service and said it was beautiful or comforting, I'd assume that you found it beautiful and comforting and I'd leave the rest to you to do with it as you please. And if I was genuinely worried about what that might mean for you as a person on some deeper level...I might reach out to you privately first instead of doing it in a public venue. But we obviously have different approaches. What I'm attempting to do is tell you in the kindest way I know how that I honestly appreciate you taking the time. And you said what you said. And then I said what I said. You've stated your case. You've done your old testament due diligence of "alerting the village" and I'm thankful. If you want to continue the convo (and I truly don't) then please feel free to message me and we can do it in a way that might not look like two dudes arguing about religion. Bc that's corny and not at all how I'd like either of us to be perceived. Thank you again for sharing.

OK. I appreciate the attempt at the kind words (at least in part), but all I was doing was referencing what the Catholic Church itself teaches. How is that anything but just stating facts? It's what they publish they believe! Take it up with them, not me. How is pointing to their own doctrines being "Old Testament?"

He chides me for my "different approach." But this is not just a private opinion of his, he publicly endorsed a false, Christ-denying, Christian-damning system and ritual to his many followers. I'm not "arguing religion," I'm noting actual Catholic doctrine and exalting the finished work. I don't think that's "corny."

Imagine if I said "I am God!" and someone tried to tell me I'm not... so I accuse them of "arguing religion." If you state you believe A, quoting A is not an argument, it is stating a fact.

I can only surmise that he may be more worried about being seen as "judgmental" instead of worrying about denying the Lord who bought him. Again, I say that with some fear, but I cannot imagine not publicly rejecting something you publicly endorsed, especially after being educated and after saying you don't understand it.

If I endorse an author, then discover he teaches gross heresy on certain issues, I'd be more than glad to share that truth.

Sad to say, but it seems too many Christians are eager to signal their tolerance to find acceptance from the world than to stand for Christ. We're all guilty of this to some degree, but at a minimum we should be ashamed of it. Allowing a blasphemous book to be posted without objection while endorsing a blasphemous practice... then chiding the one who gives you facts you say you don't have?

Sure, I admit I was more than miffed as we shared, but I'd rather be accused of slight impatience than of a promoting doctrines which blaspheme the saving work of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

I've spent many hours over the last two and a half decades defending the popes and councils. Before you click away, what I mean is that I constantly quote Popes and Councils concerning what the Catholic Church teaches. Seems nobody wants to believe them! It's not my "opinion" of the Catholic Church, it's what they tell us they teach and believe.

If you don't like it, don't get angry with me. It's not "hateful" or "judgmental" to quote them. If you don't like what they have said, declared, or affirmed perhaps you should rethink your standards of truth.