Many have crept in among us who teach us to take liberties in areas where God has given us no freedom and they restrict our freedoms in areas where God has given us liberty.
A popular argument today, used in support of the erroneous seeker sensitive marketing approach to church practice and teaching, is the argument for unbridled “diversity” between Christian churches. Many argue that they have a “license from God” to pretty much do whatever they want as far as church practice goes. They claim that all this is just part of the “beautiful diversity” that each church enjoys as part of their freedoms in Christ. OK, for now for the sake of illustration, let’s say that they are right (which of course they are not). Let me ask this question: where does this diversity end? What are the limits?
Maybe the limit is a surreal looking church building with pink poke-a-dotted walls, lime green carpeting, wild indecent videos playing on huge video screens behind the pulpit, belly dancers performing, and trapeze artists flying overhead as the pastor in a clown suit with his hair on fire, teaches self-help tips, secular humanism, self esteem and pop psychology (while all the while claiming that he is teaching Biblical Christianity)? Would this kind of irreverent display wake us up? Where does this circus end? Are these practices, which clearly mock Christ part of our wonderful diversity? Think logically. Where is the line in the sand where such “diversity” is nothing more than mockery of Christ and clear departure from the faith? The answer is simple: when it departs from the clear teachings of Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit toward more obedience to what the Word of God teaches.
Certainly, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, but bondage to the ways of the world is not freedom. Every believer has massive freedom in Christ but only as each is led by the Holy Spirit within the boundaries clearly given by the Scriptures. Therefore, since the Bible teaches simplicity and not complication, every believer and hence every church can enjoy diversity within SIMPLICITY, NOT diversity within manmade over-complication.
Great men and women of God throughout history can clearly be seen as unique people with gifts and talents as the Lord gave them, each with their own humble personal style of expression. This truly is beautiful. But the common golden thread between them was that they worshipped God in Spirit and Truth, being obedient to both. They did not take unauthorized license to just flamboyantly depart from what the Bible teaches and do whatever they wanted. They did not do so and then erroneously claim that their folly is a God-given freedom and as some kind of a “beautiful diversity of churches”. They did not do so and then claim that the rest of the Body of Christ must just tolerate and endure this silently without comment, minding their own business. Well that is exactly what the clowns in the pulpit want. They want to do whatever they want and they want you to keep your mouth shut about it.
Suddenly worldliness in the church, which is the spirit of error according to 1John4 is now celebrated as a beautiful diversity among today's Christian churches.
Now, I am in no way suggesting that we are all supposed to take part in some kind of mandated liturgical format, order of “service” or required cloned style . What I am contending for is that we have no freedom whatsoever, no matter how much diversity we claim, to depart from the clear teachings of Scripture, and the simplicity that is in Christ. Within this SIMPLICITY we can enjoy much God-given diversity but, except for the early church, we haven’t barely even started exploring this again.
We see strict limits to our diversity in 2Thess2:15 and many other Scriptures as well. In this particular verse, we see that it is the traditions and teachings of the (original) Apostles that we are to adhere to. Within this we certainly have much stylist freedom and ability to have personal preferences such as for example what style our worship music might sound like. Those in the South may have a country twang and feel. Those in the North, may have more of a pop sound in their worship music. That’s fine. We cannot and should not legislate these kind of stylistic issues or comment on them as far as passing judgment and causing division over these kinds of things.
Today, many think that “diversity” is just putting up with any outward show or flamboyance at whatever emotional or spiritual expense to human lives and saying that this overcomplicated nonsense is all part of our acceptable diversity and part of the normal Christian life. Not so if it departs from the Bible and the simplicity that is in Christ! And, not so if our freedoms restrict the freedoms of others by putting THEM into bondage.
The Apostle Paul said that he was concerned that as Eve was deceived by the serpent, that some had departed from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2Cor11:3)
Clowns is the Pulpit
We constantly see goofy “pastors” spiritually dressed like buffoons flying in on a wire with their hair on fire to get the attention of their naïve followers. (Yes, I’m being figurative). They teach that this “wire routine” is an acceptable and necessary church practice. They put their unwary followers under great bondage (the restricting of their freedom) to make it happen. They teach (verbally or by modeled behavior) that this is how to “do church” and they burden the Body of Christ by requiring that they finance and volunteer to make this nonsense happen.
It is THESE CLEVER MEN AND WOMEN who have spied out the freedom of believers! Their alleged freedoms restrict the freedoms of others by putting others into bondage to have to pay for and volunteer to make possible these selfish ambitions under the guise of diverse freedoms. Suddenly we need money to buy this elaborate stage gear (for the wire routine). We need workers to set up and maintain the wire that this man plans on flying in on. We need managers to manage the workers and hire men to maintain the electrical equipment. We need a bunch of guys to make sure this “pastor” doesn’t kill himself lighting his hair on fire so an ambulance and fire truck must be standing by in case he does.
The costs are endless in this figurative scenario. But far worse is the cost to human lives, the people who see these shenanigans and blame Jesus, wanting nothing more to do with Christianity because of the abuses that they suffered in a false church. Jesus doesn’t teach this garbage, men do! Yet Jesus still gets blamed because these men act as if The Bible teaches worldiness, which of course it does not.
Where does this boundless “diversity” that these men teach end? Their alleged freedom to depart from the simplicity that is in Christ and their resulting manmade systems create all the unnecessary menial jobs that wear out the saints and often shipwreck their faith as well. The saints are getting worn out to death with the loss of the their freedoms while catering to the silly whims of men and their selfish ambitions who enjoy “their freedom”, allegedly empowered by God, to do as they please without limit. This is one of the false power sources and justifications of the seeker sensitive marketing-the-church movement as well as many other similar movements.
Ironically the saints are singing songs of freedom while in utter bondage to these clowns in the pulpit who are skilled slave ship captains as well.
Christians like myself, who advocate staying within Biblical limits as far as faith and practice, are accused of being guilty of “franchising human beings” in a “cultural cloning” as if we are advocating some kind of nonsense like returning to Greco-Roman culture with sandals and oil lamps, which of course we are certainly not. But the truth is this franchising problem already exists on a mass scale and needs no help from those of us who simply wish to return to the Scriptures and conform to what the Bible already commands, nothing more, nothing less.
The error that these people accuse us of propagating is already present on an epidemic level as cloned by false teacher and their franchise motto from leader-to-leader is “do whatever you want”. Astonishingly, the same concept in different (old English) words, “do what thou willest” is actually a main teaching of Satanism! Our motto is “do whatever God wants.” Big difference.
The many mindless clones of this boundless “diversity” are already well-deployed and running around the landscape making a mockery of the ministry of Christ. One of the fundamental flaws in their theology is they think that we have diversity within complication. Not true, we only have diversity within SIMPLICITY. Again, Paul the Apostle said that he was concerned that as Eve was deceived by the serpent that we have departed from the simplicity that is in Christ (2Cor11:3).
The Taste Not Touch Not Crowd
There are also many people who spy out the true freedoms of the believers in other ways and these people are surely problems in the Body of Christ as well. These are those who say, “taste not, touch not”, etc., those of the circumcision group (mentally or spiritually), those who burden the Body of Christ with cruel judgments over stylistic issues (such as what genres of music you are and are not allowed to listen to), etc. The Bible is clear that we have no rights to restrict a believer’s freedom as far as what foods they consider acceptable and whether or not they consider a particular day (or every day) holy or not. Obviously this shows us not to judge other matters of personal preference as well.
We are simply supposed to mind our own business and keep our opinion to our self, when it comes to matters of personal preference. But, we are not allowed to depart from the clear teachings of the Word under the guise of personal preference. Yet doing just that has become a MASSIVELY popular practice today among many Christians, especially seeker sensitive churches as well as the tens of thousands of pastors that listen to and model their churches after the unbiblical yet probably well-intentioned mockings of Rick Warren in his “Purpose Driven ® Church” and “Purpose Driven ® Life” nonsense.
Too bad these alleged pastors don’t just read the Bible and do what it says. We are all supposed to be Word and Spirit led, not purpose driven. But unfortunately, few Christians today care much about returning to Biblical beliefs and practices. Instead, many are caught in the circus of diversity, a never-ending party, a ship of fools heading right for an iceberg. Some guy like me comes along and tries to warn them that they are heading for an iceberg and their response is pretty much, “Go away! We don’t want hear about no stinking icebergs!” “We’re having too much fun partying. The captain is a dynamic speaker, the music is great and the accommodations are luxurious.”
That’s odd. I just don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where dynamic speaking, quality of music and opulence of facilities are the criteria for or signs of a healthy church. Jesus said that you shall know them by their fruit not their amenities. Jesus told us to make disciples. Genuine fruit is disciples of Christ not disciples of men.
Be on guard brothers and sisters. For many have crept in among us who teach us to take liberties in areas where God has given us no freedom and they restrict our freedoms in areas where God has given us liberty.
Note: I received no small amount of ridicule when I posted parts of the preceding article on a “Christian leaders” message board to which I was invited.