Sunday, September 23, 2018

Concocted Christianity

When I was young in a small Indiana farming community, off and on we owned various black and white televisions and sometimes watched Wide World of Sports on Saturday with host Jim McKay.  Then I first saw the Harlem Globetrotters play, Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal.  They always played the New Jersey Generals, and won every time.  It wasn't real.  Everyone knew it.  They defied the rules of basketball, the audience played along, and everyone knew, they knew, that what they were doing and we were watching was concocted.  Very little was at stake.  It was all just fun.

We shouldn't take the Globetrotter approach and use it on Christianity.  Maybe for some basketball is sacrosanct, not to be touched with such profanity as the Globetrotters.  It doesn't matter to me.  However, Christianity is and should be sacred.  It can't be modulated or modified or adapted for whatever purpose.  And yet it has been and it is.  And different explanations are given for why it is appropriate, even though it isn't.  The contention of this piece is that very little genuine Christianity exists anymore.  It's been given the Globetrotter treatment.

With the Globetrotters, the referees didn't do their job on purpose, so they were also in on the concoction, turning basketball into something different in nature.  All the props were there to give the impression of basketball.  The Globetrotters were concocted.  Christianity has its referees on earth, the ones supposed to be responsible for keeping it real and true and pure, not making a joke of it and not allowing it to go astray.  The rule book is the Bible, it's plain, and it's simple.  Christianity's referees have been on the concoction too.  Most of Christianity is some concoction now.

There is a lot at stake with Christianity being a concoction.  It relates to this life, but also the next.  God isn't pleased.  That's very bad -- very, very bad -- but it doesn't stop there.  If it isn't real and true and pure, people will go to Hell, separated from God forever.  It should matter to the referees.  The pastors, the major leaders in Christianity, should be about keeping Christianity according to the Bible.

Concocted Christianity isn't Christianity.  It is concocted to look like it is, using some of the same terms and relying on the same rule book.  The concoction gives the impression or an attempt is made to give the impression that it is Christianity.  For most, it's good enough.  It doesn't have to be the same, just good enough.  It fools people, but it will never fool God.  He authored Christianity, knows every difference, and isn't fooled for one moment.

How is a new Christianity concocted?  Christianity departs from scripture.  You could say, churches depart from scripture.  Scripture clashes with the world.  If a person, a family, or a church believes and practices the Bible, they're going to clash with the world.  Rather than clash with the world, if an individual, family or church change Christianity closer to the world, to what the world is and does, which will mean departing from scripture, it will clash less with the world or not at all.

The way Christianity functions, according to scripture, which is the only Christianity, not a concoction, is not complicated.  It's clear and simple.  The problem is that it clashes with the world.  The referees need to keep it in line, but they haven't.  If they say, let's conform to scripture and clash, it appears they will shrink in numbers and they do.  They concoct a new Christianity that doesn't clash and waylays shrinking.  It is akin to the people walking away from Jesus in John 6 and Jesus saying, "Stop, I'll concoct something different, more in line with what you want, please stay."

The world mobilizes an array of forces against Christianity.  Whatever Satan has in the world system, he uses.  Bringing down Christianity is all he has left.  He won't fully accomplish it, but he and the world system do a lot to get as far as possible in this endeavor.  It has worked very, very well.  Based on most measurements, Satan has succeeded and is growing more and further in that success.

Christianity is about God, but man wants to serve himself.  This is the sphere or realm where the departure from scripture occurs.  Individuals, families, and the church consider what man wants, what they want, more than what God wants.  Romans 1 calls it worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.

A new Christianity is concocted.  What characterizes it is lust.  It's not sacred any longer, profaned by what pleases men, which again is lust.  The lust itself, the feelings that arise out of lust, are very often confused as something spiritual, and, therefore, of God.  The church becomes more and more like the world and less like God, fully deceived that it is about God.

God Himself isn't good enough for people, so the Christianity concocted conforms God to what people do want for themselves.  The God they want is more like a genie in a bottle, who is there for them to give them their wishes.  The message fits what they want out of life.  Worship itself is determined by what gives them the feeling they want.  The concocted Christianity grows, which is said to testify of divine provision, the approval of God.  The feelings are said to be caused by God.  Receiving what they want is called blessing.

God is Who He is.  Concocted Christianity has a different god, one who approves of what its participants need him to approve.  He takes what they give him, even if he doesn't really.  God isn't whoever we imagine him to be.  When concocted Christianity forms its own god, he isn't God.  The Globetrotters isn't basketball.  The god of concocted Christianity isn't god.

The concocted Christianity has causes used to vindicate it.  Certainty is pride, so it fights pride and justifies doubt.  It battles division with toleration.  It cares more except with sentimentalism, not the deferred gratification of eternal reward.  Scripture is used conveniently and flexibly to rule out what they dislike and advocate what they love.

One other major way concocted Christianity attempts to exonerate itself is by saying that it doesn't ruin major doctrines. At worst, it is claimed that it changes smaller or small ones and the application of cultural issues, keeping most of the framework intact for the most part, which they might also argue is all that should be expected.  However, doctrines really do change, including their so-called major doctrines.  Another Christianity is not concocted without doctrines being affected.  People have a different take, a distorted perspective, on what scripture is, on who God is, on what salvation is, on what true worship is, what church is, what Christian living is, and more.  Everything changes and everything has changed.

When the adherents of concocted Christianity compare it to the real thing, they can't recognize it.  The referees, those governing concocted Christianity, tell them Christianity isn't what's real. It's extreme, even hyper -- "just keep walking, you'll be fine."  It looks false to them.  It looks too certain, too intolerant, and too strict.  They want the safe feeling they get from concocted Christianity, even if it isn't Christianity.  It's a false sense of security, like the fish swimming in the dragnet, unaware of danger.

One other factor for not knowing that professing Christians are in a concocted Christianity is that they have stopped comparing their concocted Christianity to scripture.  They think they're comparing it to something authoritative and it rings true, but very often it's just a feeling that they have and then the conjectures of leaders, who have stake in their participants not knowing.  Very often it's just the blind leading the blind.  A lot of people are on this road, so they also say, there are so many people who agree with me, so they rely on a new norm that's not acceptable to God, but they assume it is, because of the numbers they think they see on their side.

When we watch the Globetrotters, we know it's concocted.  That's how easy it is to judge concocted Christianity.  Concocted Christianity is a placebo against the worst possible ills.  Even worse it inoculates against the real thing.

4 comments:

Ken Lengel said...

Kent,

I wanted to let you know that it was this type of concocted Christianity that actually led me as a lost atheist to Christ. My cousin became part of a "Get Smart, Get Saved" cult, and I started to challenge her on the existence of God. She really never had answers from the Scriptures, but it got me to searching for answers myself. I wanted to know if death was final. I wanted to know if God truly existed. Amazingly enough, not seeking this, I happened to start dating a girl who professed Christ as Savior and went to her church. On my first visit, the pastor opened his message with the most burning question on my heart, when he said, "What happens when you die, do you know?" Fortunately for my soul, he presented a clear message of who God was and who I was before God, and how I could be right before Him. I accepted Christ as my savior that day, over 40 years ago now. I am so glad there are those willing to continue to preach real Christianity.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Ken,

Thank God for His providence. He uses bad things for good purposes as tools.

Lance Ketchum said...

If it is painful for us to watch what is happening in the name of Christ, think how much it grieves the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30). We should all be weeping and lamenting like Jeremiah these days.

Kent Brandenburg said...

It's true, Lance.