Monday, June 10, 2019

The Deliberate, Convenient Ineptitude of Professing Christians at Applying the Lust Passages of Scripture

The Bible doesn't say what lust is.  It assumes we know, because we do know.  Not knowing is either blindness or feigning ignorance.  Blindness or feigned ignorance won't work in the end with God.  He knows we know.  People can understand and apply the passages on lust.  They don't want to give up their lust.  I'm asserting a deliberate, convenient ineptitude of professing Christians at applying the lust passages of scripture.

Application of scripture itself is taking a hit.  This last week, I listened to a panel discussion among FBFI leadership on "The Fundamentals," which is now a synopsis of the discussion in transcript form.  The following are the pertinent sections I ask you to consider:
Hankins: When you come back to what would be primary points of concern now, I can think of two important issues. We need a theological articulation of a right view and practice of worship and the same concerning worldliness. We need a theological articulation of the nature of worldliness and what characterizes it. This seems to be a watershed issue to me. 
Schaal: The advent of American popular culture took worship that had been consistent for millennia and turned it upside down. It took worship outside its normal and commonly accepted bounds, and now we are forced to define what aberrant worship looks like. 
Hankins: I think we have been at that point for several decades now. I might be missing something, but I do not think we have gotten the job done of articulating the theology of worship and the practices that should grow out of it.
Later they continue on this theme:
Schaal: So, back to the issue of worship. Is worship a bigboundary issue? 
Shumate: There are two questions. In principle, is it? And second, how do you apply it? Worldliness and ungodliness in worship is a very serious issue. 
Bauder: Worship includes doctrine (orthodoxy) and having our practices right (orthopraxy), it also includes loving God rightly (orthopathy). 
Schaal: Having our passions right. 
Bauder: Yes. Loving God wrongly becomes a boundary-level issue if someone or something is subverting our love of God sufficiently gravely. 
Shumate: I think worship clearly is a big-boundary issue. After all, what is idolatry but a false worship? It was having an altar to Baal and an altar to Yahweh in the same courtyard and mixing those together. There is a great deficiency theologically in defining what idolatry is all about. We have a shallow understanding of idolatry.
I watched the original discussion on video, which they've cleaned up to turn into an article.  The vital verbiage I recognize as included in the transcript.  The tell-tale expression from what I pasted, I believe, came from Shumate:  "In principle, is it?  And second, how do you apply it?"

So far some fundamentalists and others are willing to agree on the first part, that worldliness in worship occurs in principle, and in principle fundamentalists are against it.  The rub comes in the application.  What is worldly music?  This is what Hankins further above calls a "theological articulation of the nature of worldliness and what characterizes it" (emphasis mine).  If you can't know what worldliness in worship is, then you can't expose it, separate from it, or stop it.

A, if not the, chief characteristic or attribute of the things of the world from the things of God is lust, like John writes in 1 John 2:16-17:
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Worldliness corresponds to or smacks of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, which passes away.  The "passing away" is described in Revelation 18:14:
And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
Further down in the same chapter of Revelation, John writes:
And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee.
Some of what souls lusted after, that are departed from them in the end, are the voice of harpers, musicians, pipers, and trumpeters.  This is not the end of all music, just the world's music.  It will end because God rejects it, had already rejected, despite its acceptance by people who call themselves Christians.  Godly music will continue.  The above panel is saying in essence that we know the lust is wrong, but we're not saying exactly what that is, because we haven't articulated that.  It isn't communicated in the discussion even though the panel is agreeing that it is a fundamental boundary of Christianity itself.

Since worldliness is lust, worldliness is wrong and worldliness must be rejected, then lust can be understood, characterized, and identified.  This is the application of the lust passages of scripture.  Church leaders and churches haven't been doing it.  It's not just a matter of articulation, but also enforcement.  Churches and their leaders won't enforce what scripture teaches on lust.  They've treated the subject like it is too uncertain, so that they would be wrong to do anything about it.

It's worse.  Churches and church leaders have used lust to entice for the purpose of promoting and sustaining membership.  The FBFI leaders are discussing whether this is a boundary issue, which means separation from those churches.  Will they call this a "gospel issue"?  The Apostle John makes it a boundary issue, but will those who call themselves fundamentalists?

In Romans 13:14, the Apostle Paul writes:
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
This verse can be applied and is especially applied in music and entertainment.  Listening to or watching much of the world's music and entertainment is in fact making provision for the flesh and fulfilling the lust thereof.  Why?  The Apostle Peter commands in 1 Peter 2:11:  "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."  Earlier in the same epistle, he writes:  "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance."  The Apostle Paul further teaches first in Galatians 5:24 and then in Titus 2:11-12:
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Christians of the past were discerning of what I'm writing here.  They made application to crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts, and denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.  Peter Masters, pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, has written and preached on this subject, decrying the state of churches all around the world and their capitulation in this area.
Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. . . . When you look at their ‘favourite films’, and ‘favourite music’ you find them unashamedly naming the leading groups, tracks and entertainment of debased culture, and it is clear that the world is still in their hearts. Years ago, such brethren would not have been baptised until they were clear of the world, but now you can go to seminary, no questions asked, and take up a pastorate, with unfought and unsurrendered idols in the throne room of your life. What hope is there for churches that have under-shepherds whose loyalties are so divided and distorted?
Very often today I hear Christian leaders, who are even sympathetic with what I'm writing here, say that this application of lust passages to be very "difficult."  I understand the statements.  They might not say what is difficult about it.  What is difficult, I've found, is that people don't want to give up their lusts, which have become even their addictions.  I don't think or believe that it is difficult to apply lust passages.  We can know what is fleshly lust or worldly lust to make not provision for it or abstain from it.

People make a choice.  They either choose the Lord Jesus Christ or they choose lust.  To say that those do not contradict is now fashionable in a majority of professing Christianity.  They can both have Jesus and their lusts.  It isn't true though.

What occurs when lust and Jesus are syncretized is the shaping of a different Jesus in the imagination.  Churches today are responsible for doing this through their worship, which is false worship.  This syncretization is akin to what Aaron did at the bottom of Mt. Sinai and what Jeroboam did in the newly formed Northern Kingdom of Israel.  People have the name of God and of Jesus, but they have shaped a different God and Jesus through syncretizing lust with the name of God and of Jesus.  People then worship a different Jesus and in a short time have a different Jesus, a different one than who can and will save them.  This is how false worship changes the gospel.

In my title, I've said a deliberate, convenient ineptitude exists among professing Christians.  I'm saying they are not inept.  I'm saying they choose ineptness.  It's deliberate.  It's also convenient, because staying inept allows for the perpetuation of the lust.  This is an addiction.  They shape a Jesus that accepts the addiction.  He doesn't exist, but they still worship "him."  This is in fact worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.  The Creator Himself contradicts the lust.

I haven't myself made specific application of the lust passages of scripture in this post.  I think people know.  I'm not saying they aren't deceived.  They are.  The more they feed their lust, the more that their conscience is seared or salved and stops warning of this lust.  At one time, they rejected the fleshly and worldly lust.  They have continued past the warning of the conscience until they don't hear it anymore.  That is how they are deceived.

Furthermore, the feelings of the lust are confused with the workings of the Holy Spirit.  A feeling proceeding from lust is considered to be an interaction with the Holy Spirit.  Churches offer lust through the music and what people feel, they think is God.  This is akin to what occurred in the Babylonian mysticism of the false worship in Ephesus and Corinth.  Ecstasy, tied into lust even to the extent of temple prostitute activities, is seen as an encounter with God.  This is common today in churches.  They think they have an intimacy with God, but it's actually just their lust.

The condition on the ground among professing Christians in their lack of applying the lust passages is far worse than what I'm describing in this post.  They listen to and watch almost everything and treat it like it is neutral.  They are not applying scripture and, therefore, they are disobeying scripture.  At the same time, they profess to be a Christian.  Many, if not most of them, are not Christians.  The two can't coexist.  Teaching, assuming, or accepting that they do coexist confuses people in the most fundamental way, fooling them into thinking they are followers of Jesus, when they are not.


I'm going to go further in applying the lust passages.  This is an introduction.  I ask that you watch Scott Aniol's sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in March.  I agree completely with what he says here.  You'll have to follow the link, but I'm going to see if I can post the sermon here below. 

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