As the Lord has led me to write many times, removing the artificial and stuffy inventions of manmade Christianity that serve as barriers to unsaved folk coming into the churches to hear about Him is a good thing. However, many in recent years have gone much further than this and are among other things, altering biblical Christianity’s core message, the Gospel (if not eliminating it altogether) along with the Lord’s commandments and instructions to make the faith more amenable to especially those born after 1980. Tinkering with or setting aside the biblical Gospel no matter how noble the motive is still to fall under the apostle Paul’s God approved anathema (Galatians 1:6-10)!
Departures from God’s Word to accommodate human worldly interests and tastes are legion. They come complete with light, video and sound worship extravaganzas and dress code fit for the Holy One? I mention a few of the heretical departures from God’s Word in this edited 2012 repost that along with tinkering with the Gospel is clear evidence of widespread succumbing to worldly peer pressure by many professed Christians and their church leaders to fill large meeting venues. In the end though, besides the temporary display of the ability to draw a crowd by the leaders, what will the ostensible crowd of Jesus followers have to stand firmly against the world when they are still of it?
Originally Posted April 22, 2012
The pressure to conform to someone else’s standard of whatever begins early in life when as newborns, in spite of our best efforts to have our way, those giant people called parents insist that we behave as it pleases them. Then, it is siblings and finally school age peers that start applying pressure for us to share their interests, likes, dislikes, etc. Not only did I experience the foregoing for myself, of course, but as a parent I had to endure what I now know is every parent’s nightmare, the dreaded: so and so’s “parents let them do it.” This is followed by the not so subtle, “they have one.” This may be funny because at whatever level, you can relate to peer or other pressure to conform.
However, the issue turns deadly serious when others are attempting to pressure us to do evil. Contrary to worldly standards of political correctness and tolerance, evil is whatever goes against the written Word of God--period! Knowing my own exasperation at times with the yielding of my children to worldly peer pressure, I cannot imagine God is very pleased with how easily His children cave in to it. Oh, we try hard to rationalize and justify our worldly compromises even using Scripture at times and saying, “I don’t see anything wrong with…” or “that was back then” as if God changed; seeking any tiny sliver of release to line up with the world’s standards and what we want to do.
A major example of compromise is the removal of the Gospel for salvation from sin as the central theme of witnessing and preaching. As their defense, many corruptly cite the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Yet, he did not mean that he changed the Gospel, adopted worldly practices or did evil to bring about the good of saving souls in his witnessing. He did mean that he began his work where the people he was dealing with were at in their spiritual, cultural or occupational lives so he could connect to them. He then proceeded to work the Gospel into his conversation and preaching to the end of some believing and being saved (Acts 13:4-12, 16:20-34, 18:1-11). The Gospel is God’s first priority for preaching (Acts 2:14-41; Romans 10:13-15)!
Another example is how--contrary to Scripture--many professed Christians do not believe all of Scripture’s ancient commands and instructions are still valid lest the world be offended (Isaiah 40:8; Mark 13:31). Among these are God’s order of mankind and the related roles of men and women in the home and churches (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Timothy 2:11-15).1 And very popular at this strategic moment is the false teaching and inspired movement that makes Christ a fulfiller of personal dreams and selfish ambitions contrary to His demand of self-denial to follow Him (Matthew 16:13-27). Selfish ambition is a flesh work whose practitioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).
The fact today is that many professed Christians and their churches are downright worldly as the norm! This is purposeful on the part of guilty leaders to fill seats and offering plates. It is also an effort especially of younger congregants to show their observing worldly peers they are still just like them. Nope, Christianity has not made these folk change one thing of this world that is precious to them. In so doing, they deceive themselves into believing they have made God more appealing and the Gospel less judgmental of people’s lifestyles. The truth is, they love not being left out of the world’s fun and having to stand out as weird in its eyes. That is classic submission to peer pressure.
God the Father would remind His wayward children that we are His peculiar people who are not to be ashamed of Christ or the Gospel (Mark 8:38; Romans 1:16; 1 Peter 2:9-10).2 He has called us out of the world no longer to conform to its standards, but in all self-sacrifice, His and supplies the Holy Spirit to us to make it happen (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:13-16)! The ways of this world are of the sinful, selfish nature we enter it with; ways parents are hard pressed to restrain as we develop and peers work hard to get us to indulge.3 The ways of this world are also deadly as a holy God has already condemned them. He calls us out of the world to save us from that condemnation (1 John 2:15-17).
Therefore, the Lord commands the guilty young and old to repent from the demonically deceitful doctrine that you can have God and the world too! Come out from under the condemned false teachers that with syrupy sweet words make God’s whole reason for existence to be all about you (2 Peter 2:1-3). They prep you for the fire that waits for all who fail God’s final exam in not loving and walking in the truth of His Word (2 Thessalonians 2:9-15; Revelation 14:9-13). God is the Creator; you are the creature. God is the Savior; you are supposedly the grateful saved creature that is eager to please and serve Him in doing His will,4 not He to serve you in doing all your bidding! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 As an unforeseen and unintended consequence I am sure, these guilty Christians find themselves on the side of the world in rebellion against God and His Word (they
may not see it that way, but God does--Psalms 2:1-3, 50:16-23; Matthew 12:30; John 14:15). They must also accept responsibility in this for such developments as
today’s gender identity confusion and the transgender movement. Sin, like seeds planted in the ground, always produces a crop of consequences because a holy
God will never be outsmarted by any of His creatures!
2 Read The Peculiar People, posted May 22, 2016 under the category, Instruction.
3 Fellow Christian Baby Boomers will recognize the frontal assault here on the worldly notion that sin is only learned behavior as captured in the lyrics of a song from one
of our favorite bands from back in the day and world, Earth, Wind & Fire. In That’s The Way Of The World, they sang, “Child is born with a heart of gold, way of the
world makes his heart grow (so) cold.” However, the Word of God is clear that we are born sinners learning only how to fine tune our methods as we get older (Psalms
51:5, 58:3)! For this reason, the wisest sinner that ever lived charged parents not to spare the rod (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14). God also “now commands all
men everywhere to repent” and believe the Gospel to receive among other benefits, deliverance from His eternal rod of punishment for sin and a new nature wrought by
the Holy Spirit (Acts 17:24-31; Titus 3:1-8; 2 Peter 1:1-4, NKJV)!
4 This is the heart of every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Jesus Christ I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.
It is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
Let no one believe I spoke of the death penalty for gang bangers found guilty of murder in some cold, heartless religious detachment in my 2012 Commentary “Curtailing Gang Violence,” under the category, Call To Repentance posted August 12, 2018.1 In the warmest love of God, I am for human life and fervently preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to see dead souls live (Ephesians 2:1-7)! However, urban communities across America are lawless killing fields where too often those not involved in gang conflicts such as children going to and from school are murdered. We all cry and cry and cry, but our sons and some of our daughters too, continue to hurt, maim and kill one another.
As I write in this edited, 2012 follow up Commentary, God has authorized human government to punish evildoers to include putting to death those that murder. This is because human life is of high value to God and He wants us to share His view of ourselves. God knows the horrible track record our nation has with minorities in its justice system and I do too. So, I am surely also calling for reform that brings it into line with His Word and the engagement of revived Christians in advance of prosecuting our sons in death penalty cases. It is hypocritical for us to insist to the world that black lives matter and we do not care enough to turn in and righteously punish our sons that cheaply murder them. The bloodshed in our streets as judgment proves God does not share in this hypocrisy!
Originally Published September 2012
I am not unaware of how those without a biblical worldview among professed black Christians processed advocating the death penalty as a means to deter and curtail gang violence in my August 2012 Commentary. Say what you will about the way of suffering our people have endured, self-destruction through murder as victims is not an appropriate response. This may be what is happening for many, but any so-called Christian and preacher that is only content to rationalize the slaughter rather than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and enforcing the divine value placed on human life to curtail it is in complicity! Still, the death penalty is to be done God's way also.
It is true that the devaluing of human life in this land has been going on since the colonizing of what was called a “New World.” Violence played a major role in subduing the Indians and turning captured Africans into slaves. These souls were treated with the utmost contempt in violence and murdered with impunity. After this came the dehumanizing Theory of Evolution and Margret Sanger who wished to control population by way of eugenics. Through the deceitful advocacy of women’s reproductive rights, feticide became national law and blacks now murder our own children in the womb at a higher rate than other groups. Survival in a harsh, often violent urban setting is daily life.
Daily too, is the saturation of violence in the media. Contrary to what a real "Christian nation" with a biblical worldview would look like, America has a history and culture of violence, murder and death that serves as a broader context and contributing factors for gangs among its many outlets. While there is always an outcry when an increase in gang violence and murder occurs, a couple of arrests and short prison terms later rather than being deterred in the main, these men are released morally unchanged to do it all over again. This is a vicious cycle that must and can only be broken when faithful Christians get involved with the Gospel, God's Word, power and accountability.
God Almighty, who declares in His Word without equivocation that He is man's Creator (Genesis 1:26-27), made him and all of creation at the beginning "very good," (Genesis 1:31, NKJV). Made in the image and likeness of God, human life is esteemed by God as the most precious of all since man is to be an eternal son. When man sinned, God, the Son of God and Word wrapped Himself in flesh to effect man's redemption that men of faith may even be raised from the dead to live with God forever (Psalm 49:1-15; John 1:1-5, 14, 10:10, 11:25-27; Hebrews 2:5-18).2 The death of Jesus Christ on the cross thunderously exclaims human life is of inestimable value to God!
Having such esteem for the life of man, after destroying a world of evil and violence (like our own) in Noah's day (Genesis 6:5-22), God gave him and all mankind an irrevocable edict. Man's life is so precious to God that not an animal or any man is to willfully shed his blood. If either creature does kill a man, as governing authorities men under God are to shed that creature's blood; that is, take the responsible animal or man's life as a statement of absolute opposition to the willful killing of a human (Genesis 9:4-6). Later, God in the Ten Commandments declares, "'You shall not murder,'" (Exodus 20:13, NKJV) which Jesus affirms and expands in application (Matthew 5:21-26).
God gave Israel just commandments, laws, statutes and ordinances (and thereby all mankind as a blueprint) for righteously dealing with those who murder. All persons accused of murder must first be given a trial where the facts of the case are determined. Given the historical and blatant corruption of American jurisprudence in the cases of minorities, every jury of peers in murder trials must include a fair number of the accused person's ethnic group or other minorities. There must also be a minimum of two eyewitnesses to consider the death penalty. All penalties must be handed out consistently to be an effective deterrent. Accountability and deterrence are the Lord's goals in the death penalty for murder (Exodus 21:12-14; Numbers 35:9-34; Deuteronomy 19:15-21).
It is now far past the time for Christians to have a biblical worldview on crime in general and gang violence in particular. Our compassion for the community ought to be displayed first in proclaiming the Gospel and God's Word on sin in unity. Our church ministries should be proactive in reaching our boys before they are introduced to gangs.3 They must be taught the truth that a holy God loves them, but hates their sins. Also, they are to value human life as God does or face man's justice and without repentance, His eternal condemnation (1 Peter 2:13-14; Revelation 21:8, 22:12-15). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Have I not confessed to murder in allowing the death of my unborn children as an unsaved youth? Back then I would not have understood why I merited the death
penalty for my crime against humanity, but I do now and appreciate to the fullest measure the grace of God that did not treat my sin as it deserved in the midst of a
society that had legally and falsely decided aborting the unborn is not murder. I did not get away with anything since until my last breath, though forgiven, I must
endure public shame while with others, fighting to persuade our society to return to God’s view of murder in the face of His staggering judgments for refusing!
2 As the Lord leads, I present the reality of the divine eternal purposes and destiny of man as God’s redeemed creature in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back
To Basics. It is available at all major internet book sellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
3 Our Ministry is doing this through our Urban Radio Campaign and its Strong Man Minute Page as well as the Strong Man Academy. We welcome Kingdom dri-
ven Christians and churches that want to support us in the work! This can be securely done on the Give Page of our Web Site.
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