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Thursday, June 17, 2004
If Your Pastor Isn't A Jerk, He Probably Hates God (and other helpful advice)
While researching yesterday's entry on t-shirt ministries, I came across the delightful Santa Clarita Bible Baptist Church - a group of godly people who make Doug Giles look like Shirley MacLaine. Fearful that modern-day Christians are becoming too nice, the SCBBs have put together a fun website that encourages, exhorts, and just plain badgers the faithful to stop being wimpy Christians and to start making people mad. Think I'm exaggerating?
God-honoring ministries are often confrontational and sometimes harsh. Such ministries know that non-Christians will often listen to straight talk, including appropriate harshness and offensiveness. Many people have a hard shell of rebellion in need of blunt penetration prior to any chance of repentance.
I don't know about you but if I'm talking to somebody who's not harsh and offensive, I tend not to listen at all.
Tragically, Christians today are nicer than God. The Church has sunken into a spiritual slump by conveniently reducing confrontation. Nice people rarely rebuke, judge, confront, accuse or condemn the wicked. Nice people have less stress. Nice people get along well with others of the world. Nice people respect and compromise with ungodly value systems. However, it appears that nice people are quick to judge and condemn fellow believers who dare to rebuke and stigmatize ungodliness. Go figure.
Yeah, go figure.
Anyway, our Bible Baptist friends have pages and pages of fine teaching on subjects as diverse as why God commands us to be capitalists, why Jesus wants us to become more warlike, and why those who don't spank their kids are probably not real Christians. I'm sure we'll revisit some of these excellent teachings in the future but today I'd like to focus on a helpful quiz they offer that lets you know whether or not you have a qualified pastor.
All of the questions are fun but, for the sake of brevity, we'll only touch upon a couple of my personal favorites.
1. By example and doctrine, does your pastor teach church members to judge others?
A. No. He does not teach people to judge other people.
The correct answer is, of course, B. Not only should your pastor judge others, but he should teach you how to judge them better, too!
B. Yes, and he is ashamed of Christians who don't judge others.
C. Yes, but only for judging pro-life activist or homophobic Christians.
D. No. He teaches that only hypocrites judge people.
Sadly, most ministries don't even teach their members HOW to judge rightly...Ministries that teach people not to judge are usually the first to judge Christians who do judge. Such conduct is hypocritical. If you are not trained to rightly judge, then tendency will be towards judgementalism.
That may very well be one of the greatest feats of logic I have ever heard. But let's talk about Jesus.
14. What does your pastor teach that Jesus wants do upon His return to Earth?
A. To forgive the rest of the world of their rebellion and sin.
Haha. This one was a trick. The correct answer is D. Jesus wants to be a drunken rabble rouser and to kick some serious ass. Here's why:
B. To drink the fruit of the vine with his friends the way he used to drink it.
C. To see people butchered in front of Him.
D. Both B and C.
Speaking of future things, Jesus said in Luke 19:27, "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
If you think Jesus Christ is coming back to forgive the world, you are in for a big surprise.
Here's a good one:
20. Which has your pastor been known to do since he entered ministerial leadership?
A. Had bill collectors trying to collect a defaulted debt or filed a bankruptcy.
Any true Christian would know immediately that the correct answer is B. If you're not calling people names, you're not a man of God.
B. Called someone a fool because of their beliefs.
C. Had sexual relations with someone other than his wife or has been caught drunk.
D. My pastor would never be guilty of any of the above.
David called atheists fools. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Psalm 14:1
Kind of hard to argue against that! Now let's turn to the Big Dog, Himself.
29. Which best describes your pastor's teaching regarding God?
A. God kills more people in the New Testament than in the Old Testament.
If you didn't say A then you're probably a godless liberal like me.
B. God treated Jews under Moses in the Old Testament differently than He did under Jesus.
C. God was much harsher in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament.
D. Many of the world's religions (Islam, Romanism, Hinduism, et cetera) all point to God.
There is a liberal tendency to soften God's attributes and personality to make Him more palatable to the public. The public is more at ease with the thought of "baby Jesus in the manger" than with King Jesus coming to slay the wicked and rule the world.
Life is real. This is not a dress rehearsal. We don't need a watered down version of God. Mercy and Truth are part of His character, but mercy comes as a result of submitting to truth. Liberal theology virtually castrates Jesus and turns Him into someone much nicer and forgiving than He is in reality. If your pastor implies or teaches that God is kinder and more gentle or is more mellow in the New Testament than He was in the Old Testament, then he is not the best candidate to help you to know God better.
I'm beginning to think I don't really want to know God better. And wow, all this theology is starting to make me hungry. Or maybe it's just our final question:
34. Which is closest to your pastor's opinion of vegetarians (vegans)?
A. They are purer in faith.
B! Vegetarians are heathens!
B. They are weak heathens, worshipping other gods (or Jews observing the Law).
C. They will be stronger in the long run, by resisting temptation.
D. A and C.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils . . . commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" (1 Timothy 4:1-3). "For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs" (Romans 14:2).
I hope you've learned as much about God today as I have, dear readers. And don't forget to check back soon for more Fun with Theology! As for me, I'm heading out to grab a burger and to see if I can't find a limp-wristed liberal pastor to beat up in God's Holy Name.