On Picking and Choosing

Image found at greythinking.com

I’m still working on my series about church authority. In the meantime, I’m inspired with many other topics that I want to tackle.

Today, I want to talk about the claim that Christians “pick and choose” which scriptures they want to follow. In my experience, it’s not so much picking and choosing verses out of context (which does happen to an alarming degree), but more about picking and choosing what kind of lens we use to interpret scripture. Make no mistake, everyone has a lens. No one approaches the Bible objectively, no matter how much one might claim to the contrary. 
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The Purpose of the Holy Spirit

Revolutionary Faith has been active for nearly three years now, and “how to feel the Holy Spirit”—or some variation thereof—is still the top search term that leads people to this blog. My post “What Does the Holy Spirit Feel Like?”, published in the blog’s first six weeks of existence, remains the most accessed post on the site.

I understand the fascination. There is much about the Holy Spirit that remains a mystery. It is God’s powerful, dynamic presence in the Christian life, and its urgings can seem inexplicable.

However, the Holy Spirit has a purpose, and I fear too many believe that purpose is simply to be felt. Many people seek the Holy Spirit for a visceral experience or spiritual vision. It exists for much more than that. In fact, if you’re having a feeling without the Holy Spirit’s other manifestations, I would pause and seriously examine exactly what it is that you’re experiencing. It may be something other than the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

God is Not Mocked: Exposing the Authority Heresy

You may be wondering why I chose to reference Galatians 6:7 in the title of my series. Here is why:

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Those that sow to the flesh reap corruption. In other words, corruption is proof that someone is ignoring the Spirit and indulging the flesh. And it seems that day by day, more corruption is coming to light in America’s churches. Ministries under investigation for tax fraud. Prominent pastors accused of sexual harassment and assault. Elders exposed for turning a blind eye to pedophiles in the pews. Church discipline that has been flagged as damaging and discriminatory. The scandals continue to pile up.

For decades, many of the leaders embroiled in these scandals have written hundreds of books and preached countless sermons on “spiritual authority.” They have presented themselves as being near the top of a “God-ordained” hierarchy that requires lay believers to submit—unquestioningly—to their direction. They have then used their subsequent success in ministry to “prove” that they have God’s blessing and approval in this system of power and control.

But God is not mocked. The laws of sowing and reaping cannot be subverted. Sowing unto unbiblical authority is sowing unto pride, and pride always reaps corruption. Always. As the Bible says, a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17). Unbiblical church authority is churning out bad fruit by the bushels. It is not God’s will for His Church. Continue reading

God is Not Mocked: A New Series

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. ~ Galatians 6:7-8

There have been some disturbing things going on in our country in the past few years. I’ve tried to ignore it, but nearly every day for the past couple of weeks, I’ve come across another report in the news of people rejecting God’s decree and indulging their pride and arrogance to the detriment of the Church and her believers, and I cannot remain silent about it anymore. Cannot and will not.

Oh, there were many times I went along to get along. For a while, I accepted the argument that this is the way things are now and God approves of them. I bought into the hype. I went to the big conferences and gatherings, waved the colorful flags, bawled my eyes out. But I was deceived. God does not approve of this arrangement. Scripture says so. And the reports I’ve been hearing are proof that this heretical doctrine is endangering Christ’s Church.

I’m speaking, of course, about the controlling system of church authority.   Continue reading

Repenting of Racism

Art on the Charleston shooting by Madeleine Schimming, age 7

When I was in college, I took a public speaking class. One of the last assignments of the semester was to make a 10-minute persuasive speech on a self-selected topic. While most other students chose to do their speeches on abortion and capital punishment, I chose the topic of “oppositional culture” in the African American community. For those of you who don’t know what that is, oppositional culture refers to the way in which black people resist conformity to many aspects of the dominant (i.e., white) culture to avoid being seen as “acting white” by their peers. It is a very controversial theory that has too often been used to overgeneralize the experience of black Americans and blame them for low social and economic achievement.

I delivered this speech to a mixed group of peers at a major urban university. It was probably the dumbest and most frightening thing I’ve ever done. On my list of life regrets, it’s probably in the top five, despite two black classmates thanking me afterward. The problem was, I had the wrong frame of context for truly understanding such a complex topic. At the time, I didn’t know about racial profiling or wage discrimination or redlining or “white flight” or the Tuskegee experiment or urban lead poisoning or historic attacks on black churches. If I had, it would have been a very different speech.

But as scary and offensive as it was, that speech was a major first step in my attempt to understand racism and race relations in America. I now believe that I had to stand up in front of my peers and let my ignorant words dribble out of my ignorant mouth so that the truth could find room to register in my brain. I had to rile people who would get in my face and say, “You don’t get it” in order for me to ‘get it.’ And to be honest, I’m still in the process of “getting it.”

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