I’ve said this many times in my teaching at my local church and now I’ll say it on the BLOG… I’m sick of this bumper sticker gospel that so many preach! When did Christianity become about catch phrases and slogans? Have you ever heard someone say the following:
It’s not about a religion, it’s about a relationship
Jesus + Nothing = Eternal Life
No Jesus, No Life… Know Jesus, Know Life
Love the sinner, Hate the sin
The list is endless and I’m sure that you’ve heard some that I haven’t. My frustration stems from this watered down version of the Biblical message of salvation. Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, etc. all preahed one consistent message which enjoyed continuity with that of the Old Testament prophets and priests–Repent and Believe!
I’m a Charismatic Pentecostal as most people reading this BLOG know and I come across ‘prophets’ all the time in my circle and I have noticed one glaring difference between a good majority of the ‘prophets’ that I encounter and the Biblical prophets–that difference is the message of repentance! It’s all good and well to tell people that they’re going to another level and that God wants to bless them financially, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah… but that’s not what the Biblical prophets were talking about.
I’m reminded of the prophet Micaiah in 1Kings 22. The text reads:
Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” (1Ki. 22:6-8, ESV)
What happened to the prophets and preachers like Micaiah who told it like it was and said what God would have them to say? What happened to the message of faith and repentance that we see consistently presented throughout the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures? This is certainly the time that Paul warned Timothy about saying:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2Tim. 4:3-4, ESV)
The words of the prophet Isaiah seem applicable to most these days:
For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 30:9-11, ESV)
Who wants to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ when they can hear a catchy slogan designed to manipulate their emotions? Who wants to hear about the Holy One of Israel when they can hear about what he can do for them? We need to wake up and narrow our minds the way Paul narrowed his in saying, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1Cor. 2:2)
Ahh… now I feel better =)