2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
There have been times that I've wondered why Christians in America seem to argue so much.
Now don't get me wrong here, I don't think debate and conflict are good things and I desire to see more unity, I truly do. But I had a thought tonight. One of the reasons for a divide among Church-goers and self-proclaimed Christ-followers in our nation is this--there is some serious confusion in postmodern America about the nature and definition of Bible-believing Christianity.
The early New Testament Church was marked by suffering and sacrifice. The Christians we read about in Acts face torture, imprisonment, execution, extreme poverty and war. Yet never do we find in the book of Acts any theologian tackling the 'problematic topic' of the suffering of the Church. That's because it was not viewed as problematic, it didn't need to be explained away, on the contrary, the early Christians thought it was a duty as well as a privilege to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. They witnessed the power of God, they saw Him working miracles, yet they were not put out by the fact the our Lord did not always do a miracle to deliver them from persecution. When He did-they rejoiced and praised God and when they were counted worthy to suffer, they also rejoiced and praised God.
Now, sadly, I must compare and contrast. Today's American Church considers not persecution as a sign of God's truth but they instead consider health, money and status all to be signs of God's favor. Now there is nothing wrong with good health, there's nothing wrong with money and there's nothing wrong with being a respected member of society as long as you didn't have to sell your soul for it. But none of those things are sure signs of godliness. If physical prosperity was a tell-tale sign that you were right with God, than Christ would not have been right with God.
The history of the Church, the true Church, the faithful followers of the Apostles doctrine, has been predominantly traced by the shedding of blood. Much like God's Chosen People, the Jews, Bible-believing Christians have been pretty consistent targets of persecution. From a worldly perspective, all of the physical suffering of our forefathers could be taken as a sign that we are not the true people of God and that God has not blessed us, but quite the contrary--God has counted His people worthy to suffer for His name and they will receive a crown and reward for their testimony and witness. Some of God's most powerful witnesses have gone to the stake, and to the lions of the coliseum, and to prison camps and death camps. We look to these people as heroes of the faith-heroes not failures. They may not have ever worn an expensive suite, or signed someone's Bible or held a crusade that was aired on television but they are our heroes, the true worshipers of the true God.
So, to make this clear-the Christianity that Chinese Christians are practicing secretly in house Churches, and that Pakistanis are practicing in hazard to their own lives....may be a little different than the nominal Christianity being practiced by huge amounts of people in the United States. And it is for this reason that some of us Preachers may seem a bit cantankerous and argumentative to you. It isn't that we are mean people, looking to start a fight, It is that we are preachers of the true Christian faith not a form of godliness that denies the power thereof. And we are trying to speak the truth openly, to open eyes to the difference between cultural, nominal, no-conviction Christianity and Scriptural, historical, Spirit-filled, authentic Christianity.
We are living in a Nation that has been over-run with unclean spirits and doctrines of devils. Where MANY MANY people are two-fold children of the devil. You can't hold hands with Jesus AND Satan, regardless of what Hollywood, celebrities, famous preachers and popular opinion may have to say. If the world once found us so offensive they threw our families to lions and wild beasts for entertainment, what makes you think our faith is compatible with popular culture today? If your faith is compatible with the filth, and abomination and deamon-worship that we see in popular culture, then you have been deceived into thinking you are practicing the ancient faith of our forefathers, but you aren't.
Come out from among them and be ye separate.
Now I know there are probably some reading this, who are concerned about 'legalism.' That is a perfectly legitimate discussion for all of us to have together as Christians, but I assure you, realizing that we should not worship devils or participate in the occult and in immorality, is not legalism.