The Delusion of American Theology
Working at a local TV station, I have the opportunity to listen to a lot of sermons and Christian radio shows daily. Its a perk that comes with an office job I guess. Listening to all these preachers like Todd Friel and Ergun Caner I am saddened and deeply distraught by the American Theology of Gods Love.
Yes, God is Love, God invented love, he knows what Love is better then anyone we can comprehend. But is this the only message of the American Church? Did Jesus step down from his heavenly manifestation of holiness to love everybody? When did Jesus get diluted into this peace and love liberal hippie?
Our infatuation with a Loving God has created no need for repentance; the cotton candy feel good message of God loving everybody has created a false blanket of security from the wrath of a holy righteous god.
Max Lucado said that "God is not Holy, He is not Holy Holy, God is Holy, Holy, Holy." He was referring to that amazing passage in Isaiah.
And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
Its the only place in the entire bible that three identical words are used to describe God. The word holy as powerful and amazing as it is, saying God is just Holy is an offense, He is three times that, and I am sure saying it three times isnt even enough.
So what does all of this talk about holiness have to do with Gods love? Its quite simple, with out God, being 3xHoly, his love means nothing. Its worthless.
So what is Holy? The common dictionary gives several meanings of holy. Sacred, righteous, pure…all things are true, God is perfect, he is so perfect that blemishes dont just bother him, they offend him… He must eliminate them from his presence…Maybe this is what the other definition of holy is referring to…
Holy - inspiring fear, awe, or grave distress.
Why is it that God always said "Fear Not" whenever he came into someones presence? Is it that at the first sight of his hint of holiness we are struck down with fear as we realize how holy He really is, and how worthless we really are?
Here comes the part where I rip Joel Osteen to pieces, of gooey cotton candy.
Yes, Joel Osteen does preach Jesus death, burial and resurrection, but here is where I differ, and why I so greatly despise his ministry. What is the point of Jesus death and resurrection without mentioning Gods holiness and your sin?
Joel Osteen and several other preachers in America dilute the gospel, with their feel good gospel of salvation that is, salvation from struggle, bills and waking up on the wrong side of the bed. With Joel Osteen Jesus died to save you from a debt free life full of financial burden and bad days?
Tell Paul that Jesus can make his life better…
Ask Moses if God made his dessert walking comfortable and convenient…
Ask Stephen if Jesus would make him live a longer life…
This message of feeling good, and bills being paid creates a false sense of salvation that Jesus referred to in the parable of the seeds.
Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Joel Osteen is preaching a Rocky sermon, which relies on Gods giving people a good life to fit the consumerist style of this nation. Where are the fruits of Joel Osteens ministry? A church of that magnitude should sweep a revival across America, but its not because Joel like most churches in America does not preach true salvation. His feel good message of peace and prosperity does not inspire others to place them self in harms way for the cause of Christ, instead it encourages them to sit back relax, and wait for Jesus to come back.
America has got to stop preaching a feel good gospel, and get back to the real nitty gritty of why Jesus came down here. He came here to save you, because your sin is an offense to a Holy, Holy, Holy God, and without Christs blood on the cross, you are going to suffer eternal damnation…
America has the biggest churches and the largest percent of "Christians" then any other country in the world, yet sadly America has the least amount of people saved.
Where are the Christians in America that are like Missionaries of old praying that God would send them within a stones throw from hell, Where are the Christians that beg for God to send them to the worst of the Worst… Why are all of the great feats of God happening in other countries but in America, we just pray for our bills to get paid.
I actually paused and laughed as I typed that, come on Nation, Dear God, pay my Bills or Dear God, send me to the closest thing to hell on earth? Please God, I really want that new iPod, or God please get me a new Car… No wonder some theologians believe God has turned his back to America.
Now don't get me wrong I am not saying go into a third world country, in fact I am saying the opposite, we need to be here, we need to be a loud voice here in America. Imagine with the technology and resources available today how huge a revival in America could be, it wouldn't just stay in America, it can spread across continents.
But a revival is never going to come with a heartwarming message about peace and prosperity, in fact if you look at the messages that started the greatest revivals, they were not focused not on God's love, but on his Grace. Not on prosperity, but persecution.
To say that Christ died for you so you can live a healthy happy life, is an insult to his inequities and a blasphemy to his pain. Christ suffered to save us from Hell because God cannot stand our lying, cheating, thieving, swearing, and terribly sinful nature …
Yes people are going to be offended by that message, yes people are going to be turned off, yes people will despise you, but isn't that exactly what the bible say's? If everyone loves everything you say, then you are not preaching about the God of the bible, you are making your own God, a false God that ignores sin, and "looks at the heart."
So I challenge you to look at your techniques for "winning" people to Jesus, what do you say first? Jesus loves you? Well if he does then I am already forgiven right, so I don't have to do anything but be a good person?
We have to convict people of their sins. We have to, Jesus did it to everybody. The Samaritan Woman at the well thanked Jesus for calling her out, yet the Pharisee's killed Him for it.
So of course you are going to be persecuted, and your co-worker won't like you as much, and people will call you that religious freak. So what? SO FREAKIN WHAT? Missionaries are beaten, raped, hung, decapitated and stoned for Jesus and were worried about an uncomfortable car-pool ride? What the heck are we thinking?
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I am found.
Was blind but now I see.