The news has been wrought lately with pastors and worship leaders who lose their faith either by adopting beliefs that are not biblical or by questioning God to the point they don't believe, and renounce their faith. What went wrong?
While I do not know the pastors and worship leaders who recently, publicly renounced their faith, I do know this: in the seasons of the busyness of life, when I have allowed my time in the Word to slip, those moments are ripe for the opportunistic satan to work.
The longer my absence from studying the Bible, the deeper my questioning became. The more I felt like God was over there, somewhere, and I was over here. The longer I spent inventing a god of my own beliefs, instead of knowing The One and True God, YHWH of the Bible, the further down I went into a pit of unbelief.
A common thread between the pastors and worship leaders was questioning God, which, in itself is not a bad thing. Job, Habakkuk, even Abraham questioned God. The difference stems from where one receives the answers: do you receive the answers by digging into the Bible, or by asking unsaved friends and looking to the world for its version of the truth?
The pastors and worship leaders who have renounced their faith looked for answers in society, in social justice movements that are contrary to God's character and steeped in sin. When you chase after your own version of Christianity, you create an idol of your own making. We are not to worship ourselves, but to worship God, made known through His Son, Jesus Christ.
There were a couple of questions that threw the pastors/leaders. One was "how can a loving God send people to hell?" If the worship leader had dived into the Word, studied it, and accepted it, he would have read that God gave His only Son as a sacrifice so that all might be saved. First Timothy 2:3-6 states, " This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time." Second Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
You see, God is loving. He does not want or wish people to hell. However, He created hell for two purposes: to punish satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41) and to cast those who are "ungodly," or have not accepted Christ as Savior. Romans 10:9-10 state, " If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
Only those who accept what Christ did on the cross (removal of sin) and raised from the grave (resurrection), believing Him to be Lord, will not go to hell.
It's like this: I love my children. I'd give my life for them. But when they don't listen to me, when they disobey, they are disciplined. They are punished and the punishment is equal to the offense. I personally hate punishing them, but I do it to discipline them, so they will learn that when they grow up and are on their own, there are serious consequences to their actions. Not paying their power bills means their electricity will be turned off. Not accepting the free gift of salvation, that is found only in Christ Jesus, means they will spend eternity in hell. God doesn't want to send people there, that's why He sent Jesus.
Another pastor started believing the liberal notion that homosexuality is normal and to be celebrated. God does not celebrate sin. God does not tolerate sin. Homosexuality is a grave, serious offense to God and this pastor turned his back on Christ and biblical teachings to follow the way of Baal.
Culture of Cool Christianity
A few years ago it seemed like the people rebelling were the ones who decided they were Christian. Worship services became grand spectacles that resembled concerts more than church. Don't get me wrong: I do love drums and guitars in church. But Christians need to preach and practice lives of reverence and humility regarding the things of God--not to participate in a culture of cool Christianity.
The culture of cool Christianity puts speakers, singers, bands, and people on pedestals. They become influencers on a myriad of topics, when Christians need to be influenced not by mortal men but by the immortal, living Word of God.
Scripture says that in the last days, there will be a falling-away (2 Thessalonions 2:3, and it will get much worse before Christ returns. But what can you do to ensure your faith is strong?
First, believe in God, through Jesus Christ. Read and study the Bible. Pray that God will guide you in your study and increase your faith. Do not listen to "faith leaders" who have teachings contrary to the Bible. As Peter wrote in his second eponymous letter, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping," (2 Peter 2:1-3, emphasis added).
Christians, there will be a time in the not-too-distant future where we will be questioned about our beliefs. We will be asked if we believe that God created just two genders. We will be asked our beliefs on homosexuality. We may serve time in prison for biblical beliefs. We need to remember that losing the battle on earth means gaining in heaven, and never deny our Savior. We must study the Word of God and teach the Bible to our children.
The great falling-away has started, and things are about to get real, really fast. God is strong; is your faith in Him equal to the task?
(C) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
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