Is the argument Should? Or shouldn’t? Can? Or can’t? Well, those are two very different arguments, but I want to look at the latter. Can, or can’t? I was always taught that the Bible taught the absolute condemnation (sin) of drinking alcohol, and most importantly, that the word ‘wine’ was just non-fermented grape juice, and the words ‘strong drink’ signified fermented alcohol Scripturally. Is that what it really teaches? Turns out, no.
There is an interesting phenomenon within pseudo-Christendom, and specifically today, the Pentecostal branch of Christianity, and that is Behavior Control, internally known as Righteousness. Pentecost is akin to many other major sects, such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology [non-Christian], etc., in that it’s foundation is very modern and focuses on controlling the behavior of man to produce an asset.
Was that God’s intent? Certainly, behavior was regulated in the Old Testament, and yet we call it the Old Testament now because to some degree, it failed, due to mans inability to ‘follow the rules’. So why are we trying that again?
We come upon the Thanksgiving holiday one more time, commemorating the coming together of family, and friends, in fellowship, joy and unity. Some unfortunately will be divided among religious, political and lifestyle lines, making the gatherings akward and hard, while some will enjoy the celebration of life, love, and thankfulness for each otehr.
For me, my joy and thankfulness was hard to come by, having had the most tulmultuous year of my life. On the approach to forty years old, I’ve christened 2017 as my midlife crisis. And yet, opening my eyes and looking all around, there is a tremendous, overwhelming realization of all that there is to be thankful for!
There are many plain messages in Scripture that reflect the attitude we are to have towards God, but one that is a foreign to an ex or current legalist, above all, is Abiding in Christ. The Apostle John told us “But the annointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:”
John goes on to say, “and even as it [the annointing] hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” You shall abide in Him, Christ! Not man, not works, not ritual and tradition, but Him!
In our series of Out of Context topics, we will talk about the misappropriation of Scriptures used to either garner control or gain material wealth from congregations. Scripture teaches clearly that the Word was not to be used in this fashion, and yet with humanity involved, it seems almost inevitable, past, present, and future.
Today’s topic is 1 Corinthians 11 and the fundamentalist practice of controlling hairstyles, specifically disallowing women to cut their hair, even a millimeter, or men having anything but short cropped hair.
There is a lot of debate, and concern when it comes to biblical authority, headship, and leadership. The three terms are of course not synonymous, but coming from a very legalistic background like I am, these terms were morphed into one synonym; Pastor.
Modern Christianity that bends towards authoritarian leadership style focuses heavily on finding Scripture that teaches, ‘I am in charge’, often teaching ‘submission to man’ as if it was the greatest commandment, that ‘oversight’ means spiritual fatherhood and headship. Does it?
Recently I was asked by a person who is in the United Pentecostal Church system what my thoughts are on the New Birth, the Trinity (mainstream Pentecostalism denies the Trinity) and Speaking in Tongues, and how to reconcile the fact that Pentecostals believe anyone who doesn’t speak in tongues, or believes in the Trinity, or is baptized unto the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are lost.
What is stunning, and normal all at the same time, is that this person came in secrecy, knowing, like Nicodemus did, what the repercussions would be if their peers in Pentecost knew the questions this person was asking. Fear of man is the kingdom of Satan and any church system that uses fear this way is the daughter work of Satan.
I am ever amazed at the litany of ideas men will conjure up in God’s stead, ideas of what God requires and what God hates, things not found in His Word, His Handbook, nor inspired by His Spirit, yet, and ironically, the legalists cling to their rules & regulations is if it was a childs safety blanket, living in fear of what monster stares at them, waiting for them to peak out of the blanket. Why is that?
And how do you survive the Ye cannot be saved if… Gospel, and come out with more faith and joy in the Salvation of Lord? Go at it God’s way, through His Spirit! Continue reading “Surviving the ‘You cannot be saved if…’ Gospel”
This is a very common line spoken in legalistic circles. People who ask questions, or who see the Scriptural evidence against the structure being taught are marked as rebellious. Dividers of the brethren. You are the wolf in sheep’s clothing. And perhaps, in these cases, you should be.
A very wise young man asked recently, ‘Why wouldn’t they want your questions? It would give them a chance to prove their stance and have dialogue. If they don’t like questions, then they probably have no answer.”
Recently, a lady named Christina Whitehead shared her story with me about leaving a spiritually abusive church system and how that affected her relationship with God, faith, her self-worth, her family, and her life. I will share her story another time, but something she said sparked the desire to write this article about regaining the Joy of your Salvation!
Christina wrote, “I became a people pleaser or Pastor pleaser. He said jump, I asked how high? My focus got off of God and the joy of my salvation and onto what was required of me.”