The Church of the Self Esteemed Unredeemed

 

 

‘ … They will be sneaky, reckless, and puffed up with pride. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. Even though they will make a show of being religious, their religion won't be real. Don't have anything to do with such people.’ [2 Timothy 3:4-5] CEV

 

The KJV renders ‘pleasure’ in the plural, but whether plural or singular the pursuit of such [lit. gratification of the senses] nullifies ones profession of their love for God. Mankind is desperate and determined to have its insatiable ‘felt’ needs met. Remember the Apostle Paul was instructing young pastor Tim of what would be the prevailing attitude in the end time CHURCH – the ‘called out ones’. See, to me this is a scary scenario. We would readily expect such rampant selfish and sensual behaviour of the unredeemed, those whose spirits are not surrendered to the authority of either the Word of God or the Holy Spirit’s unction. But Paul here is referring to the supposed redeemed.

When I ponder this, my mind is taken back to the scene Moses confronted upon his descent from Mt. Sinai with the commands of God the Father. What a sickening sight that must have been. Those ‘called out from Egypt ones’ had split into two camps. On the right Joshua and the sombre faithful refusing to engage in the sensual revelry of those on the left, those who had made pleasure their desire and gold their god. “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Moses thundered. Those who chose the Lord were saved, those who followed their sensual desires were swallowed by the earth - every last one of them. The key thing to remember here is that even at this point both camps were still the ‘called out ones’. Both had been chosen for salvation, both had been delivered from the bondage of Egypt and both were on their way to the Promised Land. The key issue here is serving the Spirit versus indulging the flesh. Those who chose to indulge in the spoils of the world seeing them as things of delight and pleasure also perished with them.

This bodes ominously for those within the professing Christian church today  - those ‘called out ones’ whose desire is sensual gratification (even in the name of evangelism) whose altar is surely pleasure and whose god is clearly gold. One can almost hear again the cry of Moses . . . ‘Choose this day whom you will serve’. Sadly arrogance and pride continues to blind the eye and hardens the heart.

To this point, closer to home, I find it incredibly ironic how the Paradise Community Church in Adelaide South Australia, would host a sermon decrying vanity when it  itself is obsessed with its own image. [Jane Evans, Sunday May 27th 2007). Breathtaking hypocrisy is the best way to describe it. Take this promotion for the sermon from their own website, for example:

 

SUPERCHARGED INTERACTIVE CHURCH - UGLY BETTY

Sunday May 27 at 5.30pm

“How’s your image of yourself? Is the mirror your friend or your enemy? In this special presentation of Supercharged Interactive Church inspired by the hit TV series, we take a fresh look at self-image and provide solutions to the challenges that come with living in an image-obsessed world. If you want to feel better about yourself and more comfortable in your own skin, then you won't want to miss this fun, heartfelt night.

Featuring awesome music, drama and multimedia with a message that will totally inspire you! DON'T MISS IT!”

 

Yeah! Totally awesome, lake oh my god, fully sic to the max and a half! – Oh puhleeeze, somebody get me a bucket!

The lingo is very NOW, but tell me where in Scripture are we to seek to ‘feel good about ourselves and more comfortable in our own skin’? Just one (in context) reference will suffice. And puhleeeeze don’t pull the old Jeremiah 29:11 – You sooo know that is referring to the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon!! It is not, as so many apply it, a generic bless me club chant. This is all sounding very New Age – self esteemy to me. Jane and her compatriots would do well to heed their own counsel to: ”. . . take a fresh look at self-image and provide solutions to the challenges that come with living in an image-obsessed CHURCH”! Call me old fashioned but unlike Jane who appears to find her solace and sermon inspiration in lame American sitcoms, I find mine in the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t there at the PCC on the night but as a former member of that congregation of some 15 years standing, I can assure you the spiel would have gone along the lines of, “God thinks you’re wonderful, totally awesome, full of potential, blah, blah, blah, and He has an awesome plan for your life, so if you’ll just stick up your hand and walk the aisle, you can find your destiny and live happily ever after.” No teaching of the evil, ugly, fallen nature of man, no teaching of the doctrine of sin, no teaching of the doctrine of redemption, no conviction of the Holy Spirit, and as a consequence no genuine salvation for the ‘seekers’. How do I conclude that? Because in the words of one of their pastors: “That’s the way we’ve always done it “… dude.

 

Also hosted by Jane, is the PCC’s annual Pentecostal pamper-fest, otherwise known as bU (which I prefer to call p-Uke!), is another subject for another time, but you get the point – it’s all about sensual gratification and as Paul reminds us, Even though they will make a show of being religious, their religion won't be real.”

 

Now, although it may appear that we’re attacking Pentecostals and the Paradise Community Church in particular, the reality is they seem to be the ones continually peddling this fixatious flesh fest to their own and the lost alike, while we seem to be continually occupied exposing it. The behaviour truly is endemic in the movement. Ashley Evans’ grinning commercial promoting his church on secular television insisting people would ‘love it, flies in the face of what the Scriptures say would be the world’s attitude toward God’s called out ones. Far from being loved the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ (by HIS own proclamation) would be HATED because of Him. Now you tell me what’s wrong with this picture? Whom shall we believe, Ashley Evans or Jesus Christ? Two more things concerning that TV commercial.

 

1.      My father always admonished me to never trust a man who doesn’t look you in the eye when he’s speaking to you.

2.      What is with the flavor-saver on the chin Ashley? Surely with all the money you’re making you can afford a decent razor! Or is it to catch the dribble?

 

Another example from the Executive…. Bobby Houston, [wife of Brian Houston, big kuhuna of the Assemblies of God in Australia, otherwise known as Hillsong Church1 ] (and yes I fully realise what a kahuna is) in her book, “Kingdom Women Love Sex”, among other things thoughtlessly wrote: “If I carry weight I feel like a retard”. What an incredibly stupid thing to say as the wife of the leader of the largest Pentecostal [supposedly Christian] denomination in Australia. What a heartless,

 thing to say no matter your station. And if you think that is bad, [and you should] consider these other Bobby-isms from the same book:

 

·        "We need to be good at sex ourselves so that if the world happens to come knocking [presumably not ‘during’] we can tell the story of God in our lives,"

 

·        "Without being lurid or untruthful - hello! - we can say [she whispers], 'I have a great marriage and a great sex life' - wink wink, nudge nudge. Yeah, truly.”

 

·        "When you are doing what is correct in God there is a protection over your life. Like - hello! - it is just there. So it is a very powerful thing. Amen. Yeah, fully."

 

Bucket again please!

 

Deep teaching Huh?!

 

It occurs to me that such statements not only illustrate a deep seated personal immaturity, vanity and priority, but is also an accurate reflection of the organisation with which she is affiliated, especially given her position in it as the senior pastor’s wife (Brian) who incidentally authored a book entitled: “You Need More Money”. Combined with the lack of correction following her inane proclamations by the authorities therein, there is the clear indication, by inference, of an acceptance of her views among the eldership of that ‘church’. Bobby Houston has done more to shoot the credibly of her own denomination in the head than would have Karl Marx of Communism had he expounded upon the virtues of Capitalism.

 

Too many professing Christian churches appear to be more concerned with their own popularity, image, revenue raising and engaging in fun and games than they are in preaching the divisive truth of the gospel.  Take the following for example, fresh off the Paradise Community Church’s printers concerning their Youth Department…

 

Solid Central Elevation Camp 2007 . . . ONLY $125! (but oops … if you actually want to DO anything while you’re there . . .  revealed in the fine print on the back of the flyer you’ll have to fork out the following: $5 for footy, $5 for something in the recreation room, $15 for Ten Pin Bowling, $15 for Golf, $55 for Skirmish (otherwise known as paint balling) Can ANYONE explain to me how children are in any way edified, grow in God or gain anything even remotely ‘Christian’ by donning battle fatigues, taking aim and firing weapons at one another? But wait there’s more …. Upgrade to Shout 08 [whatever that is] for ONLY an extra $40. So let’s see, all up that’s … $260.00 - more than double the original lure! Still, there is some consolation for the parents of these kids being trained in the ways of the world – the ‘chick’s lounge’ and the board games are FREE!

 

It would be an absolute JOKE if it were in any way amusing.

 

I am military trained, and I take extreme offense at the frivolous view of weapons being used in such a fashion, especially in light of the tragedies concerning kids and guns in the U.S. Furthermore I hold in absolute and utter contempt any so-called ‘church’ that would sanction such a thing in the name of either entertainment or even worse, ‘evangelism’. You and your people have absolutely lost the plot Ashley Evans!

 

The sad truth is that people see that money gets them what they want so they go to any means to get it. You would expect this kind of thinking and behaviour from the world NOT within the church. But that is where we’re seeing it.

 

So, in closing let’s recap. At the base of the 21st Century Mt. Sinai awaiting the return of the Deliverer, we have musical revelry, a fixation on all things flesh and its sensory demands met, an abandonment of decorum and an emphasis on gold and foolish choices. Hmmm . .  sure looks like what Moses saw to me and it seems  his ultimatum still applies! . . .  And it’s still …Your call.

 

 

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I advise you: Buy gold purified in fire from me so that you may be rich. Buy white clothes from me. Wear them so that you may keep your shameful, naked body from showing. Buy ointment to put on your eyes so that you may see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act. [Revelation 3:17- 19] GWV

 

 

 

Tony Dean

Moriah Ministries Australia

© 2007

 

 

End Notes

 

1 Formerly named "Sydney Christian Life Centre Limited."  Changed its name to "Hillsong Church Ltd” [an Australian public company limited by guarantee] on the same day that "Hillsong Church Limited" changed its name to "Hillsong Christian Life Centre Ltd". There is also, “Hillsong Emerge Ltd”, “Hillsong Youth Services Incorporated” and “Hillsong Media & Performing Arts Incorporated” The ‘church’ also has a Business Manager, how many ‘churches’ do you know have one of those? Could it be that: Ltd is the new spiritual STD?

 

 

HOME