Archive | December 7, 2007

The Emerging Threats to The Church

Lately, there has been much controversy over the upcoming movie- The Golden Compass, based on a fantasy novel by Philip Pullman who is a self-declared athesist. 

He is well-quoted for his great disdain of God and the Christian faith. In support of his contention, Pullman was quoted in one interview saying: “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”

The truth always stands

The Golden CompassPersonally, I do not have much comments on either Pullman’s views on God or his movie as everyone is entitled to his/her views just as much we would expect others to respect our Christian views or beliefs. 

End of the day, it is not about who’s right or wrong (though we believe in one Truth) but it is about God and winning people over to Him by washing people’s feet and not “bible bashing”, just as Jesus did.

Without a doubt, I am sure all this controversy is generated just to create buzz for the movie in order to hit box office numbers.

In any case, this movie actually works for the Christian faith as it creates opportunity for us to share what is truth to the curious minds.

The real emerging threats

Just when we think that the “enemies” that threathens the Christian faith are from the outside, but in true fact, the real threats are from within.

I have observed that today’s contemporary Church faces two serious “threats” that are emerging and eroding the core foundation of the Christian faith. They are the acceptance of homosexuality as biblically right and the prosperity gospel.

(1) Homosexuality:

The recent attempts of re-appealing against 377A were clear indications of what the Church can expect in the near future.

If you didn’t follow the news, you may view an Al Jazeera TV news report here>>>  

Already in some parts of the world, same-sex marriages are accepted and made legal. And slowly and surely, homosexuality gaining more entry into the Church. 

Some time ago, Tim Flemming published a new bible which adds a new law that embraces homosexuality as biblical. And it is made available for free download.

In Singapore, Free Community Church openly declares its acceptance of homosexuality as shown below:

The FREE COMMUNITY CHURCH affirms that all individuals are persons of sacred worth and created in God’s image. Given the discrimination that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) persons still face in society, our Church affirms that same-sex relationships are consistent with Christian faith and teachings, when lived out in accord with the love commandments of Jesus. Instead, it is discrimination based on sexual orientation and homophobia that are inconsistent with Christian teachings. We welcome all LGBT persons to our family.

Thankfully, this remains marginalised from mainstream Christianity as it is outright clear that homosexuality is unbiblical.

And the biblical stand remains: Hate the sin and love the sinner.

(2) Prosperity Gospel:

Prosperity GospelHowever the same can’t be said of the prosperity gospel as it seeps mainly into our mainstream, which is even more dangerous as it invades the minds and hearts of our majority. 

Moreover so, the message is subtle and is packaged in such a rational manner that it is not that easy to detect what is exactly unbiblical.

From my previous entry on this topic, today’s preachers proclaim that poverty is a curse, and that Jesus came to break that curse with support of selected scriptures to convince their audiences.

Firstly, poverty is not a curse. Poverty is the consequence of the hoarding of wealth in the world from the poor. It is NOT a curse.

If we recall Job from the bible, he did not spiral down towards poverty because he was cursed. In fact, he was found to be righteous in the eyes of God and his poverty and poor health were actually tests laid before him. And of cos, Job passed those tests with flying colours.

What about Mother Theresa? Was she cursed? I think not. She chose to be poor, but yet she was equally effective in serving the poor.

Secondly, Jesus did not come to free people from poverty. If He did, He would have been born in a tycoon family and be a rich man’s son. But instead, he was a carpenter. And in one of satan’s temptations, He would have accepted satan’s offer for all the world’s riches and gave it to us if that was really true. But He didn’t.

Jesus came and went to the cross. His purpose was to redeem us from our sins not poverty; that we may have eternal life. 

Keep watch, be on our guard

With our government always fixed on economic prosperity with our nation’s GDP, and the ocassional challenge for us to work hard and gain financial security, this message of prosperity taps on our” 5 Cs” culture. And if a preacher comes along and says, “God wants you to be rich,” is quite appealing.

Even most multi-level marketing (MLM) organisations practise this. Their leaders would motivate their team to strike it rich first in order to gain financial freedom. And with that freedom, you can help others with your money by donating to the poor and build schools or hospitals etc…

Love of Money the root of all evilAs most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our nature and not along the lines of God’s nature, therefore we need to be watchful not to follow the drum beat of our culture about the goodness of personal wealth and material prosperity.

Instead, we need to be rooted in His word and advocate a theology of stewardship which puts other people’s necessities before our own luxuries. We also need to simplify our lifestyles and get a clear grasp on God’s priorities including His special concern for the poor and destitute of the world. 

Even if we aim to succeed in the marketplace, it should be aligned with a motivation of wanting to be an influence to others for God, and not for worldy wealth.

If our position of influence provides access to wealth, then it is God who blesses us in order that we can be a blessing to others for His kingdom and not for self-indulgence.

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