'The Truth Hurts'; so the saying goes!
rabid influx of 'feel-goodism' in the American church ove the past
century ( give or take ), is it really any surprise ( 'Shocked, shocked,
I tell you!' ) that many or most American Christians would rather stay
in their comfortable four-walled, steepled prisons, and slumber in the
pews, than stand and challenge what they've been fed for ages, and to
take pains to discover the Truth?! If you dare to question, for
instance, the authority of the historical creeds in some Reformed
congregations, you may be ostracized, asked to leave, or at the very
least, be in danger of church discipline! In certain evangelical
congregations, you might receive much the same treatment, except for the
church discipline, and laughed to scorn on top of it! Why would they
act like this; what are they afraid of?
First of all, many of us
ARE very comfortable just warming pews, listening to the preacher drone
on and on, whether spouting some marshmallowy goodness, or whether it's
some halfway meaningful, though often errant drivel! Too many Christians
are there, mostly for the social aspect of 'keeping up with the
Joneses', but also for the warm feelings that this marshmallowy goodness
engenders! Too many of the preachers are just there for the money!
Sure, there are those that, even though they are over-paid waistcoats,
might actually be worth listening to ( though you probably shouldn't do
what they do )! The Scriptures do say that we should share our material
wealth with those who share spiritual wealth and knowledge with us, but
seriously, how many vehicles does a pastor with two children, maybe
three, and a wife need? Does he really need all those fine expensive
clothes and that big fine house on a hill? How about the boat and those
skidoos? Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that a Christian shouldn't
be rich in material wealth, and have all those things, but too often
they have all those things because they are unwilling to stand up and
say, 'this is wrong, that is right'! The favored 501(c)3 status seems
to help as well, making certain that the pastor and his congregation
enjoy certain scraps from the table, while losing the ability to stand
on their own two feet!
Christians like this often receive the
truth of the glorious reality of true freedom in Christ like a slap in
the face! For whatever reason, many Christians, when faced with the
harsh reality that they may have been wrong about any number of things
concerning the Kingdom of Heaven and of God will react in any number of
ways, but for the most part will just stand there, blinking their eyes
as if they've just had their blinders removed and beg you to put them
back ( 'put the prison bars back' )!
just pick on those certain Christians, because it really is just human
nature! We all, I believe, to a greater or lesser degree, love our
comforts, whether theologically, spiritually, or physically speaking. If
something makes us uncomfortable, we most often will try to find any
excuse not to do it! Some have overcome this innate desire for comfort (
at any cost? ), and challenging both their 'druthers and the status
quo, have ventured where angels fear to tread!
Tradition is hard
to overcome! This is not to say that just because a doctrine is
traditional, it should be challenged or is questionable, though that is
often the case. Just because any certain doctrine is traditional, and
has been practiced, to whatever extent, for almost 2,000 years of
Church History, does not mean that it is right, or reveals Truth about
Who God is and how He operates throughout History!
paradigm shifts hit us like a slap in the face, especially when we have
fervently held to our pet doctrines all lives, and sometimes they hit
with the intensity of a major seismic event! We all like comfort, and
some of us even like marshmallows with our wine, but how many of us are
willing to accept the Truth of God's Kingdom, though it may mean the
loss of our comfortable and easy lives, when we can keep our
comfortable, feel-good positions, even though we might have to tell a
few white lies to keep them?
When the disciples, as recorded in Matthew 19:23-26, asked Jesus 'how then can a rich man be saved?', He told them that 'with men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible'. All it takes is a change of heart, and the rest will follow!
Charles Haddon Shank