Monday, February 20, 2012

Should We Be Surprised?


On February 15, 2012, SI.Com (on line rendition of the print magazine, Sports Illustrated) released a story of drug use and drug arrests at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth Texas. SI.Com reported that some 17 students were arrested after authorities conducted a six month “sting.” Apparently this was reported as “especially embarrassing” because it included at least four members of the high profile football team.

I was asked “Could you write your thoughts on Christians & illegal recreational drug use and abuse. This is such a huge and "live" issue among Christian youth and adults today, just as "fornication" - sex outside of the context of marriage and "living together outside of marriage is, which I'd like to have you write your biblical thoughts on. This "sin of drug use" issue is even more in the forefront now because of the recent prime example of TCU's major drug bust.” Today I will offer my thoughts on this issue as requested. Do not be surprised if they are not what you would have expected.

The question at hand is, “Have so-called Christians became so much a part of the godless secular world today that there is no biblical "right" or "wrong" and are unholy nominal Christians at best?” I don’t think this is the right question. Quite frankly, if we chase the answer to this question or questions like it we won’t get anywhere near the problem.

I think the problem lies with this statement made by Chris Del Conte, “I expect our student-athletes to serve as ambassadors for the university and will not tolerate behavior that reflects poorly on TCU, the athletics department, our teams or other student-athletes within the department," athletic director Chris Del Conte said. "Our student-athletes are a microcosm of society and unfortunately that means some of our players reflect a culture that glorifies drugs and drug use. That mindset is not reflected by TCU nor will it be allowed within athletics."

The students, those that really are Christians are to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ. We must first start with this question, who says Texas Christian University is “Christian” and who says these students are Christians. Simply saying one is a Christian has never made anyone a Christian. Are these “Christians” who have become part of the godless secular world and have become “nominal” Christians at best? Or, are these individuals who have been deceived by the convoluted, re-defined, and false Christianity being hawked today?

True believers have put off the deeds of the flesh, make no provision for the flesh, have died to sin, walk worthy of their calling, and have set their mind on the things of the Spirit knowing that the things of the flesh lead to death.  It does not surprise me that we have such individuals who seem to have their feet in two camps, one the world, and one in some hope of a heaven which is administrated by a “god” of their own imagination. (Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:8-9, Romans 13:14, Romans 6:2, Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10, Colossians 3:1)

I am not surprised by the lifestyle of today’s youth in particular who claim to be Christians and yet live like those who do not know our Lord and Savior. It is not the fault of Christianity or the gospel which is the power of God that transforms creatures of darkness into creatures who are being changed into God’s image. When you have a deceptive and bad presentation of the “gospel” and what defines modern Christianity, you reap a product that involves people remaining in a lifestyle that includes drugs, sex outside of marriage, alcohol abuse, and etc.

Let me say two things here quickly before you have a conniption fit. First, I realize that no one can truly know the heart of any individual. Only God can. Therefore, it is possible some of the students at TCU might be true believers. Second, I realize that true Christians do and often sin, some grossly. However, they do not sin continually as a way of life, nor do they live without the discipline of God upon their lives bringing them to repentance, restoration, and rejection of their sinful lifestyle.

I am never surprised when a blind man runs into a wall. He can’t see it. I am never surprised when a lost man lives like a lost man. I expect that. I am not surprised, although tremendously grieved, when I hear of individuals who have been offered a “Christianity” which is not biblical and the product is opposite of what we expect from the Scriptures.

We need to go back to the basics. We need to revisit the doctrine of conversion. Are we really dealing with believers? Are pastors of our so called evangelical bible churches really saved? Are the majority of people in the church today really saved? I think we are seeing a growing number of churches filling up more and more with tares rather than wheat. This is why churches are “life-less”, anemic, and seem to make no impact on the community around them.

What happened at TCU is tragic. What is happening to the church at large and believers in general is tragic. Let’s rid ourselves of this Charles Finney idea of “carnal” or “nominal” Christians and let’s get back to preaching the gospel of the bible. Let’s reintroduce Christianity to our churches and colleges. 

11 comments:

JD Curtis said...

Amen.

Who knows if these students were truly Christians?

In reference to today's churches, I was tremendously blessed today to read an entry from a Catholic priest who speaks the truth with clarity better than some evangelicals. Let me know what you think Gregg if you have a moment.

http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-i-dont-go-to-church.html

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gregg said...

“In reference to today's churches, I was tremendously blessed today to read an entry from a Catholic priest who speaks the truth with clarity better than some evangelicals. Let me know what you think Gregg if you have a moment.”

Dear Brother,

I am appalled to say the least. I am shocked to think that a biblically educated believer would make such a statement. I am appalled and shocked for at least six reasons. Since you asked, let me share these six reasons with you.

First, it assumes that you believe a Catholic priest spoke the truth

If this man believes his dogma, the teaching of the Catholic Church embodied in the Scriptures, tradition, and the “Church” then he is yet deceived and remains in darkness. He does not know the God of the bible.

Second, it reveals angst against evangelical churches.

To say a deceived man with demonic doctrine blesses you more than “some evangelicals” demonstrates an apprehension or disappointment with these churches. I can see this and understand it. I have spoken about the problems in evangelical churches. I am concerned that one would find more blessing in a post by a lost man rather than “rejoicing as Paul did even if the gospel is preached with dissension.”

Third, it fails to register any grief or broken heartedness over the condition of evangelical churches.

We should be very discerning when it comes to churches who claim to be evangelical and yet show no signs of being owned by the Savior. It should cause us deep grief and broken heartedness. It should not drive us to defend a false system as superior.

Fourth, it fails to register any grief or broken heartedness over the blindness of this Catholic priest.

Our hearts should be broken for this man who is caught in the lies and deceit of this false system. Rather than compare him to “broken” evangelical churches we should desire to share the gospel with him and see him come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Fifth, it fails to register any anger or rebuttal to the blasphemous teaching in the final statement; “The Church is the Body of Christ and so I go to church so that the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ might preserve my body and soul unto everlasting life”

This is a reference to the mass which is blasphemous. Christ was resurrected in the body in which he was incarnated in and now is in heaven. The blood and body of Christ cannot be offered up repeatedly in the “bloody” mass. The church does not preserve body or soul unto everlasting life. The church does not issue salvation nor does it maintain salvation.
Sixth, giving any credence to this priest confirms solidarity and blurs the line of Scriptural and Scriptural

We need to be very careful with whom we “approve.” Such behavior can blur the line between true doctrine and false doctrine. Not everyone is as discerning and can be easily led to believe that such individuals teach sound doctrine.

Gregg said...

Dear Scott,

Thanks! You are welcome, I am glad to point out what I think is the problem with the "foundation" of a building. If we correct the foundation, we can make true building.

Yes, Chafer was absolutely wrong in his book and has done much damage to the church. Yes, Finney espoused the same teaching (garbage) as Chafer.

I know we cannot see into the heart of men, but we are told we can know men by their fruits, that we are to hold to sound doctrine/practice, and that we are to mark and avoid those who teach/practice wrongly. Therefore, we can make assessments about whether a person is a believer or not by their lifestyle, attitudes, and fruit.

Scott said...

J.D.

I know you asked Gregg, but I couldn't help with compassion and concern to comment also. Hope this helps. The post your link points to does not speak truly or with clarity. Please consider that at first we are told:

"I don't go to church to avoid hell
I don't go to church to achieve heaven"

But then at the end of the post we are told: "The Church is the Body of Christ and so I go to church so that the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ might preserve my body and soul unto everlasting life."

So beware of confusion and a snare:
"I Don't go to church to achieve HEAVEN --- I DO GO to church to have everlasting life(achieve heaven)."

And find Jesus who once for all offered himself without spot or blemish our representative in our place our sins imputed upon him there on the cross paid for by his suffering and death there. Never to be repeated, but finished so that on account of having accomplished our justification he was raised again: Rom 4:25

Heb 10:
"10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, "

Scott said...

sorry about the careless emotional word in my previous post. Restated:

Excellent article. And thanks for pointing out the default assumptions we make "our school is a microcosm of society" - I am ashamed I was not offended when I read that statement first in the original article. Have you read Lewis Sperry Chafer's "He that is Spiritual" this book seemed to me especially to epitomize the nominal, carnal christian theology. Did Finney really espouse this same kind of teaching as Chafer did in "He that is spiritual?" Chafer certainly wrongly and to great harm laid out three kinds of people in his book, 1) unsaved, 2) carnal christian, 3) spiritual christian.

Pat Donovan said...

Great topic today Greg, everything that needs said has been said already. great post.

Carol Fleisher said...

Well said Gregg. Amen!

Derrick Boyd said...

Well put. Billy Graham said back in 1990 that he believed that 85% of people in church are not saved. And I believe it is due to a watered down gospel being preached. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4 that in the latter days that people will appoint preachers to tickle their ears.

Encouraging Thoughts for Life

Brian Ray Todd said...

Excellent post Pastor Gregg. The hard questions and unpleasant realities are far too often over-looked or ignored. I thank you for honestly exposing and addressing the social and spiritual problems that our culture faces. Your diagnosing the symptoms of sin to lead to the root cause with the prognosis of the solution found in the fact that we need to go back to the basics in a "right" relationship with Christ gives godly direction and light.

Leslie Wolf said...

I agree with much of what you wrote, though I would want to emphasize that true Christians can struggle with serious sins for a long time. And we should remember that we're talking about college students here, most of whom are still very immature.

I want to add one more point. I often hear that Christianity is in decline in America, and that our country is becoming more and more godless as the years go on. I'm not at all convinced that this is true, and I think that it would take a mountain of historical evidence to establish this claim. Is the church in bad shape today? Yes. Unquestionably. But is it any worse today than it was one or two hundred years ago? That's a very hard question to answer, and the more you study the history of Christianity in Europe and America, the more it seems that things are roughly the same today as they have always been. Study the history of the Protestant Reformation closely and the major revivals in Europe and America that followed it, and you will see that nominal Christianity has been rampant for centuries.