Sunday, 25 April 2010
In light of this recent news article regarding "prophet" Tony Alamo, I hesitate to use the word "prophet" for fear of the new connotations attached to it. Please understand that the following post's reference to "prophet" is meant strictly in the Biblical sense of those who speak for God, and not in the modern sense wherein people prey upon others in the name of God for the sake of sex and money.
In the ages past, certain people would suddenly pop up and throw salt into society's wounds. Never content to be a part of the status quo, they generally lived on the fringes where the status quo meant nothing. They weren't the life of the party: They were generally spat upon, kicked about, abused, and only sometimes followed. These folks would later write books with incredible statements such as "this is what God says...." as though they were His very mouthpiece. That's quite a tall order, to tell everyone you've accepted the position of "God's voice".
Lately, I have been thinking. It started with a Facebook posting by a "liberal" Christian person I know. Only met the guy once, but I've read one of his books a couple of times (about once every two years, the book is a sobering reminder of what living life in a fantasy can lead to). The post was regarding the passing of the National Health Care plan through Congress, and it's addendum abortion matter. Christians from both ends of the political spectrum posted their views and the topic turned pretty hot. Conservatives and liberals love a good debate.
After everyone else had commented I posted this thought. It was my only response, but it threw a wet blanket upon what few comments followed afterwards.
It never seems to amaze me that in conversations like this (and I have read through each comment) it always resorts to "I think..", "I feel...", "I believe...", as if we are the end-all to the argument.
What amazes me most is that it's not what we think that matters, but what God thinks that matters, and in the end everyone will be judged by that standard.
I won't speak my mind on abortion, but I do raise this point: that what we feel on any matter is biased by our own thought, opinions, feelings. We need to break from that mold and see things from God's point of view, cause really nothing else matters.
In response, the author of that Facebook posting said:
I think (heh heh heh) the reason so many people use "I think/feel/believe" is because we are - quite rightly - nervous about invoking God's opinion as OUR opinion (or, if you will, our opinion as God's opinion). I realize you'd like it if we could draw some hard lines and go "there it is!" But unfortunately, the Bible does not directly address abortion. There are principles we can (I think!) draw from Scripture to come up with a very thoughtful anti-abortion theology. But I don't see how trumpeting the news that our position is identical with God's position will really serve us...or serve God.
The author's comment gave me pause to think. Who speaks for God? Which of us will lay our opinions, thoughts, feelings, and concerns on the altar and take upon ourselves the mantle of prophet (not really being "prophet", I mean this in the sense of "mouth-piece"). Which of us will surrender to being disliked, discouraged, disowned, or disemboweled? Which of us will accept that Truth, real honest Truth, will never be popular so long as it is against the sinful nature of man. John the Baptist surrendered his head to the idea, literally.
We live in an age which pushes the notion of "liberal equality", everyone has a right to their opinion. We've made this such a mantra in our schools that it's given rise to an entire generation bent upon political correctness. If you speak openly about "Truth", you're labeled a "hater" - someone who preaches a gospel of hate. I, for one, would rather be found faithful to God and preach openly against the sins of man. (For example: abortion is the same as murder; homosexuality is a sin of choice and not merely a genetic disposition; politics and politicians represent the fallenness of man and, as such, will never save the world, etc.)
In the computer age, we've adopted the idea that we must be politically correct - that is to say inoffensive in our daily communication - if we are to reach the lost. We've watered down God's message until it no longer really is the message of God.
So again I ask, who speaks for God? Because it's an important question. In ages past there's always been someone who braved the sad state of society in order to preach the truth. So where are the Martin Luther's and the Martin Luther King, Jr's of today? I'm not talking about preaching against social injustice, something which seems to be on the lips of most pastor's now-a-days. I'm talking about preaching against sin and encouraging holiness. I'm talking about Scripture and how it is the word of God and, thereby, is Truth, not mere opinion.
I'm talking "without holiness, none shall see God" (Hebrews 12:14) and how we've failed to land that message, not only upon society (those within our own sphere of influence) but also upon ourselves. I'm talking about how little we seem to care for or respect God and His Word because we've given ourselves over to thinking they are insufficient to meet the arguments of the masses. (2nd Timothy 3:15-17). I'm talking to myself as much as any one in particular, for I live in a society given over to idol worship - and what am I saying about the true God? I pray often, "Lord, let me live to preach your word!"
Who speaks for God? (Lord, allow me, if you would indeed use this vessel.)
Words for us all to chew on today.
What do you think? Is preaching God's Word "taking over" as God's voice or simply being obedient stewards of the Gospel? When does being bold believers become a twisted religious game? Should Christians speak out more openly, and if so, how?