by Rayola Kelley
We have been considering the shift that has been taking place in the organized Church. As we consider the condition of the present visible Church to the Church in Acts, there are decisive differences. These differences must be considered as a wake-up call for the Church. Keep in mind, we have been warned that, in the last days, there will be a falling away from the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Therefore, we cannot assume that what the visible Church now advocates is scriptural, regardless of how popular it may be. We must test all things according to the spirit behind it, and ensure that all teachings line up with the complete counsel of the Word of God.
We, as believers, must examine the fruits of modern-day Christianity to see if the visible Church has moved from the foundation of Jesus. If it has moved from the true foundation, this means that the Church has lost its vision, authority and power, rendering it ineffective against wolves, heresy and worldly influence.
This shift started when people began to drift away from the center. The center is God; therefore, everything must line up with His holy character, righteous instructions and perfect way. Once people began to move according to the shift, influential people within the religious world began to redefine truth, holiness and righteousness. Today, the Church system has become lost in a deluge of worldliness, heretical movements, and surface righteousness that denies the power of God (2 Timothy 3:5).
Christians, who desire to come back to center, find themselves in a dilemma. They want to be in fellowship with like-minded believers. They want to be challenged by the pure preaching of the Word. They want to sit under anointed teaching from the throne room of God that will enlarge their understanding of God, as well as stir them up to go deeper into His Word, so they can be brought higher in their devotion and calling. Yet, it is hard to find this caliber of preaching and teaching in most churches today. As a result, the frustration level has been growing for these saints. Obviously, if they do not comply with the latest popular movement and fad within their churches, they will be considered troublemakers, legalistic and unrealistic. Sadly, this is happening to believers in many places. It appears as if many of these individuals are being forced to separate themselves from the present compromises, to maintain their spiritual sharpness and discernment. It is not unusual for them to be branded as lone rangers or having some type of spirit of rebellion.
How did the visible Church move away from center? In the second part of this series, I explained how the shift started with the Church coming into unholy alliances. Unholy alliances dull the spiritual discernment of Christians, causing them to become susceptible to worldly influences and compromise. In fact, unholy alliances become an open door to spiritual defeat. In the third part of this series, I talked about how the shift has changed the frame of reference of Christians. Our frame of reference determines how we interpret Scripture, our encounter with others, and the events around us. If this frame of reference is perverted, it will be unreceptive towards that which challenges it. In fact, perversion has an aversion to truth.
Once the frame of reference is changed, the worldview can be redefined. Worldview has to do with a person’s value system. This value system will determine a person’s moral code. The strength of this moral code will come down to how a person views life. Since God is the source of all life, a person’s perception of life is determined by his or her perception of God. Therefore, worldviews change according to how people’s perception of God changes.
Since the frame of reference has been adjusted to compromises and worldliness, we must conclude that the worldview has changed as well. This brings us to a very important question. Based on the condition of present-day Christianity, what kind of God is being advocated? The God I hear about is a God of love, but the definition of love is based on a worldly definition. The world calls for tolerance and agreement out of love at any cost. Because of this worldview, God is presented as a God who tolerates sin and overlooks wrong attitudes. Instead of calling us higher, He has lowered His standards to accept what leftovers, blemished sacrifices, and unloving acts we bestow on Him and others. After all, He is a needy God who must accept whatever we dish out to Him, in the name of religion or Christian goodness.
The God of the Bible is love, but He is also holy. His holiness demands our death, but His love provides a means of forgiveness, salvation and restoration. God is longsuffering towards us to give us ample time to repent, but this attribute must not be mistaken for tolerance. God has never been, nor will He ever be, tolerant towards sin. Sin will always be sin to God, and we must accept His evaluation towards all spiritual matters, including any sin in our lives.
If our view of God is wrong, then our view of the world will be perverted, and our understanding as to what constitutes life will run amuck in the world. In fact, we will look to the world to provide life for us. The world is geared to attract and entangle our lust to pursue a façade or image that hides both the emptiness and destruction of it.
The question is, what means must be used to lower the value system of the Church, in order to change its worldview? The first thing that must happen is that you must dull the sharpness of Christians. This dullness is necessary if you are going to change the worldview of the Church. Has the Church been dulled down? The answer is yes. The method that has been used has been quite effective. I realize that I am about to step on some people’s sacred cows, but it must be honestly addressed. The Church has literally been dumbed down by the various Bible translations that have been introduced into the Church. Do not get me wrong, I have benefited from a few of these translations in my initial years as a Christian. But, let us face it, the Church has been inundated by all kinds of translations and paraphrases. Some of these translations and paraphrases have the intent of destroying the truth, while others have left out fundamental Christian beliefs such as the virgin birth and the blood of Jesus. Still, other translations have changed meanings of words; thereby, advocating another spirit. One of the most popular translations uses masonic terminology. According to a report on my desk, the latest translation flatly contradicts traditional core Christian beliefs on sex and morality. Yet, a leader of the Church of England supports it, even though he admitted that he was startled by its contents.
These Bible translations and paraphrases have caused an illiteracy of sorts in the spiritual realm. Even though many are not aware of it, this illiteracy has caused a famine for the real Word of God in the hearts of those who desire the truth. The results are that few Christians know what they truly believe. As I prayed about the condition of many in the Christian realm, I became aware of how these versions have taken the mystery out of the Bible with intellectual understanding and fleshly sensationalism.
The mystery I am talking about is the ongoing revelation of Christ. These versions give people the false sense that they now understand the Bible because it is easy reading. However, the inspired Word contains the mystery of Christ that can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Such revelations come only as one studies the Word to discover the different nuggets about Jesus. In my years as a Bible student, I have found that the KJV creates enough of a challenge that people cannot slide by on their intellectual laurels. They must explore the meanings of words, as well as seek to understand the emphasis behind its teachings. If this search is with the intent of seeing Jesus, the Holy Ghost will open up Scripture to reveal the valuable nuggets of truth.
The existence and purity of the Word has always been under attack. Cleverly, the purity and strength of the Word is now being drowned out by these various versions. The introduction of these new Bible versions is recent, as far as the timeframe goes, but it has been explosive. However, the attempts to change or influence the worldview has always been in operation. If a person or cause can influence another’s worldview, he or she will own the mind and heart of that individual. You see this in the case of such individuals as Adolph Hitler.
There are two other areas that people influence to change others’ worldview besides twisting, perverting and adjusting Scripture to fit personal agendas. The first area is history. One may wonder why history is important. It is simple, it brings both a reality check and contrast to the present-day condition of our world. History not only contains valuable lessons, but it repeats itself. If man could truly learn the lessons of the past, he could avoid the various traps of defeat and destruction.
Christianity has a rich legacy from which to draw. It begins with an old rugged cross that marks history in such a way that no one has ever really made it around it without making the life and death decision about eternity. However, our history does not end there. The message of that cross has been under attack for 20 centuries. It has been undermined, redefined and watered down. It has caused a division that has challenged the very existence of the Church of Christ. It has drawn a line that forced people to count the cost to know God. But, how many Christians know their history? How many of us realize that a dark time in history is about to repeat itself? How many of us recognize that tremendous persecution is awaiting those who dare to step outside of what is considered acceptable by the majority of those in the organized Church? How many of us realize that the line in the sand has being drawn, and that those who step across it may pay with their very lives?
History shows us that the times we live in do not call for conformity, so there can be peace, but rather, for reformation, so that God can once again honor His people with His presence, entrust them with greater revelations of His Son, and bring them back to center. History shows us that many in the Church system are unknowingly coming into agreement with the very force that brought the greatest darkness upon this world with its perversion of truth and its attempts to kill the very life of the Son of God in the lives of those who dare challenge it. Amazingly, this part of history is being ignored. Sadly, those who are encouraging this agreement would have us to believe that the tiger that lurked back then has changed its stripes. However, the stripes are still there, as well as its fangs.
History also shows us that there are those who are willing to pay the price. These are the people who separate themselves from the unholy, in order to call the true people of God to separation and distinction from the world. These reformers were firebrands. They shook the system in such a way that they encouraged others to risk everything to know the true God of heaven, and to establish their lives on the unchanging Rock of Ages. These are also the people who either established or called people back to the purity of the Word of God.
Another area that must be influenced in order to change a person’s worldview is philosophy. Paul warned the Christians to avoid the philosophies of men and the world (Colossians 2:8). Philosophy has to do with how one views life. There are two views that determine man’s philosophy: The heavenly view or the earthly view. The heavenly view is God’s perception, while the earthly view is from the perception of the world. As you study the presentation and methods used in many churches today, they ring with worldly philosophies of success, not with the demonstration of the Spirit and power from above (1 Corinthians 2:1-8). In fact, Jesus is simply tacked on as these methods are being exalted. Granted, numbers are being added to the churches, but souls are not being added to the kingdom of God. In other words, many of these people are converts to the methods or images being presented, but not converts to the Jesus of the Bible.
Regardless of the times we live in, we Christians still have the responsibility to establish ourselves on the true foundation. There will be no excuse for compromise or unholiness in our lives, beliefs or practices. In my final article in this series, I will discuss what it means for those who truly love God to come back to center in the midst of idolatry, paganism and unholy alliances.