Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Allow Yourselves To Be Defrauded

The same generation of church-goers whose clarion call is Don't Judge! is the same generation that will bring lawsuit against fellow-church members in a heartbeat.

I am referencing an article published in the October 10, 2007 Church Report about a pastor who punished church members who questioned his authority and who stole church money in order to give his daughter a lavish wedding reception.

Whether he was guilty or not, taking a sinful, money-embezzling pastor before unbelieving, secular courts is definitely in defiance of scripture which clearly instructs not to—to the point of allowing ourselves to be defrauded instead (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).

Of course this same scripture also instructs Christians and church leadership to deal with such a situation—looking at the facts and rendering a judgment—not to sweep it under the rug and move on without missing a beat.

Bringing a lawsuit into the mix made everyone involved wrong.

The church leadership should have stepped in and followed biblical protocol in the situation, which is laid out for us in very clear step by step detail, and gotten rid of that pastor—if indeed he was on a power trip and guilty of greed and theft.

Everyone involved in that debacle needs to repent--the thieving pastor (who needs to be replaced), the church members who brought the lawsuit, and the church leaders who refused to exercise church discipline in the situation (who need to be replaced as well).

But then, the sinful practice of incorporating churches often ensconces—permanently—ungodly leadership, and renders the possibility of having any sort of truly biblical leadership—which includes church discipline—for all practical purposes, impossible.

Monday, October 8, 2007

How Do We Touch the "Hem of His Garment?"

I just received an email in which a cough remedy was touted as guaranteed to work, every time. The person who wrote the email said, "I can't wait to get another cough so I can try this!"

I was at the gym the other day, and overheard one woman talking to another as they were working out. The woman was explaining that because her doctor forbidden her to do a certain exercise, she could not do it.

I was at church Sunday and the preacher was asked to pray for a sick person. He prayed with the disclaimer that he was urging them to go see a physician as well. He was praising physicians as being great--that God gave us physicians, but of course, he added, God was better.

This kind of stuff grieves me to the core.

  • When we can't wait to get another cough so we can try a home remedy, what does that say about what we think of God's ability to heal us? He is certainly not first choice is he?
  • Why don't we obey God as well as we obey physicians? When we turn physicians into our gods. We get only what they can give.
  • That preacher had to add that disclaimer because he runs to a physician every time he gets sick himself.
I am not hammering on folks just to be mean-spirited. God's people are in a death-grip of infirmity. Look around. Many will struggle with infirmity indefinitely. And what's worse, they expect to... spite of the fact that in their refusal to turn to God first for relief in their infirmity, they whore after televangelists who tell them that God will honor their "faith offering" by healing them or giving them whatever it is they need or are lusting after.

The only thing televangelists have that anyone wants is money! Your money. They don't have divine health themselves. They all seek to physicians.

Send the televangelist money, then run to doctor and give him money as well. It's become a vicious cycle hasn't it? Spend all your living on physicians and insurance supplements, and then turn around and send a "faith gift." Where's the faith in that??

I cannot even begin guess at the numbers of retiree's who have gone to work at some menial job because they "needed the benefits."

What about God's benefits? He tells us he has them. But trust me. We will never fully reap them if televangelists are our idols, physicians are our gods and our Creator is our last resort-when-all-else-fails- last-ditch-effort.

Spirits of infirmity are real. They are non-benevolent, personal beings--devils--dedicated to destroying us through infirmity. How do you think they accomplish that task? If a person is afflicted with a spirit of infirmity, no physician will ever be able to make that person better. Spirits of infirmity are real. They are non-benevolent, personal beings--devils--dedicated to destroying us through infirmity. How do you think they accomplish that task?

If a person is afflicted with a spirit of infirmity, no physician will ever be able to make that person better. It will be one thing after another, after another, after another, so on and on and on….

Good people are often afflicted by spirits of infirmity. We have biblical examples of this. But the biblical example also makes it quite clear that God is willing and able to deliver from spirits of infirmity.

One woman got sick and tired of spending all her living on physicians. She suffered from their treatments, and because of those treatments actually became worse. She finally came to the realization that they would never make her better.

There are two things we can learn from the woman with the spirit of infirmity: 1.) The Bible does not say she had a spirit of infirmity because of sin. 2.) She had lost faith in physicians.

That was a good thing. For only then did she put all her eggs in Jesus' basket and risked trusting him--and he did not let her down. Now, we do not discourage faith, but this is not a prescription for divine healing, so please do not say that Hungry Hearts Ministries is prescribing  a medical boycott. We are not. We are simply commenting on the situation of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment. To seek physicians or not is always a deeply personal decision based on the individual lifestyle choices of autonomous adults. Look at it this way. If an atheist chooses to live life naturally, accepting their lifespan without prolonging it through medical treatment, no one would fault them. The attitude would be live and let live. People make living wills all the time, and indeed are encouraged to. So no one has the right to persecute competent adults regardless of which choice they make.

We read about what the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment did. We preach about what she did, talk about what she did, and sing about what she did. I dare say just about all of us, at one time or another, have heard someone say or sing, "If I could but touch the hem of his garment..."

But how many of us are willing to do that?

Touching the hem of his garment is not something we can do if we consider it only one option out of many. We only touch the hem of his garment when we know that he is our only hope--whether or not we are currently seeing a physician for the ailment.

 We are not saying that God will not show us mercy even in our stubborn faithlessness. There are too many accounts of that happening to deny that he does that. But wouldn’t it be better to simply repent of our faithlessness? The Bible tells us that whatever is not faith is sin.

We are not advising anyone to stop seeing their physician. We cannot do that. But we do know that Jesus is the answer.

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