During the last several weeks my thoughts have been stimulated, along a particular thread, by brothers Dave Black, Alan Knox, Steve Sensenig, Lew, et al. I’ve come to love these fellows through their writings, not just because they and I seem to be on the same page, sharing the same concerns, but because I sense they share my love for the Lord Jesus Christ and His people, the Church He promised to build. Accompanying that sense is that of a common distrust of what “the church” has become. I am so grateful to God for allowing me the privilege of interacting with such brethren.
Their blogs, and indeed, some of the responses to their writing, has often caused me to come to a point where I feel compelled to commit them to writing. That is true of this attempt.
In response to one who commented on his blog entitled “Ransome letter Theology…", Alan responded, “…. . to be completely honest, I don't care about the "system". I do care about people whether they are part of a system or not. I am concerned about these things because it teaches people how to rely on the system instead of teaching them how to rely on God.”
Dave Black has written an article which he titled “A Twenty-first Century Church”, and makes the statement, “Power cannot last if we do not worship it.” As he finishes his article he makes the provocative statement, “The fight of faith to which we are committed is not a battle against Christianity. It is a battle to free Christianity from the shackles of Christendom, to smash our idols, and to establish a church that is once again characterized by poverty of spirit”.
In a blog entry entitled "How (Not) to Judge Someone’s Orthodoxy", Steve, quite correctly refers to, what appears to be, a common attitude amongst those who believe they are the sole owners of orthodoxy, when making a judgment regarding the state of the soul of another, “Don’t give your brother any benefit of the doubt. Give them, rather, a theological quiz, and grade it based on your own inerrant, infallible, and complete knowledge of the truth.” His post entitled "WCF and Its View of Scripture", as well as some of the comments, also illustrates the issue.
Lew has been posing some questions, such as one about tithes and offerings, which are often used to make an assessment of one’s spiritual standing within “orthodoxy”.
These brethren are not alone in their concerns about what is happening around us, and their comments illustrate very clearly a growing concern that has been gnawing at me for years, but which, I must confess, I didn’t want to entertain.
Even though we can find a wide variety of thought on what Christians call “orthodoxy”, I am convinced that our particular “orthodoxy”, whether it is old “orthodoxy” or the new “orthodoxy” equates, in the minds of many leaders and members, with power, control, an assumption of having God in the team “because we are orthodox”, a source of pride “because we are not like those others who don’t believe what we believe”. It gives us a false legitimacy for our schisms, and it keeps the focus on “our church”, “our denomination”, “our emphasis” etc.! The fear of being seen as "unfaithful" prevents many from "jumping ship".
This is an abomination, which in fact is ANTICHRIST! Take note! I did not write that it is THE antichrist!
This "our church”, “our denomination”, “our emphasis” orthodoxy IS NOT the orthodoxy of the Lord Jesus Christ nor that of the Apostles!
Why do I say that it is antichrist? Simply because it is the criteria of acceptance of others as genuine Christians, and is the focus of local “church” membership.
The particular “orthodoxy” to which a group subscribes promotes a culture of suspicion and enmity towards, and rejection of others who fulfill all the requirements of Scripture regarding becoming, and being a child of God.
Most of us understand the word ‘antichrist’ to mean ‘against Christ’ because of the prefix ‘anti’. That’s quite correct, but, it also means ‘instead of Christ’! More often than not our “orthodoxy” is more important than whether a person is in relationship with the Father through the finished work of His precious Son.
Our “orthodoxy” promotes other antichrist attitudes within the system it produces. Listen to people who belong to “church” groups talking about what Scriptures teach, about moral or ethical issues. Whose name is invoked most often? “Pastor so-and-so says ….”, “such and such author says…”, “our constitution says….”, etc., etc.,etc.
How many times do we hear someone say, “The Lord says….”, or “The Scriptures say….”, or “God’s word says…” in comparison to the above?
Aren’t we in danger of placing “pastor”, an author, our constitution, our denominational distinctives, in a position which is, in fact, instead of Christ?
Is it possible that in our adherence, to a particular doctrinal, denominational, position, or a particular “pastor’s” or author’s teaching, has grown into a religious fervor that has turned our “orthodoxy” into the place where our security rests?
Is your “orthodoxy” really a false god, an ANTICHRIST ?