Saturday, November 04, 2006

I need to vent!

(Note: This "vent" is brought to you courtesy of a recent experience I had.)
You know, the human heart really is at enmity with God.
("Well, duh!", I can imagine someone saying.)
What I mean is that people's idea of God often has little to do with the Bible. The God they admire and say they worship is not really God; it's the God formed by their personal opinions about God. It's certainly not the God described in the Bible. And when you try to present the God of the Bible, well...let's just say, they don't like that God! They prefer their personal opinions about God.
People don't want God as He is; they want God as they would like Him to be.
Here is the sad thing: I'm talking about church people. I'm not talking about some unchurched "Harry" and "Mary" on the street; I'm talking about people who sit in the pew, listen (I assume) to the teaching and preaching, and who would affirm that Jesus died for their sins. They probably even prayed "the sinner's prayer".
Yet, many of these same people (let me just say it like I would say it at home), "they don't know squat!"
About the Bible, that is.
Something is terribly, horribly wrong (no revelation there).
What in the world are churches and pastors teaching the people? Just what are we doing in our churches on Sunday morning and during the week? Just messin' around? Toying with souls?
It would be revealing to hand out a short-answer questionnaire in church, for the people to individually fill out, that had questions such as these:
Do you think Jesus is actually God?
The "Holy Spirit": he, she or it? (circle one)
Define "Holy Spirit".
What is the Trinity?
Briefly explain the gospel.
How does a person get to heaven?
Can people who don't believe in Jesus get to heaven?
What happens to those who don't go to heaven?
Is all the Bible true?
I'm talking Christian basics--Christianity 101. Honestly, I'm not so sure the people in the pew know the answers to these basic questions.
And, how can they? If they aren't taught the Bible, and if they don't study their Bibles, how in the world can they know the Bible?
So, please, If you're a pastor, preach the word of God! And that means, teach them what it says!
If you're a person in the pew, read and study your Bible! Seek to know it for yourself. Let your pastors know that you want to be taught, you want to be fed. Stop being satisfied with "Bible-lite".
And, pastors/preachers, stop listening to "experts" who say the people won't come if you don't give them "Bible-lite". That's a lie. Stop reading their books, stop listening to their DVDs, stop going to their conferences! You preach the word! Give it to your congregations full strength. Don't water it down. Don't make apologies for it. Give the people definite, clear, unequivocal teaching.
Listen to me: Some of your people, that sit in front of you every Sunday, have their heads filled with some really fuzzy ideas about basic Christian doctrine. You might think you're teaching it but, I can tell you, they ain't gettin' it! Explain the text so your people will know what it means. And, when you do, take your time. It won't kill you to go over 20 minutes, and it won't kill the people to sit there and listen for over 20 minutes.
They don't have anything more important to do, do they?
If they have something more important to do than listen to your sermons, there's something wrong with your sermons! Preach like you've been alone with God and gotten a message straight from Him, and you won't have to worry about losing your audience.
Okay. I feel a little better, now.
Excuse me, while I go study my Bible and pray.

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