I have written on this website for a couple of years now, in defense of the truth. In defense of what is right. In defense of our future as a people. Now, I feel compelled to write in defense of Christ.
The backdrop of this battle is simple. You either believe in the Bible, or you do not. I have far more respect for the atheist who dismisses the entire Bible, than the man who claims the portions he likes as the inspired Word of God and dismisses the rest because it gets in the way of his agenda. I have heard the ridiculous notions that the Bible is fallible because it was written by man, as if God could not control for these factors. As if God can create the entire universe, breathe life into man, but cannot handle how His Word will be written and more importantly, how it will survive.
And survive it has, for thousands upon thousands of years. Through wars and plagues and many, many attempts to silence it. Yet here we are today with a simple proposition, you either believe it is absolute truth, or you do not. I believe it is. I have written such and will continue to defend such yet I often found myself on the opposing side of my fellow Christians, and even my pastor. Doing so did not make me happy; it merely was speaking the truth, no matter where it led me. If the man running for the presidency claims the mantle of Christianity, he better behave like a Christian. Simple rules for a complex age.
Yet in this complex age, words matter. They can kill. They can distract. They can mislead. It has been propagated recently that Jesus Christ is being "pimped. " Despite the tasteless reference, I am afraid that my good friend Rob Kall has made some errors in summation and certainly, in generalizations. That is always the danger in using generalizations. That being said, I am sure there are some pastors who have lost there way. There are some pastors who have been caught up in the whirlwind of fame and fortune only to forget that it is Christ that got them there. Once they begin to forget the lessons of Proverbs 3: 5-6, they start down a path that eventually leads them to be exposed. Just ask Jim Baker. That wise proverb from the mouth of King Solomon reads:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight
Rob is right that a lot of men who come in the name of Christ have lost their way. Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, disregarding "Thou shalt not kill. " Jerry Falwell pontificates about the war on terror be saying we should, "blow them all to hell in the name of our Lord. " What Rob forgets is that these people have the credibility of James Dobson when he claims that Spongebob Sqarepants is gay. Everyone kinda just look at them and says, "Oh those guys again. " The larger point that is missed is that they are but a fraction of what true Christianity is about. Once again the problem with generalizations. Here is what stood out to me when reading the "pimping " article:
1) "The Jesus pimp promises born again converts-- often people who have hit bottom-- from drinking, divorce, loss, failure-- that they will find everything in Jesus "
The Pastor (I cannot bring myself to call them a "pimp ") actually promises them nothing, but what is written in the Bible. It is Christ that saves; we merely lead people to Him. Yes, when the world has finally beaten you down and does not want you anymore, Jesus will accept you. When you have lost everything and the world has stood by as an impartial observer to your misery, Jesus will save you. But here is the truly great news, he will save you regardless. For those who think they do not need our Jesus because they have made it on their own ...pride goeth before the fall.
2) "that Jesus is coming, that the rapture will soon arrive, when all who take Jesus into their heart will be lifted up to heaven.
Actually, most preaching is not on end times prophecy, as it is a source for much controversy. No, most preaching is about how to live in God 's promises. The thing a lot of people do not understand is that we are not promised eternal life as if it is some far away concept waiting for us to die, we actually live IN eternal life as born again believers. Now, it is true that some Christians may prefer to just "wait until Jesus comes " but if the true Word of God is being delivered, then we as Christians know we are charged with saving the lost between now and then. For the record though, the verse in the Bible Rob is referring to here is found in I Corinthians 15:51-54:
51But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. 52It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died[a] will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. 53For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.
54When this happens--when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die--then at last the Scriptures will come true:
Death is swallowed up in victory. "
Once again we are left with the decision about whether to believe the Bible as the true infallible Word of God.
3) "Now these people don't kill themselves. But they give up their selves and become part of a cult. "
By joining a church? A cult? By wanting to live life by a certain moral code? A cult? I have not given up myself when I joined my church. I found myself. My career took off after I joined a church. My involvement in my community took off when I joined my church. My direction became clearer, as did my purpose. I have given up things the world convinced me I would never give up, such as drinking and smoking. Not because of any pressure put on by my church, but rather by the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God. Is it so wrong to want to better your life that it now becomes on par with joining a cult?
4) "They vote for people who routinely betray them, passing law after law that fails to consider their needs or blatantly hurt them.
Yes they do, as does the rest of this country. However, I have seen most of the politicians Christians vote for, fight for exactly the reasons they were elected, opposing abortion and gay rights. Now, I have said and continue to believe that it is extremely short-sighted for Christians to vote solely on these two issues but the media does an expert job of promoting these social issues. Bottom line is that even within the Democratic Party, there are factions warring against each other and the real voices get lost. Rob knows this from his dealings in Pennsylvania.
5) "They submit to a culture where thinking is not an option, where hypocrisy and contradiction are the rule. "
I think all the time, as do many people in my church. Maybe the argument can be made that Christians don 't often have the right priorities but to say they are somehow brainwashed is preposterous. Hypocrisy and contradiction are the rule in politics, not Christianity. The problem is that people think Christians somehow swallow magic pills which remove their humanity. Not true. Christians are just as manipulative, angry and coarse as the rest of the general population, we just feel worse about it! Will there be hypocritical pastors? Absolutely. Will there be hypocrisy in the churches? Absolutely. But not in every church, and not in every pastor. Quite frankly, not even in most.