Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
This is not one of my typical posts. No image this time. Not even remotely warehouse related. I want to talk about forgiveness and the church. I know that for some, this might seem a bit odd, especially coming from a member of the laity, please just bear with me.
Social media has been buzzing lately with the recent visit of the Pope to the United States. There was even an amateur radio special event station. However, the Pope didn’t really address any issues, at least not the issues you’d expect from highest bishop of a major Christian denomination. In particular, he did not address sin and forgiveness.
I am well aware that over the years, people have been upset and angry with the church. Who can blame them? Too many people feel as if the church, and the members thereof, are judging them for every little thing that they can find. Sadly, not only is this not too far from the truth, but it is equally true of those who judge the church.
What is the reason for this? I would suspect it is simply apostasy. Basically, the modern Christian church has fallen away from the word of God, the Bible, and replaced it with popular psychology, and feel good motivational speeches. No longer do churches tell people that they are sinners in need of forgiveness. Instead it is a concert with a motivational speech about how God loves us and wants to give us material blessings.
Sound familiar? Yes? Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and many others preach this. Sadly, not a word of it is biblical. There is no promise to the Christian (or anyone) that we can have a life of peace, wealth and abundance. Rather, the Bible promises strife, poverty, and loss. Does God bless people with material abundance? Does he cause the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust? Yes, God can bless us with material things, but there is no promise that he will.
Sadly, as the church moves further and further from preaching about forgiveness, the church slides into sin. To preach that God wants to bless us with material goods is a materialistic “gospel” that only leads to idolatry, and only leads us further and further from the truth of God’s word.
What can be done?
Most weeks, I write and call people to repent, even as Peter did on that first Pentecost. Today, I write and call upon the church to repent. Put away this vanity of false promises of material blessings. All you are doing is leading people astray, wounding them. These promises are empty lies, which prosper not. Repent and tell the truth. Preach of Christ Jesus who died upon the cross, not so that we can have materials things, but that we can be freed from sin and death, to live in his kingdom for eternity.
Those who condemn and judge the church. I also call you to repent. You have sinned in judging the church without discerning your own sinfulness. All who attend church, pastor and laity, are sinners. All of us are hypocrites. The only difference between those of us in church and those outside the church is our honesty to admit we are fallen, sinful, hypocritical beasts, and we are incapable of freeing ourselves from this condition, thus our need for a savior.
The church needs to repent of relative morality, marginalizing the true Gospel, and preaching works righteousness with material blessings. The church also needs to be forgiven for failing to preach the true Gospel to those who need it, and I do not know of anyone who doesn’t need it.
Yes, the modern church needs to repent. Yes, we need to forgive. However, we also must not continue in these lies, or we will only fall deeper into sin. Those who lead people astray with lies and false promises will have the greater judgment on the last day.