Skip to comments.Useful Idiots for Baal
Posted on 02/20/2014 3:05:32 AM PST by iowamark
I stumbled upon a Christian author I was not familiar with the other day and saw that he had written from a host of secular publications about faith. From CNN to National Journal to the Huffington Post to USA Today to the Atlantic to others these are publications that tend to be hostile to people of traditional, orthodox Christian faith. When a Christian author is routinely published in those publications and cited as a reasonable evangelical voice by those publications, I have to think he or she is really useful idiots of Baal.
From Rob Bell to Rachel Held Evans to Donald Miller to Jim Wallis to Joel Osteen and more, these people seem to think that, if they even share the gospel (as opposed to the prosperity gospel), the gospel can be shared without every offending anyone. If only Christians would not offend people they could woo people to Christ. Truth be told, some evangelicals can be far more confrontational than need be. But, likewise, the gospel is not inoffensive. These people who think the gospel can be sold to everyone without ever offending anyone are committed more to their own house brand than to Jesus and, in so doing, prop up Baal, the god of worldly conformity, more than Christ.
The gospel offends many people. Many people will die this very day somewhere in the world because of the gospel. Frankly, I think some of these people are themselves offended by the gospel. They look at the Bible as a self-help book and redact all the stuff they themselves do not agree with. They focus on social justice Jesus and not the Jesus who said
Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
They have convinced themselves Jesus really would have an opinion on a government healthcare program, but never really get into Jesuss views on damnation, sin, and salvation.
This goes also to my concern about a lot of mega churches. I have friends who are pastors of mega churches. I have friends who attend mega churches. But I think some of the church industrial complex starts building a brand and the brand is more Six Flags Over Jesus, as I tend to call a lot of mega churches, and less Jesus. They focus on franchises and revenue stream and weekly attendance. To do that, Jesus can rarely be offensive. More so, the spirit in the attendees can often not be matured.
By that I mean a lot of these churches are so focused on upping the baptism count that they focus solely on come to Jesus and never really describe what coming to Jesus entails or how a Christian, once a Christian, grows in faith. So the people in the church run the risk of being spiritually immature or not convicted of their salvation. Heres hint: often embracing the gospel turns peoples lives upside down and, from a worldly perspective, things end badly for them.
Christ said we should enter through the narrow gate. A lot of the medias favorite voices on Christendom preach that the gate is as deep and wide as possible for all comers. Thats simply not true. There is only one way. There is only one path. There is only one savior. All truly are welcome. But that one path offends so many not all want to be welcomed.
John 3:10-12 lays out pretty well the three reasons people will not embrace Christ: (v.10) they do not understand the gospel; (v.11) they refuse to receive the gospel; or (v.12) they do not believe the gospel. Many of these useful idiots for Baal sell a gospel stripped of its full meaning and commitment. They should be commended for wanting all comers to come, but need to be cautioned that not all comers will come. They go all Jesus all the time and quickly strip him of masculinity, godliness, justice, righteousness, power, and the ability to save. They try to sand it down so no one can reject it, but often what winds up getting accepted isnt the real gospel, but a wordily version of an emo, weepy Jesus who cant throw a punch that people created and not the real Jesus who will one day return on a white horse, with a sword, to judge the quick and the dead.
Too many of these people, often hipster prophets, make people comfortable in their sin while trying to sell Jesus. One comfortable in his sin rarely sees the need to embrace one who will extricate him from his sin. These peddlers of pop Christianity are useful idiots for Baal because they claim their faith in Christ without ever making anyone uncomfortable in their here and now. Christ made people uncomfortable.
As a friend noted this passage from Bonhoeffer last night in email:
The messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time. They will be blamed for all the division which rend cities and homes. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, 1937.
The useful idiots of Baal are not willing to go along for that ride. Theyd rather their Jesus bake cakes for gay weddings.
John 3:10-12 lays out pretty well the three reasons people will not embrace Christ: (v.10) they do not understand the gospel; (v.11) they refuse to receive the gospel; or (v.12) they do not believe the gospel.
That fourth thing is the teaching that those that do not accept Christ will not merely perish (as in John 3:16), die the second death or even be cast away from God’s presence for all eternity. It is that the God of the bible will send most people to an eternity of conscious and severe suffering. They simply can’t get past the madness of such a message.
Thing is, unlike those who preach such a message, these folks have really thought it through. They’ve asked themself what kind of God metes out such a punishment to mere humans who not only can’t comprehend it, but often can’t understand what they have done to even deserve such a thing.
They also can’t comprehend his purpose. This is a little like when a kid from the US goes to a foreign country with different laws and finds himself serving the rest of his life for something that, in the US, might get you a probation. They actually break the law because the punishment is so severe they don’t believe it really exists. Imagine a state that had the death penalty for going one mile an hour over the speed limit, but nobody knows anyone who has ever been executed for it. You would take that penalty less seriously than you would take a $30 fine, because you can’t wrap your head around it.
And when non-Christians see the penalty for sin as losing not only this life, but what John 3:16 calls “eternal life”, with the alternative being permanent death, they can wrap their heads around the decision they are being offered.
A side benefit is they can see God as just - the wages of sin is, in fact death - and it is easy to see that as the justice of a true loving God, and not a vindictive torturer.
Interestingly, as a Christian, that is all I wish on the unsaved: That they do not receive eternal life in the presence of their creator. And, of course, outside the presence of God, there is no life.
and a good perspective,
I’ve found its because of arrogance that people do not understand and therefore can not believe. God will not sit down with us and sup with us through our arrogance, we must come humbly to him to learn and he will be there and we will hear him.
For those that refuse to receive the message, we can only brush the dust off and as were leaving pray that God will do something in the future to cause that person to consider him before they run out of time (their life),
In some ways, that may be true. Nevertheless, the Bible seems pretty clear to me on the subject. First, we have the entire book of Revelation.
Then, there is the story of the beggar and the rich man, Luke 16: 19-31. I particularly draw your attention to verse 24.
Matt 5:22 mentions hellfire. Then there's Mark 9:44,45.
So, to discard the doctrine of eternal torment seems unwise to me. Those who reject Christ because they reject this doctrine, have rejected Christ. Maybe it is just an excuse, and they weren't going to accept Him anyway?
The brushing the dust off part is the hard one for me. It comes easy with time, however. You can’t beat it into people. You can only plant seeds. Even the “brushing off your feet” part may have been God’s instruction to not continue in towns where people would not listen, even though God knew that some in those towns may have a change of heart later.
There is a tendency towards “The ends justifies the means” theology in churches and it has been that way for a long time. If Jim and Tammie Faye Bakker were cheats and frauds, it is OK because some people got baptized. I also keep meeting Christians that think going to church is an inconvenience.
Mega-churches can be really good things. Many of them are mega because they work. The Village Church in Texas is one example.
We still preach on sin. We just preach on the sins that the other people commit. The sin of global warming. The sin of not supporting increased Welfare. The sin of uber-wealth. The sin of owning a Hummer.
I'm doin' what I can...
I should be clear about my own response above,
I believe there is going to be the final judgment and the lake of fire, and that hades, Sheol (the grave), bottomless pit, outer darkness etc., (these are not all the same place, quite the contrary) Death and hades will be cast into the lake of fire at the end,
Jesus himself spoke more about hell than anyone in the Bible, he being the only one who can provide the pardon from going there, recall what he said about Judas, that it would’ve been better for him if he had never been born,
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; “ 2 Peter 2:4
No offense, Chesley. Seriously.
Once I turned to this viewpoint I’ve been discussing it (sadly, arguing is a better word) with my brothers for about three years. The points you bring up are all there but not always what people think they are.
To touch on a couple, and only a couple, a fire can go on for a day, many days, or like the dump Jesus was referring to in one passage, continuously. But the garbage being thrown into it is, in fact, consumed. I.e. it may hurt for a sec, and then you’ve experienced the “second death”.
Regarding Lazarus and the Rich man, there is more there than most people know, and less in some ways that may be surprising. But it is not about eternity. Here is a very good rundown:
And here is a great analogy that may explain why some people hear the “turn or burn” message and reject it:
“Suppose for a moment that a wonderful manMr. Right, if you willoffers a marriage proposal to the woman he loves. ‘Marry me,’ he says, ‘and I will give you a life like you’ve never dreamed of before. You will be loved with the greatest commitment and passion that any woman has ever known. I will give you the finest house with all of the wonderful things you’ve ever wanted, and you will be happy for the rest of your days!’
“Now suppose the woman is very flattered by the proposal, but is uncertain about whether or not she is ready for such a commitment. Asking for a few more days to think it over, Mr. Right answers, ‘You are welcome to take more time, but it’s only fair that I warn you what will happen if you decline my generous offer. Your only option, other than spending paradise with me, is to be thrown into my underground dungeon, have your eyes gouged from their sockets, and be subjected to unimaginable pain every hour, on the hour, for the rest of your long, miserable life.’
“What do you suppose would be going through the young woman’s mind at a time like this? I imagine that would change the way she feels about the man considerably. She might have previously accepted Mr. Right’s proposal because of her love for him, but is there much chance of that now? Surely not. If she takes him seriously, she’ll undoubtedly marry him, but not as much for love as out of genuine terror at the alternative.
“Is this God’s way of doing things? Does God want His people to turn to Him out of fear that they will be tortured otherwise? Where is the love in that? If everyone really believed in this doctrine, wouldn’t that properly tarnish their concept of the Savior? I would imagine some might even have a hard time calling Him “Savior” at all. How merciful can it be to create a never-ending torture pit for everyone and then save only a few from it?”
My God is just. It is clear that his justice prevents those that do not accept the Grace of Christ from entering into eternal life with Him, but the justice is complete in making their fleshly death a final condition via the second death, even if it means death by being thrown into the surface of the sun.
Before I post, It strikes me that I should comment on your mentioning the book of Revelation. It is one of my favorites. I use Revelation 7 to support my “mid-Trib” position on the rapture and I moved to KY in 2011 in the spirit of Revelation 18-4. But I understand the whole book is steeped in symbolism and reads almost like Nostrodamus. I would not use it as a source of proof for any “doctrine” based on the plain words it uses, since their meaning is rarely plain in Revelation.
Give her wings of a great eagle? Frogs came out of their mouths? The great harlot? Giant made from multiple metals and clay? These verses all have strong meaning but probably rarely mean in a literal sense what the dictionary definitions of the words mean. Same goes for the fate of the lost as described in Revelation. But even then, the mose supportive scripture there of eternal torture of humans refers specifically to those who take the mark of the beast in the end times. I have an open mind about that one because I have not met anyone yet that has taken the mark. When I do, I might understand why the bible discusses eternal torture regarding them. But until I meet one, I can’t say.
Reminds me of the old joke about bear hunters...
"Y'all skin this one while I run out and get another one."
How can this be? All this good stuff, and they're still lost?
A very simple biblical answer: Eph 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast."
I’ve known quite a few very good (at least, best I can tell) people who reject Christ outright. But then, they also think they are very good.
And there’s the rub.
And I’ve known quite a few “saved a wretch like me” folks who struggle with their “thorn in the flesh” and are adamant that their only hope is the grace of God.
They are the ones I think are saved.
People overlook the fact that those poor souls never say I am a sinner and put my faith in you Lord Jesus.
They are all appealing to their own good works.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 2 Peter 2:4
In our world, which is where God meets us, we have two forms of punishment: First is rehabilitation. It’s effectiveness is questionable, but it’s goal is not. The second is removal from “the rest of us”. The goal is not to make it hard for the perp. It is to separate him from the rest of us. In some cultures this means life in prison. In others, its execution. But its function is to “cast them out” of our world.
It’s how I see the fate of those that don’t accept Christ. Except I don’t see God having any reason to keep them alive. He certianly would not do it for them. It’s not like he is trying to teach them a lesson. He would not do it for us. We’ll never come into contact with them in any way, shape or form ever again, nor would we want to. Would He get some morbid pleasure out of it?
So whom would it benefit?
Yes. C. S. Lewis once said, and I paraphrase, sometimes I feel pretty bad and think I need Got quite a lot and other times I think I’m doing pretty good. It is the latter when I probably need him the most.
They are all appealing to their own good works.
You are employing a typical spurious liberal and annihilationism hermeneutic, that of determining truth by what to what you believe conforms to your idea of a "loving God."
However, God in His love does not bluff, but in love tells of both eternal life and eternal punishment, warning of the eternal reality of choosing sin over Him. And does not attempt to deter living a life of fulfilling lusts by warning of simply being toasted in the end,. but of going "into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:43-44)
God also created Lucifer and other angels which rebelled, yet it is clearly taught that "the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)
And that the lost will be told, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" And of being (Matthew 25:41) "tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:10-11)