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What of the cross?

May 25, 2005

For some years now, I have often asked myself a question that brings sadness to my heart without fail, whenever contemplated.  It is a question that has been on the hearts of many faithful souls, who choose to believe the word of God rather than the words of men, and refuse to change with the times as we are often advised, but rather stand firm in their belief that we serve an unchanging God.  We watch with horror as God is being banned from the very places that ought to be His sanctuaries, and those sacred things, the basic foundations of our faith are being rejected in favor of stand-up Christian humor, and spiritualized self help rhetoric.  What has become of the house of God dear friends?  What has become of the house of God?  

I have been putting off writing anything on this subject, because it is something that I am overly passionate about, until recently when an article was forwarded to me concerning the ever-expanding ideology of the mega-church.  It entailed how some have come to realize that if you remove Christ, and the cross from the church setting, and substitute the message of salvation with a message geared to make you feel better about yourself, then people will flock in droves, support you financially, and help build your kingdom here on earth.  Have a community setting, we are told, accept everyone without setting any boundaries, without advising them of their need to be born again in Christ, and your attendance will soar, men will love you, and success in every base material sense of the word will be yours for the taking.  

No longer should the shepherd be concerned with what the sheep need to hear, but rather what the sheep want to hear, to make them feel at ease, to placate their indifference toward the word of God, and the standard which God set forth.  We do market research with non-churchgoers to see how low we have to set the standard, how little of the Bible we must preach from our pulpits in order to get them to walk through the doors.  

If only they'd come to me first, I could have saved them the money they spent on their research, because the Bible already tells us what those of today's generation want to hear:

2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables."

It is as it was written, and now more than ever men are seeking a God who will conform to their will and desires, rather than seek a God to whose will and desires we must conform.  It is one of the most evident, and obvious signs of the end times that the Bible consistently points out, and one, we are seeing taking place today.  I fear I do not do justice to the two verses I just quoted, for to go into a deeper understanding of them would require many more pages.  However, I will limit myself to pointing out that reality has always been and will always be the ruination of fables.  Truth is what we need to combat the fables toward which so many are turning their ears.  

What so many today fail to understand, is that getting someone to walk through the door, does not a saved person make.  How will one ever learn of salvation, when salvation is no longer preached from our pulpits?  How will one receive the sacrifice of Christ, and receive redemption when the only seminars being offered, are on how to balance your checkbook, and how not to get into too much debt?  We have taken that which should be a solely spiritual experience, and transformed it into a self-help oasis, a place where you can get good advice, and learn some practical things to make life here on earth a bit less hectic.  We retain a form of godliness, being pious when the need arises, singing along with the newest ambiguous church hit, not knowing if the song is talking about a Creator or simply a romantic interest, while the mention of God is far removed from our lips, and the things of God are scoffed at, and looked upon as outdated, and irrelevant.  

How can one not believe that he has found the perfect place to feed the illusion that they are saved, when they are never challenged, never admonished, never encouraged to seek a deeper walk with God?  They come and laugh a little, get to meet a few people, see a great show, and leave feeling as though they got their money's worth.  Soon however, reality will spoil the illusions they have weaved for themselves.

What a sad thing the church has become in our modern era.  We make a mockery of the house of God, and the world lauds us for it.  We embrace sin and duplicity under the guise of tolerance, and the world stands in rapturous praise of us, labeling us forward thinking, on the cutting edge, and ahead of our time.  

If one dares to point to the word of God, if one dares to speak such forbidden words as righteousness, self sacrifice Jesus and the cross, they are hastily banished, mocked and scorned, called backward fools, knuckle draggers, men resisting the new age of progress.  No longer do we place our trust in our Heavenly father, no longer do we compel men to be transformed by the power of His word, but we place our trust in innovations, schemes and tactics, well-executed business plans, and messages with broad appeal.  Call me a fool if you will.  I would rather be a fool for Christ, then the cause of countless souls going to hell.

For the most part, the corporate church business goes unchallenged, and when challenged, the retort is simple: "We are just trying to satisfy demand." Indeed we are.  We are trying to satisfy demand for all of heaven at half the price, for paradise without sacrifice.  

So popular in fact is this new breed of pseudo-Christianity, that even Harvard Business School uses the model as a template for a successful business.  

The recipe for growth is simple we've been told.  Be theologically flexible, and you will draw untold numbers to your church, they will fill the pews, and overflow the offering plates.  In layman's terms however, theological flexibility, is nothing less than the compromise of truth, and the compromise of the gospel of Christ.  

Hire a marketing and management team, do some market research, replace Christ with trivialities, build an entertainment center, put a coffee stand in the lobby of the church, and you've got yourself a patented winner.  Yet with all this worldly success, with all the excess, anyone with even an iota of spiritual sensitivity must ponder the age old question, what of the cross?  

Through it all, the shadow of the cross still looms.  The sacrifice that was made, the innocent blood that was shed, will by no means go unavenged when for the sake of a few more coins in the offering plate we trample the precious blood of the covenant, unabashed.  

Once more we have allowed our flesh to overwhelm our spirit, and have come to believe that the true measure of success is simply how many people come to hear you speak, how many people attend your church, or how much annual gross income you can generate.  

When all is said and done however, God's measure of success is how many were drawn to the truth, and how many found the path to eternal life by hearing the uncompromising word of God preached from your pulpit.  

I say the following, for it must be said, that when it comes to pass you will know they were not my words.  The day is soon coming when these man made, man orchestrated, marketing generated cathedrals of deception will be empty as tombs.  The day is soon coming when they will no longer house congregations of thousands, but rats and birds.  The truth will outlast us all, and superficial faith will soon fail those who only pursue God in half measure.  

When Jesus spoke of His return, He never wondered if He would find man built kingdoms and cathedrals, He never asked if he would find scientific progress, treasures, or administrations, He asked if He would find faith.  For faith, is the one thing that He will seek to find in those who call themselves Christians.  The questions went unanswered, and it goes unanswered to this day.  

What we must all take into account is that in the original translation, Jesus did not simply ask if He would find faith on the earth, but the faith.  The faith that is consistent enough to carry us through our dark days, the faith that emboldens us to say to the world, think of us what you will, do with us as you will, but we stand firm on the foundation of the Gospel of Christ.  We will not compromise, we will not placate we will not twist the word of God simply to be liked, or even accepted.  

The day is soon coming when all that can be shaken will be shaken.  For God will shake not only the earth, but also heaven.  May we have the faith, that will shelter us on that day, may we stand on the truth of God's Holy word, may we not compromise for the sake of anything this world has to offer.  

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

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