7 Facts From the Gospels That Would Get Jesus Thrown out of Your Church

 

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Even after two thousand years of attempting to adjust to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Church still finds the literal life and ministry of Jesus Christ too extreme to follow (or even teach).

Initially, none sound too radical—so long as they stay on the pages of the Bible (you know . . . where they belong). But strip your mind of the fairy tale-type mentalities that surround them. Imagine these literally happening today—-in your church on a Sunday morning. What I think you will realize is that when we remove centuries of caked on commentary, and religious jargon, it quickly becomes apparent that there is little place for the Jesus of the Gospels in our churches. In many ways, He was and is everything the modern Christian disdains.

 

Don’t believe me?

 

Have a look 🙂

 

 

1. He both taught, and demonstrated speaking to inanimate objects to make them obey you (Matt 21:20-21).

Theologians can explain it away all day (and they do). If there were any doubt about what Jesus was referring to when He told His disciples to talk to mountains, the preceeding verses remove it. When read in context, we see Jesus had just spoken to a real tree, and says “not only will you be able to do what was done to the tree but if you say to this mountain . . . ”

 

 

 

2. He taught 100% success in prayer (Matt 7:7, Matt 21:22, John 16:24).

This was before the days of, “sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no, sometimes He says wait a while.

The idea of not receiving what you ask in prayer is completely foreign to the life and teachings of Jesus.

He also rejected weird religious idioms that still surround the concepts of prayer today. Such as the genie mentality that claims if you ask God for something, you can never truly be sure what to expect (Matt 7:8-11). He may give it to you . . .

. . . Or He may decide to kill you instead.

And if you think that is an exaggeration of what many mainstream churches are teaching—–I truly wish it were!

 

 

 

3. He made, “cruel and heartless” statements in times of tragedy that connected sin to physical calamity (Luke 13:4-5).

Jesus uses a recent accident in which 18 people were killed by a falling tower, and warned that unless there was repentance, more would perish. Young’s Literal Translation says they would perish in like manner.  He also told a man who had been crippled for 38 years to stop sinning otherwise a worse thing would happen to him.

 

 

 

 

4. He scolded His disciples for not being able to perform a miracle (Matt 17:15-20)

A man’s son is suffering from seizures. The disciples try, but are unable to help him. Upon seeing this, Jesus could have said something like, “It’s okay guys, you’re only human. I shouldn’t expect so much from you. The reason it didn’t work was because it was all part of God’s sovereign plan. He has decided to use the suffering of this child for His glory.“—Let’s be honest—- if it were 21st century jesus, that’s what it would have sounded like.

Instead of such comforting strokes that we so often hear in times of hopelessness and unanswered prayers, Jesus straight-up rebukes His followers. “You perverse and twisted generation! How long do I have to put up with you!?” (punctuation added).

 

 

 

5. He said the devil was behind disability (Lk 13:11-16, Mk 9:25).

In a world where God and Satan have apparently switched jobs (now a days God is blamed for sickness and disease) man, oh man would Christians get their panties in a bunch over such a claim. And it wouldn’t even need to happen on multiple occasions. Just once and someone would catch it on video or audio, and it would be thrown onto YouTube where it would then be devoured by ravenous Christians who confess to believe in the supernatural, so long as nobody actually takes it seriously.

 

 

 

6. He emphasized faith for miracles (Mark 11:23-24).

And no, it was not some general faith in God as sovereign, or that it’s, “all in His hands.”

No. It was purposeful, specific faith in the desired outcome. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus very seldom (and one could argue—never) spoke about faith in God when it came to answered prayers. (We discussed this lie in a recent article.)

On another occasion He even said to a person, “your faith has healed you.”

Blasphemy! Faith doesn’t heal anyone. God does!

 

 

7. Most of His teachings on prayer were centered around how to get things (Mark 11:24 John 16:24)

He didn’t talk about how we are supposed to spend hours, “listening” for God’s voice in prayer (although I think we should). And He didn’t talk about how we should spend more time just thanking God in prayer (although I think we should.)

Now a days, all of us are trying to downplay asking God for things. Always coming up for reasons why prayers aren’t answered. How He isn’t a, “Cosmic Bellhop” etc etc. . . And yet—–When we actually read the accounts, we see that time and time again, Jesus is teaching us how to get what we need, and even what we desire by prayer. And He does it unabashedly and with great frankness.

 

 

 

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God Wants You Wealthy: An FAQ On One of the Most Controversial Issues in the Body of Christ

 

 

 

 

The Bible teaches that God wants His children to be wealthy (not necessarily millionaires, please don’t misunderstand me—but wealthy. ie, To have an abundant supply enough to meet all their needs, and more left over).

 

Let’s begin.

 


Objection/Question

“All the first century Christians including the apostles were poor and struggled to get even the most basic of necessities.”

ANSWER:

A few things about this:

Firstly, this isn’t entirely true. There were Christians in the early church who lived in abundance  (1Tim 6:17).  Paul had his moments as well (Phil 4:18).

Secondly, I’m going to say something that I have never heard anyone else say on this subject: Aclose examination of the Bible will reveal that the only instances poverty was condoned were in connection to persecution or the preaching of the Gospel.

See, the modern Western world of Christianity is vastly different from that of first century Christianity. Back then, many believers were being put to death. They were run out of their homes and cities and forced to live in hiding. Many were stripped of all worldly possessions and thrown in prison.

Why? Because they had low paying jobs? Because of a recession? Because of a bad economy? No. It was because of their faith in Christ and the preaching of the Gospel.

So here’s the thing—If that is why a believer is struggling financially, neither I nor any prosperity teacher I know would have a beef with that type of a situation. Persecution is a mark of the Christian and the Scriptures are crystal clear on that.

But let’s get back to the original objection—- if we wanted to do a comparison between Western Christianity, and First Century Christianity, we would need to be fair and ask the question like this: If there were no persecution, and early Christians were practicing the wealth-building principles of the book of Proverbs by working hard, spending responsibly, and being charitable, would most of thembe poverty stricken?

When put in this light, a whole new perspective arises, doesn’t it?

The thing is, we really don’t have that sample to draw from when it comes to the New Testament. As previously mentioned, early believers were under severe persecution which led to severe poverty. The closest thing we would have for an accurate comparison is the Old Testament. Here, followers of Jehovah had periods of time where they were under no persecution. And when we study these instances, what we find is a pretty consistent pattern of prosperity.

 

 

Objection/Question:

“Proponents of the Prosperity Gospel are out to get money. They twist the Word of God in order to make the preaching of the Gospel a money making venture.”

ANSWER:

I can’t argue this. I have seen it many times. However, the old saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” applies here. There will always be bad examples in Christianity for ANY doctrine. So we need to be fair and look at the idea itself, apart from any of it’s abuses.

 

 

Objection/Question:

“These teachers wouldn’t dare spread such a message in third world countries where people are severely poverty stricken.”

ANSWER:

Actually, I think you’ll find this message is often even more wide spread in these types of countries than it is here, in America. I’ve spoken to multiple missionaries who tell me this is the case.

Really, if it’s in the Bible, then it needs to be preached everywhere, regardless of outward circumstances, or popularity.

 

 

Objection/Question:

“If God wants us rich why are there so many poor, struggling Christians? And why does it seem it is only working for these Faith Teachers?”

ANSWER:

Let’s broaden this scope a bit to include anything that God wants for us. When we do, we find that most Christians are not living up to their potential in MANY areas. They are depressed, divorced, struggling with multiple sins and bad habits. None of these are God’s Will yet MOST believers find themselves still in bondage to them.  Why would we assume that the fact that God wants us rich and prosperous would somehow work automatically when these other things don’t?

As far as the, “faith teachers” who it seems to work for—- Again, you have to think of this like any other topic. How would you like to hear a pastor teach about being free from lust while he is committing adultery? Or a Bible teacher on having the joy of the Lord while he is miserable? Or someone else talk on witnessing to the lost when he has never led someone to the Lord?

We view a person as an authority in any field in which they are able to achieve an uncommon level of success. There is nothing suspicious or underhanded about leaders leading by example.

 

 

Objection/Question

“People who see you driving expensive cars and living in big houses will be motivated by the wrong reasons to get saved.”

ANSWER:

First of all, our duty is to preach the Word of God regardless of what motivates people to get saved. Secondly, one could argue that Peter was motivated by the wrong reason to follow Christ in Luke 5 after Jesus blessed His fishing business so much so that his boat almost sank. Yet, even though he had experienced, “divine prosperity” it still caused him to realize he was a sinner and needed Jesus (vs 8). Same with those who believed and followed Jesus after He multiplied the fish and loaves (John 6:26). Regardless, what some may consider, “the wrong reason” could be the only way some may realize their need for salvation and follow Jesus.

 

 

Objection/Question

“The Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil.”

ANSWER: That’s true. It’s very wrong and very destructive to pursue money or to be greedy. It’s unbiblical to elevate anything or anyone above a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and our allegiance to Him.

 

 

Objection/Question

“Jesus said don’t lay up treasures for yourself here on earth.”

ANSWER:

This passage actually presents a problem for the non Prosperity crowd more than it does Word of Faith people. Because if you’re WOF, you believe God has provided for you riches. So you’re not laying up anything. It’s a gift God has given you and you are simply RECEIVING it.  On the other hand, if you don’t believe God wants you to be rich and that you shouldn’t be storing up for yourself  treasures,  then what are you doing with a bank account?

 

 

Objection/Question

“The Bible says to be content with just food and clothing.”

ANSWER:

This is another of what I call, “self hanging” arguments. In other words, the passage challenges more than just what is known as the, “Prosperity Gospel.” Because if you live in America and have a computer, car, tv, iPhone, iPad, etc then we must ask, Are you being content with just food and clothing? And why are you saving up all that money for a vacation?

 

 

Objection/Question

“Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had before he could follow Him.”

ANSWER:

He also told Zacchaeus (another rich man) nothing of the sort (Lk 19:2-5). So what should we take away from these stories?  If it’s that we should not put riches before God—- I agree. If it’s that we should sell all we have and follow Jesus—-lead the way, chief.

You first.

 

 

Objection/Question

“There just isn’t any solid biblical evidence for this doctrine.”

ANSWER:

Well that depends on what you mean by, “solid biblical evidence.” All I can do is tell you what the Bible plainly says. To me, that’s solid. I get that there are other criteria many of us look at. Commentaries, digging around in the original languages, etc. Those are all fine and good (heck, what you’re reading now could technically qualify as Bible commentary) but at the end of the day, the emphasis should be on what the Bible says. Not on what we think it says. Not on what we think it means, or what others say about it, but what God Himself, actually wrote down for us.

So here are a handful of my personal favorite passages on the subject.

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life

(Proverbs 22:4 KJV)

 

Through wisdom is a house built. And by understanding it is established. And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

(Proverbs 24:3-4 KJV)

 

Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished, but he that gathers by labor shall increase.

(Proverbs 13:11 KJV)

 

“Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold NOW IN THIS TIMEhouses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

(Mark 10:29, 30 ESV)

 

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

(2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV)

 

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us RICHLY ALL THINGS TO ENJOY

(1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV)

 

Therefore let no one boast in men. For ALL things are yours: whether  . . . THE WORLD or life or death, or THINGS PRESENT or things to come ALL are yours.

(1 Corinthians 3:21, 22 NKJV)

 

And if you’re tempted to doubt what is included when the Bible says, “ALL” in the above verses, this passage has always helped me to keep from trying to put a lid on it . . .

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

(Romans 8:32 NKJV)

 

Conclusion

 

At this point, I’d like to open the floor to hear from you.

What are you thoughts on this subject?

Would early Christians have prospered if not for persecution?

What is your take-away from Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler?

How does one avoid laying up treasures here on earth?

Should God’s Will for prosperity be expected to work automatically when His Will in so many other areas of our lives does not?

 

Thought of the Day

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One of the laziest, Debbie-Downerist (the act of being a Debbie Downer) approaches we can ever have to a Bible topic is, “This has been studied and debated for hundreds of years by minds much greater than ours. If they did not figure it out, neither will you.”

Hogwash.

Think where science would be today if they took that approach—-You’d be reading this on a stone tablet.

Every generation has a certain level of bias, prejudice, and ignorance. That does not mean you have to follow in their footsteps.

Why I Hide Behind a Keyboard, Arguing Like an Idiot All Day

 

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What? You didn’t think I knew what people say about me?

One fascination of mine has always been observing people. Watching their actions, listening to their words, and trying to figure out what makes them tick. There is one particular attribute I have noticed in nearly all of them—-People are blab mouths. We love to hear our own voice. During conversations, we often value our own words so much more than the other person’s that we unconsciously find ourselves thinking about what we’re going to say next instead of listening. All we really care about is that one momentary pause where we can jump in and continue to share our, “nuggets”  of wisdom (notice . . . I put nuggets in quotes).

It’s even worse when it comes to Christians because they always seem to think they’ve got some deep,  revelational truth that God sent them to tell you.  So it becomes more than just a desire to talk— it’s a crusade. A mission from the Throne Room to straighten you out and mow you down with the, “sword of the spirit.”

God, knowing we have this tendency, spends a huge amount of time in the book of Proverbs trying to get us to shut up and listen. And James does a great job of encapsulating this thought by condensing it into a few words: Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (Jms 1).

Christians practice this passage all the time. They just do it in reverse. Slow to hear, quick to speak, and quick to get angry. As a result, just like the book of Proverbs repeatedly warns, our decision to be disobedient is often met with destruction in one form or another.  Then you have these dear folks who were never taught properly and think that every time something bad happens in their life it’s because God has some great, magnificent reason for it. It never seems to occur to them that their failure to listen has resulted the way He warned it would—-with negative consequences.

Why I Suck at Debating

I know in my own life, nearly every time I say something on a discussion of importance without ample time to first reflect on what’s already been said,  I regret it later.  This is why I suck at debating. Debating requires immediate responses or else the audience thinks that you’ve, “lost.”

A lot of people will be surprised to hear me say this but I’m opposed to debating and arguing. I don’t know how any Christian could be in favor of that type of format when James told us to be quick to hear and slow to speak.

I’m also opposed to debating because it carries with it the idea that we’re supposed to be convincing this other person of how right we are and how wrong they are.

I have absolutely no interest in convincing anyone of anything.

See, folks are so used to loud, overbearing, obnoxious, Christians that they just assume that the only reason anyone would want to talk about a controversial topic is so they can stir up an argument.  I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “there you go again, causing trouble. You must love arguing with people just for the sake of arguing.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. I hate debating and I hate disagreements.

But here’s the thing—- I love the truth. And that love drives me to put it above my comfort zone. So I talk about it. I ask questions. I engage in conversations that are considered, “weird” or socially awkward. Why? So I can win arguments? No. So I can learn where I’m missing it. I  want to test and see if what I believe will stand up under scrutiny. I want to hear from others with different perspectives than mine in the hopes that they can poke holes in my convictions.1

In other words, if I’m wrong, I want to know about it!

What’s with the Nerdy Online Stuff?

Although I suspect this is true of everyone, I can only speak for myself when I say that I need time to process and digest information. I also need time to allow my emotions to settle. Very important topics are often very emotional topics and in order to be objective, you have to learn to separate yourself from how they make you feel. Usually my initial knee jerk reaction to what I hear is not the correct one. It’s more defensive than it is logical. That makes having these types of conversations in person very rushed and often fruitless.

This is why written format is so valuable. It allows for ample time to think about what someone says before issuing a response. There is no pressure to just say something in order to fill dead air space or because the other person may think you’re, “losing” if you don’t.

What Christians Really Mean When They Say They Just Want to, “Talk”

Finally, the other benefit of written communication  (and this is really one of, if not theeee biggest reason I’ve restricted all discussion to this format) is you can avoid people who talk too much. Simply put, people are rude and inconsiderate. They take advantage of your manners by blabbing non stop, knowing that out of respect you won’t interrupt. These same people will often refuse to have dialogue in any other format than face to face where they’re used to dominating the conversation.

It’s actually gotten to the point now that when someone says, “we should get together and talk about this sometime” what I hear is . . .

“With your permission, I’d like to punish you with my words. First,  I’ll start by going on and on, branching off into different tangents. My plan is to keep a steady stream of words going so that you don’t get a chance to zero in on anything suspicious. I’ll be sporadically raising my voice whenever I suspect you may be attempting to cut me off.

Though you will try, you won’t be able to follow or see how any of what I say has anything to do with the subject at hand.

Then I’ll move on to peppering you with quick jabs of semi dubious Bible quotes without giving you a chance to look them up (because to be honest, I don’t know where they are either . . . They may not even be in there, come to think of it).

Sure, you’ll look for a way of escape.  Maybe crashing through the nearest window or possibly even stabbing yourself with a fork (because we’ll probably be at a Denny’s or something.) But you won’t have the guts to see it through.

By the time I’m done steam rolling, and stripping you of all hope for getting a word in edgewise,  I will have broken your will—-I mean, we’re talking Bane on Batman, I will straight up, break you.

The end result? The most uncomfortable four and a half hours of you’re life. You’ll be legitimately terrified to say or ask anything else for fear that I’ll go off again.

I promise you, the sheer length of my discourse will make you wish you were never born.

Oh . . . And by the way, you better pray I bring Tic-Tacs  or else you can kiss those eyebrows goodbye.

. . . So what do you say? How about Denny’s after church,  Sunday?”