I toured the Revolutionary Museum and some American Revolutionary War battlefield sites in Yorktown, Virginia. The tour guides and docents were well-informed and helpful. The postings and literature at the various sites which was written by experts on the Revolutionary war, was also helpful and informative. This information was written by highly educated and informed people. But, as expert as these sources seemed to be, none of them could actually wage a war. They could not implement the tactics of Revolutionary warfare nor could they establish an effective government in the aftermath of such a war – despite their extensive knowledge. (And, if you knew anything about the American Revolution, you could spot areas where American history is being revised by these same people.)
Interesting and disturbing as the tour was, it still reminded me of a funny commercial where a bank is being robbed and a fellow appearing to be a bank guard is asked “aren’t you going to do something?” The bank guard answers, saying, “Oh, no. I’m not a bank GUARD. I’m just a bank MONITOR. I don’t stop bank robberies, I just report on them.” Much like the experts on the American Revolution, they don’t fight wars or establish governments, they just report on them.
I sat in on a Church Bible study class and listened, hoping to participate in a study on “The Beatitudes”. I want to know more about and discuss matters in the Bible. The problem for me, as it turned out, was that this was a lecture instead of a discussion or a study. And, it was so far out of context of what Jesus had said, according to the verses reviewed, that it made little contextual sense.
The second problem for me was that this lecture was also an example of an *EISEGESIS of scriptures. (*The process of interpreting text in such a way as to introduce one’s own presuppositions, agendas or biases. It is commonly referred to as “reading into the text”. It is often done to “prove” a preconceived point of concern, and to provide confirmation bias corresponding with the preconceived interpretation and any agendas supported by it.”)
The class leader was sincere, but, he taught from a book other than the Bible and only used the Bible in support of the preconceived ideas from the book he was using as his source material. It was ‘logical sounding lecture’ using some good Biblical principles, but, it had little to do with what Jesus was teaching in Matthew chapter five.
Unfortunately, this is not unusual in this postmodern church era. Jesus’ teachings, all-to-often, have been reduced to little more than lessons on proper Christian etiquette and cultural norms framed in Biblical terms. The postmodern church, all-to-often, views Jesus’ teachings with human logic inculcated upon us by our present world.
Here is a message from Senior Pastor Trent Casto, of Covenant Church, Naples, Florida. (I have cued the video to start at 13:00 minutes, at a relevant point. If it does not start at the 13:00 minute mark, fast-forward to that point)
(I consider Covenant Naples Church, Pastor Trent Casto and the entire staff as presenting and “doing” the Gospel of Christ, accurately and effectively. I strongly recommend this church as a solid Bible based and Bible teaching church)
However, many church leaders and pastors are not capable of actually implementing or doing what the Bible says, they are just reporting. Oh, they can come close. But, they are blending a secular worldview with language of the Bible in order to sound religious, The application of these revised types of religious teachings may be informative at times, but, they have no Spiritual or practical power to transform individual lives nor to reform cultures, societies and nations. They are presenting a type of “religious humanism”.
The Teachings of Jesus, on the other hand, are antithetical to worldly standards, practices and norms. Jesus was crucified as a sacrifice for our sins. But, as far as the unbelieving world was concerned, it was for His controversial and counter cultural teachings.
Jesus made it clear that if you choose to follow Him, you will have to pay the price of a disciple, and that cost is high. Both the religious and secular worlds persecuted Jesus and His followers because of His teachings. And, they will persecute you, too, if you choose to be His disciple.
Jesus came to show us the way to Life, and He warned that the gate is small and the way that leads to life is both narrow and difficult, and there are few who find it.
I am making this meager effort, writing an outline of Jesus’ teachings about (1) what it means to be His disciple, (2) what it takes to be a disciple – a true follower of Jesus and, (3) about the rewards. I pray God will use this plain and simple language to make it clear for all who would follow Him, regarding:
- God’s Salvation of humankind, The Cost
- God’s Redemptive purpose, The Course
- The Baptism Covenant, The Commitment
- The Sanctification process which every follower of Christ will experience and have to endure to the end, The Cause.
This is the process by which a person is transformed into a Disciple of Jesus.
This teaching can be found in the Gospels of the New Testament. I will use chapter 3 of the book of Matthew and continue through chapter 10. Our final instructions will be found in chapter twenty-eight of Matthew.
Please bookmark this page for future updates, and pray with me that we don’t become “hearers only” but that we remain “doers of the Word”.
Your Brother and Friend,