The Curse of Conflicting Messages

The Curse of Conflicting Messages
Robert Wurtz II

Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. (Matthew 23:3)

Conflicting messages are far too often the curse of those who would seek to teach and preach God’s word. It was true in the time of Jesus and it is true in our day and age. Matthew 23:3 is a sad commentary on certain of the Pharisees. Jesus told the people of His day that they are teaching you right with their mouth, but leading you astray with their actions. In the broken English of my former teacher from Japan, “Word and action no match.”

In the churches of God, conflicting messages cause tremendous confusion. Even children are capable of picking up on inconsistencies in our teachings. If I teach a group of children that something is wrong and then allow my own children to do it — it is an inconsistency. It will damage my credibility in their eyes. I risk the charge of hypocrisy. However, conflicting messages in the churches of God are more subtle than this in modern times. 

Confusion Comes to the World

Militant atheist George Benard Shaw once said that “all great truths begin with blasphemies.” This is how the Devil warps peoples’ minds. He blasphemes sacred things as a platform to promote his ideals. For example, there was a time when a clear line existed between sacred and secular things. False and carnal professors of Christ have compromised this fact. Thirty years ago it would have been considered a profanation to play secular music in a church or during a Christian meeting. In 2014 secular music is being played during altar services where people are supposed to be getting right with God. Twenty years ago a generation sang about going into the enemies camp and taking back what the Devil stole; this generation has gone into the enemies camp — stole Satan’s stuff — and are offering it up to God as a sweet savor. And if that lunacy is not bad enough, consider that now a popular beer company is using the classic Gospel Hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” to promote alcohol in its commercials. 

To take a Gospel Hymn and profane it in such a way is as brazen as Belshazzar taking the holy things of God into his debauched party in Daniel 5. “Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms…” Perhaps the Devil figured, “The church ain’t using it .. maybe I can use it.” The trouble with this is that some old timers will hear this message and play the tune out in their mind. When they do it’s liable to backfire on the Devil, just as it does when secular music is playing during so-called Christian altar calls. At any rate, the enemy has raised the cup of this sacred hymn to God as if to join these so-called Christians in blaspheming the things of God and distorting the concept of holy for the saints and sinners alike.

Looking To the Future

Be of good cheer, things are about to get worse. If God spares our lives ere many years, we are liable to see compromise, confusion, blasphemy, and profaning at a level believed only to exist in Hell right now. This is the true cost of redefining time-tested definitions of Bible concepts such as conversion, new birth, born again, “saved”, holy, sanctified, and the rest. 



Conformity or Peculiarity?

Conformity or Peculiarity?

Robert Wurtz II

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy (1Peter 2:9-10)

Although God owns the universe and everything in it, He has always desired to separate out and own a group of people in a unique way. This is what Israel was meant to be; God’s special (unique) possession. He wanted them to be a peculiar people; a compound Greek word that simply means over and above. Not that they were better than everyone else, but that they would be a living expression of God’s attributes in the earth.

After many centuries it was evident that they had failed miserably. Within this group of Israelites, Jesus Christ began calling disciples to follow Him. They were the beginnings of what we now know as the Church. Understand that there was a deliberate design to separate men and women from the life that they had been living. They were being chosen for a royal priesthood. They were called to be a holy nation. They would be God’s unique and purchased possession. 

Challenging God’s design these last 6000+ years has been none other than the Devil. In one sense his objective is to tempt God’s peculiar people to compromise and conform to the evil world around them. This is why the New Testament is loaded with reminders of who and what the Church is supposed to be. If we lose our peculiarity we lose our identity and if we lose our identity we have succumbed to conformity,  

The difficulty in convincing most professed Christians that we are supposed to be separate from the world, is that most people came to Christ in an environment devoid of teachings on this subject. Evangelism is almost completely man-centered these days, with little or no regard for God’s purposes. Many people think salvation is simply a means of escaping hell. Multitudes have prayed a simple prayer and have been told they are now saved. Some have been told they can now never be lost. 

The consequence of all this is that Christian standards have been lowered to the point that there is almost no distinction between the lives of Christians and the lives of sinners. We have been in such a moral free fall that we all deserve a certificate in skydiving. A hundred years ago there was a clear line between the Church and the world, but that line is now completely blurred. Just in my lifetime I have watched the churches go from rejecting secular activities as “worldly” such as secular music, the movie theatre, dancing, drinking alcohol, immodest clothing (women wearing men’s clothes, etc.), men wearing women’s jewelry, tattoos, coed swimming, and a host of other things- to embracing them in so-called Christian “liberty.” In some cases they are used as means of evangelism and fund raising. And it only took two generations.

Christian teachers used to say that a person is either sitting in the chair of commitment, compromise, or conflict. In my lifetime the visible church (as it has been visible to me) has moved from chair to chair. Right now we are in the seat of conflict. Why? Because compromise always leads to conflict. The lines are drawn between the people who want to maintain the standards and those who want to compromise it. Often it is between those who remember the way standards used to be and those who were not born yet. The Devil hopes to hold out until nobody remembers the standards of the past.

Indeed, another generation arose that knew not the Lord nor the works He had done in Israel. This has always been the pattern of things. One generation raises the bar and the next generation compromises. The standards that one generation compromised the next generation criticized. The chorus grows so loud that even the compromising generation joins the criticizers. Then the next generation is completely ignorant of the standards of the past. Before long our forefathers are painted as a bunch of backward idiots that were in bondage to legalism, or some other cynical description. Many are so backslidden that they can’t even decide if homosexual marriage is wrong.

Yes, in my lifetime I have come to wonder what Christianity even is anymore. The compromise has led to so much confusion that I sometimes wonder if anyone knows what Christianity is supposed to be. I dare say that we now live in the era of standard-less Christianity. We can do everything the world does and in some cases we can do it even better! We have to ask ourselves a question though. What’s so peculiar or unique about this possession that Christ has purchased with His own blood? In what way is it over and above the world? God has always had a remnant, even in Israel. This is not who I am referring to. The Lord knows those that are His. Nevertheless, we must ask ourselves, have I chosen conformity or peculiarity? Does my life demonstrate separation from the world or conformity to it? Does my teaching and doctrine contribute to God’s design for the Church as an “over and above” kind of people?

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