Beit Gamaliel

The House of Gamaliel: The confluence of knowledge and faith.

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Deception of the Gradual

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Today’s believer has effectively separated Christianity as a religion apart from personal views of politics, education, economics, and social issues. As a result, we are witnessing a generation of parishioners who are Christian in church and pagan in all almost every other area of life.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with several clergy in the US and British Virgin Islands. It was a wonderful time of connecting and sharing. In the past few months a major source of revenue to the region has been cutoff. The closing of one of the largest oil refineries in the world will have long-lasting impact to the entire region. During our meeting the question was asked, “what is the greatest threat to the church in this region?”. It was obvious to us from the mainland that the biggest concern would be the obvious: the closing of the oil refinery. But that was not the response. Without hesitation, the pastor from the island that was the hardest hit by the oil revenue spoke: “The greatest threat to the church is Christian people living in disobedience to the Word of God, contrary to what the bible says.”

I had the opportunity to be a part of a presentation that was made to several hundred pastors in Florida. We shared the stark reality that today’s church member has very little distinction in lifestyle from secular, unsaved people in the united states. Today’s believer has effectively separated Christianity as a religion apart from personal views of politics, education, economics, and social issues. As a result, we are witnessing a generation of parishioners who are Christian in church and pagan in all almost every other area of life.

Needless to say, the presentation was received with mixed responses. Some pastors are elated to have a possible solution to stem the tide of godlessness in the church. Others are simply not ready to take a firm stand against humanistic culture, and risk losing congregants. Sadly, others do not feel there is even a problem in the church.

Within days of the presentation I received a call from a pastor needing input on an issue concerning a staff member. Apparently the pastor was I involved in expelling a student from their Christian school for a violation of a sexual nature. Upon exiting the school, the parent was told by a teacher that the parent should sue the school and the church. Why would a Christian teacher tell a Christian parent to sue a church? Why would a Christian encourage someone to outright violate scripture?

Thirty years ago we never would have heard such foolishness–Christians, blatantly embroiled in sin, suing the church in order to uphold or defend their sins. It is evident that a growing number of Christians (parents, students and children, employees, and even clergy) have adopted humanism into their Christian philosophy and now adhere to a set of moral standards that are a pale imitation to the moral integrity to which God calls us.

How do we wake up one day to find that the church has abandoned any sense of moral or ethical obligation. How do we reconcile the hard data that indicates not only is this a problem within our congregants, but all indicators point also to the problem within clergy as well? Dan Betzer has warned us for decades of the ‘deception of the gradual’. The social protests of the ‘60s left our ministers “sharing” rather than “preaching,” thus undermining the authority of the pulpit. The scandals of the ‘70s and ‘80s revealed that even our brightest stars can fall, undermining the authority of the clergy. The ‘90s brought an onslaught of homosexuality and failed marriages in the church and its leaders undermining the authority of the home. The collapse of our economy has created an insatiable appetite for power, influence, and desire, coupled with an abuse of spiritual freedom, abandoning the authority of scripture. In the word of the late E. T. Quanabush, “we have learned more and more about less and less. Now we know absolutely everything about absolutely nothing.”

Today’s believer has effectively separated Christianity as a religion apart from personal views of politics, education, economics, and social issues. As a result, we are witnessing a generation of parishioners who are Christian in church and pagan in all almost every other area of life.

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