Brian Hay ~ Editorial
Decency Or Deception ...
Is Christianity Real Today?
It’s a sad day when we as people in the faith have to check a man’s credentials before we can be assured that what he teaches is going to be truth and not just humanistic opinion.
I have travelled for many years now as a minister of the gospel and not for one minute would I suggest that I am without fault, but how a man conducts his life in his home in front of his children, his wife and his neighbours is how he will conduct himself before Gods church. It is no wonder God spoke so directly about a man being held in esteem and honour by those who are outside the church before he should ever be considered worthy of position before those who are with in it.
Over forty years of pastoring I have witnessed it all and I do not say this boastfully or with any sense of satisfaction, on the contrary it is with great sadness and immense disappointment that I make these comments. When I began my ministry journey as a young man at the age of nineteen
I looked to those around me to give me the stability and direction I needed for the way ahead. All I can declare is that looking back, there have not been a lot of men in ministry to whom I can point and refer to as the examples of the faith one could align with, and know you would not be lead astray. That is not to say there are none, there are many ... but they seem so few and far between, especially when you need them.
My background was established by theological giants in a historic non Pentecostal church circle, and when I was trained and set my course for where I felt God was placing me, I attempted to find some fathers in the faith who could guide me. Tragically there were very few, and the ones that were, lived so far away they were of little help or encouragement to me. I realised very early in ministry that the only way I was going to survive was to get into God’s Word and try, to the best of my ability, to live according to it. I am thankful that I had at least been given a very strong Biblical foundation as to what was acceptable to God and what was not. I am extremely grateful for the books I was encouraged to read, as they gave me a very clear view and understanding of what was godly and what was not.
Like any other young man growing up in God and trying to find the way, I made many mistakes and did things that time can never erase and conscience can not forget ... things that you just have to commit to God in his mercy, and trust that He can bring something good from them. But as time has moved on till this present day, I find, for all the seminars and conferences that abound, things have changed very little.
I am persuaded as the Apostle Paul stated to the
Church at Corinth, the problem is we have
ten thousand instructors but we have no fathers.
As I look around today amongst the contemporary Christian society, I see in spite of the conferences and seminars, things have not got any better but noticeably worse. This alone should cause us to ask the probing questions, such as ‘Why?’ But no one does, with any real intent, to make the change to rectify it. So the destructive outcome is what the Old Testament records so often by stating every man did that which was right in his own eyes. There seems to be very little genuine desire to live a holy and upright life in accordance with Gods word and that reveals a deeper issue which shows there is little if any reading of the word of God. Because, if there was submission to His revealed word, conformity to it would be the automatic outcome.
The Church of Jesus Christ is being torn apart by immorality at every level and to such a degraded degree that even the ungodly are shocked and find it difficult to comprehend. Of all the religious expressions on earth at present we consider ourselves to be the most empowered and influential yet we above all the others have more corruption and deceit in our ranks. There is hardly a week that goes by without correlating the Christian leaders alongside the politicians who are being exposed almost on a daily basis. The implications and ramifications of this are nothing short of horrific not only to humanity but also to Heaven.
Why would any one want to join a church to be lied to, to be stolen from, to be subjected to abuse and sexual manipulation along with financial extortion. These are just some of the modern extremes we are witnessing amongst the churches leaders but they are by no means the sum of them. We watch as men treat their congregations like a slave market demanding that their followers acknowledge them as superiors. We observe these men as they live like kings amongst their poor and continue to rape them financially convincing them they will be honoured and blessed by God himself for doing so. I consider this form of Christianity offensive to say the least. But the issue that concerns me, even more, is that the only way these leaders can continue in their charade is by these same disadvantaged saints, their followers supporting their prideful habits.
What has happened to the pure clean and holy gospel of truth, how sad that it has come to this, the church has become a party to deception and dishonesty because we think as preachers it is acceptable to God to just be human. “God will understand and forgive” we say, but we are in for a rude awakening. No wonder Jesus said “In that day many will come from the east and from the west and shall be seated in the kingdom at your fathers table but you yourselves of the kingdom shall be cast out.” What a sobering thought that we could be deceived into thinking our future is secure when it is not.
Jesus said except our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees we would in no way enter or inherit the kingdom of Heaven. So I personally marvel at the foolishness of preachers that would run so close to the white line on this ‘high way of holiness’ that they are in jeopardy of losing their salvation. They are no different from the world, when it comes to their standards, and it is outrageous to have to say, that the number of marriages that end in divorce in the Christian church has now exceeded the number of dissolved marriages in the world outside the church on a percentage basis. This certainly does not bode well for the church and its compromised leaders, and will not be well accepted when we ultimately stand before Christ at his judgement seat on the day of accounting. It has caused so many individuals to stumble and fall by the way, that God will hold men accountable no matter what men would otherwise tell you.
I have lived to see in my short life time as a minister of the Gospel, several of my contemporaries charged and imprisoned for offences relating to paedophilia, some charged with misappropriation of church monies. Many others on a broader scale all over the body of Christ from the most prominent to the least, have been exposed as homosexuals and lesbian, apart from the now so common sexual misconduct among peers. Then add to all of this, the marriage dissolutions right round the world in the Christian church and it is disgraceful to say the least. My wife and I have been married forty years and as we travel people in church circles treat us as something strange because it is so unusual to find couples still together after ten years let alone forty.
Lust and corruption, along with all the other perversions of truth and justice, have now just become the norm, totally acceptable in the philosophy of our Christian doctrines and culture of modern church life. Many of the big names that fell in earlier years repeated the former sins several times over, in turn undermining the faith of the fathers and subverting the truth, bending it to their personal, sexual and greed crazed appetites. Now we are required to live with its excesses and consequences.
Because a man’s word is no longer held in esteem and honour by his own conscience, we have found it necessary to legislate contractual agreements to hold a man to his bonded word. That even is no longer considered important as one generation gives way to another, so each of us learn not to trust any one, as their word means nothing. How the Lord himself must grieve when He sees what we have done to his laws and statutes. We have without question trodden under foot the holy things of God and treated them with absolute disdain and disrespect. Like Samson the Nazarite, we have defiled and desecrated every holy vow we have taken before God, and incredibly think it does not matter as we just need to repent of our sins and they are erased.
I am not suggesting the Blood of Christ shed for us at Calvary is not our total answer to the sin question but I am saying or reminding folk of the fact that the scriptures in Hebrews informs us very specifically and clearly that without holiness no man shall see God. Righteousness is one thing, old fashioned holiness or sanctification as it was known when it was taught in the church a couple of generations ago is another, it is different. Righteousness has to do with bestowal, a gift bequeathed or like an inheritance passed on to another, freely given and gladly accepted without having to earn or work for it but Holiness and sanctification is not gifted or bequeathed it is worked for, personally erected and earned.
It has to do with lifestyle, it is how a man conducts himself, the example of character his life leaves for those who follow behind, and unlike an imputed or imparted right standing before God, holiness is determined by each individual man’s way of living. His manner of conduct demonstrated and seen by his actions and the biblical obedience he exemplifies to others. This is earned and learned not just imparted and received as righteousness, or right standing with God is.
Some years ago when I was in Papua New Guinea I was asked to address a group of top level governmental politicians. It was when I was requested to officiate and grant the northern province of Enga its independence. While there, God began to speak to me as to the word I was to deliver and it came from Deuteronomy chapter twenty eight, a portion of scripture that most will be familiar with, the chapter on blessing and cursing. The Lord challenged me to declare that passage of scripture out loud before them and hold them accountable to the wording which states Heaven and earth has recorded against you this day what has been spoken. If you will obey Gods word you will be blessed but if you will not obey his word, you will bring a curse upon yourselves.
Whilst standing in front of them the lord began to prompt me to mention these three particular words, two of which I knew ~ the third I did not. The three words were purity, piety, posterity. As I said the former two I understood well, purity has to do with keeping clean from bodily physical sins. Piety has to do with keeping the mind and conscience clean from perverted thinking and evil thoughts of the soul ... but what was posterity? I knew that it had something to do with ones behind, but that is all I knew. I carry a Hebrew Greek Key study Bible with me from which I preach so while I was readying myself to speak I looked up the Strong's reference in the back. It referred me to a passage of dialogue which mentioned the amazing beauty of this actual original Hebrew word. It stated if a Hebrew Rabbi was asked to define and explain this word he would use this simple following analogy.
The meaning of this word is likened to a man who is rowing a boat, unlike today’s so called counterfeit preachers who are just motivational soul stirrers who whip up men’s emotions, the rowers attention is not facing toward his ultimate goal but backwards away from it. The reason being the goal will automatically take care of itself, a man who is concerned about posterity is more alert to the actual example and track record (legacy and heritage)he leaves behind him than he is about achieving his objective. The explanation went on in the attached commentary suggesting when a rower rows his boat he does not face the destiny he faces away from it, to the rear from where he has just come, although his energy is expended pulling the oars toward him which in turn propel him towards his destiny. In actual fact his attention is never to his goal but making sure he leaves a good example or path behind him, to his rear for others to follow. Posterity then has to do with the intent of the heart or spirit of a man, the passion that drives and compels him.
What an amazing revelation I thought, and as a result I am of the persuasion now, that most hyper faith and motivational drivel is more concerned about individual greed and financial success that swells a mans ego, than it is about godly character and biblical example of right and wrong. True motivational exhortation is about laying a visible track record by godly living that enables others not just to see but with your actual physical support assists them to attain their goals as well. As a pastor I have learnt over years if you have a genuine love for Gods sheep sometimes you have to sacrifice your own goals to help others attain theirs. I also now believe it is not just about crossing the line but more about how many others along the way you help to get to cross along with you.