Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do Your Ears Itch?

By Jerry D. Scott
Many Christians are ready to dilute the true Gospel of Jesus Christ with silly superstitions, angel stories, and bizarre worship practices. A lifetime of ministry has allowed me to see fads come and go in the church. I've seen many doctrinal aberrations that time has corrected. The current issue of syncretism (mixing religions) is the most serious problem I have seen. Even so-called “Spirit-filled” disciples are turning to strange doctrine and weird practices because many no longer trust the absolute sufficiency of the Scripture for life and godliness.

Part of this grows out of our celebrity culture. The fact that someone can sing or dance or act does not mean they have anything authoritative to say about politics, climate science, or religious truth. Yet, we are regularly exposed to the pontifications of those like Kanye West, Madonna, and Bruce Springsteen. Are they experts? On their art, yes! On other issues? Not in my understanding. The same celebrity worship happens in the Church. An athlete who comes to faith in Christ from a life full of dysfunction is put on the stage in front of thousands of teens within months of his conversion, held up as a role model before the water of his baptism has dried.

There many Christian musicians whose passion for worship is unquestioned but whose Scriptural depth and understanding are frequently slim to non-existent. But, because they enjoy celebrity status in church circles, they have a more profound influence than pastors who carefully study the Word and teach from long hours of preparation. The result is shallow Christians with faith built on experience alone, their focus shifted from the Awesomeness of a Holy God to subjective feelings celebrated by the song writer. That is not to say that all musicians are shallow! Some write and lead out of a life dedicated equally to study of truth and excellence of their craft. Then, too, we cannot ignore the huge influence of media speakers whose words fill up books, who take the stage at conferences, using human interest stories and Oprah-like psycho-babble to explain life to us. Frequently their message is without much Bible content or any theological anchors.

Then, too, some are ‘bored’ by steady, solid, life-changing Truth of the Word, and become fascinated by demons, angels, and psychic phenomena rather than the Word of God. Deep reverence for the Presence of Yahweh is insufficient and all manner of hype is invited into the Church to replace the genuine move of the Spirit. This is not new, but it is a growing trend with nothing but terrible consequences for the health of the Church. The Word speaks of this: "The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NIV)

Disciple, love the Truth! Seek out leaders whose lives show integrity. Commit yourself to a church that is more than a ‘show,’ that is Word-centered even as they are innovative, looking for ways to bring the unchanging Truth to the culture in which we live.

As we celebrate Advent, I urge you to go back to the Gospel. Read the “Jesus story” told in Matthew and Luke and let the amazing facts of God’s intervention in history wash over you. Read from John 1 and begin to understand the amazing fact that God became a Man! It’s called ‘the Incarnation!’ God, the Creator, mysteriously and wondrously, moved by love entered this world and was born a baby, lived among us teaching us, died to save us from our sins, and rose again to declare His triumph over sin, death, and Hell.

Hallelujah, what a Savior.

"I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
it is enough that Jesus died,
and that He died for me."

My heart is leaning on the Word,
the written Word of God.
Salvation by my Savior's name,
salvation through His blood."

Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor of Washington Assembly of God Church in Washington, NJ. Read more of Pastor Scott's messages on his blog, "Coffeebreak with the Word" at http://jerryscott.blogspot.com.

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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