Church is a Collection of Idiots

The early days of the anti-itch meditation existed to point out theological idiocy on display in the Church. It was fun. It was also largely depressing. I had to stop.

However, since those days, although I have stopped pursuing stories of Church idiocy (which are still ample), I have continued to point out mindless Churchy drivel that comes my way.

I even started a comic strip about it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (I’m reading a new biography of him so I’m getting lots of good quotes) said, “Christianity conceals within itself a germ hostile to the church.”

Amen, brother!

Christianity is the following of Christ, who was largely opposed to religious structure, particularly religious structure that completely missed the point of Scripture for the sake of its religious structure. Zeal for God’s house ate Him up.

To follow Christ is to carry on the mission of attacking religious structures that trump themselves over Scripture. All Christians should have a healthy wariness of the Church.

This is proved by Scripture (Matthew 23) as well as Church History. The Church is made up of people and people are idiots. Therefore, the Church is a collection of idiots. Idiocy will ensue.

At the same time there is hatred for all that corrupts the Church, there is a deep love for the health and benefits of the Church. There is a desire to push past human idiocy to get to Christ-centered unity and fellowship.

If nothing else, being in the Church has made me long for the day when I will be in heaven, surrounded by Christ-bought, Christ taught believers. What a day of rejoicing it will be.

In the meanwhile. fight the idiocy!

Double-Minded, Lukewarm Wimps

The modern depiction of Christianity is that it’s just like any other hobby–something you do with your spare time.

It is rarely ever portrayed as a way of life. The Gospel seems as disconnected with reality as the Cubs and winning baseball.

We’ve created a Church of mildly interested observers of Christianity. A Church that doesn’t mind sitting around being Christianized for a few hours a month. A Church that’s like Bill Clinton–we smoke but we don’t inhale.

Jesus Christ says He’d rather have us be hot or cold. Atheists are better in God’s eyes than those who play with Christianity. He spits our lukewarm curiosity out.

Make up your minds you double-minded!

“The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one’s bread, on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing. People should at least understand and concede this if they call themselves Christian.”
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Slavery of False Liberty

“Our willingness to suffer for the sake of the perception of freedom is remarkable.”

This is a quote from Jaron Lanier, who is an internet specialist guy who was writing about economics. I found the quote very insightful into human nature.

Christians, at least American Christians, know that Christ has made us free. The problem comes because most people define “free” wrong.

They never get saved, they just enjoy a mental state of freedom, they’ve successfully quenched their conscience and go about convincing themselves they have what Christ gave them.

As they live, they will continue under the bondage to sin, they will be swayed by the group they are in, legalism will continue to haunt them, they will carry on full-well knowing that the freedom they talk about is not a reality and the hypocrisy of living fake-happy-Christian eats them up.

They pretend to be free while never having ever been quite so miserable.

Christian Liberty is shown by a desire to serve the Lord, to love the brotherhood, and even the careless liberty to love enemies. It is shown by spiritual fruit–a constant, patient, enduring, meekness and joy revealed by love, faithfulness and peace.

There is a remarkable absence of roller-coaster emotional outbursts good and bad, there is an absence of freaked-out-ness.

True freedom and liberty shows itself with a happy constancy that plods along the race course of faith. This is liberty. This is freedom. The flesh is crucified and the Spirit reins.

O that we would get this.

Defining Christian Liberty

The Bible speaks of “liberty” several times. Most Americans define liberty as “being able to do what I want.”

We then take this Americanized definition of liberty into the Bible and we read, “stand fast in the liberty whereby Christ has made us free” as saying “stand fast in doing whatever you want because Christ has made us free.”

A fuller reading of “liberty” passages will show quite clearly that this is not the intent.

Christian liberty is not “being able to do whatever I want.” Christian liberty, the liberty that Christ died to give you, is the freedom from serving sin. Being brought out of bondage to it and NOW being brought under the power of another–Jesus Christ.

We are to use the freedom that Christ gave us to by love serve one another. To bring ourselves under the point of the Law–love. Liberty means being freed from the tyranny of sin in our bodies, to use our bodies to serve Christ with righteousness unto holiness.

Being able to serve God is liberty! I no longer am bound to always serving my own corrupt, vain self, but now I can serve Christ with eternal blessings ensuing. Liberty indeed!

“And I will walk at liberty:
for I seek thy precepts.”

Pain Is Good

All of that stuff in the Old Testament has been written for our learning. Those stories we went over in Sunday School mean something. All Scripture is profitable.

The people of Israel are a great object lesson. Their deliverance from Egypt and their Wilderness wanderings have much to teach us about salvation, redemption, sanctification, and atonement.

But even before Israel escaped they can teach us. When Israel was in bondage they flourished. In fact, “the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.”

Affliction and persecution have a way of flourishing life. Tribulation works patience, patience works experience and experience works hope, and hope makes not ashamed.

Go out and make your life harder today. Go for it! Poke an eye out. Slam a log into your shin. Run 13 miles. Enjoy pain. Pain is your friend. No pain; no gain.

Better yet, stand up for Christ. Say the awkward Christian thing. Blessed are you when you suffer for righteousness sake. Be a man: suffer.

Jesus Is My Friend. Really?

There’s lots of talk about Jesus being our friend. This may indeed be true, but probably not as frequently as it is said.

The concept of “friend” means different things to different people. Most conceptions of Jesus as a friend is based on what we think a friend is. It basically boils down to this: Jesus is my friend because He does lots of stuff for me.

The classic internet example of this thinking is in this classic video from way back. Yeah, I don’t know about that.

You may indeed be Jesus’ friend, but you’d have to define it the way Jesus does.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Jesus defines a friend as: people who do what I tell them. I suppose that does not seem like a very friendly definition, but it’s what He said. This limits His friendship roll significantly. Jesus is not our friend because He does what we tell Him; we’re His friends if we do what He tells us.

Use the phrase carefully, my friends.

Promises of “Liberty” Enslave

The Bible clearly tells us not to sin. Sin is a bad idea with bad results. Everyone knows this. But this knowledge is rather inconvenient to us, as we find sin rather enjoyable.

Rather than fleeing youthful lusts, we look for ways to make them OK. There are many attempts at doing this. Many guys have come along and devised theological systems that make sin not so bad.

If you buy into (and you frequently do have to “buy” into) their systems they can show you the secret key that allows you to not be bothered by all those pesky Bible verses that used to bother you.

If you follow their loopholes and justifications, they can set you free! They can release you from legalistic bonds imposed by irrelevant Scriptures.

It sounds so good. It even works! The problem is that you’ll never be able to read and enjoy the whole Bible. You’ll never be able to explain your Bible without the aid of the system you bought into and the wisdom of “your guy.”

Sure, you’re free from the bondage of sin and guilt and all those pesky results of actually hearing God’s Word, but now you are brought into another bondage: bondage to a man.

You can’t speak unless you speak his words. You can’t feel a way unless that way is approved by Your Guy. You can’t think or ask questions that Your Guy has sufficiently answered so stop worrying about them.

I’ll let Peter sum it up, “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”

Beware of biblical systems that promise liberty when liberty to them means “I can do whatever I want!” That system is corrupt, a cloud without water. No substance. It will make your latter end worse than the beginning.

Power in the Blood

Lots of Christian types talk about the power in the blood of Jesus Christ. This is for good reason: the Bible speaks to the power in Christ’s blood.

The problem is that most limit the power before Scripture does. Many believe the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness, washes us and makes us whiter than snow.

In other words: the blood has the power to save.

It certainly does, I do not argue against that point one bit. What I don’t like is that most assume the power in the blood stops at forgiveness, at salvation. In fact, Scripture says the blood makes us obedient.

We are also told that the blood of Christ makes us perfect to do good works to fulfill His will. The blood purged us from dead works and allows us to serve the living God.

I’m all for people celebrating the blood of Christ, just celebrate everything it does, not just the first bit.

What Our Culture Needs

A recent ad on a Christian web site said this:

“In a culture where people are loudly proclaiming they are ‘good without God,” it’s time to stand up and say ‘I am a Christian!'”

I think this is absolute drivel. First off, there is the straw man of people actually proclaiming they are ‘good without God.’ I’ve yet to hear anyone, outside of a few crackpot atheists, say such a thing.

If anything, our culture is saturated with God-talk. I would say our culture, just like any culture, celebrates a kind of godliness without power, just like Paul confronted.

Secondly, the best thing in the world for our culture is if most people who claimed to be Christians would sit down and shut up. What we don’t need is more people boasting about their supposed specialness.

“Be not many of you teachers” is what the Bible says. This is in context of a passage telling people to guard their mouths. The proud proclamation of ignorance has helped none at all in bettering any culture.

My advice for all concerned about people in their culture is to ignore the culture. Go home, read the Bible over and over and over again. Pray for mercy and spiritual strength to live out what you read.

We don’t need anymore proclaimers of self-righteousness, we need mature believers who are grown up in the Word and in Christ.


You can never be right with God. This is because you were born not right with God. Once you’re not right, you can’t right yourself. Only God can make straight what is crooked.

God revealed His Law to people to show them they are not right. We are unclean pretty much all the time just for natural bodily functions. Women, according to God’s Law not me, are like, ridiculously unclean.

But God’s point is this: because you are human you are unclean, tainted, messed up, and hopelessly lost.

Our only hope is to admit this fact. Not to try to fix ourselves, not to adjust our flesh accordingly and strive to be less uncleanish. No, our only recourse is to humbly cry out for mercy.

Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.

That’s our only hope. God is good. It is the goodness of God that leads men, and you sick constantly unclean women, to repentance.

Walking By Faith

Some people think that “since I have faith in Jesus” I can go anywhere and be with anyone and remain safe from sin. They have an assurance that since they trust Christ temptation loses its power.

This belief lasts until shortly after falling into sin.

Yet it will be returned to. I’ve counseled people who repeatedly fall into sin, it beats them up and gets them down. They buck themselves up with, “But, I just get up and try again. I have faith!”

Off they go back to the bar, back to the old crowd, and then they act surprised when they fall once again.

Walking by faith does not mean that Jesus makes all temptation go away. Walking by faith means applying God’s Word to your life. Parts of God’s Word like, “flee also youthful lusts,” “make no provision for the flesh,” “evil communication corrupts good manners,” etc.

Walking by faith means running from sin, avoiding all appearance of evil. We must not confuse walking by faith with tempting God. “Here I go God, back into the porn shop. I know you’ll deliver me though.”

That’s tempting God and has nothing to do with faith. Sin is a real danger. Treat it so.

Visions of God

Tomorrow I am beginning a series of messages on Ezekiel. Ezekiel gets an awesome glimpse at the presence of God. His ministry is kicked off with tremendous fireworks, shock and awe displays of who God is.

Many prominent men in the Bible had spectacular visions of God, from Moses to Ezekiel to Paul and John. Very cool stuff.

It’s no wonder these guys had incredible ministries even during severe persecution. Their determination was established by their glimpses of God’s power.

Sure seems like we’d all benefit from getting our own visions, wouldn’t we? These experiences are not normative, not something we should expect. If you get one, cool! Go with it.

If you don’t, carry on! Know that the experiences and visions of these guys were written down so that we too might be moved with what they saw. Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe.

If we acted as though we served the same God who displayed Himself with such power to Ezekiel, perhaps we’d have a little more motivation to serve. They’ve been written for our learning, edification and perfection. Enjoy these accounts!

Free Book!

The basic message of my book is to give things away, just as Christ gave Himself for you. So, in light of that message, here is my offer:

If you would like to receive a FREE copy of my book, The Gospel-Filled Wallet, all you need to do is send me your name and address to

Even if you have a copy already, you can ask for another one to give away. Offer stands until 8:00am Monday, September 13. Act now, before they’re all gone, etc, etc.

Doing Good and Stuff

Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” We all know this phrase and we flippantly spew it forth when we attempt to rip telephone books.

We need to know the context of this phrase, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Note the following:

1)This verse has nothing to do with phone book ripping.
2) It has everything to do with doing good works and bringing forth fruit.

Good works result in fruit, “let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”

Here is where Christian minds explode, “But we are of grace not of works. It’s one or the other, bub.”

For salvation it is–we re saved by grace not works. Once a man is saved, God’s grace grows him in sanctification and good works.

We are created IN Christ unto good works. The branch who is continuing in Christ (a saved believer) will bring forth much fruit. No discussion here about yielding, choosing, deciding, rededicating, etc. It’s just a fact.

When these good works occur they are God’s works in us, a result of being in Him. John says, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

True, spiritual good works bring glory to our Father in heaven. Without the Son you cannot please the Father. With the Son you will bring forth fruit because you have been created in the Son to do good works.

I love it!

Charity For Pay

Jesus talked about love quite a bit. He tells us to love our enemies, what praise is there in loving people who love you? Even heathens do that. Jesus says we should love and give and expect nothing in return.

If you lend your neighbor your Harry Potter books and they don’t give them back, you’re not supposed to ask about them. Let them keep dear Harry.

But perhaps this verse goes even further.

Many people show charity to people in hopes of saving their souls. They give and give to them, hoping that “all my love will certainly bring them to Christ!”

Then, four years later, these heathen scum moochers still haven’t accepted Christ as their Savior so, “forget them!”

How much of our charity is just simply charity? No strings attached, not even an expectation of salvation? Loving people to save them is a nice idea, certainly could happen–

But if we look at it as “I show you love so you at least owe me the salvation of your soul,” perhaps that’s more bait-and-switch than love. Much evangelism is bait and switch. It’s not genuine, it’s camouflaged salesmanship.

We love, quite simply, because God loves. End of story.

Love Believeth All Things Except. . .

1 Corinthians 13:7 says that love believes all things. This has always bothered me. I’m a skeptical person and I have a hard time believing what people tell me.

If I love people do I have to believe them when they say “see you at 6,” when I know they won’t show? Because, honestly, I don’t believe them, but I think I love them.

Or do I?

Jesus Christ is God and God is love. If Jesus is love then one would expect Him to believe all things. He’s our example right?

I point you to John 6:23 and 24 says in part, “many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them.”

The word “commit” has the root word “faith.” In other words, the passage could be legitimately translated, “many believed in His name, but He did not believe them.”

Ha! Loophole!

KJV Vocabulary Lesson #2

In my ongoing quest to un-NIV Christendom (because really, you’re better than that), here is my next KJV vocabulary lesson.

Today’s KJV Vocabulary word is



It can be used as a noun or a verb.

NOUN: torn up chunks of animals
“The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravin.” Nahum 2:12

VERB: to tear in pieces, cut
“Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf.” Genesis 49:27

So, next time you are doing your small group study on Nahum you will be able to impress people with your deep knowledge of The King’s English.

Which buys you no points with God, but it does impress the chicks.

Not By Works

The demands and commands of Scripture are impossible. No human can pull it off. None.

The problem is that our hearts are tainted and focused on the wrong thing. God is absent from the natural heart and is the seat of corruption.

The Bible is clear and consistent on the point that a man must be born again. He must be given a new heart. There is no work you can do that will create in you a new heart.

Our only recourse is calling upon God, as David did, and cry out, “Create in me a clean heart.” The Puritan George Swinnock said, “There is no sin but it is dressed in the drawing-room of the heart, before it appear on the stage of the life.”

The heart must be cleaned, made new, renewed, changed fundamentally and wholly. This is the essence of Christianity–Not a better last half, but a new beginning.

You must be born again.

Does Sin Glorify Grace?

My answer would be: yes and no, but mostly no!

Grace is exalted when we reflect upon the sinfulness of the sinner who was redeemed by grace. God showing favor to someone completely lacking in all virtue certainly exalts the wonders of God’s grace.

Once a person has received God’s grace, sin ceases to bring glory to His grace.

There is a mistaken notion in Christianity that my persistence in sinning glorifies or accentuates God’s grace. Obeying God becomes merely an option, something we can choose to do if we feel like it. But I can keep sinning and never get around to obedience at any point and this demonstrates God’s great grace.

Not really, at least if you want to be consistent with Scripture!

What glorifies God’s grace is when a converted sinner is taught by God’s grace to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly right now.

Grace has freed the sinner from sin. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

God’s grace has released us from sin’s power and we are now free to serve Christ. It is this service to Christ that glorifies God’s grace. Grace turned a person who was incapable of doing good into someone who is capable of infinite good because he has been made the righteousness of God.

Sin glorifies grace to the extent that God triumphs over sin. Sin does not glorify grace anymore than the Washington Generals glorify the Harlem Globetrotters.

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