Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why The Church Loses Credibility With The Culture

Live as a credible witness.
If our actions don't line up with the message we're proclaiming, we risk losing our credibility.
David Jeremiah

Paul addressed a serious situation of sexual sin that was being tolerated in the church at ancient Corinth in 1 Cor 5. Paul starts with the following admonition:

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans ...


*******

The Christian Post reports here  that ...

The Rev. O. Jermaine Simmons Sr., pastor of the popular Jacob Chapel Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida, who recently authored a book focused on issues of godly manhood, was sent running for his life last Tuesday after one of his parishioners found him in bed with his wife.  

... The Christian Post reached out to Jacob Chapel on Monday and was told that Simmons remained the pastor of the church.

(Update - A Tallahassee, Florida, pastor who was forced to flee naked after he was caught having an affair with a parishioner's wife says he will not step down from his position because God has already forgiven him ... see here.)

I can tell you what would happen in the U.S. military if confronted with a similar situation: an inevitable court martial. Unfortunately dramatic events over the past 30 years within the culture have produced profound change. Part of this change is a yawning acceptance (and even endorsement) of sexual sin. President's Clinton's sexual affair with a White House intern was a key turning point. Prior to that, sexual sin when publicly exposed was usually followed by severe consequences - i.e., Gary Hart's forced withdrawal from the Presidential campaign after the discovery of his affair.

Clinton's sin however, was followed by no consequence of significance, and everything changed. Sexual sin is now no longer viewed by the culture as anything particularly grievous, deserving of nothing worse than a figurative slap on the hand. Tragically, much of the church followed the culture like a Pied Piper down the slippery slope, to the extent that it now often mirrors the morality of the culture ... and in some cases even exceeds it in terms of depravity.

As bad as cultural ethics have become though, I still believe the above scenario would generally be considered unacceptable and produce severe consequences outside the church. In the corporate world today, a situation like this of a CEO bedding down the wife of one of his employees would almost certainly be followed by either a resignation or firing. I may be wrong, but I believe this would still be considered intolerable today by most "pagans".

*******

Rev. Henry Lyons was leader of the National Baptist Convention (NBC), America’s largest black Baptist church group. His troubles begin in July 1997 with arson at a home he owned with a woman other than his wife. After a series of reports by the St. Petersburg Times and an investigation by state prosecutors, the adulterous Lyons was charged with racketeering and grand theft. He pleaded innocent. A year after the fateful fire, federal prosecutors indicted the St. Petersburg pastor, accusing him of fraud, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy and tax evasion. In 1999 Lyons was sentenced to serve 5.5 years for “misappropriating” more than $4 million from the National Baptist Convention USA during his tenure as their president. Lyons also stole more than $250,000 from the Anti-Defamation League that was meant to rebuild burned black churches. After being locked up for nearly five years, Lyons was released from prison in late 2003. Four months later, Lyons was back in the pulpit as interim pastor of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida.

In 2007, Lyons entered the race for the presidency of the Florida General Baptist Convention. This time around Lyons (who was still on probation) was soundly defeated. However, Lyons did receive approximately 30 percent of the vote. Lyons and his supporters subsequently formed the General Baptist State Convention of Florida of which Lyons is the President. The Lyons-led new convention lists 110 member churches with a combined 33,000 members. Here is their mission statement:

The General Baptist State Convention of Florida is a fellowship of pastor’s and churches working cooperatively to reach the lost and teach the saved. Our mission is to fulfill the work of Jesus Christ by helping churches accomplish their Biblical mission; providing channels for cooperative ministry in Florida and the world.

It’s also worth noting that "credibility" is one of the convention’s core values.

*******

When the church fails to exercise church discipline and "winks" at behavior that even the culture does not generally accept, we lose credibility with the world. If there is no discernable difference between us and the world, why should the world believe our message?

No comments:

Post a Comment