Pre-Reformation Times: How Shall They Hear With The Preacher?
Can a preacher who doesnít believe in God preach the right Word of God?
This is the claim of
the Anglican or Episcopalian churches, A priest in England preaches but
admits he has no
faith in God, so he preaches second hand information and not any first
The priest is a secondary source speaking of a primary source he knows
of. Now as you may see the state of parts of the Christian religion in
is low in grace and very decadent.
The priest with no belief speaks on a state of grace he knows not of. Thus it often is in too liberal churches. The Apostle asks in Romans 10:14, ďhow shall they hear without a preacher?Ē In this decadent society where the churches often reflect a debased society with a diluted faith, my question is: How shall they hear with one? These are Pre-Reformation times.
Now the preacher who thinks he can preach a God he does not know is not to be counted as having an exactly New Testament faith. The New Testament speaks of faith and hope in God, a personal relationship with Christ, servicing others in the spirit of Christ, and a spiritual growing, not to perfection but betterment.
Liberal religion is a testing of God by scientific principles. If God does not submit to scientific principles proving Him, then He is not to be believed in. But if God does submit to scientific proof, then from what we understand, we know how to use Him for our ends. What human nature does with power ought to be obvious. (Now we live in terror of extinguishing life because we were empowered by scientific thinking.) To give man knowledge is to risk perverting it. Do we want to understand God and give the power to explode that power on others?
The understanding of the atomic bomb helped us to create it so we might drop it on those we didnít like at the time but like now. Now the power of God in our hands would be to make ourselves God. And we might block out God even better than we do now, which is saying something.
We have put God in a ďCatch 22Ē situation. We say we wonít believe in Him unless we can understand Him and therefore manipulate Him. In that case we make Narcissism our God, We refuse to believe in Him unless we understand Him, but if we understood Him, we would use Him to our ends. The result would be DISASTER. So either way God goes, some people will devil Him for it. As for me, I prefer not to know rather than to empower the know-it-alls who, as Socrates pointed out, really know nothing. So I say, let God be God and man not know it all. And if you canít love without understanding, live with it.
Now to love you do not have to understand. You may not understand the work of your spouse, but you love him or her. Do you ever fully understand any spouse? I think not. But do you love your spouse? Of course! Do you understand your grown children? Surely not. But do you love them? Of course. Do your tiny children love you? Yes, of course. But do they understand you? No, sometimes not at all. God is not asking you in loving Him to do anything you are not doing already. That is to love without understanding. I donít understand why people make such a big thing of understanding the infinite universe with a very small brain.
This is why I say the too liberal wonít love God unless they can understand and manipulate God. They are sick people not knowing what love is all about. They refuse to love unless they can understand and therefore manipulate. Be more adult than a liberal. If liberals applied their standards widely, they could not love anybody. And I suggest that is often the case, but they donít realize it.
If you donít accept God because you have too liberal standards of no love without understanding, then be fair and apply the principle to everyone. Practice the rule that you canít love anybody you canít fully understand. Then go home to be a social isolate.
Only there is another way to look at it. When someone says they canít join your church, because they canít fully understand God, go home and give thanks to God. Why? Because you have been spared another frustrated God manipulator. The true center of faith is doing the will of God. Jesus teaches us to pray, ďThy will be done.Ē (Luke 11:2) But many people are falsely in religion to get their personal will done. They have their own agendas.
On the matter of whose will is to be done in religion, the sheep can be separated from the goats. The sheep wish to follow the Good Shepherd and do His will. (John 10:2-3) But the goats have their own plans for which they come to God. They wish to figure out God so they can press His button to get whatever they came for.
The will of God is the first consideration of true Christians who come to God out of good motives: gratitude to God for their creation, thanks for Christís atonement, or being touched by other graces. But false Christians try to use God, and if they canít use Him, tend to become abusive about His existence. Poor things.
The chosen emphasize giving, but the peripheral Christians emphasize getting. If you join a church only to get, then you probably will get nothing, finding it a frustrating experience. But if you join to give to Christ, you will spiritually grow as you give. But if you join and donít give, remember faith not applied through works is dead. Yet a not dead faith can ďgrow exceedingly.Ē (II Thessalonians 1:3)
We are caught today between liberal pseudo-scientific diluted religion (which led the priest in England not to believe in God) and formula based religion which made a man, a priest, think through the Apostolic Succession he can do things without the Holy Spirit. Now what happens when they join?
The Apostolic Succession is a supposedly magic touch handed down in the Roman and Anglican churches that gives special magic powers to the priests, like supposedly changing the bread at Holy Communion into the literal body of Christ. The priest can also preach the Word without knowing God. Need I say more? I think you agree this is ridiculous. This is as ridiculous as the Pope being infallible on faith and morals.
But when you join a liberal agnostic priest to a formula church (magic powers given by structured system) the off base beliefs are obvious enough not to need serious confutation. We as Protestants contest them by our being.
Yet we have today a new situation much like the Reformation where non-believing priests are given supposedly magic powers by the magic formula churches. If non-believing priests are not in power, nevertheless, they are accepted like the priest in England.
My point is, not since the Reformation have we seen such nonsense in religion. We used to have just magic formula churches that skirted the Spirit and went straight to the odd magic of making God on demand. Then we also had liberal churches that did not really believe in God. But now the liberals who donít believe in God have turned into atheistic priests covered by the magic formula. The ones with no-God and the magic formula can run the churches. The result is Pre-Reformation religion. The atheistic have the magic formula of religion.
This is the most nonsense since the Reformation when the godless controlled the churches. The godless priests in the magic formula churches are at it again today. Only in the Reformation hypocrisy about belief was the rule, but these people have no shame: they say openly they have no belief. Shades of Martin Luther. They have no faith but give out the sacrament and say they can preach the Word because they are under a magic formula.
Atheists may now serve the churches, and the too liberal who donít believe in God are now happily joined together in priestly churches. Also in Protestantism we have some non-belief ministers, but they can make no claim to a magic formula. So I suggest we are living in Pre-Reformation times again. By this I mean the Apostle asked how they could hear without a preacher, but I ask in these Pre-Reformation times: how people are to hear with one. That is a pre-Reformation time when religion is out of tune.
We must sit tight: being neither a liberal church of godlessness or a magic formula church. What is better is we are not the new half breed made by merging the two groups: a magic formula church run by pagan liberals: the new and inglorious union.
Yet remember if we have been given grace to recognize, we should not therefore demonize. There are plenty of good people in all churches because a personal relationship with God is available in them, regardless of the package in which the churches wrap God. Some people are wise enough to disregard the church trappings and go straight to a personal relationship with God.
So do not demonize the different, but realize a personal relationship with God is available in every church IF people will but claim it. For I have seen many a good congregation in an ugly building, and many a grace filled person functioning under a bizarre creed. I would not judge them by their views on theology or aesthetics but by their hearts. Is this not the way God judges, and can we do less?
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.