Insults To God

Sunday, March 09, 2014, 3:25 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “Only In Him” in mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 65 (quoting vv. 1-10 in the NIV).

Here am I

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’

As I read this passage from Isaiah, this passage in Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) came to mind:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Their Own Imaginations

All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations—
a people who continually provoke me
to my very face,
offering sacrifices in gardens
and burning incense on altars of brick;
who sit among the graves
and spend their nights keeping secret vigil;
who eat the flesh of pigs,
and whose pots hold broth of impure meat;
who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me,
for I am too sacred for you!’

In the past several years I have become somewhat acquainted with the teachings of John Eldredge. Eldredge is a counselor-teacher, primarily focused in ministry to Christian men. Yet, there are some very disturbing aspects of his teaching which are greatly troubling me, and which fit under this subject of “pursuing their own imaginations,” as well as with this scripture. He is a popular author-teacher among evangelical Christians. His teachings and writings are being taught in many churches here in America, particularly in men’s groups. Yet, I am just beginning to scratch the surface of this man’s heretical teachings concerning the characters, mind and heart of mankind and of God/Jesus Christ, and concerning God’s relationship to humankind and what our relationships to God/Jesus should look and act like.

Here are some quotations from John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart” (pages 3-6), and also from the book’s introduction:

“Man was born from the outback, from the untamed part of creation. Only afterward is he brought to Eden. And ever since boys have never been at home indoors, and men have an insatiable longing to explore. We long to return; it’s when most men come alive… The core of a man’s heart is undomesticated and that is good… Never stop exploring… Men have an insatiable longing to explore… Deep in man’s heart are some fundamental questions that simply cannot be answered at the kitchen table. Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for? It is fear that keeps a man at home where things are neat and under his control… If a man is ever to find out who he is and what he’s here for, he has got to take that journey for himself. He has got to get his heart back.” (Pages 3-6)

Men “need permission to be what we are – men made in God’s image. Permission to live from the heart and not from a list of “should” and “ought” that has left so many of us tired and bored…” This book is offered as a “safari of the heart to recover a life of freedom, passion and adventure… it will help men get their heart back.” (Intro)

Sounds good, right? On a surface read it sounds like he is merely encouraging men to be men and to enjoy God’s creation and to, perhaps, exercise their freedom in Christ and to not be brought underneath the bondage of legalism. But, is that really what he is saying? Look with me carefully at the not-so-subtle message being given to men (and women) here:

Men long to be untamed (wild, natural, unsettled, uncontrollable, unsubmissive - sinful), undomesticated (uncomfortable, disinterested, not devoted and/or uninvolved in the affairs of marriage, home and family), and to NOT be in Eden (symbolic of mankind’s pure and sinless relationship to God where he walked and talked with God in perfect fellowship). They want to leave Eden (purity, righteousness) and go back to their natural state of mind and heart (the heart given over to sin). In this wild and natural state of heart and mind is when men truly come alive. The core (central, foundational, essential and/or enduring part) of man’s heart (the emotional or moral center of his life; the center of love, affection, and his innermost character, feelings or inclinations) is undomesticated (unconcerned with home, marriage and family) and that is good. Men have an insatiable (incapable of being satisfied) longing to explore, i.e. to pursue, go on a quest for, search out, and/or to scout out what is outside the confines of home and family and is outside his intimate relationship with God.

Man’s deep need to know who he is, what he is made of and what he is destined for cannot be discovered at home where things are neat and orderly. It is fear that keeps man at home. He has to adventure outside the confines of marriage, home and family and Eden – his intimate and pure relationship with God - and take his own self-journey to get back his sinful unbelieving heart. He needs to give himself permission to be what men are… permission to live from his wild, untamed and undomesticated (and sinful) heart and to not live in Eden – in pure, unadulterated relationship with Almighty God; not from a list of “should” and “ought”, i.e. not in submission, surrender and obedience (in the Spirit of God) to Christ’s commandments for holy and godly living, because that just makes him tired and bored. He needs to venture outside of these confines of home and “Eden” to find his true self and to discover life, love and true happiness. It is outside these confines of home and “Eden” where man will find a life of freedom, passion and adventure, and it is there men will get their (wild, untamed, undomesticated, natural and out-of-Eden) hearts back. Wow!

It gets much worse the more one reads of his writings, but I am just beginning to do the homework on John Eldredge and his heretical teachings – teachings which continue to support the central ideas presented in just these few quotes at the beginning of his book. And, the sad reality is that so many people are buying into this type of teaching which, by the way, is not just peculiar to him. There are many, many teachers in today’s evangelical church who are teaching out of their own imaginations rather than from God’s word, and whose teachings are in direct contradiction to the teachings of scripture. The result is that many people are abandoning the faith, i.e. they are abandoning the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and they are, instead, following after teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear – feel-good messages that give them permission to keep on in sin.

Yet, God continues to hold his hands out to his obstinate, rebellious church, and he continues to make calls to his adulterous and idolatrous church to return to him (to “Eden”).

God Will Judge

Such people are smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that keeps burning all day.
“See, it stands written before me:
I will not keep silent but will pay back in full;
I will pay it back into their laps—
both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,”
says the Lord.
“Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains
and defied me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
the full payment for their former deeds.”

God will judge, not just the world of sin, but his own people (see Rev. 2-3) for their idolatry and spiritual adultery. The prophets of old, most especially Isaiah, prophesied of the final days before the return of Christ when the church will have largely abandoned the true faith, and the people will have run after other “gods” of men to satisfy what their sinful hearts desire. These prophecies of scripture describe how God loves his people so much that he pursues them (chases or runs after them out of mercy), calling on them to repent of their sins and to return to their pure and unadulterated relationships with Jesus Christ. And, he is calling out to his church today, yet many are not listening. Many of those who are listening are calling out to God in prayer for revival of the church and the salvation of souls from sin.

On Behalf of the Lord’s Servants

This is what the Lord says:

“As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes
and people say, ‘Don’t destroy it,
there is still a blessing in it,’
so will I do in behalf of my servants;
I will not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them,
and there will my servants live.
Sharon will become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds,
for my people who seek me.

In the past several days, especially, God has been encouraging me through the reading of Isaiah that his judgments (divine discipline and correction) will result in the revival of his church and the salvation of many human lives. God will answer the prayers of his servants for God to intervene on behalf of the people and to deliver them out of the grasp of these false teachers who lead the people astray, and to draw the people of God back into pure (unadulterated) fellowship with their Lord and Savior once again. And, in that hope I rest.

ONLY IN HIM / An Original Work / February 19, 2014

Based off Isaiah 30

Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.

Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.

Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.

Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.

Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.

Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.