CS Lewis has used his gift of wisdom and knowledge in a mighty way throughout the 20th century and I think it is time to re-visit what he has to say. I have been deeply reading “Mere Christianity” and it stands the test of time, as well as looking for an effective church that follows what Jesus said and did. As more and more people get sucked into the empty promises of megachurches and deceptive revisionist doctrines, I thought I would quote what he had to say about our two biggest false teachings in America (although there are now so many now that I wonder if anyone is really preaching the truth). Note the areas in [ ] are my additions.
The first is to the Prosperity church movement, most often found in the megachurches (for this reason I flee from any church with a population where I struggle to find a familiar face). CS Lewis says, “Good actions are all the matters. The best good action is charity. The best kind of charity is giving money. The best thing to give money to is the Church…the answer to that nonsense, of course, would be that good actions done for the motive, done with the idea that Heaven [or “the good life”] can be bought, would not be actions at all but commerical speculations.”
Joel Olsteen and his ilk– you obviously did not read this book. I guess, like the souls in Harvey, it wasnt in your budget. You will be judged on a different level but it isnt too late for you. Renounce your covetousness and take on the cloak of poverty. You could do so much with less and you do so little.
The second is to the “grace is all and the Law is dead”, or Hypergrace church movement, or should I say primary 20th century church doctrine. “Faith is all that matters. Consequently, if you have faith, if doesnt matter what you do [for you have “freedom in Christ“]. Sin away, my lad, and have a good time and and Christ will see that it makes no difference in the end……The answer to that nonsense is that, if what you call your ‘faith’ in Christ does not involve taking the slightest notice of what He says, then it is not Faith at all–not faith or trust in Him, but only intellectual acceptance of some theory in Him, [for if you love Me you will keep My commandments]. Grace gets pastors out of all the difficult conversations that we need to have about sin movements that have slithered into the minds of 21st century “religious” influencers.
John Crowder I am speaking to you and your cohorts who knowingly preach this false teaching and exclude what got us into this mess in the first place. KNOW THIS: emphasizing any one part of the gospel over others is SIN. And Yehovah HATES sin. Kabbalah also wants to, how do you put it? “Practice [experience] the presence of God”. As we move into the Age of Kabbalah, you will get more that you ever imagined from that abomination.
Initially when one comes out of these two popular sets of false teachings one is quite focused on doing Jesus’ commandments with humble fear and trembling, which include all that are in the Law. But then one realizes that the verse “work out your salvation with fear and trembling– for God works in you” is about God transforming you on the inside while you express that transformation to others with true service. This is the marriage of faith and works that Yehovah wants us to practice for this is how we will operate in the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul emphasizes that one without the other is dead, indeed he bluntly states “faith without works is dead” And as pride starts to fall away and you let Yehovah start to work within you, a new thought pattern emerges and action develops.
And then you start to experience the next phase. The phase where you look at your slightly ratty car and realize “Hey you are working just fine let’s keep journeying together and that family with all the medical bills could use some of that money I put away for a new one”. And you look at your pantry full of food and realize “Hey I don’t need all that look at what I throw away from old expiration dates I’m going to keep just what I need and trust Yehovah to meet my need when the time comes I think ill give some of that budget to a school lunch program”. You realize that maybe 3 meals a day is more than you need some days and makes you sleepy anyway so you spend one meal instead in prayer for persecuted Christians around the world.
Or maybe you will be in a bad area of town and see a “gangsta dude” and instead of fear you will see how thin he is and hey he’s carrying a big gas can and it’s 97 degrees with no car in sight and you see him not with fear but love and one thing leads to another and you fill up his car with gas, his body with cold drink, and his soul with a spark of hope. And you leave realizing his spark is your spark now and you have been blessed with a little hidden treasure. And you start looking for other chances while you drive instead of blaring you radio and zoning out.
For this little skinny polite resilient kid was my epiphany.
I am realizing there is a much better way
than giving money to buildings
that don’t really build up people
and how much of our conversations are really
about things that our ancestors didn’t need
and neither do we really.
And I yearn for a church
without a slick pastor with super white teeth
and a car salesman’s smile
measuring me up for what I can give.
Can I still find it in Babylon?
I really don’t know but I do know that
when I see simple tents of refuge
and a humble others-centered ministry
that honors the poor and wretched first
I know I have found it.
I am disgusted
but I am first disgusted with myself.
I wasted my life chasing the wind
like Solomon’s warned us not to do
and that wind escalated into the vortex of
endless vanity of striving for the material.
I thought I was doing good!
I had a great and terrible and abusive job
helping children on dialysis
but I let that job get hold of me,
suck the soul out of my mind and heart
and transformed it into a god.
I dont want you to do this, so return to the old preachers of the day who didnt lust after a massive budget and were not afraid to give you the truth. It will open your eyes to a whole load of bullshit. Walk away from it.