by Mike Ratliff
“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. (Isaiah 46:8-11 ESV)
There is a dread disease present in the visible Church in our day. The disease is the result of conformity to the current culture in which it is a crime to tell the truth to those who may resent it. It is a crime because a minority has determined that the worst thing that can happen to a person in our day is that they be offended by standards or truths that those conveying them portend, directly or indirectly, they are absolute. While temporal society can hold all sorts of beliefs and standards contrary those found in the Word of God, the tragedy is when the Church itself conforms to them. This causes it to become weak, ineffectual, confused, and spiritually dead. This causes those professing Christians to water down their doctrines, misinterpret scripture according to the world’s values, and reject the message from God while persecuting His messengers. This is exactly why the Jews all through Biblical History killed God’s Prophets. His message was always contrary to the closely held beliefs of the people that came from them being conformed to the ways of the world just as has the majority of the visible Church in our time.
Much of the part of the visible Church in our day that claims it is “Evangelical” has become conformed to this disease over the last 250 years. Its theology has deteriorated to the point that it is no longer the world changing powerful message whose followers were separate from the world and its ways as light is from darkness. However, now it is the theology of “evanjellyfish.” The following is taken from the introduction to a book by C. Matthew McMahon titled How Faith Works – Rescuing the Gospel from Contemporary Evangelicalism.
I am sure that those who really do hold to the true biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ and identify themselves as Evangelicals are also going to be a bit mad because I am going to bash “evangelicalism” today as the theology of “evanjellyfish.” It is spineless. In my satire on Evangelicalism at A Puritan’s Mind, I wrote, “The oceanic bodies that cover the earth are home to the unique and prosperous Liberalius Ignoramious Christianius, or better known as the Evanjellyfish. As a result of their morphed evolution over the past 250 years, these once fierce predators have lost their thick skin, large brains, razor sharp teeth, as well as their ability to see clearly in the loss of their eyesight, and their eyes altogether. Instead, these spineless invertebrates swim carelessly and carefree around the seaweed reefs which tickle their transparent membranes as the cool currents shift by them and propel them toward sunny waters throughout each day. They mainly swim around minerally deficient waters, and like to congregate in large numbers – it seems they feel safe that way. They filter microscopic units of plankton found throughout the seawater for food. They are unable to eat the meat they once hunted since their loss of ability to spot food from miles away. Now they float helplessly around reefs that contain little if anything to eat that is of substance. Strangely, they have multiplied, and continue to multiply into millions in any one locale, but they often remain small and of no consequence individually to the great barrier reefs from which they emerged. Even in great numbers, they no longer make a ripple in the currents they once occupied. Instead, when a predator such as a humpback whale swims by, they are gobbled up for food without any form of retaliation. Hopefully, theological evolution will deal them a better hand in the future. It has been reported of late that some of the large scale theoligica bookis wormis or Giant Theological Sea Worms have been seen floating around masses of Evanjellyfish. However, it seems the Evanjellyfish have been rejecting their interaction out rightly. More to come later…
This is satire my brethren, but is does strike a chord with us doesn’t it? The dumbed down version of the Church we have all around us got that way because its leaders have deliberately not fed their people solid meat to eat. They present a gospel that has been neutered. It has all those essential parts that could potentially offend removed. What is left is a non-gospel that makes their part of the visible Church a mirror of the world. The world and its ways have been brought into the church and it has become compromised. Seeker-sensitivity is the rule of the day. It is a fallacy. The only ones truly seeking the righteousness of God are those drawn to the Son by the Father as they have heard the real Gospel, which is very offensive to the spiritual palate of those who are compromised by the world and its ways. Below is an excerpt from a news story from Milwaukee, Wisconsin about a school being sued by a group that is attempting to stop it from holding any graduation ceremonies at the local church. Carefully read their reasoning for the lawsuit.
“These students and family members are being forced to graduate in the sanctuary of a church underneath a huge cross that dominates the sanctuary. They’re sitting in pews with bibles and hymnal books right in front of them.”
“They are being forced to graduate in a religious environment, and that is an egregious Constitutional violation.”
Even if the school district doesn’t have religion as its reasoning for choosing the location, Luchenitser contends the mere presence of a graduation there forces an endorsement of what Elmbrook Church believes.
“There’s a symbolic message of endorsement sent,” said Luchenitser.
“Right next to this huge cross in this auditorium, you have huge jumbotrons that show the speakers, the school district officials when they speak on the podium, all their speakers.
“You have a public, official school district ceremony taking place in a religious environment. That sends a clear message of endorsement of religion and favoritism of the Christian religion to the children and the family members.”
Luchenitser explained that its not just the physical environment there, but what he claims the teachings presented there force upon those who will walk in for the graduation ceremony.
“We brought the lawsuit on behalf of nine parents and students in the school district who do not subscribe to the religion of Elmbrook Church, who are extremely uncomfortable attending a graduation in this facility,” said Luchenitser, whose group’s lawsuit says that many top officials in this district are members of Elmbrook Church.
“This is a church that teaches that people who do not subscribe to the belief of this church are going to suffer torment in hell for all eternity. This church teaches that women should be subservient to men. It teaches that people who engage in sexual conduct that is not approved by the church will also suffer in hell.
“A very large proportion of the students and family members who would be attending this graduation, in the views of this church, are second-class people, second-class citizens.”
The evanjellyfish Christians in this church may indeed teach these truths about hell and morality, but they are considering veiling their cross and removing their Bibles and Hymnals from the pews so they can continue to receive the rent from the school for these sorts of things. This is compromise. Are they going to stand firm and grow spiritually through it or are they going to be spineless and give in to those who prove that the world is not interested in what we have come to know as Evangelical Christianity? Think of the response to these people that someone like A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Gresham Machen, C.H. Spurgeon, John Owen, Martin Luther, or Jonathan Edwards would have in the face of this. There would be no compromise. Oh, their evanjellyfish “Christians” in the pews may fire or do away with them for standing firm, but these men would not budge. They may lose their positions or be denigrated by others in unbearable ways at levels no one can easily take, but they would not compromise.
The mission of this ministry has always been to encourage Christians to move away from me-ism Christianity into the spirit-filled, abiding in Christ, living sacrifice, humble, poor-in-spirit, meek walk that brings God glory and matures the believer. It is only as we walk this way that we are given His joy and then we can do good in His eyes because we are doing God’s will by His grace. This walk is not about building big churches or becoming a celebrity or anything other than a humble slave of our Lord Jesus all for the glory of God. Those who walk this way are not evanjellyfish. No, these believers are mighty warriors for the truth who stand firm defending it, but at the same time, they, like their example Christ, do not defend self. They may take the abuse of those who hate the truth, but, being meek, they will hack to pieces the enemies of God, but will not raise their sword to defend self. God may have them take severe abuse that they may be found worthy to suffer shame for the name, but they will never compromise.
Which are you?
Soli Deo Gloria!