April 14, 2008

Is God Truly Broken Hearted or is He Just Faking it?

This past Sunday at our home church we studied the broken heartedness of God and just how grieved God is over the rebellion of man's sinfulness. This has to be one of the most overwhelming subjects to study and I would challenge you to take some time to sit down and read every verse in the bible whereby God uses the word grieved, sorrowful, or broken, (See also "played the harlot") over the rebellion and sinfulness of man. For example Judges 10:15-16 speaks of God being grieved over the sinfulness of Israel:

Jdg 10:15-16 And the children of Israel said unto Jehovah, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; only deliver us, we pray thee, this day. (16) And they put away the foreign gods from among them, and served Jehovah; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

Once you begin to read of just how many verses there are in the bible (mainly the Old Testament) where God is expressing his broken heart to the Israelites, its really overwhelming to see the God of the universe so broken hearted over man's sin. To think that God desires His creation to love him and yet we have turned to love another - ourselves ! There are many instances in the Bible where God gives us a mental picture of just how deep our sins have pained His heart - whereby he uses the phrase "played the harlot". The visual here is of a lover or bride that has went out and committed one of the most vile acts of betrayal - harlotry. God gives us an image of his beloved who has committed adultery with this "other" person, not out of love but merely fopr the purpose of gratifying their selfish desires, while all along the one who truly loves us and desires for us to love Him in return is brokenhearted or grieved over this great betrayal! What a picture of unrequited love!

I read of God's broken heartedness over man's constant rebellion I have to also reconcile this with two other doctrines that are permeating Christianity today. If God is truly brokenhearted then how does this harmonize with the God of Absolute Foreknowledge or the God of predestination? For one, the language used in the bible expresses the emotion or condition of God's heart at that particular moment in time. If God foreknew of this rebellion or sinfulness ahead of time, then why is he so choked up over it? Didn't He see this coming? Many Calvinist have said this was not really God's heart at that very moment, but rather this is an anthropomorphic expression, whereas God is just trying to express something on a "human level". But if this is really the case then one must come to the logical conclusion that God is merely expressing something he's really not. To express something that your not is the definition of lie! Then this theology is really making God out to be a liar. So for me this theology is in no way a rational explanation of God being truly grieved over the sins of man.

Second, is the doctrine of Total Depravity/Original Sin. How is it that God is so broken hearted over the fact that man is not loving Him nor obeying his statutes or commands, when we have been told that man is depraved, not by choice, but by a predisposed constitution. Did God forget that He had cursed man with this moral predisposition to sin 24/7? How can God get upset over man not keeping his commandments, when He knew all along we were never going to be able to keep them in the first place (not to mention He also knew from "Eternity past")? This would really be the equivalent of getting upset with someone because of the color of their skin or the color of their hair - aren't these "inherited traits" no different than so called Original Sin that we inherited from our parents? If Total Depravity/Original Sin is true, then how does one begin to harmonize the grief God expressed by God? I would suggest that its not God who has the problem here, but it is man who has freely choosen to rebel against God's loving kindness!

Ultimately, what this all comes down to is if you follow the logic of Calvinism you end up making God the author of His own unhappiness. If God is the author of His own unhappiness then sin is neither blameworthy nor would it be just to punish billions to hell for their prearranged rebellion! With the overwhelming evidence the scriptures gives us of God's broken heart over the rebellion of mankind, it leaves one to see that the theology of Calvinism leds people to beleive that the grief and sadness of God is not genuine, but is contrived by God's own doing. This my friend is a theology that does great harm to the character of God. When we read of Jesus as the being express image of the Godhead in human form, we see an image very much consistent with the image of God displayed through the history of scripture.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

He was not the stoic, man of nerves we might have imagined. Nor was he the ever-at-peace teacher we often describe. He was, among other things, a man of sorrows. For Christ himself carried the weight of man's sin upon his shoulders - a burden that was so overwhelmingly sorrowful that it is hard to even comprehend how heavy is such a burden. He willingly and purposefully chose to carry this weight so that all of mankind may see just how much God truly loves us and the deep desire He has that ALL may be reconciled back to Him, that we may turn from our "harlotry" and reside as the Bride He as waited with great anticipation and longing.

April 13, 2008

Would You Work For This Company?

The following company is currently hiring "managers" for various positions at several of its worldwide branches. Now before you apply for this company they want you to be aware that this job has several downsides, well to be honest the company has a warning about the hazards of taking this job and what lays before you (and for your family) if you so choose to accept this job. First, realize that the job itself is not necessarily the issue, but its how the company is managed and organized that is the issue here. Here a just a few of the "risk" involved in working for this company:
      • 1,500 "managers" leave this "company"each month due to ethics violations, burnout or contention within the "company".
  • 80% of "managers" and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as "managers".
  • 50% of "managers" are so discouraged that they would leave the "company" if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 80% of "managers" said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled employees, co-workers, board members, and associate "managers".
  • 90% said the hardest thing about the "company" is dealing with uncooperative people who work or are affiliated with the "Company".
Also, if you decide to work for this "company" realize that you run a higher rate of divorce than other so called management occupations. Here are some statistics of wives of "managers" who work for the "company":
  • 80% of managers spouses surveyed felt their spouse is overworked who work for this "company".
  • 80% of wives feel left out and unappreciated by the fellow company members.
  • 80% of managers spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • 80% of managers wives feel pressured to do things and be something they are really not.
  • 80% of "managers" felt their families had been negatively impacted by the "company"
  • 33% consider the "company" to be an outright hazard to their families
Before I reveal what "company" this is, I must first ask this question. Would we ever want to work for this "company" knowing the risk that the occupation will bring not only to myself or to my family? Second, does this "company" sound like it's work environment is a healthy one? Does this company need to seriously change how it operates or desperately need a better Human Resources Department? Does it sound like the people working at this company are looking out for its employees and managers? I have worked for my company for almost 10 years and I must say I have had some bad days at work, but even then I have never had these types of concerns working there? So where is this company? Is it some fortune 500 company? Is it the Government? The Military? Is it some Multi-billion dollar company?


The "manager" position is actually the position of Pastor or Reverend.

So I ask this question. If these are the present day statistics of the modern day church - just how different is it from the corporate secular world? Better, Worse or the Same? Should being an "employee" for God have such destructive results on our family and children? Does this seem like a position that is exuding benevolence or does it seem somewhat hypocritical? As an non-believer would you want to "join" this company? When I read of these destructive statistis I am even more alarmed of the comments or attitude the church has on these statistics. Clearly, if we would have read these statistics from a secular point of view, we would have said "this company clearly has some management and leadership issues and the infrastructure of this company needs to be desperately changed." But as Christians, we seem to think that its not the structure or the organization that is the problem, but we tend to say "Oh the members just really need to step up more and support the leadership" or the more apathetic response "Oh these are issues that the church has been dealing with for centuries and this is just really the way it is". Really?! My point in all of this is just to show how horribly maligned the church structure really is. If one really researches the scriptures the church was NEVER supposed to look and feel the way it is today. As a good friend of mine once told me "Preston, the only difference between the churches of today and the Pharisees of 2,000 years ago - is our "priest" no longer wear robes, but suits or Hawaiian shirts!"

Sadly, it seems that the modern day church is really nothing more than "catholic lite" if you will. The model we have today stems from a pagan model put into place by Emperor Constantine and Augustine of the 4th & 5th century. I am more convinced that "home church" was really the original model incorporated by the apostles. There is no "head" of a home church, but rather we have elders who teach, but we recognize there is but one "leader" (head) of the Church and that is Jesus. Jesus came to abolish the system of so called spiritual "leaders", in the sense of one central person whom people look to for all of their spiritual knowledge or leadership. Jesus came that we ALL might become priests of God:

Rev. 1:6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever Amen.