I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura
Karl Marx - Wrote That Democracy is the Path to Socialism.
Marx’s Quote Concerning Religion is Not Too Far From the Truth.
Sometimes it is necessary to listen to what the world is saying about its observations of what we would call the church. I will not capitalize church for that is a name given by Christ to His own; we are the Church. We are not an organization, denomination, building or collective movement; we are the Bride of the Son of God. It has taken a while, but I now understand Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s aversion to churches where form almost always supersedes substance. As Marx observed democracy is the path to socialism; religion is the path to apathy, indifference and the status quo. Marx equated the observable church as being an unhappy and miserable lot: sheep following a goat with a bell around its neck to oblivion. You and I may tend to disagree with him, but … when an outsider notes something about our character that may or may not be true, their observation is very real to them.
The word opiate used by Marx to describe religion, is a verb which means to dull the senses, to make one unaware of what is going on around them and to ease the pain. The greatest pain in life is death and the all-consuming fear that precedes one’s final moments. Religion has given an uncountable number of religious adherents a drug that lessens the fear … for a season. It is always in the back their minds but a quick trip to a church for an hour or two for an emotional renewal and voila, they can face life again … for the moment anyway. Do we really realize how many people use church as a crutch to make it through life? The world can only offer temporary hedonistic pleasures, drugs, alcohol and other forms of escapism, but the clock never stops, as reality will overtake every last one of them. Religion has become a form of temporary escapism with the end result no different than that of an atheist.
How Did Hitler Capture the Hearts of Millions ... to Their Destruction?
The Dangerous Mask of Charisma.
As a post WWII child and the youngest in my family, I have always been interested in that period of history prior to my birth; mainly because my family was so impacted by those trying times. When I was younger, I was more interested in what happened, but lately, I have been watching documentaries that focus more on the personalities. How can so few convince so many to follow them to perdition … willingly? The answer lies within the word “charisma” which the dictionary defines as; compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. The majority of humans on this planet today would have a very difficult task of being able to think of Hitler even having an ounce of charisma.
Our problem lies in the true nature of charisma and how the Devil uses charisma to deceive the world.
No one is born with charisma, for it can only exist where two or more are gathered. As you shall see, charisma can be the most fiendish of facades, for it does not require an intimate knowledge of what truly exists behind the charismatic facade. What is required for charisma to exist?
- It starts with one who is on a personal mission. It could be something of a godly nature such as; bringing the Gospel to a lost people; or benevolent as in feeding and clothing the poor; or ecologically as in cleaning up the local waterway; or as in Hitler’s case … hate filled revenge.
- The one with the mission needs to make a connection with others, without which there is no charisma. Charisma is relational; it is its lifeblood … no relationships, no life.
- The established connection is based upon a common hope. To see the Gospel spread far and wide; seeing to the needs of the poor being met; having clean water and in Hitler’s case, he played to the common hope of Germany; to be restored after the humiliating defeat in WWI, a healthy economy, and to elevate Germany’s sense of pride.
- The one with a mission must have a vision that reaches into the future. Proverbs 29:18 “Without a vision, the people perish.” The common hope must have a vision; we may feel great today, but what about tomorrow? Hitler gave Germany a vision of a restored republic the would last for a thousand years … the Third Reich.
- Nobody would ever listen long to one who constantly changes their mission, for an air of certainty must exist. One who never wavers from the perceived mission exudes confidence in those who are now captivated by the charisma of the one with the mission. Germany was certain they would be the centerpiece of Europe for a thousand years.
- It will continue to thrive … ONLY … if it is fed by success. No success, death comes to charisma; replaced by shame, guilt and in the case of Germany, death and destruction to millions of the duped.
This is not a history lesson on Hitler but a outline of the modern church following the very same path.
Even the Church Loves to Hear Only What It Wants.
When the Church and the World Collide.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” 2 Timothy 4:3
As Germany was suffering through a war caused severe depression; they were looking for a messiah of sorts to come along and give them hope. Hitler was suffering along with them, when by God’s providence, he would be attracted to group in which all harbored deep seeded hate. He found his purpose in life and quickly made a name for himself, eventually being both spokesman and face of the German National Socialist party … the rest is history.
What does this have to do with the church?
Post WWII in America saw amazing growth in economic times; the middle-class grew exponentially, factory output changed from war to commodities like cars, houses, televisions and everything that contributed to the good life. Churches saw a boom in building allowing for larger congregations and the money began flowing; the churches began to reap the good life. Several things now beset the churches they had not previously encountered in such mass.
- Larger churches needed more highly trained staff; the average parishioner was not equipped for task at hand. (A lie.)
- Seminaries became teacher factories, cloning the doctrines of the denominations and the professors. (Form took precedent over substance.)
- Those attending the churches wanted a message that served two purposes: 1) maintain a godly appearance; and 2) keep their personal life separate.
Notice the above verse: the attendees, driven by their own lusts, will dictate the doctrines that will attract their affections. Sound doctrine often interferes with one’s personal lifestyle; that is a good thing unless you are a religionist.
- The rise of the mega churches; millionaire pastors, authors and music rock stars; and the charismatic super stars of the so-called Christian world.
- Doctrines in mass have either been totally excluded from their agenda or dramatically changed to satisfy their flock’s itching ears.
This country became filled millions and millions of adherents with itching ears and the charlatans have risen to fill the void:
- Their mission – whatever their followers want to hear.
- They connect by very careful study of the demographics of their chosen crowds, seeking to identify with all, if possible.
- They preach a hope that whether it is wealth or self-imposed righteousness; all is pleasing to God.
- Their vision is one of God blessing those who bless themselves.
- They are positive and purposeful in their personal doctrines, in their preaching and in their writings.
This is not just an American phenomenon; it has become a worldwide way of life. What keeps the life flowing into these doctrine-less gatherings?
- Success; their success is the testimony that all is well. Come follow me and you too can become a success in the eyes of God.
The day of reckoning will come … now on to Zombies!
The Religious System In Place is a System Void of Hope.
Zombies Are Real and Live Among Us.
Short and not so sweet.
Per the dictionary, a couple of interesting definitions for zombie: 1) a person or reanimated corpse that has been turned into a creature capable of movement but not of rational thought, which feeds on human flesh, and 2) a person who is or appears lifeless, apathetic, or completely unresponsive to their surroundings.
Sadly, both definitions fit today’s gatherings void of sound doctrine:
- Both the super star preacher and his followers appear to be alive; they are capable of movement but not of rational thought based upon “Sola Scriptura”. “Man shall live by every Word of God.”
- In a way the leadership does feed upon human flesh for without their captivated following they might be relegated to actually having to work for a living. They are leaches living off of the lifeblood of others and this does go further than the massive congregation … down into your local assemblies. Their followers in a zombie-like manner feed off the energy of the like-minded gathering.
- If I understand it correctly, zombies turn the living into more zombies; here is where the second definition is apropos. The followers themselves become lifeless and apathetic to the written Word; they are also totally unaware that judgment is coming but like lemmings, continue on their merry way to perdition.
My Conclusion: Marx observed people having a form of religion but not displaying the power of which the scriptures speak. Does a verse come to mind? We also have a world of dead people trying to act as if they are alive but without the peace that passes all understanding. Marx was mostly correct and dead people populate the churches.
WARNING: 2 Corinthians 6:17 "Come out from among them..."
David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on September 05, 2019:
Thank your comment of which I enjoyed. Because of your opening comment, I am going to change the title slightly so as to let those who are perusing titles see that I am speaking of today's churches and their congregations. Check it out and let me know if you think it helps; I would appreciate that. Thanks again.
Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on September 05, 2019:
I enjoyed this article immensely! I know you thought that the title may put a few people off for a moment, and you were right, it did. hahaha.
I agree with the premise that the ones participating in "religion" are looking for an easy way to dump any feelings of conviction that the the Holy Spirit may give them concerning their own sinfulness, giving them a "card to punch" every Sunday for an hour or two to show that they do have a pious side. They may also give money to save the whales or ASPCA or even may tithe their money to the penny but it is only for show.
So many people through the years have done what was admonished on commercials a way back and found "the church of your choice." I remember chuckling and bristling at such advice, knowing the people looking had "itching ears."
You have so much here. I know I will be back to re-read now and them. Thank you, Bob.