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Altering the Word of God

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Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. - Proverbs 30: 5-6 (ESV)

Words matter. What we say matters. We can dress reality up with deceptive language to distract people from the real truth but the truth will not change. When I was working my way through college I could tell anyone who asked that I was a Petroleum Exchange Technician (PET) but at the end of the day I knew I was just a gas attendant. We expect this kind of literary and verbal slight of hand from the world because it is carnal. It is more concerned with appearance; rather than substance. When this type of carnality invades the church however, we know we are headed for dangerous times. That is because as much as words matter in general they matter even more when they are the Words of God.

It was revealed recently that General Motors had created a training manual for employees on how to discuss potential safety concerns in their automobiles. As innocuous as this may sound, it was revealed that there were a list of over 65 words that were banned from usage by GM employees. Words like "bad," "terrifying," and "dangerous" might seem understandable from a marketing standpoint but this list veered into the absurd when banned words and phrases included, "grenade-like," "widow-maker," "Kevorkianesque," and "rolling sarcophagus." Additionally, phrases such as "unbelievable engineering screw-up" and "potentially disfiguring" were also discouraged. I can understand why the phrase "buy GM and enjoy your potential disfigurement" may not have tested well with the focus groups. Instead employees were instructed to use less incendiary terms such as "does not perform to design"; much like I was a PET for lo those many years. So why all the subterfuge? GM knew they had defective cars that were potentially killing people and they needed to spin the language to lessen the damage. They knew the truth hurt. So they watered the truth down by refusing to speak honestly about the situation.

So we now see the same in the modern church. The seeker friendly, purpose driven movement has created a generation of pastors who have no problem treating the true Gospel like a defective GM car and speaking about it terms they feel will be less incendiary to those who are not saved. Like General Motors, the Warren theology bans words such as sin, sinner, repentance, hell, hellfire, judgment, and wrath from being spoken from the pulpit. No meaningful discussion of the cross and the blood is ever preached. Instead the language is changed as the unsaved become the unchurched.

I don't use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don't. But most people already know what they're doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in your life. So I don't go down the road of condemning. - Joel Osteen on why he refuses to call people sinners

Let them know about your next sermon series. Always either begin a sermon series on Easter or the next week--and make sure it's a series that meets the felt needs of an unchurched person. Yes, they need the gospel and a relationship with Christ. You and I both know that's their foundational need, but most people will come to your church because they have a need for friendship " want a better marriage " want to be a better parent " want to feel they're living a life of significance " or there may be some other need. When you do a series like that, let Easter visitors know in your letter. It'll give them a reason to come back to your church. - Rick Warren in an article to pastors

(When asked about Pastors being called shepherd) - That word needs to go away." He added, "It was culturally relevant in the time of Jesus, but it's not culturally relevant any more." - Andy Stanley on Christian leadership

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)

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