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But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. -- Luke 24: 21 (ESV)
There they were; walking the Road to Emmaus. It was the third day since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and they were talking about all of the events that had transpired over the previous three years. All of the healings. All of the miracles. Eyes that were opened and lips that were loosed. The lame now walked and the mute spoke and the Gospel of the kingdom of God was preached. Well, they didn't seem to care as much about that now did they? Not according to the key verse above. Jesus comes alongside of them to talk but kept them from realizing who He was as they walked. The key verse reveals their true lament. What really bothered them now that He was gone. They had hoped He would be the one to deliver Israel. The deliverance they speak of was deliverance from the oppression of Roman rule. Jesus of course always has a grander purpose as He came to deliver them from their sins. He came to deliver them from the clutches of Satan. He came to reconcile God to His wayward and sinful people.
The Jewish people however had a pretty pious look about them. They had all the religious trappings. They had the temple and ceremonies. They had the long robes and the lengthy prayers. They did not view themselves as needing deliverance from the oppression they were clearly under. They were sitting under a false religious system. They were being taught by hypocrites. They had the pomp and circumstance of religiosity but their hearts were far from God. So far that they followed their religious leaders blindly and crucified their own Savior. A man who walked among them for three years and preached peace, love, and humility. But He also actively spoke against the false teachings and teachers of His day. He called them a brood of vipers and whitewashed tombs. He overturned their money tables in the temple and drove them out with whips. And after three years of miraculous and confrontational ministry, they saw to it that He was crucified.
Yet even His followers were still missing the big picture. Here on the road to Emmaus they were still lamenting that He did not deliver them from the temporal oppression of Rome. It would not be until the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost, that His followers began to truly see the light of the Gospel and ministry of Jesus Christ for what it truly was -- deliverance from this world. The past is always prologue beloved and the Bible says all these things were written down that we might learn from them. Yet when you look across modern Christendom it certainly does not appear as if we have learned anything. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about this world. It is not about this life. It is about the life to come eternally and whether or not we will stand before God delivered and washed clean, or separated from Him forever. Yet the vast majority of modern Christian teaching is centered on this life. The bless me theologies of the purpose driven movement are all about temporal blessings. The prosperity gospels are about temporal prosperity. Even the word faith heresies of Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are about speaking things into existence in this life and for this life. The New Apostolic Reformation, Kansas City Prophets, Bethel Church, IHOP and all the false signs and lying wonders churches are all purveyors of the erroneous seven mountains mandate. The same goes for Dominionist Rick Warren and all of the ecumenical movement we see foretold to us in the Bible. Like the Pharisaical system in the days of Jesus the church today has all the trappings of a serious looking religion. All of the piety of weekly prayer services and three week fasts. Lengthy prayers for show but widows houses devoured. Like the system of old, we to are incapable of looking inward to see where we contribute to the problem or where we are the problem. No beloved. We do not believe we need deliverance eternally because we have all bought into the pre-trib rapture, eternal security, and salvation that cost us nothing. So we walk along the road to Emmaus and lament why Jesus Christ has not delivered us yet from the oppression we sit under from this world. Christian leaders rush to the bully pulpit to assure believers everywhere that they are oppressed. That we have been victimized by people who want a cake baked. By liberals who are godless. By a government that silences us. It is all nonsense of course. It has no basis in reality but Christians have long been known for not letting a little truth get in the way of ideology. So we once again come to one of the top Christo-political operatives, Dr. Michael Brown:
This link is to his latest attempt to put Christian lipstick on a carnal pig. Brown has become one of the adherents for the idolization of this country. In his reality, America was once a great Christian nation that has fallen away from the Lord and needs to be revived or restored. Any sane reading of history will reveal that the majority of the founding fathers were seeking to escape from oppression and not set up a theocracy. Let us reason together and go through his latest attempt, deconstructing the carnal arguments he makes. First up, Dr. Brown sets the premise up by speculating what would happen if the "oppressive Johnson Amendment" is removed by Donald Trump, which has "muzzled preachers across America." For those who may not know, President Lyndon Johnson passed this amendment decades ago, which sought to limit the political opinions of churches and pastors who were receiving the federal tax exemption status as religious institutions. In the mind of Dr. Brown this amendment is a bad thing when the truth is that it is a blessing for the church today. We have a church that rarely preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ to begin with. Can you imagine how much less they would if they were allowed free reign to preach politically? We would never hear about the cross, the blood, or the chance we all have to be reconciled unto God. Instead we would hear about how one candidate is "God's choice" or like we saw with the Catholic Church this past election cycle -- outright threats of being hell-bound unless you voted a certain way. Make no mistake about it beloved the Johnson Amendment is a good thing for the church that desperately needs to be reminded why it exists. Not to mention that if the church really wanted to get out from under this onerous restriction all they have to do is give up their precious 503C1 tax exempt status. You cannot lie down with a whore and then act offended when she asks for money. Brown's premise here though is that even if they removed the Johnson Amendment that cowardly pastors and preachers still would not take on the political responsibilities that he has undertaken.
"You might say, "Maybe some pastors think like this, but that's not the real issue for them. The issue is that they don't want to distract from the gospel. They just want to tell people about Jesus." Unfortunately, this line of reasoning doesn't hold water, since Jesus Himself was tremendously controversial, if memory serves me right, He was actually put to death by His own generation, and He said if we followed Him faithfully, we would be hated just as he was hated" (see John 15:18; Matt.10:24). -- Dr. Michael Brown
The disconnect displayed here is breathtaking. The first description is that of a faithful shepherd of the people of God. He does not want to distract from the Gospel, since according to the Bible only the Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation man. He is eternally focused -- not temporally focused. Brown seemingly is mocking someone who just wants to tell people about Jesus which is exactly what He is charged with doing as a Christian leader! Instead he is walking down the road to Emmaus oblivious to the fact that Jesus is walking with him and complaining the whole way about why Jesus allowed four years of Barack Obama. He then claims that the righteous shepherd is somehow not doing his Christian duty because he is not being controversial and after all, Jesus was controversial. Except Brown misses the point of the controversies Jesus stirred up. They were not temporal. They had nothing to do with the rule of Rome. He was completely apathetic about Rome. You want a tax? Go catch a fish. Render unto Caesar what is his. Even when Paul stood before Herod with a chance to defend himself against false temporal accusations he instead used the time to preach the Gospel to the pagan ruler. This astonished Herod! Brown then cites the fact that Jesus was put to death by His own generation as if this was due to some non-conformity to the Roman Empire when Rome tried to wash their hands of His execution. No beloved. Jesus was controversial because he challenged the false religious structures of His day. He challenged the leadership of religion not the secular world. He then tries to leverage a Scripture that simply does not support his argument:
"If the world hates you, know that it has first hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. -- John 15: 18-19 (ESV)
Dr. Brown should know better but he is blinded by his own desire for sustaining the Sodom that is America. We will not be hated because we speak out against cultural shifts and societal sins. We will be hated because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel that divides family against each other. It is the Gospel that separates. We are merely the messenger. That message however, which results in hatred, is not because of our stance on cultural wedge issues. It is not because we side with one carnal politician over another. Dear Lord how does someone as learned as Dr. Brown miss this? The message that results in hatred is the exclusivity of the Gospel. That there is absolute truth. That there is only one way to God. The world believes in shades of grey to excuse their sin and Christians come along and say things are black and white. That is why they will hate us. The world believes that everyone goes to heaven or those who measure up to some level of "goodness." Christians come along and say that He is the way the truth and the life and none come to the Father except through Him. That is why they will hate us. Brown now tries to double down:
"It is true that Jesus was a friend of sinners, especially the social outcasts, and we do well to follow His example. But it is equally true that He was a threat to all that was wrong in His society -- including the religious establishment -- while we frequently find ourselves completely at home in this world. How can this be?" -- Dr. Michael Brown
While the question is a good one, the premise is flawed. Jesus Christ was not a threat to all that was wrong on society at the time of His ministry. That is a ridiculous statement. He never made any judgment or statements against Rome. They were irrelevant to Him because He was on a more important mission. We see this in the key verse! These men, who followed Jesus, were still thinking like Dr. Brown just three days removed from the crucifixion! Now, Jesus was a threat to the religious establishment which is why they orchestrated His execution. Rome may have been a willing partner as the vehicle for his death but to pretend that Rome's involvement was out of fear from Jesus is simply not biblically supported. No, the truth about why we find ourselves so at home in this world is because the Michael Browns of the world encourage it. They fight for this world. With each political article disguised as a Christian plea they teach their followers to value this world. That it just needs some tweaking. If we could just get abortion outlawed, the Johnson Amendment repealed, or somehow convince the people who do not share our faith to behave as if they did -- that America can be great again. Or revived again. Or be somehow Christian again. We are falsely enamored with this world because Christian leaders spend so much time trying to improve it and no time trying to see people saved out from it. Brown would continue to cite a Barna survey and how Pastor Chuck Baldwin responded to it, which further reveals how deep this false belief system goes:
"Please understand this: America's malaise is directly due to the deliberate disobedience of America's pastors -- and the willingness of the Christians in the pews to tolerate the disobedience of their pastor. Nothing more! Nothing less! When Paul wrote his own epitaph, it read, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith" (2Tim. 4:7). He didn't say, "I had a large staff and we had large facilities." -- Church Baldwin
Baldwin and Brown keep dancing right up to the truth and then move right past it to promote their carnal politics. America's malaise is directly due to sin beloved. Period. Just like the malaise in the church is due to sin. Now be careful here because he is so close to the truth I am surprised he avoided it. I agree that the problem in the church is due to the pursuit of the purpose driven church models of growth over everything else. I agree this should be about finishing the course, keeping the faith, and fighting the good fight. I even agree that the reason for the expansion of sin in culture that leads to the malaise he writes about can be directly attributable to the church and the Christians who allow pastors to not do their job. The problem once again however is in the underlying assumption. To Chuck Baldwin and Michael Brown, the pastors are too focused on feel good messages and church growth when they should be more politically involved and that is ridiculous on its face. The problem is not that the pastors are not preaching politically -- it's that they are not preaching the Gospel! When Paul proclaimed himself free of the blood of the Ephesians he said it was because he did not hesitate from preaching the whole Gospel, not that he did not hesitate to preach politically. In fact, throughout the preaching of Paul, we never see him address the rampant societal problems of the Greek cultures he was in. All we saw was him preach the Gospel. If anyone did not want to hear, he just moved on to someone who did. Brown concludes:
"Shouldn't the shepherds care more about the well-being of their flocks than their own popularity? Shouldn't the pastors care more about the health of their congregation than the wealth of their congregation?" -- Dr. Michael Brown
Yes Dr. Brown they should. The only way they can show that they care more about the health and well-being of their flocks is to preach the Gospel to them. It alone is the sustenance they need. Your solution is to preach more carnality to them. To explain how they can help restore Sodom to some false sense of former glory. The church does not need to keep turning to man for solutions. It does not need more politics. It needs to return to being a shining city on a hill. Salt and light to a dying world. It needs the only thing that has the power of God unto the salvation of man. It needs the Gospel. Dr. Brown needs to get off the road to Emmaus, stop lamenting why Jesus doesn't redeem this country, and get back to preaching the Gospel.