Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours,and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's. - 1Corinthians 3: 18-23 (ESV)
To be honest, I had never heard of Jahaziel before coming across the article this week that he had "renounced" Christianity. In the efforts of full disclosure I am not a fan of rap, Christian or otherwise. My issue however is not with a genre of music but of what we sell our youth to get them to buy into Jesus Christ. The continual dumbing down of the Gospel and doctrine has been well chronicled but it exponentially explodes when we get down to our youth. We have cartoon vegetables teach our children theology and it doesn't get a whole lot better at what passes for teen ministries across this country. They always have to be marketed as super cool with edgy names that infer something is going to be on fire like "X-Plosion" or "Ignite." These are usually more about pizza parties and fellowship than solid biblical teaching. The leaders engage in many of the same "sinners prayer" tricks they see done in the big sanctuary. Raise your hand, give your heart to Jesus, repeat after me. Discipleship is essentially just as vacuous as the teens continue to try and struggle through their own world while playing the Christian role. The problem is the same as we see for the falsely converted adults. You end up with goats who you try to teach to act like sheep. But faith cannot be taught. Only the true Gospel has the power of salvation because it alone leads you into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Without that God becomes an academic exercise and without true faith, anything learned can be questioned and eventually unlearned. When we read the statement put out by Jahaziel, we can see this horribly painful truth playing out. Let us reason together and go through what the former Christian had to say.
"I need not explain myself to anyone but I feel the need to make a quick statement. A short while ago I turned away from 20 years as a professing Christian. I had a good job with a church organization, a house provided by the church, a large social circle of likeminded people, a career in gospel music, a worldwide fan base, a respected reputation & status within Christian and non Christian circles" Etc - Jahaziel
Now I will be honest here. I like that he is being honest about the fact that his career was built upon Christianity. I think there are many in the Christian business apparatus in this world who know full well they do not believe in God yet stay to make what money they can. This includes pastors as well beloved. There are many who preach and make merchandise of the Gospel and the sheep of the Lord instead of standing up and walking away from the cash cow that modern Christianity has become. We continue:
Having left Christianity I may have lost many/all of these things, but what I have is worth more than all of them combined. I have my integrity. When I first joined Christianity I was told 'you must believe this book is God's infallible word'" Before I'd even read the book!! How can one decide for themselves whether a book is accurate and true BEFORE they have even read & investigated the book thoroughly?! - Jahaziel
I agree that it takes integrity to give up what feeds you for refusing to be a hypocrite but I wonder when he had this revelation about Christianity? Right from the start here we see the problems that must have existed at his "conversion" at the age of 19. One does not "decide" the Bible is infallible. One knows it because the indwelt Holy Spirit illuminates it and leads us into all truth. To the world this is utter foolishness of course and it sure sounds like that is his position and was from day one. I once saw Ray Comfort agree to debate an atheist about the existence of God and he agreed to do so without using the Bible. What an absurd notion. The Bible is what we believe and we must embrace the fact that any academic conversation about it eventually must come back to faith. The reality is that all scientific conversation, except what can be replicated exactly today and measured, always must come back to faith. Within five minutes Comfort was forced to go to the Bible. But even look at how Jahaziel views his conversion. He "joined Christianity." When we speak about these terms it should be - when I was first saved! The reality though is Jahaziel is speaking honestly and correctly about salvation in modern Christianity. It is a club and they are asking you to join. Your dues are called tithes and the bylaws are in the church constitution. Jahaziel continues:
Anyway" Contrary to many opinions I have met some great people in church and learned some great principles from Christianity/the bible. - Jahaziel
We continue to see the Seeker-Friendly Industrial Complex at work in this man's case. You do not read the Bible to learn principles. Christianity is not about learning principles. But the vast majority of purpose driven pastors preach exactly this way. They leverage the Bible to prop up what principle they want to promote that week. We just celebrated Christmas and I heard at least two sermons about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ be taught to apply life principles for the people in the congregations. Let me give you an example. Because Mary was probably 15 at the time and unmarried, this was very uncomfortable for her. Well, the purpose driven preacher explains, sometimes God has to make us uncomfortable to get our attention. That is categorically absurd! God did not divinely inspire the Gospel writers to provide this account so that we could glean life lessons from it! He did so because it is the birth of the Savior of the entire world! Dear Lord if you cannot preach the Gospel with the Christmas account when can you? How sad is it that Jahaziel spent 20 years in the organized church and talks about meeting great people but not our great God? That is what happens when you forego the Gospel in order to teach "principles."
These principles however are not exclusive to any religion. I have experienced christianity in literally 100's of contexts so my perspective on Christianity is quite an informed one. I have met many sincere Christians, both church goers and church leaders, and although I have not seen every one of the 40,000 Christian denominations currently in existence I think I have seen enough to personally make a general conclusion regarding Christianity in the broadest sense. - Jahaziel
Now we start to see how poorly he has been taught through these two decades. He is absolutely right that general life principles can be taught through any medium, any religion. In fact, you do not need to be involved with a religion at all to be taught principles. This is the end result of a faithless academic Christianity. This is also what happens when you sacrifice doctrine on the altar of false unity. There are not hundreds of contexts to experience Christianity. There is only one - through Christ and His Word. Everything else is shifting sands and it seems that the sand finally shifted out from under Jahaziel. But note he is still only focusing on Christianity instead of Christ. His relationship is to the church, not Jesus. I have railed against the purpose driven rewrite of our language. When you turn the "unsaved" into the "unchurched", this is what happens. There is no question that Jahaziel was sufficiently "churched." There remains quite some doubt though if he was ever saved to begin with. Let's move on now to see his conclusions:
Now after 20 years of being vocal about the positives of Christian faith I would like to take some time to be equally vocal about the negatives I have found. i.e Christianity and its controlling dictatorship, its historic blood trail, its plagiarized bible stories characters and concepts, the many human errors of the bible and its contradictions, the brutal nature of its God, - Jahaziel
He sounds more like atheist Christopher Hitchens than a professing Christian of twenty years. He espouses traditional carnal positions that are unfounded such as contradictions and plagiarism with judgments he has made regarding a dictatorial and brutal God. This is what the world does beloved. Instead of seeing a loving God they see only the wrath. Notice also that God is "its God" not his God. The God he is speaking of is an abstract concept to him. Something that he was taught instead someone he knew. It speaks volumes that he is so indifferent to a religion he just spent twenty years not only involved in but made money from. His criticisms continued:
it's involvement in the slave trade, the crusades, the inquisition, the witch hunts, - Jahaziel
Yes, it is true that Christianity has had a long and historic blood trail. Of course the true Christian sees these things for what they were. Perversions of the Gospel. This is why I speak against some of the popular perversions of the Gospel today. The notion that God wants us all carrying Uzis and killing Muslims. The notion that we have to prepare the world for the second coming of Christ. The notion that America was under covenant with God and if we could just teach people to behave morally then we would experience "revival." Man has used the Bible to justify atrocities throughout history but that was man, not God. Jesus Christ did not order the Crusades, the Inquisition or the Salem Witch Trials. A true believer understands that the Bible says the heart of man is wickedly deceitful above all else. He understands that none are righteous. All have turned away. These are the reasons we so desperately need God to begin with! This is why we needed a Savior so badly. Once again however, Jahaziel is prosecuting Christ along with Christianity. With that, he wraps up his critique:
it's second class view of women, it's masculinization of God, it's emasculation of men, its financial corruption"- Jahaziel