Is the Church’s Motto Today: “The Force is With You and Wants You to be Happy”?

The other day I was watching a television preacher who was telling his congregation about what God was doing and what He wanted to do. In his sermon, one could see how this preacher viewed God.  But after viewing for a short while, I got the distinct impression that the God the preacher was proclaiming bore only slight resemblance to the God who has revealed Himself in the Scriptures and in Christ; the One who is sovereign and majestic and the center of the universe.  The congregation probably thought what they were hearing was, in fact, truth about the God of the Bible.  But, sad to say, that was not the case. Too many churches today seem fundamentally ignorant about the nature and the attributes of the great Creator God.  Without fear of contradiction, I would say that the church today in North America has a terribly low view of God.

Several months ago, we mentioned in a blog a little bit about the terrible distortion of God which is now found in so much of “the church.”  It goes by the label “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”  MTD is quite a mouthful, but essentially it says that there is a God (of course), and He has suggested what is right and wrong (though nicely and without threat of judgment).  His primary desire is that we are happy.  And to that end, He will definitely work with us to make us happy.  If we run into difficulty, He is at our service to help straighten out our problems so that we will be happy. He is there when we need Him and He is delighted to make us happy because we, not Him, are actually the center of the universe.  This, of course, is really bad doctrine; and really bad doctrine has a bad effect on us.  MTD, it seems to me, is just one step above (maybe not) the Star Wars perspective of the good, benevolent side of “the Force”.

A few weeks ago, I picked up and re-read the little book, “Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer.  It is a classic on the Person of God and is a must read for all serious, thinking Christians.  If you haven’t read it, you really need to.  If you (like me) read it years ago, I would encourage you to refresh your mind and your soul by giving it a good read again.

Tozer wrote the book sixty years ago because he sensed that:

  “The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men.”

And this is not just an academic, theological issue since it directly impacts the way we live as Christians and the way the Church operates in this culture.  Tozer rightly observed that not seeing God with clarity through the lens of scripture “is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us.” Tozer, of course, did not originate this idea but it is found again and again in the OT prophets (like Malachi) as well as in the OT wisdom literature. Tozer then drives the sword of the Spirit deep into us when he declares without stuttering:

“It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous and inadequate.”

Especially since the 1960s, the Church has sown to the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind. God is looking more and more like us, and this is to be expected since so much preaching/teaching fashions God to resemble man.  The Church at large has been so desperate to be relevant that is becoming more and more irrelevant because it has nothing really to offer beyond “the Force is with you and wants you to be happy—if, of course, you can work him into your schedule”.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference between the Church and the culture these days. It is difficult to have serious exposition of the Scriptures about the God who is revealed in the Scriptures if you are essentially running a religious entertainment center. Someday people are going to be shocked when they face the God of Scripture and realize that the “church” was essentially lying to them about this great God.

To reverse this sad trend is not easy, nor can it be done quickly.  Tozer says it clearly: “If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is.”

The Scriptures inform us that a proper view of God is truly the starting point spiritually (Prov 1:7; 9:10; Psa. 111:10).  We can see ourselves correctly only after we begin to see God correctly. It is spiritually fatal to compromise this point. Life simply cannot be lived well when our concept of God is not what the Bible says.  It takes time and a diligent study of the Word of God to begin to see the attributes of the God of Scripture.  And while we will never fully comprehend Him, we do know that He has revealed much about Himself that we can understand.  Pastors of churches need to feed the sheep with wholesome doctrine and cease attempting to entertain the sheep Sunday after Sunday. This wholesome teaching includes dealing with the very nature of our God. It will take some time to kill off MTD (and related falsehoods) and getting a hold of a copy of “Knowledge of the Holy” might be a great start.

Mirages – So Real Yet So Empty

Driving with my family through the desert some years ago, our 3 year old son Timmy and I had a memorable conversation.  As we traveled through the hot desert, Timmy observed water on the road a short distance ahead. However, we never did get to it. It was always a short distance ahead. Seizing this as a teaching moment, I instructed my young son on the phenomenon of optical illusions; that is, in this case, mirages.  There really was no water out there, I informed him.  Now, there were a lot of things Timmy didn’t know, but Timmy knew water (having baths every day and having a close relationship with the backyard garden hose), and he was having none of my rhetoric on the matter.  He saw, he knew and that was that.

So after a few futile moments of discussion, I looked ahead and saw a sign by the side of the road with “water” near it.  I asked Timmy if he saw the sign and the water, and he did.  So I drove to the sign, parked the car and exited the car with little Timmy.  He was speechless, as there clearly was no water on the road.  Puzzled, he got back into the car without any further conversation about water and mirages.

Mirages seem so real but there is really nothing there. They are alluring but empty. In his memoirs, wise King Solomon (who for a time lived unwisely) told of life wasted pursuing mirages in his life.  He identified four that he went after: education, pleasure, material possessions (money) and then hard work.  In his memoirs (the book of Ecclesiastes) he records that he energetically went after all these but eventually discovered that they were mirages (He uses the terms “vanity” and “striving after the wind”). Solomon was a multi-billionaire who could buy anything and do anything to maximize all four of the above mentioned areas of life.  But in spite of that reality, he found them amazingly empty and personally meaningless. They did not produce what they advertised.  But, he does go on to clarify that all four of those things are legitimate if (and only if) the Lord God and His principles are at the center of a person’s life.  Many other biblical authors concur with the King.

We know from the very beginning that God invited Adam and Eve to learn and to engage in scientific investigation.  It is God who thought up the idea of pleasure and gave us the ability to enjoy all things.  God created the material world and there is nothing evil about money and material things, as long as they are not preeminent in our lives. Hard work (not being a “workaholic”) can bring some satisfaction, but even that satisfaction quickly vanishes away if it is the center of life.

Why all this talk about “mirages”?  Simply because, the largest segment of believers in North America (those claiming to be “born again”) are actively engaged in the pursuit of mirages and, like Timmy, they are sure that they are real. Upwards of 90%, according to some fairly detailed studies, see North American evangelicals as being in hot pursuit of money (materialism) and pleasure (hedonism). The other two mentioned by Solomon are present in a number of lives also. These “born againers” seem to have made the terrible mistake of thinking that the “American dream” and a biblical worldview are essentially the same.  They are not.  If a midcourse correction is not quickly made, the “abundant life” promised by Jesus to His followers (John 10) will be missed. And, more significant a greater quality of life in the eternal kingdom of God will be missed.  Timmy eventually came to understand about mirages.  The question is whether or not so many American believers will do the same.

Responding to the Crass Culture of Today

I am sure that I am not alone in my weariness to the growing profanity, crudity and incivility that is everywhere in American life today.  The public square is getting crowded with comedians who aren’t funny, politicians who really don’t serve their people, and many talking heads on TV who appear to have limited vocabularies and yet speak authoritatively on most everything. So, what should be our response to all this verbal sludge? Perhaps we should find a comfortable cave to retreat to.  Maybe an armed assault on the local TV station or government building would work.  Would a billboard blitz showing that the other side is made up of mental midgets be helpful?

And while we initially resist the non-combative words of Jesus’ apostles, they do have insights we should listen to.  It is very important to remember that these believers lived in a world where the less than nice Romans dominated; and where much evil was clearly on steroids.

First, a word from Peter.  He said: “Keep your behavior excellent among the gentiles (unsaved) so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of YOUR GOOD DEEDS, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation….such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:12, 15)

The response to the slander of hateful folks (who Peter says really are ignorant) is to work diligently at doing good deeds in our sphere of influence. (Jesus also indicated that our good works makes our heavenly Father look good before others. Matt. 5:16). So apparently, the will of God would not include an armed assault on the TV station and should not be considered.  But what we should consider is how we might proactively be expanding our good deeds in our circle of contacts and influence. In this regard, what might we begin to do that we are not presently doing?

Second, the Apostle Paul gives needed counsel to believers when they find themselves in discussions about critical matters, such as good and evil, truth and error, right and wrong. 

He notes in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 that “the bondservant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome but kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition…that they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 

Four key matters for us to think about. First, we cannot retreat to that comfortable cave after all, but must engage the falsehoods of our day. If we don’t, who will?  Second, we are to be prepared to intelligently discuss the matters of truth and error, right and wrong. We might need to do some homework. Third, we just have to check our attitudes. Responding like the ones in opposition to us is off limits and ultimately counter-productive.  So, nasty billboards, shouting real loud or abusive speech are not part of the approach we are to take.  And fourth, a much needed reminder from the Apostle about the reality behind all this.  There is an Evil One (so said Jesus in John 17:15) and it is wise to recognize the ultimate source of what we see in our present world as originating in this malevolent being. So, while other options might be more appealing to me, I must do things the biblical way and represent Christ well in this crude culture.

Syria, Russia and Iran—Any Significance?

 

The unending conflict in Syria just keeps on giving.  It seems that one nightmarish event is topped by yet another, and this week has provided the specter of civilians (again) being killed with poisonous gas. The Assad government’s brutality is well documented, and one wonders how someone like this manages to stay in power.  Bashar al-Assad took over Syria in July, 2000, and he retains his power these many years later.  But it is not because he possesses great leadership skills or because he can charm the socks off everyone in the region. He retains power because of the support of Russia and Iran.

The Russians supply him with military aid and private Russian contractors are regularly airlifted from Moscow to Damascus to support and aid Assad.  Without the Russians, Assad’s rule would have ended long ago.  Then there is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps who are deployed by the thousands at military bases all over Syria. Iranian commanders are often involved in the battles that rage throughout this land.  Iran is gaining more influence and a greater presence in the region because of this civil war. 

Israel knows that Bashar al-Assad is not the main problem, but it is Iran and Russia together that form a terrible threat to their existence. Israel keeps a watchful eye on their northern border and periodically targets convoys, military bases and other situations that they cannot allow to exist.  But while Israel had indeed experienced some notable successes, Israel will not be able to do this forever and time is definitely not on their side.  

The Scriptures tells us that the God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps, which means He will not be caught off guard by Israel’s enemies.  Long ago a prophecy was given to Ezekiel which has become well-known in these days. It states that after Israel has geographically returned to the land given to Abraham, there will be an invasion of Israel that is led by Russia and will include Iran. The massive invading army will be crushed unilaterally by the Lord God.  So great will be this intervention by God that Israel will begin turning in faith to their God (which is the primary purpose for this event).  Ezekiel 39:21-22 informs us that the nations of the world will sit up and take notice, but more importantly, Israel will become a believing nation (something that they are not presently).  The text reads:

“And I shall set my glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. And the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day onward.”

We, of course, must not get caught setting dates for the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. We simply don’t know when God will do what He says He will do. But neither can we ignore what is evolving in our world today, assuming that there is no relevance to current events. Jesus said that we are to discern, as best we can, the “signs of the times” (Matt. 16:2).  At just the right moment, God (whose timing is impeccable) will tell these enemies that “it is time for you to invade Israel” (see Ezekiel 38:8 and 39:2), and He will compel them to attack Israel. (Note that Russia, Iran, et.al are not going to determine when these events will take place). It is hard not to believe that what we are observing in Syria is somehow preparatory for those events long foretold by Israel’s prophet.  

Donald Trump and Abraham

 

I just returned from Israel where I went to the future site of the United States embassy in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem.  In a nice, but unspectacular setting, just south of center Jerusalem, the USA will establish its official diplomatic presence in May, 2018. (Though a permanent embassy will be built in the months ahead).  When I went, it was a sunny, quiet day there, with the breeze blowing gently. Very pleasant. But, in contrast to that tranquil setting, the diplomatic storm that rages around this site, and the action taken by Donald Trump, is anything but tranquil.

This decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been met with threats of violence and dire warnings of terrible events that will take place, from rioting to World War III.  We would expect nothing less from groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Authority and nations like Iran.  But a little less expected (though not much) are voices in the US media which say this action by Donald Trump will set back the “peace process”. This, of course, immediately raises the question of “what peace process is being referenced?”  When one side of the table refuses to even allow for the existence of the nation of Israel, and insists that the Jews must forever be pushed into the sea and removed from the land, then there can be no peace, and there certainly is no ongoing process. The move of the US embassy does not impact the present “peace process”, but could actually force the Palestinian Authority et. al. to reconsider its position. Whether you like everything President Trump does or not, it ought to be acknowledged that this action of his was courageous and long overdue.  And, it was a powerful statement of support for the nation of Israel, our one real ally in the Middle East. (Incidentally, just on the western edge of Jerusalem, I also saw Israel’s memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attack on America.  Israel is the only nation in the world, aside from our own, that has such a memorial to what happened to us on September 11, 2001).

But there is something that is of great significance beyond the political issue of the embassy move.  In essence, President Trump was “blessing” Israel; doing something to support, defend and encourage that nation.  There is a powerful, ongoing principle found in the Bible about this kind of thing.  Long ago, God said to Abraham, in Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.”  This is good for America.  God does not specify how He will “bless” or “curse”, but He doesn’t lie and He does what He says He will do. This guarantee given to Abraham has proven true time and again over the centuries as God has indeed dealt with nations according to their blessing or cursing of Israel.  Once powerful nations who “cursed” the Jews (like Great Britain who dealt deceptively with the people of Abraham during World War II), are shadows of their formers selves.  Trump and Abraham have crossed paths, and we may benefit nationally. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

Guns, Cars and Liquor

The matter of guns in America once again is front page news as another school shooting took multiple lives.  This is another senseless, tragic and terrible act of violent behavior.  I do not know how the parents feel, because I have not personally experienced the violent death of a child.  The pain must be horrible, and we would wish that such things would never happen again (though we suspect it will).

The response from politicians (and others) follows the traditional knee-jerk response that has been seen in the past: “ban guns”. But getting rid of guns of any and all kinds does not address the problem.  More laws will not eliminate such violent deaths, as people will still get their hands on guns, but also are capable of using bombs, cars, poisons and whatever else their minds can dream up, to get their 15 minutes of fame by means of destroying multiple lives. There are plenty of ideas given to people on how to destroy other humans in the movies, on television and in video games.

What should we do about the problem of some 30 people killed every day where drunk drivers are involved; and we assume that in that statistic there would be multiple deaths in a single incidents.  There are laws on the books, and many of them, which are designed to deal with drunk drivers. Those don’t seem to be working very well, so why not make a new law that makes it impossible to buy a car if you have ever been drunk.  Or, a law which would prohibit a person from getting a driver’s license if they have ever been drunk. Surely background checks would reveal those who have been drunk. Only teetotalers can own and operate a car might be a good law to have.  Think that would work?

In America, there has always been an abundance of guns owned by the citizens of this country. But the problem is not gun ownership, the NRA or that there not being enough “gun free” zones.  The problem is the people themselves who shoot up schools, malls and theaters.  We are rapidly becoming an uncivilized, immoral society and are reaping the results of our abandonment of moral standards.  As a culture, we mock the idea of moral absolutes.  We dismiss a holy God from the public square, including the school.  We foolishly hide behind “individual rights” to the extent that there is little or no accountability for bad behavior.  We make excuses for aberrant behaviors and pride ourselves on how tolerant and broadminded we are.  And then, when we begin to experience the consequences of these pseudo-standards, we decide it is the evil NRA that is to blame, or Fox news, or gun loving rednecks, or those detestable right-wing politicians.

The moral standards which used to have a restricting effect on societal behavior has pretty much evaporated as “enlightened”, “progressive” folks do their best to remove more and more of the Judeo-Christian ethic which helped put a lid on bad human behavior. The traditional family unit (with a mom and dad operating on biblical principles given by the Creator Himself) which is the core to the stability of any civilization is openly disparaged.  And then, there is nothing much said about the incredible level of gun violence glorified in Hollywood movies; the slaughtering of human beings in violent video games and the casual taking of human life night after night on television.

Unless this nation does a U turn and heads back to the moral standards given by God, there is no possibility that we will not see and experience the kind of terrible actions that have become part of American life. Without moral standards there will inevitably be immoral behavior.

 

The Problem of Our Culture

The recent school shooting in Florida brings another heartbreaking moment to our nation, but especially to those whose lives will never be the same because of the loss of loved ones or close friends.  We see such an event as senseless (and it is) and want to “fix” the problem (which is a proper response).

And so, politicians and leaders of all kinds once again make authoritative pronouncements on how the problem can be solved.  These pronouncements sound an awful like the ones made in the past.  But somehow making schools “gun free zones” or piling on more laws and regulations do not seem to be working. And the hot debate over the 2nd  Amendment to the US Constitution will heat up all the more.  How can this problem be solved?

Probably most do not want our country to become a police state where citizens are stripped of many rights in order to control life (with the idea of keeping us safe).  So are more laws and new laws the answer?  It is possible that legislation might be enacted that could help a little.  But whatever legislators might come up with really is just a bandaid on the situation.  The foundational matter is generally not talked about in the halls of congress or state legislatures, because of the propensity to keep God and His truth out of the discussion.

The brilliant rabbi/apostle Paul logically, clearly and forcibly sets forth our present situation, and by application, the solution to it.  In his letter to the Christians at Rome, he gave the basic principle of life; that when people reject/neglect the moral standards that the Creator God has set forth for His creation, then multiple bad things happen.  With this rejection comes the phenomenon of a “depraved mind” (Rom. 1:28).  This is speaking of a person who fundamentally is without conscience and is mentally twisted.  One of the dozen or so results from such a “depraved mind” is murder (Rom. 1:29).  Living life individually, or as a culture, according to God’s truth and standards keeps most all of this kind of behavior away.

So, until our culture sees its growing independence from God, and the aggressive (and often arrogant) departure from His standards as reckless, and turns back to His standards (often referred to as the Judeo-Christian ethic), this problem will never go away.  Next week, or next month, some other person with a “depraved mind” will emerge from the growing pool of those with “depraved minds” and commit a gruesome atrocity.

The heart of the problem must be addressed if our nation is going to put a lid on these terrible events.  God really does know best. This is something that many of our “elites” apparently refuse to admit.

Illegal Immigrants (DACA Included)

The politicians assure us that they are deeply interested in the fate of illegal immigrants (including DACA).  Color me cynical, but it doesn’t seem that many of these politicians are really concerned about them. Their inner concern seems to be on how this matter is going to affect getting re-elected and staying in power. It is fascinating to observe that there are politicians who today hold views that are exactly opposite of what they championed just a few short years ago. Granted, this is a complex issue, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out as politicians in Washington DC and elsewhere try to sort it all out.

God gave some interesting directions to the nation of Israel on the matter of foreigners that would come into that nation.  Perhaps there are some ideas and guidelines that we can learn from Israel’s law code (e.g. Lev. 20; Deut. 10; 15; 21).  Several truths are discovered in looking at these operating principles given to Israel.  First, compassion is always a good thing. Very short term help for itinerate foreigners was to be given (e.g. food for dinner). The point was that Israelites were once aliens in Egypt, and they were to remember what that was like.  Second, there was a time element involved. Time was needed, as it would take time for a foreigner to adjust and learn about life in Israel. Third, there was difference between genuinely needy Israelites and aliens. Israelites were to be taken care of, but that did not apply to aliens. Israel was not responsible for wandering Moabites, Edomites, etc.  There were many differences between Israelites and the foreigner amongst them (eg the rules for debts and interest charged was very different). Just because a foreigner was in the land area of Israel did not give them the rights of an Israelite.  Fourth, any foreigner identifying with Israel had to obey the laws of Israel.  If they didn’t, then they would be punished (sometimes by death) and/or removed from the nation. Fifth, it appears that applying the principles was done on a case by case basis. Maybe some of the guidelines found in Israel’s law code might provide some help in sorting out this complex issue.

Perhaps some version of the following might be of value.

  • No government handouts for non-citizens apart from very short-term aid of an emergency nature.
  • Time. A two year probation (just to give a number) would be imposed during which time any criminal behavior would result in punishment and deportation after punishment was concluded.
  • Time is also needed for foreigners to comprehend the way we live life and do business in America.  Some come from countries where our American standards (many of which come from Israel’s law code) simply are not understood. Their view of family (maybe having multiple wives or women being second class), theft (by which they might have, in the past, provided for their extended family), cleanliness (e.g. public defecation) and a work ethic (which may not exist).
  • During the two year probationary period the individual must be gainfully employed and paying income taxes.
  • Whatever requirements for those going on the legal immigrant route, would also be required of these.
  • During the two year probationary period, these would not be eligible for government handouts.
  • After the two year probationary period, the individual could apply for immediate citizenship (assuming there was nothing by which they would be disqualified).

There was clearly wisdom in the way this matter of aliens was legislated in the Law Code of Israel and maybe some truths could be transferred.

Cultural Slide and Church Slide

It is neither new news, nor fake news, that the church has always had to live in a culture while resisting being infected by that culture. It has not been easy to be near the mud puddle without being splashed with mud to one extent or another. Generally the church, through the ages, has not been gloriously successful in this endeavor. Unfortunately, these days are proving not to be any different.

Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC has recently announced that they have called a married lesbian couple to be their co-pastors.  One has a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School and the other has a Masters in Theology from Emory University. The church is apparently happy with the academic status of their new pastors, but they are especially delighted in the vision these two women have for Calvary Baptist; a vision of being a church where those who find themselves “disregarded and maligned” (particularly in sexual orientation) will be warmly accepted. The church is to be a place where “justice and compassion” reign, according to the press release.

So what are we to make of such matters?  First, our response is neither shock nor disbelief.  We know that once the standard is no longer what God has revealed in His Word, then the standard will be set by the culture. And, it should be noted, that the standards of culture have never been nor ever will be better or more beneficial than the ones God has given to mankind.  Second, Jesus, the Lord of the Church, has not over the years become disinterested in how church’s live and behave. It is true that He is so very loving and patient, but He is never tolerant of the willful disregard of “you are to be holy because I am holy”.  (He made this clear to the Church in the incident with Ananias and Sapphira, in Acts 5).  While there might be rejoicing in DC over this great “progress”, there is no such mood in heaven where day and night the angels declare the holiness of God (Rev. 4). Third, because He is the one and only Lord of the church, all of us are accountable to Him. As Hebrews 10:31 warns even believers: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God”. Our task as bondservants of Christ is to faithfully, tenaciously hold on to the Word of God, and proclaim it, even if that means we are labeled “intolerant”, “unloving”, “insensitive” and other pejorative terms. We are to be like Jesus who was “full of grace and truth”. He never compromised one in favor of the other. Let us walk in His steps as we navigate near the mud puddle.

MTD AND THE CHURCH IN 2018

The church in North America is badly infected with MTD and it likely going to get worse in 2018.  This spiritual disease is now so rampant and pervasive, that the spiritual health of the church will undoubtedly continue to decline noticeably.

But, you say, what is MTD? It sounds really bad.  Some years ago this label was employed to describe (with accuracy, I believe) a growing theological idea spreading in the church.  MTD stands for Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.  Quite a mouthful.  But essentially it alters one’s view of God, salvation and purpose of life. It says that there is a good, nice God who created and watches over the world; and He wants us to be good and nice to one another, and He says so in the Bible, and also in most other religions.  And the main goal He has for life is that we are happy and feel good about ourselves.  However, on a daily basis, it is not really necessary to involve Him in our lives. But He is there if and when we run into problem and difficulties, and He is happy (and apparently even obligated) to bail us out.  And, because He is nice, we are told that good people will all end up going to heaven. And if you listen closely, these ideas are being heralded to tens of thousands each week in churches and over the air waves.

What has brought MTD about is that over the past 60 years there has been the lack of solid, biblical teaching of the Word of God. Good theological instruction is not what folks want and they are quite satisfied with the sweet, frothy motivational stuff that passes regularly for biblical preaching.  But this should not come as a complete shock to us.  The writers of the New Testament foretold this happening as this age moved along.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” (The Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3-4)

The solution to MTD, of course, is a return to the careful exposition of God’s Word.  To replace the Word with MTD is to replace the nourishing wheat with the valueless chaff.  But, frankly, it does not seem hopeful that 2018 will witness the return to the expository preaching of the Scriptures in American churches.  Os Guiness said, in his book “Dining with the Devil”, that today’s churches are fundamentally interested in “nickles and noses”; that is, in money and attendance.  MTD brings in lots of people, as the Apostle predicted.  And, in spite of the declarations by most MTDers that they are seeking to reach people and see them changed, the truth is that only the Word proclaimed can transform people (Rom 12:2).