When did we stop trusting God? When did we stop trusting Him to really make us into a new creation and then to grow us from one degree of glory to another (See II Corinthians 5:17; 3:18)? Perhaps it all started when the world turned its back on God and then discovered very quickly that humanity was in trouble. Why were they in trouble? There was no longer a moral anchor and humanity began to drift into a greater sea of immorality. Many tried desperately to reign in terror and gross immorality with new laws and mandates, but everything failed. As churches emptied and immorality increased fallen humanity needed a solution and they needed it quick. So, in time they resurrected some old theories of a pagan writer who lived a few centuries earlier; someone who thought he understood human nature. Then with the experimentation of new drugs, seemingly to affect behavior, and this new science of mental health, then the art of modern psychology was born. So, humanity no longer needed God to direct their path and provide them a moral anchor, because a new quasi religion had arrived on the scene to solve all the problems of fallen humanity. So how does all this affect the lukewarm church?
Let’s back up a minute. Humanity had been in great trouble once before. Many centuries before when every man called upon his own deity and decided his own fate. A time when most of humanity could change his moral commitment or religious devotion as easily as changing his soiled clothes. The world was on a collision course with destiny and all would have been lost if it were not for one solitary figure. Jesus Christ came offering a new life to all who would follow Him. This was the miracle of miracles! He came to offer eternal life, but the real miracle is that it would start immediately. There was no waiting. The new life in Christ was not just a promise, but a reality to be experienced now. All that was needed was faith to open the door and even that would become a free gift through His amazing grace. If God could create the heavens and the earth, then surely he could re-create new life in His children. Nothing was left to chance, but everything was planned down to the smallest detail. God would begin by giving us the indwelling Spirit with a specific job of growing us from one degree of glory to another, by putting His laws into our hearts and writing them in our minds, giving us a desire and the ability to obey them, and even convict us when we strayed from the path. But that’s just the beginning!
Jesus Christ would establish His Church. Let’s be clear this is not the building. It is the people of God who are encouraged to come together as one people. Jesus Christ knew we needed one another as we grow and change becoming the new person in Christ. We would realize almost immediately that becoming different from the world would cause some dire problems. We would soon discover that we are no longer loved as their own, but rejected, scorned, and even persecuted. In the beginning of my own Christian pilgrimage, I can still remember the words of exhortation, encouragement and even an occasional admonishment from other dear children in the Lord. Of course, the greatest teacher was the indwelling Spirit that validated the beautiful Words in Scripture and helped me apply them to my own walk. I also discovered the great joy that comes from corporate worship and intercessory prayer. Then there was the great reward of helping others who had just begun their new life in Christ. All the “one another statements” in the Bible became especially meaningful as we learned to mutually encourage one another. So you might be wondering how did counseling from the world, devised for fallen humanity, get into the Church?
Well, there is a two-fold answer. Most people coming from the world, especially the adults, have grown up being told about all the things that they could suffer from. People started looking at their mental health the same way that they looked at the rest of their health issues. For us older folks we know it didn’t always be that way, psychology and any talk of mental health was only for crazy people, not for us regular people. As time progressed it became the most natural thing to suffer from worry, anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness, fear or any other number of disorders. For the record, the book containing these disorders has grown very thick over the years. The counselor’s office became just as important as the regular doctor or even the preacher. The great turning away from God created the humanistic counselor who promised to help those who struggled with their sins, which by the way was no longer called a sin, but an illness. This became so popular among fallen humanity that the Seminary started teaching psychology to new pastors, first in the Catholic Church, then also in the Protestant churches. I can remember taking a class in psychology at Seminary 35 years ago with many new pastors vehemently resisting the notion of needing to learn something that was designed to help fallen humanity – for those who turned away from God.
So over the past 35 years, psychology or at least its bedfellow Christian counseling (that utilizes the same methods as psychology) found itself fully established into the ministry of the local church. Now I know some pastors today will say that my Christian counseling always points people to the Bible. Yes, I am sure that it does, but it does a lot more. It uses most of the same operative words of psychology allowing them to stay trapped in their perceived illnesses that takes a great deal of time to bring about healing even if that’s totally possible. Where is the promised new life in Christ? Where is the miracle of miracles? Some pastors even take it a step further and preach this lie of needed counseling for the new person in Christ and the perceived illness straight from the pulpit. Whatever happened to sin? Jesus Christ never established the Church to set up counseling offices to help His children. What He did do was give everyone a new life in Him along with the indwelling Spirit who is our Counselor. He gave us a body of believers to help one another by bearing one another’s burdens and utilizing all the beautiful “one another statements” in the Bible (See Galatians 6:2).
What we should be doing is helping them to confirm their new life in Christ. Help them to see if they are really saved and if not, then perhaps there is an issue with faith, not an illness. We need to be as bold as the New Testament that says, if we say that we have fellowship with Him then we no longer walk in darkness (See I John 1:6). If we say that we know Christ, then we keep His commands (see I John 2:3-4). If we love the world then the love of the Father is not in us (See I John 2:15). If we do righteousness, then we are born of Him (See I John 2:29). If we are born of God, we do not purposely sin or make a habit of sinning (See 1 John 3:9). That should do away with the idea that we continue to struggle for years with the same sins of worry, anxiety, fear, depression, and many other sins now categorized as illnesses. Where is the new life in Christ? We need to help people to know if they are truly God’s precious children then we should be helping them to put off the old life and put on the new life in Christ immediately. Yet, the lukewarm church has constant, non-ending counseling allowing them to remain as little more than babies in Christ or of a carnal mind which is an enmity to God. We pray Lord that you awaken the lukewarm church. It’s time we threw the heretical teaching out of the lukewarm church and become the true Church. Let us experience the miracle of miracles, our new life in Christ. Amen
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