This piece is not what I’d prefer to write today, but I’m hoping you’ll indulge some anger and a little sarcasm. When a term becomes so distorted that it can mean anything, then it really means nothing at all. This week marked the opening of a new ‘church’ in the liberal city of Denver, CO—the city is now host to the ‘International Church of Cannabis’. What this obscene endeavor does to the concept that Jesus had in mind plumbs the depths of profane ridicule, but beyond that, it serves as a sobering reminder of what we have allowed institutional ‘Christianity’ in America to become in our lifetime.
More Involved than Just the Name ~
There are groups across this land designated as ‘churches’ that openly and brazenly contradict the teachings of Jesus Christ. Their leaders often make it clear by their own verbal statements and lifestyles that they have no personal, functional connection to the One they claim to represent. They distort Jesus’ teaching, demean His principles, disclaim His miracles, and deny His resurrection. Multitudes of ‘churches’ are directed by men and women who have no Biblical qualification to hold the offices they occupy, and no commitment to carry out the commission that was dictated by Jesus Christ Himself.
The moral chaos in our land is not surprising given the number of ‘churches’ governed by religious professionals whose ministries appear to be more devoted to attaining denominational notoriety and career security than countering the decaying moral climate of this culture. The criteria for success in their realm is based not on changed lives, but on whether they can manage to keep a sufficient number of congregational adherents hanging on and writing large enough checks to sustain their operation and fund their retirement. The key to honor for the crop of ‘ministers’ running things these days depends on whose ‘Reverend’ title has the most impressive academic initials behind his—or her—or its—name.
What if We Expanded on the Same Idea?
Given the flexible adaptation of the term exemplified by the new ‘church plant’ in Denver, I have a suggestion. If legalizing another mood-affecting/mind-altering drug is all it takes to allow a bunch of perverted pot-heads on a weed-induced high to call themselves a ‘church’, then why not expand the idea? Since prostitution is legal in some areas of our nation, then surely there’s somebody with enough lustful spiritual zeal to open a new church and call it the ‘Happy House of Holy Whoredom’. Maybe they could get into politics and begin promoting the idea of making the ministry of whore-mongering tax deductible? No doubt there are plenty of liberal politicians and university ‘snowflakes’ who would vote for it, and I’m sure George Soros would kick in a few million to subsidize rent-a-mob riots in cities everywhere to draw attention to the new definition of religious freedom.
And since gambling has long since been freed from any moral and legal restraints, how about reaching out to the gamers? There must be a liberal seminary graduate somewhere ready to bring gambling addicts together and admonish them to get their moxie on at the ‘Good-News-Chance-Casino-of-Easy-Wealth Tabernacle’, right? Electronic devices could be installed in the pews so the wealth-without-work worshippers could place their bets on a variety of ministry outlets. Local bookies could take to the stage offering encouragement and elaborating on the latest odds and options available.
While we’re at it, it wouldn’t be right to leave out the often-overlooked alcoholics just because they’ve been around longer. Since booze is legal everywhere, we need someone to acknowledge them with a compelling call to worship together. The invitation could read like this: ‘Are you tired of puking and passing out alone? Come Swagger, Stagger, and Swoon with us at the ‘International Disciples of Drunken Delirium Church.’
A Brave New Ecclesiastical World ~
I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface here and have no doubt that there are lots of other church-planting ideas out there, and there will be more to come as American ‘Christianity’ continues to allow ecclesiastical liberals to eliminate the idea of sin and remove from pulpits the drawbacks that emerge when such negative-sounding things as Bible references are permitted. New ‘churches’ will begin to pop up everywhere when people are finally free from the inconvenient notion that God actually has any authority, or that any judgment will ever be forthcoming. At least then we won’t need to keep harping on that old ‘separation of church and state’ thing anymore. When His name and His Word are so diluted that they can mean anything at all, then they will mean nothing at all, and none of it will matter any longer at all.
Just One Problem ~
The only problem is that Jesus Christ has never relinquished His sovereign authority to the government or anyone else to determine what is or is not His Church and what is or is not acceptable conduct within it.
© 2017 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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