Monday, March 6, 2017
Fake News in the Church
You've heard about fake news.
From what I've been able to read and discern, fake news is anything that is written or broadcast by the media that is less than completely true that may have some truths twisted to an agenda that cannot be achieved if the truth be told.
Fake news is a deliberate attempt to mislead people for political, ideological, socioeconomic or pathological gain.
For example, either the White House or most major media outlets are fabricating aka lying about the relationships between President Trump and members of his administration and Russia.
Simply, either the Trump administration or media are making up fakes news to keep us from knowing what's really going on for some nefarious reason.
Even more simply and scary, if our President is right, it means the media is trying to say Russia rigged the election and has enough influence with him because of His business dealings to blackmail him into doing their global bidding or, at minimum, to act like the Obama administration in the Middle East and "stand down" as Putin and his thugs try to resurrect the Soviet Union.
Equally simply and scary, if our media is right, it means President Trump is a traitor who should be more than impeached. He should be tried for treason.
The truth is somebody is lying; and somebody is spreading fake news to keep us from knowing the truth and holding one of 'em accountable for their deceptions.
But before we start throwing stones at them from our glass houses called churches, let's take a peek at ecclesiastical fake news.
Per capita assessments come to mind.
Essentially, most denominations have per capita assessments - a per member fee retrieved from local churches - to fund their denomination's administrative staff, support, and services.
Per capita is mandatory in most denominations with the hammer being the removal of ordination credentials and tax exemption from those who don't ante up.
In other denominations, like the PCUSA, it's a voluntary apportionment with the persuasion being connectional celebration or something like that.
Bluntly, most denominations understand per capita assessments as a mandatory tax or dues while some, like the PCUSA, encourage per capita assessments as a voluntary invitation/privilege.
The former have no choice because it's mandatory while the latter have choice because it's voluntary.
Obligation is debatable whether mandatory or voluntary.
Defying per capita in the former requires a lot of courage because, well, uh, you could end up in a storefront or something if you don't file for 501(c)3 status before they lock you out.
Choosing not to pay per capita when it's voluntary not mandatory means you may get stuck on some lousy committee or get bad looks when you show up at meetings while nothing can be done about it apart from changing the denomination's constitution to make it mandatory not voluntary.
Enough on that.
Whether it's mandatory or voluntary, recognizing the greater risks if mandatory and lesser risks if voluntary, I've always been pro-choice about per capita.
With so much ideological and sentimental diversity masquerading as theology in so many of today's churches - especially revised non-standard mainline versions - finding unity in that diversity is like finding Republicans in Chicago or Democrats in Salt Lake City.
It's really hard to find agreement on what's important to Jesus like salvation, sanctity of all human life, sexual ethics, marriage, forgiveness, mercy, charity, and...
That's why so many churches are pro-choice on those things no matter what Jesus said about 'em; and that's why I'm pro-choice on per capita.
If churches are gonna say we can be pro-choice on everything else, intellectual not to mention spiritual consistency demands encouraging pro-choice on per capita.
Moving from the temporal to eternal, there's even fake news about Jesus in too many churches.
Jesus was clear about being Lord and Savior.
Just read the red letters.
Then move on to the bold black print of the epistles.
There is no way an honest person can look at over 2K years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, traditional, historical, and common sense Christianity and not admit Jesus knew who He was/is as Lord and Savior.
That's the good news!
Unfortunately, fake pastors in fake churches spread the fake news that Jesus is not who He said He is/was as Lord and Savior.
Jude: "I wanted to talk to you about our common salvation by grace through faith in Jesus but, instead, I've got to tell you to remember who you are because fake pulpiteers and pewsitters have slithered into the church like snakes and have denied Jesus as our only Master and Lord and Savior."
We know too many fake pastors in fake churches named after Jesus who choke on His name and can't say His name and don't talk about Him or talk about Him in parallel respect to...
That's why, paraphrasing a little, Paul wrote, "Don't let the world trick you with its fake news that Jesus is not who He said He is."
That's why Jude urged, "But you as opposed to them must keep keepin' on...building up yourselves in your most holy faith by staying close to Jesus."
So here's a simple rule to know if your pastor and church are fake or true to Jesus by the book.
If you aren't hearing a lot about Jesus as Lord and Savior a lot of the time, then get the heaven out of there as fast as you can.
Everything and everyone apart from Jesus by the book is fake news; and like Trump and the media, everybody's gonna find out who's telling the truth sooner or later and definitely in the end.
Blessings and Love!