Monday, August 17, 2009

R U An A La Carte Christian?

“What are you talking about?” you may ask. I am talking about the society and culture that we live in today and how this culture affects the church body as a whole. Many want to label themselves “Christian” but they don’t want to adhere to the doctrines of the Christian faith. Many are picking and choosing what they will believe. I call that “a la carte” Christianity or “smorgasbord” Christianity. It is like walking up to a buffet line and picking and choosing foods you will eat – it does not necessarily mean you are getting a balanced or healthy diet - most of the time you are not.

Paul predicted today’s culture and warns of this in 2 Timothy 4:3-4

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (ESV)
Paul also talks about the godlessness that is so prevalent today in 2 Timothy 3:1-9:
Godlessness in the Last Days
"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men." (ESV)
Recently I read a devotional in Our Daily Bread called “Yeah But…” by Dave Branon. If you have a chance I encourage you to read this devotional so you will have another reference why I bring up the topic of an “a la carte” Christian.

This sort of thinking is rampant throughout the Christian community and church today. It is a "pick-and-choose belief system" which seems to have the mindset of “pick out what you want to believe from the Bible and if you disagree with what the Word of God says it is okay. It is kind of like the attitude from the mid to late 70’s “If it feels good – do it!” I ask myself “Why would someone want to be called a Christian if they don’t want to believe the author of the faith?”
Hebrews 12:2: "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (ESV)
Believing that the Bible is the inspired word of God is one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith. That leads to another question “If you don’t believe the whole Bible as truth then why believe any of it?”

I personally have seen this “A La Carte” way of thinking in my own family. It is dangerous thinking and it not only hurts the person, but it hurts the entire church. More importantly it hurts our Lord.

Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”(ESV).
Paul does not say “pick and choose which scriptures you like or pick out the ones that fit your life and lifestyle.” He does not say that “parts” of scripture are “breathed out by God” and other “parts” are not. No, he says “ALL Scripture. The Greek word for “all” is “pas” and is defined as: each, every, any, all, the whole. That pretty much sums it up.

Some questions to consider:
  1. Do you call yourself a Christian?
  2. Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired Words of God?
  3. Do you believe that the Bible is relevant in today’s culture?
  4. Are you picking and choosing which Bible verses fit your life/lifestyle and throwing out all the others?
  5. Are you honoring the Lord by obedience to His word?

Please prayerfully consider these questions. If need be take your answers to the Lord in prayer and deal with them at His feet.
- Cindy Mrva, August 17th, 2009

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