Episode 122

Disciple Up #122
When Someone Leaves the Faith
By Louie Marsh, 8-21-2019

Recent “High Profile” Christian leaders have either abandoned the faith or nearly so. Marty Sampson and Josh Harris are two of them.

John L. Cooper(lead singer of Skillet) FaceBook post on this: https://www.facebook.com/johnlcooperstuff/photos/a.2899206263638620/2899204140305499/?type=3&theater

John L Cooper’s “Rant” Edited

 Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once “faces” of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?) as they announce that they are leaving the faith. I’ll state my conclusion, then I’ll state some rebuttals to statements I’ve read by some of them. Firstly, I never judge people outside of my faith. Even if they hate religion or Christianity. That is not my place and I have many friends who disagree with my religion and that is 100% fine with me. However, when it comes to people within my faith, there must be a measure of loyalty and friendship and accountability to each other and the Word of God.

My conclusion for the church: We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom. (And yes that includes people like me!) I’ve been saying for 20 years that we are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth. We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.

I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?

My second thought is, why do people act like “being real” covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier. Have they considered the ramifications? As if they are the harbingers of truth, saying “I used to think one way and practice it and preach it, but now I’ve learned all the new truth and will start practicing and preaching it.” So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.

Thirdly, there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.” This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, “How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.” As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

And lastly, and most shocking imo, as these influencers disavow their faith, they always end their statements with their “new insight/new truth” that is basically a regurgitation of Jesus’s words?! It’s truly bizarre and ironic. They’ll say “I’m disavowing my faith but remember, love people, be generous, forgive others”. Ummm, why? That is actually not human nature

It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.

Is it any wonder that some of our disavowed Christian leaders are letting go of the absolute truth of the Bible and subsequently their lives are falling apart? Brothers and sisters in the faith all around the world, pastors, teachers, worship leaders, influencers…I implore you, please please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths. But rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT. “The grass withers and the flowers fade away, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)

 CT Article: https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/august/leaving-faith-by-losing-focus-part-1.html

How Should We React When People We Know Do This.

 1) Stay calm, do NOT overreact and get in their face.

 2) Pray immediately. For them and for yourself and what you should do about this. Don’t spread it around, take it to God.

 Check yourself and make sure you are standing strong.

 1  Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)

 3) When you talk to them the most important thing is to try and get to REAL root of the problem. This usually isn’t what they’ll tell you at first. In my experience it’s often tied to personal pain or betrayal inflicted on them by a Christian. Or it’s a tough time and God hasn’t answered their prayers they way they wanted Him too.

4) Ask lots of question and actually LISTEN! Be like Jesus who did exactly the same thing.

5) Reaffirm your love for and friendship with them. Be in this for the long haul if that’s what it takes. Don’t reject them just because they are, or think they are, rejecting the Lord.

6) Main question – where’s Jesus in all this? Often this will bring them to realize this is more of a rejection of the church or other believers than it is a rejection of God or Jesus.

7) Ask them if you can pray for them when talking to them, and tell them you are going to pray for them privately.

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Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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Episode 29

Disciple Up #29
Always Be Questioning
By Louie Marsh, 11-1-2017

ABQ – Always Be Questioning.

This episode started when someone I hadn’t heard from in years got ahold of me recently. I won’t use her name but she’s an old friend of mine from High School. She was part of my Youth Group – call the Key Teens (yeah, the title hasn’t aged well but then neither have I! – and she’s working with others who in the Group to start a FaceBook page and work on getting us all back in touch.

In her message to me she said in part: You were such a big part of opening discussions in our Bible Studies/other occasions, questioning things most of us would not have thought to question. I will always appreciate that.

Imagine that. It’s been about half a century and she still remembers and appreciates me mouthing off with all my teenage questions! Pretty amazing and it just goes to show you that you never know what kind of an impact what you say and do will have on others – and like most things that works for good and ill.

So todays podcast is dedicated to someone I’ll just call Mrs. KeyTeen, a lovely lady who was a good friend and who I had a my first HUGE crush on, but never acted on it because even then I knew she was totally out of my league!

And with that let’s get on with the show!

What Should I Question?

As a teen I came into Christianity from a pretty secular background. I questioned creation VS evolution, the truth of the Bible, etc. In those days during the Vietnam war I also questioned if Christians can fight in the military.

I questioned so many things – which shows I didn’t know or understand much, but I wanted too. Now some 50 years later, I’m still asking questions and this episode is my attempt to get you to do the same thing as well.

Question Everything!

Things to question: Faith and the Bible – YES! BUT, also question the culture you live in and all the strange and often contradictory things it demands you believe.

Doesn’t the Bible Say Questioning God is Wrong?

NO!!

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (ESV)

As an old Pastor once said to me, and he said this at a Key Teens summer camp called Planning Conference: “Doubt your doubts.” It was good advice then and even better advice to the moral and spiritual morass that surrounds and penetrates us today.

11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

God not only commands us to question – He honors and approves it.

It’s our culture that forbids questioning. It, like all cultures, demands submission to whatever it’s saying this week and only wants you to question others, not itself. As I’ve said before in other shows of Disciple Up, this is the nature of all culture. Conform and submit. I felt that demand as a teen and I feel it now even though the culture has changed so much that what I’m supposed to submit too has radically changed and in some cases are the exact opposite of what I was told then.

God knows the only way to learn is to question.

Like culture, most religions also forbid questions and demand unthinking obedience. But Jesus wasn’t that way. When Christians and churches forbid honest and sincere questions they are sinning. Just look at this encounter Jesus had.

Quotes: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/questioning.html

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Albert Einstein

I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself. Elon Musk

Religious belief, like history itself, is a story that is always unfolding, always subject to inquiry and ripe for questioning. For without doubt there is no faith. Jon Meacham

The marvelous thing is that for thousands of years people have continued questioning and searching and ultimately concluding that reasons for certain occurrences are not given to man to know. Robert Vaughn

http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/faithquotes.htm

Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. –Paul Tillich

The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid. –G.K. Chesterton

21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. Mark 9:21-27 (ESV)

Why Don’t People Question More?

• Taught not too
• Hard work
• Don’t know how – find the resources you can use
• Set priorities

Disciple Up Low Down

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 

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