No, I'm not talking about Homer or Al Qaeda or the Freemasons. Those aren't the golden chains we Christians care about.
In the Bible there are many golden chains. One link leading to another.
There is the Golden Chain in Romans 8. "Whom he predestined, he also called. Whom he called he also justified. Whom he justified he also glorified.
There is the Golden Chain in 2 Peter. "For this reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control persevereance, and to persevereance godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love."
As I've said, last month I watched only a lot of Christian Television. What a mistake! I know we aren't supposed to condemn our brothers and sisters in Christ. (Although the Bible tells us to judge prophecies, judge and discern sermons, judge who is a possible swine who might trample on our pearls and turn around and rend us.) And I found myself getting very annoyed at the greed and Walmart convention quality of the entire thing. It is sooo hard to find a minister one respects.
I find myself wondering about the way they sell stuff: "You must get this tape or book. It will change your life." Uhm.... really?
Okay, let's say some of these folks have faith -- I mean faith born from their own experiences with God, not faith born out of repeating something that they themselves haven't experienced or some kneejerk interpretation they picked up in seminary. Do they add to faith "goodness"??? I mean, not everyone is good but shouldn't we be good as God defines it? Not as American Christianity defines it but as God defines it. For instance, what's with the arrogance? Yes, I swear I see arrogance. There are actually Christian superstar ministers. I can accept a jet, mind you. But is it me or do they behave like famous rockstars? Do they drop each other's name as if they are something special? What is that about? Aren't we all as Christians given the authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, preach the gospel? What is this hierarchy business? I know they want us to understand that God wishes to bless us...but shouldn't they be very careful lest greed destroy them? It is very hard to be poor in spirit when Christians are fawning around one as if one is a superstar.
Add to goodness, knowledge: My problem here is that I really wonder if these guys read their Bibles often. Okay, I might be cynical but ALL Scripture is given for profit, reproof, etc. When was the last time someone did a sermon on say Joel or Amos or Obadiah?
Add to knowlege, self-control: Puhleze!!!! Prophetess Juanita Bynum needs to control herself. And regular Christians in regular churches need to understand forbearance. The knee-jerk platitudes and judgements some Christians give to comfort and console or rebuke each other only makes me think that they aren't waiting on God to tell them what to say. They think they are waiting for God but they have no control over their mouth. Often they say, "I speak the truth in love." Well, honestly if you look at that verse in the Bible ...it refers to discussing someone caught up in a wrong doctrine. That particular verse isn't about telling someone something about their sin.
Perseverance? Come now. When we pray for the sick, we are to persevere. In the old days when folks got sick, the old ladies of the church would be at your house doing for you and waiting on the lord for you. They would persevere and would not leave you until you were healed. Part of this is our lack of love for each other. Part of this is our bad theology. Consider what would happen when we prayed for the sick, if we didn't not stop praying for them in that service until the healing manifests. We live in a world very much like the city of Bethsaida, a city that Jesus rebuked because they were so unbelieving. Jesus had to take the blind man a long way out of the city, pray for him twice (the only person he had to do that with), and tell the man NOT TO return to the city again. In a place of such faithlessness, we have to persevere to get folks healed. Do we do that? Why not? Maybe we just don't love, maybe we just don't believe.
Godliness: Ah me! I'm not real godly. So I shouldn't talk. But honestly, the stuff I see in churches. One friend who loves God very much says "I believe we must have abortion. Hey, I had an abortion. Who's gonna pay for these kids? Who's gonna love these kids?" Okay, are we as Christians judging spiritual matters by expedience and money? Another friend who also loves God says, "Well, so-and-so had four kids and now they're getting married. It's good they lived together before they married." Okay? What's that about? I'm not particularly holy, mind you. But honestly!
And to godliness, brotherly kindness. Oh puhleze!!! Have you ever met some of the self-impressed, self-important folks in our churches. I know that as a people we black folks are very wounded, but do we have to show how important we are by being cruel to others we consider less-than?
What are we to do with the royal law when we can't even follow the golden chain? -C
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