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Sunday, August 16, 2009
Don't Loose Sight of Your Horizon
Written by Mary Elizabeth Tyler
As a preacher and evangelist of God’s holy word, you must believe with all your heart, soul, and mind, that Christ is the ONLY way to eternal life (the way, the truth, and the life (Jo 14:6). And be willing not only to make this proclamation in the public arena of the church, but also be able to defend it with unflinching nerve, when conversing with TV talk show hosts such as Larry King, and many other notables in the public media. Several theological panel discussions, on the Larry King show, have unearthed some surprising false beliefs held by certain stalwarts of the Christian faith.
There have been a few well known, some even seasoned TV evangelists and preachers, men of great renown, lately, who have diverged in the woods, opting for the broader road that leads to destruction; straying far from the road less traveled. Many have dodged the question when put to them point blank by Larry King, “Is Jesus Christ the only way to get to heaven?” They duck such perceived, near indignities, as if some ominous black bird were making grand sweeps and lobs at their foreheads. With much chagrin they sigh, shrug their limp, perplexed shoulders, and give some mumbled, off topic, garbled retort, of, “I cannot judge any man’s heart only God can, I am only called to love God and all people alike.” That’s it??? Is that all there is? Hmm! Why not just say what’s in your heart? Christ “IS” the only way. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. My son at five years old could articulate better than that, he could even tell you that peanuts made peanut butter, lemons made lemon aid, and milk came from cows. How much more should we expect from preachers and evangelists, who are infinitely wiser than children, and whose “divine milk” does not come from a cow? So, are we asking too much? Is Christ, or isn’t Christ, the only way?
Some evangelists, who are prone to the cheeky, positive, gospel message (grins and more grins), joyfully receive the question, and still manage to obfuscate and bungle the good news. And say silly things like, “ You owe it to yourself to be happy, and be the very best person you can possibly be, so think positive.” Is that possible? A Johnny be good! Most of us folk come from a floundering line of the Johnny “Apple Seed” variety; we are born of bad seed, bad to the bone, rotten to the core, and in desperate need of something more than a mere positive possibility (grins included). These do for yourself something good, gurus, relish the opportunity to be all things to all people, conversing on topics that they know little about, and talk in round about circles as if they were well informed (I guess nonsense is tolerable and preferable to the foolish. Only Mr. Ed [the talking horse] would “never talk” unless he had something to say). There may be a lesson here, if you are willing to believe horses talk (but we do know-donkeys can).
My serious deep concern in all of this is for the evangelists who court the world’s affections and desire the love of all men. It does happen. Which is sad and most regrettable. This world has its potentates, princes, popes, and presidents, who all need the redeeming message of Jesus; all people need Christ as their Lord and Savior. But the snare of the fowler stands ready and waiting when gifted men of the pulpit find the pleasures and the powers of this world more enticing and more desirable than Christ’s offer for life. We, as Christians, are to be in the world but not of the world. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you” (2 Cor 6:17).
There is a balance that one needs to cultivate: we are to go among the unregenerate, as to influence them for Christ, preaching Christ crucified, but we do not partake of their questionable entertainments, lifestyles, philosophies and or their apostate religions. Many have found this difficult to do while courting the world’s elite on the golf course. The more the world beckons them their feet remain entrenched in the world.
The core gospel message that Christ is the “ONLY” way to heaven then becomes muddied, foggy, and a hard to articulate doctrine for some evangelists, and instead comes out in sweeping, twisted phrases like, “The Pope is a magnanimous God fearing man, who is God’s voice to the world at large. It is time for all evangelicals everywhere to unite and accept all people of all faiths because all roads lead to heaven.” This is an alarming statement! The preacher… the evangelist... the teacher… the keeper and mouthpiece of God’s most precious holy word, has just lost his horizon. Jesus!
It is the same with pilots, you know. When flying over the ocean they can loose sight of the horizon. The ocean and sky become a wash, the sea becomes the sky: the sky the sea. They cannot distinguish the blue overhead from the deep blue, cerulean sea: zenith from nadir. Their focal point, the horizon, is gone. They are not even aware of their free falling until the hard, thunderous crash comes, and by then it is too late to pullback. They plunge headlong into the black abyss, irretrievably lost because of the sheer depth and expanse of the sea.
The evangelist, too, faces the same fate as the pilot when he looses his horizon. The man becomes the world, and the world becomes the man, you can no longer tell them apart. All because he did not listen to the voice of God, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate….”