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Ministry/Church Related
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Subject Topic: Abandoned by God?
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Tommy Gregg
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Joined: Aug-19-04
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Posted: Jan-17-08 at 11:26pm | IP Logged  

This is my first topic starter post ever. I am just sooooo compelled to share this. It hit me sooooo deeply that literally several 100,000 Christians (maybe millions) who seek truth from a huge Christian ministry like Focus on the Family and a well-known pastor like John MacArthur can be led to miss...CHRIST. Following is the background.

I just listened to Focus on the Family's (FOF's) #1 radio program in 2007...a sermon by pastor John MacArthur on the National Day of Prayer. James Dobson (founder/president of FOF) called the sermon "courageous and articulate" and a sermon as powerful as Jonathan Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in the 1800s. He further claimed that not many pastors preach like this because it is so terrifying and so convicting.

MacArthur spoke of the failure of Samson and subsequently "Samson did not know the Lord had left him." He used that to support how God abandons a nation in accordance with Romans 1. The last stage of abadonment is when "God gave them over to a reprobate mind."

Dobson was obviously frightened and responded,"What a terrifying thought that God will leave us and our hearts can be so cold not to even realize it! Could this have already happened? It must be so as John shows it is rooted in Scripture. This is a national tragedy (he described gambling, abortion, infidelity, etc) happening before our very eyes." Dobson said that FOF's phones rang off the hook in response to this radio airing.

MacArthur goes on to say that this happens when we "take the Word of God out of its place of supremacy."

Dobson goes on to happily say that MacArthur provides HOPE at the end of his sermon. MacArthur's hope is from Psalm 81:11-16, "Oh, that My people would listen to Me." MacArthur proclaims THE key to our prayers is to pray "for the Word of the living God to be proclaimed across this nation and that the nation will listen to God's truth." He then asks, "Then do you think God would respond?" Then he uses Psalm 81:16 to proclaim that if we do proclaim His Word that "God will drown us with His blessings."

My heart is soooo heavy. Is not Christ THE hope? Is the Bible or Christ to be pre-eminent in all things?

I sense that MacArthur is boldly proclaiming words of truth than can listened to but can never ever be lived up to. These words can scare folks like James Dobson, but there is no power to live up to them. Isn't our calling to proclaim Truth Himself, the Word of God Himself in all that we say and do...in all that we are in Him, the living Christ? Are we not already blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3)? When we boldly go to the throne of grace, will God be missing?

Is Christ as Head of the Church failing, and is the church dwindling down to a wimper? Or is the true church so vitally connected to Christ that His vibrant and majestic life is transforming the very world that we Christ-ones walk through every day? Could it be that Christ really is alive, and that His church is very much alive in Him?

Do you think that people like James Dobson focus on what they can see with their eyes (i.e., the evil in this world, and yes, in our precious country) so much that they miss seeing with the eyes of faith the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere we go (2 Corin 2:14)?

I am not talking about denying evil...my heart is simply crying out for a brother in Christ like Dobson to not deny Truth Himself in the process of focusing on evil. In fact, I don't believe we can really focus on evil apart from the living Christ who is the Truth and who truly knows the depth of evil because of the cross. God has given each of us one foundational focus that Christ is alive and He is living through us not just to make our country more moral, but to glorify Himself through us no matter what!

We can be so articulate and sound so powerful by proclaiming Scriptures. However, my heart cries out, Where's the cross and resurrection? Where's the true hope? Where is Christ? Not one mention of our precious Lord Jesus Christ...not even implicitly.

MacArthur banks his hope on people being able to listen to God...on people doing the initiating. Then, he surmises, God will "react...and bless us." Does not sound very miraculous to me. Does not sound like God has much power or control to me. Sounds like it is up to us. Does not sound like the cross and resurrection has any part of this biblically sound hope.

I actually was excited to listen to the program when it was introduced as the #1 radio airing in 2007 for FOF. I thought, "This should be really good." Then, I could hardly believe what I heard.

Whew. Enough for now. Thank you Lord Jesus for shining through the darkness I sensed. You know I don't want to be critical of a brother in Christ. I simply want to genuinely share the precious heart that you gave me...your heart. Oh my. Oh my.

Blessings to all on the Shack. Gregg



      

God called me through His grace for only one reason: to reveal His Son in me (Galatians 1:15-16).
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_Jason_
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 8:03am | IP Logged  

Sounds like a run-of-the-mill Sunday sermon at the local churches around here. This sort of stuff doesn't surprise me anymore.

Reminds me also of the current message of condemnation posted on the local friendly baptist church billboard. It reads: "Jesus didn't take applications, only commitment".

Religion, lovely religion.......



Edited by Jason from AL on Jan-18-08 at 8:03am


      

"Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver." - Jason from AL
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ShannonC
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 9:36am | IP Logged  

Gregg:

Thank you so much for sharing this.  I was thinking of posting something very similar myself.  You verbalized what was on my heart lately.  This morning I was thinking if God does not save us utterly he does not save us at all....in other words, it is not one iota of what I do but all that He has done.  What got me thinking on those lines was something that happened locally, some of you may have heard - a local man threw his four children off of a bridge here in Mobile.  They ranged in age of 4 months to 4 years.  It is unexplicable, horrific, etc. 

I am not going to the I.C. now but I still get emails from them, etc.  Let me just say, they think along the same lines as what Dobson and McArthur is preaching...we have to DO more to SAVE more people, etc. I'm sorry, but I carried that burden long ago...I was never able to save one soul. 

About the children, my heart aches and breaks and I don't understand it one bit. I just go to HIM. HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.  I don't understand that kind of pain and I am not going to pretend to, but HE....

I wasn't going to add this part, but I just had to.  I even received an email from one of the ladies from the I.C. who told us that we should be praying for the Mom's salvation.  As far as I know and from what the email sounds like, this woman has never laid eyes on the Mom or had one conversation with her, etc.  It just seemed so cold and removed - like she knew this Mom's heart without knowing her.  It just seemed so presumptious to me. UGH!!!!

 

 



Edited by ShannonC on Jan-18-08 at 9:39am


      

ShannonC
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chuck
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Joined: Jan-18-08
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 9:43am | IP Logged  

I feel so sorry for the John MacArthurs, James Dobsons, James Kennedys and Ted Haggards of the world. Their message never changes and it’s the same message that was delivered to me when I was a child….  “The world is coming to an end (insert means here).  Our “loving and merciful” God has abandoned us (huh?) because (insert reason here), we’re all born in sin and on our way to Hell…. But wait!  We can all be saved (insert means here).”  Sixty years of this garbage dump of threats and recriminations and there’s no end in sight. I've lost track of the number of times the world has come to an end. 

          These guys aught to sit down for once and read what their bible really says and what Christ is really about.  They’ll be shocked and then begin to rejoice for savior means someone who saves – not condemns, not punishes or hates nor creates wars against other groups or against sovereign countries. 

          But then, they would find themselves out of business, wouldn’t they.  They would have to talk about mundane stuff like love and peace and helping one another.  There’d be nothing to crow and bellow about, no convincing arguments to deliver to common and poor folks to send in the little money they have along with their food stamps so that these ‘pastors’ can continue to live the life to which they’ve become accustomed.  Talk about sin!

Look around folks, in spite of the moron that these men pushed to be the elected head of state, as a nation (and not counting New York, New Orleans and California) we’re still in pretty good shape – right?.  There’s a light on the horizon heralding the end of this monster’s reign and the hope of a return to sane government of, by and for the people; not just for Bush’s rich friends.  I have a few words of my own for these men who gain their wealthy style by living off of the poor and ignorant….. “SHUT UP and crawl back under your rock!”



      

Vita contingit, Viva cum eo
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luvin
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 11:35am | IP Logged  

welcome Chuck!

      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

http:newthatsliving.blogspot.com
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Joyce
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 3:49pm | IP Logged  

Speaking of the "world coming to an end"...  I understand that many centuries back, the 'church in power'' told all those that actually did have property, to leave it to the church when they died because the world was coming to an end and their children wouldn't need it.  As I understand it, that is what they did.  The irony.. the church would need the property when the world was coming to an end??  It seems when we are under some kind of power that washes the brain, we don't think it through clearly. 

With regard to the topic post... where does the power players end and where does those decieved begin.  Are the ones promoting this type of despondency and condemnation the real perpetrators or the victims as well?   Is there something higher "in control" than the "face men" that do the speaking?   Just some of my wonderings.... 

Joyce 

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the shovel
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 3:59pm | IP Logged  

Gregg, my brother!

Thanks for starting this thread. It is an excellent consideration of what goes on in the Christian institutions across the land. Oh yeah, his sermon is definitely on a par with "Sinners in the hands of an angry God"    That's just what we need more of. But then again, what else can the mind of the flesh agree with?

Jim


      

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luvin
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 7:09pm | IP Logged  

..to answer that Jim..it agrees with "do's and dont's".

      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

http:newthatsliving.blogspot.com
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the shovel
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Posted: Jan-18-08 at 7:59pm | IP Logged  

luvin wrote:
..to answer that Jim..it agrees with "do's and dont's".


Exactly, my friend! :)


      

DIGGIN'THE LIFE!
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Rest and Trust
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Posted: Jan-19-08 at 9:46am | IP Logged  

I guess my greatest issue with this type of doctrine (that is perpetuated by the IC) at this point in my experience is- what does it offer the "hearer" other than fear? Fear of their system, of their condemnation, of their non-acceptance as a peer, etc.. Give me a break! What is in their lives that gives anyone the sense that they have, even the remotest, possession of liberty/freedom in the Spirit of Christ that Jesus offered/offers? Their motivations are just like anyone elses, with a religous spin on them. For example- Where is there an IC leader that rejects the government gag order, in the guise of a "tax exempt status". Can you imagine allowing your whole group to be placed into the bondage of not being able to discuss, promote, and endorse (as a group) the poltical candidates. Or lets say you have 2 IC buildiings next door to each other, how often will the same leader demand that you love one another but he himself would never go to the IC buildiing next door and shake the leader of that IC' hand. (Sure there are always exceptions to these scenarios these are only examples of what is common.) You could go on and on with these types of examples, the point is the absence of the liberty in the Spirit that is evident. And the way they (as leaders of the IC) purport themselves as the standard to live by. Why do people want to live in bondage to a goverment gag order or be divided from people they don't even know, simply  because of a coporate ego trip that is perpetuated by the IC. I wonder where that corporate ego trip ultimately finds its source?

Rant rant rant...    

I guess these types of sermons push my button.   

  

2Pe 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

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the shovel
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Posted: Jan-19-08 at 1:09pm | IP Logged  

I hear you, Joe! I suppose insanity sounds plausible to those in the insane asylum. 

      

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luvin
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Posted: Jan-19-08 at 4:55pm | IP Logged  

TO THIS i SAY...EVEN A LITTLE LEAVAN RUINS THE WHOLE LUMP.

      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

http:newthatsliving.blogspot.com
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Tommy Gregg
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Posted: Jan-19-08 at 11:44pm | IP Logged  

I understand your responses. I do realize the situation in organized religion. I did not post to show that I am more right than those in organized religion. I wanted to simply testify of a truth that flowed from my heart under the circumstances. I really cannot put it into words very well...it just impacted me deeply...and I was surprised to my reaction. It was much deeper than me rolling up my eyes and saying, "There they go again."

I guess my post was more in sharing in how I believe Christ in me revealed to me through the Focus on the Family radio airing more about just how widespread and extensively entrenched so many Christians are in the law that hides the glory of Christ from them...how soooooo many Christians depend on second-hand divine information from professional ministers. My heart actually hurts for them. I believe it is our Lord's heart for them.

Now that this is happening, I am not reacting in the flesh, "Oh my gosh, so many people are in bondage...I need to step up my ministry to show them the right way to believe." I sense I am responding to Christ's heart in me to be even more aware, to experience even more of His compassion and light, to stand even more in His grace. This may sound foolish, but I am even considering inviting myself to talk to James Dobson as a brother in Christ.

I am still wrestling with this reaction in my heart. I trust it is a holy wrestling. I know that what is being preached in those radio airings is "another gospel," and Paul says for people who preach another gospel to "let him be accursed." Is that to people who knowingly preach another gospel? What about James Dobson who I believe has been deceived this time in promoting another gospel? Seems like I have the freedom to share with him.

Oh my. I have much to ponder on this. That's ok. I have a Friend that sticks closer than a brother to ponder with. Hopes this clarifies my heart a little more. Gregg

      

God called me through His grace for only one reason: to reveal His Son in me (Galatians 1:15-16).
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luvin
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Posted: Jan-20-08 at 9:17am | IP Logged  

Hey great clarification. I wish you the very best in that endeavor. Lord knows there is a lot of confusion in that ministry of flesh. Then again Im not sure I have a problem so much with flesh as I do it masquerading around as though it were Him.

      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

http:newthatsliving.blogspot.com
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the shovel
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Posted: Jan-20-08 at 12:13pm | IP Logged  

Gregg,

Thanks so much for your added thoughts ... and of the desire of your heart to possibly connect with this man. It makes no difference how foolish it may seem to anyone else ... or even to yourself. Follow the desire of your heart, bro!

Jim


      

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Rest and Trust
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Posted: Jan-20-08 at 1:44pm | IP Logged  

the shovel wrote:
I hear you, Joe! I suppose insanity sounds plausible to those in the insane asylum. 

Not so long ago we might have been committed to "the insane asylum" for what we share here at the Shack.

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Rest and Trust
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Posted: Jan-20-08 at 2:09pm | IP Logged  

Tommy Gregg wrote:
I am still wrestling with this reaction in my heart. I trust it is a holy wrestling. I know that what is being preached in those radio airings is "another gospel," and Paul says for people who preach another gospel to "let him be accursed." Is that to people who knowingly preach another gospel? What about James Dobson who I believe has been deceived this time in promoting another gospel? Seems like I have the freedom to share with him.

Gregg,

Thanks for sharing your heart's desire for those who perpetuate these fear-doctrines, to see them for what they are.

I am guessing that we all (to one degree or another) "wrestle" with these same issues and with the same heart, as you describe so well.

 

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BobB
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Posted: Jan-22-08 at 10:28am | IP Logged  

 

MacArthur is smooth. He was a staple in our home and I received a steady diet of his type of doctrine. It left me confused as I never felt i measured up to that suit wearing crowd. MacArthur has sold 10's of thousands of books, He's educated, wears a suit and looks very damned respectable. A wolf if ever I saw one.  Most of MacArthurs books are focused on knocking other ministiries who interpret scripture different than himself. They align themselves with other influentials who are in agreement with them. It's clearly about POWER and OBLIGATION.  Shepherds obligate the sheep and the shearing begins. It's on every level and facet of these organizations. They travel the USA and beyond to make one convert, then turn them into twice the child of hell as themselves.

 



Edited by BobB on Jan-22-08 at 10:29am


      

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BobB
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Posted: Jan-22-08 at 3:35pm | IP Logged  

My apologies if I may have offended anyone with my previous statements. The truth is, I don't really give a hoot about John MacArthur, so I'm not sure why I commented at all. But I can't deny that 'gut' wrench feeling when I hear this MacArthur stuff.

It was interesting to speak to my brother just a few minutes ago about John MacArthur. About 20 years ago MacArthur was my cup of tea, and my brother found him harsh. 20 years later, my brother loves him and I'm sour on him. Hmmmmmm..........



      

friend of sinners
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the shovel
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Posted: Jan-22-08 at 5:42pm | IP Logged  

Bob, sometimes we just gotta say what we gotta say! :)

Jim


      

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BobB
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Posted: Jan-23-08 at 1:25am | IP Logged  

Thanks for the understanding Jim. It's easy to react and say things when that nasty taste reappears in my mouth. There may be truth in some of what I've said, but I recognize my hostility towards something that I now recognize as a fraud. My brother believes he preaches 'the word'. To someone else, it is valid and true. And do I have the energy to argue my point???

Love you all



      

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luvin
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Posted: Jan-23-08 at 8:31am | IP Logged  

Bob,

I hear ya .



      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

http:newthatsliving.blogspot.com
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