Dr. George Wood, head of the 3,000,000 plus member Assemblies of God church in America, with over 66,000,000 members worldwide, has opened his heart to his pastors.
Titled, "My Greatest Hope and Deepest Concern", he expresses just that.
He writes, "The secular worldview and culture of this age differ radically from biblical faith and practice, and even oppose them."
I wrote and spoke about that yesterday. And will continue to do so with God's help and your support.
Dr. Woods tells the pastors, "This worldview admits to no ultimate truth about reality: no God-created beginning or God-controlled ending of history, no inherent meaning or purpose to life. The culture is relativistic: anything goes as long as everyone agrees and no one gets hurt."
But people are being "hurt" by this evolving world view of secular relativism.
Wood says, "The cultural consequences of this world view are devastating."
In this he gives instruction to his Assemblies of God pastors, and in doing so perhaps gives instruction to all believers.
"When anything goes, someone always gets hurt," he says.
And asks, "How can my grandsons Jacob and Reese, become men of God in the midst of this age?" Then he asks pastors how Christians can be "holy" as required in Hebrews 12:14, in this same cultural environment.
First, he says---Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind---then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is.
The pastor of the pastors says, we, as redeemed or restored (saved) people can rise above the debilitating sin in our culture through the power of God and the gospel of Christ.
He says "numerous worldviews and cultures compete for our attention in the market place of ideas" while he calls pastors to be "discerning", knowing how to "look past the slick marketing and fancy packaging of ideas."
And he says : In a pluralistic culture, preaching holiness requires preaching "doctrine", both theological and ethical, and "apologetics."
"If people do not understand biblical doctrine, they will be led astray", he says.
One popular misunderstanding comes to my mind and its driven by both celebrities and activists with a non-biblical agenda. Jesus said, "No man comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). It has become popularized to claim to be a Christian, yet in the name of cultural tolerance, also claim that you don't believe Jesus is the "only" way to God. Oprah, our President and other high profile people have and are making that statement. To believe that, or claim to believe it, makes a person feel more inclusive and loving. More "tolerant" of all the other religions that claim otherwise. However, that is false doctrine.
Another popularized "slick" idea put forward this past year by Rob Bell and others is that a loving God would not send people to hell. Therefore there is no hell.
In his book, "Love Wins Out," he teaches it would be unreasonable to believe that God would eternally punish someone for failure to "accept Christ" in this very short moment in time and eternity called life. Bell and others are teaching that would not be "fair" and people are being led astray by their teaching.
God is just. He administers justice, not fairness. Fairness is a tool of relativism which allows an individual to become "as God" and administer "fairness."
Fairness with no higher authority is tyranny.
The relentless advance of homosexual activists have given us so-called pastors who are explaining that the Bible does not condemn that behavior and that redefining marriage is a "Christian" act of love and compassion---just like that displayed by Jesus. This false doctrine teaches people that, as President once explained, the verses in Romans and elsewhere that identify that behavior as sin are "obscure" and obsolete. And misunderstood.
If they do not understand biblical ethics and lifestyle, "they will not behave according to biblical standards and will often repudiate them," Dr. Wood says.
"And," he says, "we must aim" to change both hearts and minds if we are to influence this culture for the better and provide a better life for our children and grandchildren.
I took 3 things from this:
1. It is strong and timely counsel to pastors. And to those who are not pastors.
2. The emphasis for cultural renewal is spiritual renewal. Cultural renewal only comes through spiritual renewal and awakening.
3. Christian pastors need to show up and preach biblical doctrines, ethics and behavior. My sense is that he may be saying its time to move away from a complete religious diet of "how to feel good" to a more balanced and biblically wholesome diet of "believing good", discerning good" and behaving good."
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Pro-Active. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed. Be Useful.