God is against graven images. He is against idols. It is why the ancient Jews expressed a vigorous rejection of such imagery. There must be a compelling reason.
The Hebrew word for idol is pecel. It is defined as “a carved, graven, or sculpted image.” God’s injunction against such images is further defined by the Hebrew word temunah, which follows it. This word is most often translated as “likeness,” and is also defined as “form, similitude, picture, or shape.” What God is describing here is basic statuary of any size. Here is how Merriam-Webster defines the word statue: “A three-dimensional representation usually of a person, animal, or mythical being that is produced by sculpturing, modeling, or casting.”  That pretty much covers it.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:4-6 NKJV]
The preceding is the second commandment as it appears in the list of the Ten Commandments, which is known in Hebrew as the Ten Words (Aseret HaD’vareem). This list of ten, or Decalogue, appears twice in the Old Testament, in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. The ten comprise an initial set of compulsory imperatives directed to the nascent nation of Israel which had just been delivered from prolonged Egyptian bondage. The commandments were designed as a foundational moral code and components of a covenant. From these ten we can construe the behavior and way of life essential for right standing with God. We can also discover what is most important, i.e. our relationship with Him, since the first three commandments refer to how mankind must think of God and relate to and honor Him. The last five commandments tell us which sins and bad behavior God considers to be the most heinous and despicable, which must be eradicated at all cost in order to create an ethical and peaceful community.
THE HISTORICAL SETTING, CIRCA 1446 BC
The descendants of Jacob had arrived at the mountain of God in the early part of the third month after the Exodus. God had wasted no time in bringing them to an unprecedented supernatural nexus in the remote wilderness of Arabia. The great mass settled in and camped below the majestic mount, while Moses ventured up to meet with God. After getting his instructions he returned, gathered up the elders, and delivered the covenant pronouncement he had just received. The people immediately agreed to it wholeheartedly. Moses climbed the great mysterious height once again to relay the message to the Lord. He was instructed to tell the people to consecrate themselves, wash their garments, and prepare for the third day. They must all be warned to not go up the mountain or even touch its border on pain of death.
So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. [Exodus 19:16-20]
Take a moment and consider what you just read. Does it sound believable? Biblically literate Christians in general become notoriously complacent regarding such passages due to their familiarity with accounts such as this one, often to the point of no longer being effected by them as they should be. But rookie believers or non-Christians must see them differently. One cannot read this for the first time and not be emotionally affected. It gives us a picture of God many would rather not reflect upon.
There was thunder, lightning flashes, a thick cloud upon the mountain top, and the incessant high decibels of a ram’s horn. All the people down below were shaking in fright. Can you imagine being in that place, having never experienced anything close to that? There was fire, ascending smoke, and the entire mountain quaked violently. Picture Moses actually having to go up there. I would think God was dead serious about the covenant He was making with Israel and expected everyone else to be as well. Whoever may happen to discount the severity of the setting and not respect the laws God was giving may likely be beyond hope.
EDITING THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
Would you believe that a particular Christian denomination which embraces statuary decided to eliminate the mention of idols and graven images in its preferred version of the Ten Commandments? Agree or disagree, editing the Ten Commandments is a bold move. Perhaps they may wish to mull over what happened at the mountain of God and reconsider. Though they have no discernible respect for the commandment, have never repented for the obvious editing, and justify their actions persistently, God had specific spiritual reasons for the prohibition and has never rescinded it.
There is something in that particular denomination that is vitally dependent upon graven images and idols, so much so that it was willing to actually remove one of God’s commandments in order to keep them. What is it, exactly, about these graven images and idols? What spiritual power do they have? How are they used? Why could they not do without this statuary? Why are the leaders of this religion so willing to confront God Himself and insist they will not be subjected to His commandments? The ancient Israelites did the same on countless occasions. They often refused the whole counsel of God and took to picking and choosing what laws they would comply with and which to reject.
This exact attitude also leads to pure idolatry, in that people choose to create a deity to suit themselves.
They create a god in their own image, according their personal wants and desires. Rather than live under the command of God and subject themselves fully to Him, and thus rightfully subject themselves to all of His laws and teachings, they instead make themselves the personal arbiters of God’s laws. It is the same with so many Christians who refuse to believe in and follow the entirety of the teachings and commandments of the Lord Jesus but instead create syncretic hybrid religions loosely based on Christianity, Christian denominations, and various offshoots.
If one has a proper attitude before the Lord he knows he must either follow the Lord Jesus completely or not follow Him at all. Such a person knows he would be better off never following the Lord at all than submit to a false or incomplete form of Christianity. Once we choose the Lord Jesus it is never in our power to choose what He does with us or what He wants us to believe. When we choose Him we also choose His entire curriculum. When some people insist they are Christians but refuse the Lord’s full curriculum or create another, it is a clear sign of rebellion and disobedience on their part and signifies that their heart has yet to be circumcised.
WHY IS GOD AGAINST IDOLS AND GRAVEN IMAGES?
I don’t pretend to know the whole counsel of God on this subject, but it should not be difficult for us to figure it out. One may recall that the Israelites, after having experienced the incredible spectacle of God on the mountain and agreeing wholeheartedly to the covenant, shortly thereafter decided to make a golden calf and engage in extremely wicked acts right there in that same location. Somehow or another, that false idol had assisted them in their bad behavior. Even though they saw the effects of God’s presence on the mountain, they were more impressed by a three dimensional crafted idol which they could easily behold with their natural senses. God would prefer that we behold Him supernaturally, though we can’t see Him. He would prefer we do not make counterfeits that substitute for Him or spiritual things. Statuary may be legitimized as mere representations or art, but God has a different opinion. He says that creating idols, graven images, and statuary eventually leads to worshipping and serving them.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:4-6] 
He is a jealous God. He refuses to allow the imposition of any false gods or deceptive demonic entities in His place. He demands that we worship and serve Him and not be led astray into serving idols. He loves us enough to tell us the truth—that He is the only One who is both loving and compassionate, and able to save us. He shows great lovingkindness to those who love Him and keep His commandments. What happens to those who don’t? What happens to those who edit His commandments?
Somehow or another, though the advocates of statuary vociferously deny this, there is a hidden understated worship of these abstract representations, though they may be mere statues and works of art. They portend a mental visual within the minds of their beholders which overrides reality, to the extent that reality is replaced with a faux portrayal which serves to reject reality and the desire to discover truth. The people who accept these carved images as benign eventually accept them as genuine representations, but they are not photographs. They are not even good representations, in that they do no service to the original organic flesh and blood historical figures but are mere stylized versions heavy on presence but lacking in human frailty and flaws.
Regarding representations of otherworldly figures or those whose actual portraiture is unknown, the creation which results is based merely on the whim of the artist or whoever may be directing the artist. Whoever then may behold such statuary as genuine realistic renderings can be convinced, often easily, that whoever or whatever is supposedly represented had actually appeared as such though there is obviously no proof whatsoever. For example, whoever carves a statue of Moses is merely making up the resulting image since no one knows what Moses actually looked like. No one knows what any Biblical character looks like. But this has not stopped Christians from several denominations which reject God’s second commandment from manufacturing millions of statues, paintings, and iconography throughout most of the Church Age. And it has not stopped millions of beholders from becoming grossly spiritually confused, sidetracked, and barricaded from spiritually reality.
Rather than attempting to experience God in some grand architectural wonder filled with statuary and beautiful art, I suggest heading out to a distant, desert wilderness all alone. If fortunate, one may meet the same Person Moses did.
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 © 1995 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, Tenth Edition.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” [John 18:36]
The reality of the kingdom of the Lord is much more far-reaching than most Christians acknowledge. Many believers have made varying compromises toward this simple but extremely profound fact, that the Lord’s kingdom is thoroughly and unapologetically spiritual.
It is something that cannot be replicated in the material world but that has never stopped Christians from trying. There have always been ongoing, incessant movements throughout the Church Age to demystify the nature of the Lord’s kingdom and thoroughly revamp it into materialistic modes and representations. There has always been the strange thought in many Christian circles that material representations and symbols are indispensable to a proper understanding of the kingdom, in that without such the reality of real spirituality is both unknowable and unapproachable.
What this actually represents is complete ignorance of the Lord’s kingdom and an attempt to reformulate it into outward representations created to capture the mind and thus, the heart. But it doesn’t work. It only functions on a mundane level that many Christians are apparently satisfied with and only serves to cover up and cloud over the possibility of knowing the actual kingdom.
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING? NOT
There is a reason the Lord God said from the very beginning to never make any kind of graven image or material representation of what is thought to be of the spiritual world or the things that comprise it. Invariably, if one is wont to create such, one will invariably create something sinister regardless of how benign it may appear outwardly. In the most obtuse sense, someone feels he must construct a small image to which he will direct his “spiritual” energy and thought, in that he may feel a strong need for such though completely ignorant of why or why it must be such. These efforts grow in time to full-fledged statuary of perfect human forms, something the ancient Greeks perfected centuries before the Lord’s time.
We still have a great many examples of this ancient “art” and many more representations, of course, that have been created since. It gets seriously goofy when one lays eyes on the ridiculous stone figures of such people as George Washington and other founding fathers of America. This entire thing could not be more of a joke. I think Washington himself would be greatly embarrassed and would probably lead the charge in getting rid of them. One of the even more goofy efforts in this vein is the trend that began a few decades ago in constructing statues of baseball players outside major league baseball parks. Baseball players? Seriously? I like baseball but whoever signs off on this stuff needs to have their head examined.
The Lord has always warned against any of this stuff because people can be so easily deceived and begin seeing these things as reality. But they are mere idols. Other than the Lord Jesus, every human being who ever lived is flawed and sinful regardless of what they or others may think. No human being is worthy of a statue nor is the human being in general worthy of such, nor is such a proper representation anyway. Everything about unregenerate humanity is actually antithetical to spirituality, the antithesis of honor, and screams out the need for humility.
THE DEFAULT MUST BE RADICALLY ADJUSTED
Human beings are all going to hell without the Lord’s salvation. Regardless of all the good we know about everyone, there is also all the bad which must be acknowledged. Something must be done about it. Human beings can get so caught up in their own good looks or accomplishments, or the many material items they may have been able to acquire, and believe that all of that is somehow indicative of spiritual worth and self worth. It is not.
Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” [Luke 12:15]
The default eternal destination of every human being is hell. If something is not done to correct that then that is where one will end up. If one does nothing to change and attempt to get right with God one has no chance. But one must not only begin the process, one must see it through, no matter what it takes or how long it takes. Eternity is riding on it. The Lord stood before Pilate at His ongoing trial and stated this very clearly. Here was God Himself making it very clear that His kingdom was not of this earth. Pilate was an intelligent man but completely failed to grasp this truth.
Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.” [John 18:33-38]
Here was God. YHWH. The Great I AM. Standing before a mere human potentate. His rabid enemies right outside wanting to kill Him. This pretty much tells you all you need to know about the real nature of this world and of humanity. Why such a great divide? How did this happen?
It is obvious that the real Gospel calls for radical change and transformation, something the majority of Christians have never engaged in and often shun. Many of these have substituted material representations and large material structures costing great amounts of money to build and maintain. Many have substituted counterfeit doctrines and teachings resulting in spiritual ignorance. What would the Lord say?
Keep in mind that the Lord never wanted to be replaced by human leaders but allowed it only because people insisted. We also know He doesn’t dwell in houses made with human hands.
Why then the temple? Again, the entire paradigm changed forever after the Babylonian Captivity. A second temple was built but it never had anything in the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was gone and has been missing ever since then. The third temple built by Herod, that which authorities insist was actually still the second temple, was also empty where it mattered. Was this a sign?
DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY
And then the Lord came and they killed Him. They wanted the material. They wanted the money. They wanted the prestige. They wanted the honor. But the Lord said all of that was a complete joke and what one really needs is to get one’s spiritual eyes fixed. He stood before His inquisitors with nothing. This Man who made the universe, who created the planet, who set off Creation. This Man stood before them with nothing that they could see. And yet He was rich beyond measure. He would go through the process. He would allow them to kill Him. But He also warned them of what was coming and the judgment they would face. They paid no attention, just as most people pay no attention to what is required of them to gain eternal life.
It would be good if all Christians would get spiritual. It would be good if we would all pay attention to actual spiritual reality. If we did the things the Lord actually told us to do it would make more sense. The things the apostle Paul taught regarding spiritual gifts would make more sense. All Christians would flock to spiritual truth and do all that was required.
More Christians would wake from their slumber.
While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” [Matthew 27:19] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
No spiritual entity on the face of the Earth wastes money and resources like fake churches. And most churches are fake churches. They are staffed by fake people doing fake things. Forrest Gump said his momma told him, “Stupid is as stupid does,” and there you have it.
The smartest, wisest man who ever lived is said by most pastors and their flocks to be King Solomon. And Solomon was a complete moron and a vile, immoral idiot. He had a moment of wisdom but later squandered it all and joined the devil. But all the church leaders and people still think he was the smartest and wisest.
Have they never heard of the Lord Jesus? The one they supposedly preach about and believe in?
No. Solomon. He’s the guy. And they love His big, giant, ornate, over-the-top temple, the very temple God told David to never build. But somehow, some way, it was okay for Solomon to build it.
No. It wasn’t. Solomon defied God by building it. Solomon was the first antichrist.
“David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for Him.
“However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: ‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord, ‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’
“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did…” [Acts 7:46-51] 
Despite Stephen’s clear pronouncements right before his death, right before the Solomon worshippers killed him, Solomon remains the perfect model for most clergyites. It gives them one more excuse to also build big, giant, ornate, over-the-top “temples.” It gives them the impetus to defy God as well.
THEY CREATED A MONSTER
One MUST notice that whenever these so-called Christians build as Solomon built, they also end up sinning as Solomon sinned. They open up the door to gross moral perversion and build that also. Must we be reminded of all the scandalous moral failures of so many unaccountable “pastors,” television preachers, flaming “music ministers,” Catholic priests and higher ups (including many Popes), and every other “Christian” who insists on Solomon and not the Lord Jesus as their example?
Once Solomon backslid and left the Lord, he was accountable to no one. He could do whatever he wanted to do and did. He had supreme power. The people disobeyed God and demanded a king and the king they ended up with made their lives miserable, and they were powerless to stop him. There were no checks on his life or behavior. This is ALWAYS a recipe for disaster. Many of these disasters in history have been successfully covered up. The ones that leak out give us both a clue and a warning, but the Solomons and their followers never pay attention.
Those who follow the example of Solomon, instead of circumcising their hearts and crucifying their flesh as the Lord Jesus taught, coddle their flesh and engage in great flesh indulgence of all and every kind. It also allows them to establish themselves as little antichrists, just like their hero Solomon.
If one would only do a mere modicum of research one would quickly note that the Lord Jesus and Solomon were polar opposites. One would also note that clergyites are also the polar opposite of the Lord, just as were the Pharisees. The more they become like their hero Solomon, the more they justify their excess, their unchecked authority, and their arrogance. They reach a point where no prophet can get to them and to hell they go.
We currently have popular “ministers” who many Christians and even other ministers know are adulterers and have engaged in gross immorality, but because they honor Solomon and bring in huge amounts of cash they get a pass. That’s why most “Christian” television was doomed from the start. Because it must suck up millions and millions and even billions of dollars to function and grow, the best money men are always most welcome.
That’s why such enterprises reach a point where no one exists who can stand up against the temptation that huge amounts of money bring, though some insist they can and have, but don’t. They’re in denial. The people running these enterprises always end up siphoning more and more off for themselves AND ALL THEIR FOLLOWERS LOOK THE OTHER WAY AND JUSTIFY IT ALL.
Forrest Gump is Albert Einstein compared to such people.
This Solomon mentality is most defined in our times by ultra-arrogant pompous swelled-heads who have no problem taking advantage of regular well-intentioned people who don’t have much and struggle financially every day to give, give, give! They see themselves as most worthy. The best at their craft actually DEMAND money and even go so far as to say God will get you if you don’t bless them.
AND PEOPLE DO IT. EVERY DAY. IN “CHURCHES” ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.
Their enterprises grow by leaps and bounds.
The Lord Jesus is out there in the parking lot somewhere because He either refuses to partake of their hogwash but cares about all the deceived people inside or because they would never let Him in anyway simply because there is no room for Him in the pulpit. Sound familiar? “If only we had a real leader…” they say. “If only God would come and help us…” they say. Sorry folks. He would certainly like to help but there is no room. His ministry is shoved aside by Mr. Fatboy preacher/priest/reverend who wants all the glory, authority, and control, (and money).
Quick question: On all those signs outside church buildings, whose name reigns? The very fact that it says “XYZ Church, Pastor John Doe” tells you everything you need to know.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if such church signs made otherwise honest claims such as, “The LORD JESUS is Shepherd here,” and the people actually backed it up?
But no. That’s just plain silly. WE CAN’T HAVE THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY AS OUR ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY, CAN WE? Perish the thought! Now, everybody back to sleep.
IDOL WORSHIP AND GRAVEN IMAGES
At the final judgment, it won’t just be Lucy Ricardo whose gonna have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. According to the Word of God we will all have to account for our actions. And while some sins are certainly worse than others, is it not obvious that the worst sin of all is idolatry? The first three commandments of the ten are anti-idolatry commandments but they never stopped ancient Israel from becoming the most idolatrous nation on earth. And all that idolatry culminated with King Solomon, the worst idolater of all time.
And that says a lot, when one considers all those ancient nations (and current ones) who love making statues and setting them up everywhere. Let’s see, there’s the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Catholics…
Oh, and Washington DC. Statues everywhere.
But mere statues are really not the biggest problem. They are simply relatively minor evidence of another problem. The biggest problem is all those living statues, idols every one, who breathe air and talk (endlessly), and demand control and rip you off.
THE WORST IDOLS ON THE PLANET TODAY ARE LIVING HUMAN BEINGS.
Exactly like the antichrist.
The Lord Jesus knew all about idolatry and how easy most people fall into temptation regarding it, and how much people want to worship other human beings. Most people are conditioned to believe they are mere nobodies and as a result are also conditioned to worship humans better and greater than themselves. The Lord knew all this and it is in part why He went out of His way every day to stay humble and keep a low profile. He did not want people perceiving Him as a mere human to worship, so He purposefully cut out all those things that the elite always use to prop themselves up. He never dressed up as a Pope or a clergyite or a TV preacher or a politician, but took on the persona of a low income working man, humble to the core, meek and mild (but carried a giant stick to whip the devil with and a powerful voice to put the Pharisees in their place).
If you are still confused about any of this, study the Lord’s life and manner. Study the life of John the Immerser. Study the life and manner of the early apostles and disciples.
Then compare them to Solomon, the man who most Christians and Jews have been taught to believe was the greatest, and that his reign brought on the greatest glory of Israel.
Have they never heard of the Lord Jesus? It still amazes me how so many millions of Christians and Christian leaders never give the Lord Jesus the respect, honor, and authority He deserves. Nobody disses the Lord like these people. It is the legacy of Unreal Christianity.
Solomon actually brought Israel to its knees through his exorbitant excess and idolatry. He taxed Israel to no end. He destroyed the nation. His legacy was the splitting of the nation in two. It never recovered. A thousand years later in 70AD the little that was left of it ceased to be forever, just as the Lord Jesus prophesied 40 years before.
IS ISRAEL’S PAST OUR FUTURE?
Our current leaders are looking more like King Solomon every day. We are living in the early part of the Solomon era. It will culminate with the antichrist. Our leaders will look and act more and more like Solomon as the few years we have left go by. These people are already guilty of gross excess and arrogance completely off the scale. Like Solomon, they perceive themselves to be bullet proof and even beyond God’s reach. If you think it’s bad now, and it is (it’s very bad), wait until you see what comes next.
Here’s a clue: The Roman emperors demanded everyone worship them as God…
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Many billions of dollars have been spent on Christian television over the last few decades with little overall effect on the spiritual condition of the country, though a few have greatly benefitted.
By this it should be obvious that money never drives real revivals and actual spiritual awakenings. Neither do popular personalities. Great Awakenings are always brought forth by the Lord Jesus through very humble people on a grassroots level, often with minimal financial support.
Appearing on major Christian television networks, these major personalities have major backing by tens of thousands of people who support each of them unequivocally. In essence, these personalities are idolized.
They are never questioned. Their backers have long since been persuaded by the demands of their religious culture to be silent and absolutely supportive. Their backers have been taught to believe that these personalities are standing right next to God Himself, are spiritually special, and are “God’s anointed.” Maybe some are.
Television is the perfect medium for these personalities. However, before they could ever appear on television, they must have first proved to be able to gather large crowds of solid supporters who never question anything they do or teach, though the majority of these personalities do not teach the fullness of the New Testament.
Here is a sign—a clear disclosure for anyone with eyes to see.
How is it that these personalities do not typify and better represent the example of the Lord Jesus as clearly illustrated in the Gospels? They do not seem to look like the Lord Jesus or any of the original apostles and disciples of the Lord. In fact, they sometimes present themselves as the complete opposite.
In further fact, some of them by their very example apparently live by the motto, in referring to the Lord Jesus, “He must decrease while I must increase.”
WHO’S FOLLOWING WHO?
In order to be successful, they had to create not disciples of the Lord Jesus, but their own followers. Their followers are not necessarily followers of the Lord and are usually not His disciples. Why? Because it is obvious that the Lord Jesus is not their primary focus and that they do not answer to the Lord but to these personalities they have chosen to be their leaders.
Once these personalities have gained a substantial following, they are allowed to be on television because television programs can only be successful if people watch. Having a built-in following already insures that a sizable amount of market share can be gained and can be used to build upon.
Some prove to be not quite ready for primetime. Some fail their opportunity. It could be because they are too honest and too real.
Others, however, fit the television medium perfectly. As a result, they are followed by even greater numbers of people, huge market share is gained, and donations rise exponentially. These people are thus gold to the network. They are what make the network successful.
Remember how the Lord Jesus described Himself? If one wants an accurate description of the Lord, it can be found in the following:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]
Also, remember how He was kicked out of the synagogues and was fought by organized religion? And how the religious elites and controllers of His day hated Him? And how they finally had enough when He cleaned out the money makers from the temple?
Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.
And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS?’ But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”
The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. [Mark 11:15-18]
This account adds to the former description of the Lord Jesus. From it we can see that in addition to being gentle and humble in heart, He can also astonish people and make religious leaders afraid of Him.
The Lord would probably not have been so effective within the deemed requirements of the present Christian television medium. Here’s why:
People do not want television to reflect reality—even “reality shows” are at least partially scripted (fake). People want television to be entertaining, including Christian television. They want it to reflect fantasy. They want it to be a hyped-up, better-than-this-world, fictional adaptation of reality. And because these major Christian television personalities had already proven themselves to be entertaining showmen by the performances they put on in their churches every Sunday, it makes it possible for them to do the same on television.
It takes much training to look at a television camera and talk to it as if one were talking to another person. Some are not so good at this. There are television news readers, usually local, who have not quite mastered the concept. They talk to the camera well enough to have their job, but they do not appear so convincing. When a person watches them one can see that the news readers in question are certainly looking at the camera but appear to be talking to the camera instead of talking to the television viewers.
Major Christian television personalities do not do this. They have mastered the craft of appearing sincere while talking to a camera either with an audience or virtually alone in a studio. If they can get people to identify with them and watch them and listen to them intently as if they were actually talking directly to the person watching on television, then they have mastered the art of communicating through the medium of television.
This mastered art makes them primarily actors, not preachers of the gospel.
And everyone knows that the best actors are those who give the most convincing performance.
“…But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.
“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men…” [Matthew 23:5-7] 
During the Lord’s time, the chief religious actors were the Pharisees. How do we know this? Because the Lord Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, and the meaning of the word hypocrite is, “an actor, a stage player, a dissembler, and a pretender.”
According to the major Christian television networks that exist because of these major Christian personalities, (1) Image is everything, and (2) Biblical truth is not as important as monetary success and maximum viewership.
REAL CHRISTIANS DON’T GO TO CHURCH TO HAVE CHURCH—THEY ARE THE CHURCH
It is obviously the same with many churches and denominations. It takes large amounts of money to make a religious enterprise work. It takes the purchase of real estate, much of it very high value. It takes the building of large very expensive structures. It takes the paying of very good salaries. Christians are conditioned to believe that Christianity simply cannot work or function without the preceding and without very large amounts of cash.
To that end, congregants and adherents of their respective denominations must be put upon to constantly support the enterprises with much time and much money, though most of the money goes to mere material outlays and most of the time is spent going back and forth several times a week attending the “services” in the buildings we call “churches.”
The Lord Jesus never bought real estate for ministry purposes.
He never built a church building.
He never commanded the building of church buildings.
Neither did any of His original disciples.
The first official church buildings were built three hundred years later.
Therefore, one must attempt to figure out how something so foreign to the Lord and the first Christians had become traditionally indispensible to later church folk. What spirit is being honored here? Who are these people trying to impress?
The Lord Jesus spent most of the donated ministry funds on everyone and everything but Himself. He purposely put Himself at the very end of the line in the use of ministry funds and allowed Himself only the very barest of the bare necessities.
Pharisees did the opposite. Major Christian Television Personalities often do the opposite. Many church leaders often do the opposite.
Rather than obeying the Lord Jesus, they have joined the “successful ministry profession,” and simultaneously the “religious acting profession,” since you can’t have one without the other. Both require large amounts of money, so the raising of money through any means possible is vitally necessary to the existence and maintenance of both professions, and has become a ministry of its own.
That’s why there are “religious telethon ministers” whose primary duty is to raise cash by manipulating as many people as possible using any means possible to get as many donations as possible.
On top of all this, the owners and purveyors and on-camera personalities of these enterprises use fear tactics against anyone who might question the necessity of their enterprises and the sincerity of its movers and shakers. Those who don’t go along with their shenanigans are attacked and labeled as something ungodly, which is another great trick of the devil.
The Pharisees used this exact trick on the Lord Jesus many times—“If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” [Matthew 10:25]
Remember, the above dynamic involved an attack by institutional, traditional, mammon-serving religious leaders and their followers against the Son of God, who appeared as a total radical by comparison. The amount of conviction He brought to them by His perfect example was off the scale.
YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON
Because correct teaching is deemed less important to the enterprise and is even frowned upon since it tends to greatly decrease market share, mass viewership, and especially potential donations, the major Christian television personalities only engage in what is popularly accepted by the majority since that is where the money comes from.
They also bow at the altar of all-inclusiveness by accepting non-believers and legitimizing “Christian” cults. They stay away from divisive issues, both social and political, but most often never address any strongly convicting New Covenant truths that are sure to cause problems with their real agenda.
Every good business owner knows the customer is always right and one must always honor the clients that make one’s business successful. That is why many ministers know one should never tick off the donor base. And whoever has the most money to donate and influence to grant, regardless of their spiritual condition, must be doted on and given a greater stake in the organization and interaction with those at the top of the pyramid.
Regarding such behind the scenes actions, the truth is usually not possible, whether it concerns real intentions and motivation, or why they shy away from preaching the full Gospel. They appear as seasoned politicians, expertly deflecting everything beyond the script with sincerity and smiling faces, knowing that as long as they have their financial backers everything will be fine. As a result, they are rendered largely untouchable regardless of scandal or the hint of one. Most may be as honest as possible within a not so spick-and-span industry, but many are at least guilty by association.
And instead of rebuking those among their ranks who are involved in questionable behavior and refuse to toe the New Covenant mark, they rally to the side of the guilty parties who sometimes remain unrepentant. They know the light may be shining on them one day and they’ll need the support of their allies.
Quiet on the set.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
UPDATE (3/13/15): The AP reports that a major Christian television personality, a man who claims he can garner $100,000 for a speaking engagement, needs your help. He needs $65 million dollars for a new luxury jet. Seriously, I do not make this stuff up…
In began in ancient Sumer at the dawn of civilization.
The Egyptians mastered the craft.
It extended through the major cultures and empires of the world, culminating with the Romans in a purely pagan, non-Biblical sense.
The Romans built upon the prior foundations of Greece and Egypt primarily, and confiscated from those and other prior cultures the highly defined pagan image-making art of ancient times.
The nation of Israel had also long since succumbed to the practice of idolatry over a thousand years before, but it was the highly developed religious image-making and pretension of the first-century Pharisees who formed a false syncretic hybrid of Torah-ism and demon worship to the degree that the Lord Jesus called them “of their father the devil.”
This Phariseeism was later used in Christian forms, one principally which still exists today, and formed the basis of the Christian image-making of the present. And rather than only forming idols of wood, metal, or stone, these fakers have followed the devil’s lead by also creating fully evolved human idols worshipped and followed every Sunday morning and on televisions nationwide.
Indeed, television has become the perfect medium for such idolatry, though outside of television there has existed for many centuries an ultra-religious ceremonial and liturgical pageantry within particular denominations that has captured the minds of millions and deceived them away from the full expression and knowledge of the Lord.
The entire effort of these false Christian forms and formats, as related to the Lord’s original, results in nothing more than shallow religious “showtime” using well-compensated religious actors, exactly as did the Pharisees, whom the Lord referred to as hypocrites (devious religious stage players).
The Pharisees were fakes. They were not concerned with growing spiritually closer to God but about gaining earthly power and wealth. So are many “Christian” leaders and celebrities. If anyone actually believes that such “ministers” one sees up front and center are real, and that they are just like their stage (platform, pulpit) persona behind the scenes in regular life, such people are grossly deceived, and it illustrates how easy it is to manipulate and lead around by the nose those who refuse to fully surrender to the Lord Jesus.
“IT IS THE SPIRIT WHO GIVES LIFE; THE FLESH PROFITS NOTHING.” [John 6:63]
Of course, there is nothing whatsoever fake or disingenuous about the Lord. And His rejection and death was in part because He obeyed the Torah commandments against idolatry and that He rejected false image-making. In essence, He appeared to be much less than whom He really was to a people well-conditioned to submit to religious masqueraders. To the majority, the God of the Universe simply did not look the part unlike so many religious fakers who did.
…For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness… [2Corinthians 11:14-15]
Christian religious image-making of the present has certainly gone mainstream but also mandatory if one is to receive market share, popularity, and reach the primary highly-coveted fundamental goals, which remain the same:
(1) An outlet for one’s vanity, narcissism, and pride,
(2) Greater advantage and influence, and
Therefore, Christians in particular must always remember that—
One’s eyes can certainly be deceived (and often are)
One’s perceived correct Biblical beliefs can certainly be inaccurate (and often are) through the power of a false gospel, and
One can certainly become a dupe. It has happened to millions, and such millions are growing exponentially. Those without spiritual eyes to see who have no love for the truth cannot help but be fooled. [See 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12]
These are victims of higher powers masquerading as something real—false lights of shining fakery and carefully-crafted graven images of the human kind.
One thing such victims all have in common is they don’t know they are deceived, are often willingly deceived, and strangely, stubbornly insist on supporting the unreal rather than the real, even if it costs them their eternal souls. It is pure idolatry, and the antithesis of the purity and reality of the Lord Jesus.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The historical and American culture-changing Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 (see video at end of Part 1) proved that what once was, was no more. A great transformation had taken place. Life got “modern.” The organic became the cosmetic. The country shifted dramatically from the spiritual to the material. Depth gave way to shallowness. Image-making became a priority.
Keep in mind, however, that this was also the beginning of the Holy Spirit outpouring throughout denominational Christianity. Pentecost was pouring into places where it had previously been blocked. Thousands of denominational Christians were being filled with the Spirit like hundreds of thousands of Pentecostals before them. This outpouring also eventually reached the American Catholic Church. Many priests and nuns were becoming Pentecostal. It began the great Catholic Charismatic movement.
But, of course, almost all of this wonderful spiritual history was not being reported by the few major news outlets that had succumbed to the phony dog and pony political show before them. It became obvious to anyone with spiritual eyes and ears that the major media became nothing more than a corporate entity doing the bidding of elites deceiving the country. As the dominance of the television medium increased, so did the power to use it for the sinister purposes of swaying the country toward a hidden agenda for the personal gain of those in power.
Cultural conformity was forced and enforced, even more than in the 1950s. For a typical example, over half a century ago, IBM mandated a black pants, white shirt, black tie image for all workers as a statement of corporate uniformity. Professional dress became the model for emerging corporatism. Any and all forms of dissent were perceived as anti-American though the country was founded upon dissent and revolution.
But suddenly, unbelievably, the perfect created image was destroyed. Naïve, idyllic America became an all too real nightmare. An American president had been savagely murdered under mysterious circumstances. Militarism and the destructive Vietnam War were in full swing. The ridiculous attitude of “my country right or wrong” became a compulsory slogan as an end-all be-all instead of doing the right thing to correct gross wrongs. Race riots were breaking out.
Such coercion toward a regimented “follow-orders” populace created what was then known as the generation gap in that young people, still very much American at heart, rebelled against the fakery, the overbearing political correctness, religious redneckism, and the emerging military/political/corporate glom being forced upon the populace.
Amidst all this, most Americans had no idea what was causing all the change or that they were being played. They did not see the actors behind the curtain. All anyone knew was that it seemed like the country was exploding.
For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. [Hosea 8:7]
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
It had been almost another half century since the dawn of public relations imaging and methods, and American individualism took a hit. It was a time of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” a popular expression of the day, when the middle class expanded and most were concerned with doing whatever they must to appear as solid, successful citizens and within a higher social strata.
Bucking the system was opposed by the majority as something inherently wrong without noticing that “the system” had gone terribly wrong. “Keeping up appearances” was preferable to taking on the persona of the early American patriots to fix the country, and such image-consciousness was no longer only for the wealthy but for everyone who wanted to be well thought of.
One’s presented image took precedence over one’s spiritual stature.
Therefore, much of what happened in the counter-cultural 1960s was an immoral over-reaction against the heavy-handed authoritarianism of the day, in which those in charge were often terribly wrong though they insisted they must be honored, respected, and obeyed anyway. Most Americans did obey only to discover years later they were wrong to do that. Their outer redneckism of the time veiled a yellow, selfish heart. They bought into the lie.
Image-making was so pervasive it became unconscious.
Yet, centuries before the changes of the last one hundred years, there was a group of people who had mastered the craft of image-making and became extremely successful in its use. And it seems that whenever we reach points in history in which false imagery reaches its zenith, all hell breaks loose.
In Part 3 we will look at the greatest manipulators of all and the sinister methods they use so well.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
It is fairly easy for the non-deceived to spot faux religious leaders.
Such are the ones with perfect outer images who have mastered the art of staying in character.
They also dress very well for the part.
“‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’” [Deuteronomy 27:15] 
I remember hearing a message by a man principally involved in marriage ministry who also pastors a large congregation. This man was talking about how God created men to be wired visually regarding their attraction toward a mate.
He then began talking about how enhanced photography and facial makeup allow some women to look much better than they actually do. When such methods create an image, it is simply not real. He said married men often fall into temptation comparing such pretty faces to their wives, who feel they can’t compete.
Regarding even the best looking professional super models he said, “Don’t be concerned about not looking like that. They don’t look like that…”
Now, it is certainly okay to want to look our best, but some strive to vastly improve on the Creator’s handiwork and attempt to look not just their best but better than the rest, even if it means cosmetically transforming in the extreme their actual, God-given appearance. And the ultra use of cosmetics, plastic surgery, and photographic tricks to assist in that process is no longer necessarily an option for many, though it is a relatively recent innovation.
The first crude camera photograph was created circa 1826-27, going on two centuries ago, and the vast majority of ladies in developed nations never wore makeup until maybe 50-60 years ago. Now, of course, the percentage of women who wear makeup to some degree or another has advanced dramatically, and photography has advanced to ultra high definition video. By comparing the oldest photographs from the 1800s and portrait paintings centuries older, one can see the great advances made both in mechanical media and also culturally accepted (demanded) cosmetics.
Technology has presently improved to the extent that a person’s image can be dramatically changed, and it can generate quite a shock when such people are seen outside their usual doctored images. This often happens with celebrities who spend a lot of time behind a camera, but this is not always the case.
For instance, there is the true story from a few years ago of a longtime pastor who, during the middle of a big Sunday church service while preaching, suddenly ripped off the hairpiece from atop his head.
The entire congregation was blown away. He had been wearing hairpieces for so long most of the people there had never known he was bald. It probably took a while to get used to the “new guy.”
Because there are currently so many false images in the world, and because people become so used to seeing created images, the actual person underneath is often unrecognizable and by comparison obviously inferior.
This has caused two things: (1) Very high artificial self-esteem based on the use of excellent effects to enhance one’s natural appearance, and (2) Very low self-esteem for those who cannot compete for whatever reason.
It is most likely that such a wide divergence of image did not exist in the days when all women wore no makeup, save for a tiny percentage of royals and the wealthy. This provided for a level playing field though some had greater natural beauty than others.
Today, if people choose to transform their image using whatever means, the outer image thus created is obviously different than what their actual natural image would be otherwise.
If some of these people also dress very well, learn how to present themselves very well, say all the right words and phrases, and effect fake smiles and attitudes that appear real, outside observers will certainly be faked out, especially if they’ve never seen such people sans their carefully crafted image.
What’s going on here? Why do people want to engage in such image-making?
It usually boils down to three things: (1) Vanity, (2) Advantage, and (3) Money.
CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND
It is a matter of social acceptance. It is a matter of dispelling any doubts concerning one’s character and motives. It is a matter of putting forth the look of success and proper reputation.
It is also a matter of competition. The better one looks and the more one is accepted, the more one rises in one’s society (gains in popularity) and the better one feels (an ongoing endorphin rush), both of which results in greater pleasure and high self-esteem, though the danger of creating great pride exists based simply on a less than honest outer image. Also, more doors will open. More open doors mean receiving more opportunities, earning more money, and even attracting a better mate (or multiple mates).
Of course, Hollywood figured this out going on a century ago. The creation of “movie stars” was not possible without stage lighting, makeup, superior costumes, camera tricks, and etc. And once such stars were created, the movie-going public attended theaters all over the country in droves which made for an interesting phenomenon regarding people worshipping people.
As the medium grew more sophisticated and color film was invented, image-making went through the roof. Nice looking people became extremely good-looking people. The eventual fake image of these people became the standard image, since so few were seen in the real world under normal conditions. When they were seen for how they really looked, however, the contrast was obvious and often scandalous.
Many mainline Christian denominations preached against makeup and what they might term “unholy clothing” for decades in a vain attempt to keep Hollywood from invading the church. But after World War I, the advent of moving pictures, and the comparatively decadent “Roaring Twenties” when greater wealth and material goods became available, the cat was out of the bag.
It would take another quarter century, another World War (including the immoral influence of other cultures), and television before America became transformed forever into an amoral image-based society.
The Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates, the first televised debates, proved this transformation in 1960. The visual contrast between these two men was stark in that John Kennedy presented a much greater televised image than Richard Nixon, though many who only listened on radio thought Nixon had won.
It was primarily John Kennedy’s carefully crafted superior image that eventually won him the presidency.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
“Kennedy and his people were the master manipulators of television:”
The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
THAT THEY MAY ADD SIN TO SIN
“Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!” [Isaiah 30:1-2]
Christian rulers have no doubts about where they stand. With every thread of their being, they know they are right. They know their position is the correct one.
Thus, the clergy spirit is very deceiving. This is how it remains in power. If the Christian ruling class were to display even a hint of uncertainty with regard to its core principles, its foundation would be weakened. Therefore, the clergy recognizes that to admit error is to admit fault. In other words, those who are passively going along with the clergy’s program should never be given an opportunity to consider the possibility that their leaders have been compromised.
Though some believe themselves to be superior, the Scriptures state very clearly that humanity has an exceptionally sorry and rebellious nature:
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” [Isaiah 53:6]
This is why many people don’t put any real faith in the Bible—they simply cannot handle the fact that they are inherently sinful. Most of those who have heard the gospel message yet remain in their sins are in strong denial. A lot of these people are “Christian.” Some are “Christian” leaders. These deceived individuals have no effect on the purity and strength of the real Church since they are not yet members. The problem for the body of Christ arises when those who are members fail to ongoingly replenish themselves through the refreshing of the Holy Spirit. This failure leads to a strengthening of the lower nature, which then leads to sin and a loss of contact and fellowship with God. Therefore, the same deception occurring in non-members can occur in real members. When the true becomes weak, it allows the false to grow strong. When people fail God, they give aid and comfort to the enemy.
Is it possible for a Christian to never commit a sin? There are those who seem to think so, but they’re either (1) on drugs, (2) from a different planet, (3) deceived, or (4) prideful, arrogant, and high-minded. (Choose your poison.) Obviously, those in leadership are just as susceptible to sin as those not in leadership. However, according to the convoluted logic which most Christian rulers engage in, it would be better to keep such facts behind closed doors since there is so much potential for scandal.
Those who have chosen to follow man instead of God prefer leaders who are better than they are. They don’t appreciate it when they discover that their leaders have misrepresented themselves. Even if they are aware that their leader is human, they would rather not know what makes him human. Hence, the cover-up. Besides, as far as the clergy is concerned, why confuse the laity over who’s in charge? Why allow the laity to think it could lead?
The reason the sin of the clergy is proportionately rarely revealed is because, as a class, they work to keep it hidden. This is an art, of course. Covering one’s sin goes hand in hand with image building, but the Word states that creating images is also a sin.
In Exodus 20:4–6, the second of the Ten Commandments flatly states:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
The word “idol” is translated as “graven image” in many Bible versions. The Hebrew word is pecel, and implies an image of a man or animal made from metal or wood. The word “likeness” in the stated verses is from the Hebrew temuwnah. This word has a more general definition—“form, representation, likeness”—but suggests three dimensionality. Both of these words connote something fashioned or shaped to be worshipped or served.
Hence, image building is designed to cover inherent flaws and promote a false representation of reality—a three-dimensional fashioning of an object other than God to be submitted to, and thus, to serve. Therefore, the intention of the Second Commandment is to protect God’s people from the temptation of honoring another above Him and consequently losing or never establishing both one’s blessed relationship with the Lord, and one’s dominion in Him. The most fully evolved form of an idol today is a living human being.
Even so, the professional clergy class has been very successful in promoting their image of sanctity and sinlessness. That they must sin to cover up their sin doesn’t seem to concern them. The alternative is to be found out and subsequently lose their power and prestige. Of course, these facts are general in scope. There are many members of the clergy who are not trying to hide personal sin. They must be careful, however, to avoid defending and protecting the traditional image of their class. Jesus wore the clothes of a simple working man, yet the majority of professional ministers insist on clerical collars, business suits, ties, fanciful robes, and the like. Why dress in this manner, if not to create a certain image or be recognized as a clergyman?
Though many sins of the clergy have started to leak out as of late, they have been treated as isolated incidents, instead of as the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As is the case with all cover-ups, once leaks begin to flow unchecked, raging currents are sure to come. The professional Christian clergy is like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, except they’ve used up all their fingers and are running out of toes. This strategy won’t work, just as their halos won’t work at bailing water.
When it comes to the sin of the laity, however, failures and transgressions are treated much differently. Instead of working to keep them concealed, the laity is encouraged by the clergy to bring their sins out into the open. While the clergy remains behind a mysterious wall of piety, the laity is supposed to be transparent. Why this obvious double standard exists, and why it is rarely challenged, attests to the power and scope of the clergy spirit’s subterfuge.
If the laity reveals sin, shortcomings, faults, and so forth, how can their stature ever match the standing of the ones who don’t? In politics, a candidate attempts to compare his strengths with his opponent’s weaknesses while concealing his own weaknesses and refusing to acknowledge his opponent’s strengths. Is it any different in church circles? How can there be true Christian community under these dual class conditions? Are the controllers trying to insure that the controlled remain in a state of submission? Is this why they insist that the laity alone hang out its dirty laundry? Or are they simply trying to enforce the notion that clergy members are somehow closer to God?
Like the Wizard of Oz, the ruling class has established a powerful and sometimes fearsome image of itself. Its members have set themselves up as the sacred and the laity as the profane. The laity, if brave enough to seek personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains, often do so at the feet of the big boys, who have been enormously successful at promoting their big daddy image for centuries. Of course, the laity receives only religious tokens for the most part, if anything at all. The important thing is image.
The great Christian controllers must believe that if the laity perceives them as merely human, and not ultrahuman, it would cause such disillusionment within Christendom that a complete breakdown would take place. But one man’s breakdown and loss of power is another man’s revolution and recovering of freedom. Ask George Washington. Ask Martin Luther. Ask the Lord Jesus Himself. It was the benefactors of the religious clergy spirit of His time who were so incensed by His radical teachings and so petrified over losing control because of His growing movement that they savagely murdered Him, revealing to all, for all time, their true motivation and character.
© 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.