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A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)

The initial history of the Early Church occurred during 32-70AD. Afterwards, until the early 300s, real Christianity grew exponentially. Then the enemy made a masterstroke…

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The Christian Tower Builders had been preparing well. During a period of roughly 230 years after the destruction of the nation of Israel (70AD) and the establishment and great fruitfulness of the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom throughout the Roman Empire, the enemy had been stealthily at work. He had developed a plan to strike back at his hated nemesis even though its full effect would be long in coming. His first intention was to undermine the original teachings of the Lord by introducing familiar philosophical reasonings and standard ancient religious concepts which centered on idolatry. He would add Gnostic understandings which initially emerged during the apostle Paul’s time primarily in Asia Minor centered roughly at Ephesus, having likely originated in Alexandria, Egypt. In essence, the enemy would do what he had always done to lead people astray: Obfuscate their thinking, corral them into cults, and draw them into eventual worship of him whether such people knew it or not.  

He would also begin the process of recreating and applying the accoutrements of tyrannical rule which would largely mirror the Roman emperor and his court and thus generate the means to rule over as many Christians as possible through as few as possible. This had always been a successful strategy in other cultures in prior times in that it created influential figureheads by which to control and manage the herds of humanity regardless of realm—government/politics, religion, the military, or even economics. Regarding Christians who had already adapted to following one Leader—the Lord Jesus—the enemy would have to make the attempt to introduce sub-leaders, those who stood between God and the follower and who would act as religious mediators. In this way he could cut off a believer’s direct communication with the Lord by making him go through a surrogate and compel him to become dependent on a stand-in—a hireling—and by this muddy the believer’s knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Sound familiar?

One may wonder how the enemy thought he could be successful at any of this after the great triumphs of the Lord’s Community, the far-reaching application and successful results of its spiritual power and authority (greater than any other), and the prodigious number of born again believers to the tune of multiple millions. Why did he think his subterfuge may work?

To start with, one may consider all that God had done for His ancient people and what He equipped them with, starting from Adam to the nascent nation of Israel escaping Egyptian bondage, and onward to the full burgeoning of the nation, and then see what happened to each. How did Adam fare? How did the promising initial population of the world deteriorate so badly that it required the Flood of Noah to cleanse the land? What happened to that first generation after the Exodus? How did the conquest of Canaan go? What eventually happened to the promising nation of Israel? You see, the Lord was positively involved in all these efforts, had great plans, unlimited resources, and the spiritual power to see them through and grant success but they all botched it. How was any of this failure even possible?

So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. [Hebrews 3:19]

Unbelief: ἀπιστία (ap-is-tee’-ah): faithlessness, disbelief, unfaithfulness (disobedience), want of faith, weakness of faith:—unbelief.

—Adam introduced sin into the world. The world population destroyed in the Flood had grown far from God, willingly distant from His will, exponentially evil, and characterized by the sin of murder. The first generation of Israelites after the astounding miracle of the Red Sea Crossing at the Exodus were wiped out in the desert and never entered the Promised Land due to unbelief, disobedience, rebellion, and obstinate opposition to the divine will. Joshua’s Conquest was great in part but the assignment was never completed fully per his instructions and far too many Canaanites remained which eventually assisted in corrupting God’s people.

So you see, the devil had much to be hopeful for. He felt assured that he could corrupt Christians as he had corrupted so many others in world history. He knew what he had assisted in doing to the nation of Israel, which no longer existed, and was confident he could do the same to the Lord’s new spiritual Community. Though this may have appeared inconceivable early on and certainly a daunting undertaking due to the Lord’s people being a much greater foe than past heroes of the faith, the enemy knew he was still dealing with human beings who had their flesh to contend with. They were imperfect. They may have chinks in their armor. They may be vulnerable to certain sins. Those Christians who failed to stay filled with the Holy Spirit, die daily, and crucify their flesh would be susceptible to a successful attack and such were those who would be targeted.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [1Peter 5:8][1]

He would attack indirectly. He would make a play on the flesh. He would mess with people’s minds. He would conjure up the specter of religious pride. If these sound familiar they are exactly what He tried on the Lord Jesus with obviously no success whatsoever. But they had worked in the past. They worked with Adam and Eve and later Israelite kings, notably Solomon. They certainly worked with the Pharisees et al. It was a known strategy and a very familiar story. If he managed to make steady inroads during the second and third centuries he could eventually reach the plain of Shinar phase of the operation. Would the devil be able to foment a maneuver in which the spiritual reality of living stones could be transformed into a religion of fake rocks? Made of burnt mud brick? Could he gather enough faux believers to overcome the real believers and therefore institute a new Christianity, one based on syncretism and hybrid renderings, on ultra-ceremonialism, and authoritarian rule?

This was certainly his aim. Again, he knew the concept well and knew it worked well. The challenge would be furthering the notion that Christians need not obey the Lord Jesus exclusively or obey His directives of being Spirit-filled as per the Book of Acts model. It was the only model that worked, of course, at establishing a real Christian and equipping him or her to successfully overcome the world, crucify the flesh, remain properly subjected to the Lord, walk in the Spirit, and defeat spiritual enemies.

The devil knew he must thus construct his own oppositional monolith to counteract the real Church, his own vast “community,” and his own hierarchy through which to rule.

When the fourth century dawned, he decided the time was right. He had worked hard over two centuries to blur the lines of what Christianity was and had introduced damnable heresies as it were, an echo of ancient OT times when he raised up false prophets in the land of Israel. Peter wrote:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly… [2Peter 2:1-5 KJV]

The devil had convinced enough Christians to betray the Lord the same way the faithless Israelites had. He must now create an opposing force sufficient to engage in battle on equal terms. He had a means in mind. He had a particular man in mind. He would now foist it upon an unbelieving unaware world and do it quickly so as to deceive enough of the population to render them willing accomplices.

The Christian Tower of Babel was becoming a reality.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] 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.

THE GREAT ERROR OF TRUSTING DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS AND POMPOUS PUPPETS

Sans salvation, such human leaders are hell bound sinners awaiting a surefire inevitable judgment before God. Trusting them blindly is outright foolishness.

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Many Christians learned the hard way once again. When he had the power of office, at a time when it was needed most, he failed to use it. He thus revealed himself for what he was—at worst a compromised puppet effectively controlled by higher powers like most of the rest, and at best a well-meaning man without the means or courage to follow through. He did many good things, possibly went farther than anyone else would go, and attracted much vitriol for his efforts, but not only did he lack the ability to close the deal, he left the nation defenseless against an unrelenting enemy. In the end, millions of Christian supporters were left in the lurch. It’s a terrible thing to believe in a leader’s apparent sincerity and ostensible truthful speech only to be left hanging when such speech is proven to be mere dissembling rhetoric and his supposed earnestness a con.

And that’s what these people are, pretty much all of them. They are merely con artists working their trade on the payroll of unseen puppet masters, making fools of the people and laughing behind your back.

DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS

The Lord Jesus did His best to tell us. For the most part His warnings and wisdom go unappropriated in this area, as in many other areas, as so-called believers only trust Him to a point and no more while they fall at the feet of human pretenders both secular and religious, and essentially worship them. It is, as they say, a spectacle to behold, as if the Lord commands His people to surrender to someone other than Him which makes no sense but remains an extremely successful lie.

Real Christians learn early on in their walk with the Lord Jesus that the devil is real, that he is an excellent liar, and that he lives to steal, kill, and destroy. He loves to corrupt the good, innocent, and wholesome. He is a tempter extraordinaire. The devil always plays fast and loose with the truth and uses segments of truth to do his dirty work which always involves his skillful abilities of deception. The devil is a deceiver of the highest order; there is no one better. And we can tell who his disciples are because they do the same. He teaches them well. The greatest liars and deceivers are the greatest disciples of the evil one. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they kill, they destroy, and they fool a great many into believing in them. Such people could not possibly have their great powers, however, unless the greatest of evil powers granted his power to them. They cannot function without their evil spiritual master. And the people of this world who have no power in the unseen spiritual world are easy marks, very easily taken advantage of, used and abused, and then cast away. They have no chance whatsoever without the Lord. It is not a fair fight. Even those who get wise and figure it out have little ability to do anything about it. All are mere sheep without a shepherd.

One would think, therefore, that the few sheep who become aware of the truth of this fallen world would seek the One they know must exist somehow, someway, somewhere, and many do. But sadly, before establishing a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus many of these get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse and they end up bowing to a shepherd who is not a shepherd but just another hireling.

Such hirelings are much worse than other false leaders because they pretend to be spiritual leaders. And the very worst of these are false Christian leaders. Even though it may seem highly unlikely at the onset that anyone could ever pull off such a great deception—that one could actually deceive Christians—these have turned out to be the greatest deceivers of all. Though they are nothing more than lying sellouts, they are world class at pretending to be something they are not. In essence, their greatest powers of deception are as masters of disguise. The best are so good at their trade they can fool the best and deceive to the tune of millions. All it takes is the proper window dressing. And it is apparently quite helpful to also wear such window dressing, as their costumes often appear as explosions in a vestment factory.

Also, they understand very well that broken, hurting, needy, shamed, and weakened people need someone to look up to so they play this to the hilt. They become all the more the pompous pretenders they are. They love to dress up and pull rank. They love it when people bow down to them. They love being false idols. They are infatuated with titles, the longer the better. They are among the world’s greatest narcissists. But alas, when it comes to real Christianity they’re spiritually powerless. They’re also insincere cowards. They don’t care in the least that they rarely ever do a damn thing for those who need real spiritual help (you know, the kind the Lord Jesus supplies), and who look to them for assistance, but instead only offer worthless mumbo jumbo, possible temporary fixes, and false hope. They’re great at making excuses. All they really are is the personification of the devil’s trick to keep sincere seekers from the Lord.

Jesus therefore said to them again, “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 shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13 NASB77]  

A hireling, or hired hand, is one who works for money. Rather than serving the Lord and the people in his care, he serves mammon. The Lord said a man cannot serve both God and mammon. He will love one and hate the other. Thus, hirelings don’t really care so much for the people supposedly in their care since their heart is not in the work. If there was no money to be made they wouldn’t be there. If they received no salary they wouldn’t serve. If they had no promise of an income they would find another job. And that’s what ministry is to them. It is nothing more than a job and career. The reason many Christians are not aware of this is because they either don’t know the Word or the Word they know is overcome by the more forceful word of the hireling ministers who never miss a trick at justifying their false standing. Of course, it helps tremendously that the hirelings outnumber real ministers of the Gospel.

Nevertheless, Christians should know better. They should never let themselves become so deceived. The Lord Jesus never looked like the hirelings. He never acted like them. Though He is the most powerful Man who ever lived He is also the most humble. He was so humble he out-humbled Moses who was previously said to hold that title. (Remember, this is God we are talking about. Consider that.) Though humble, He had such a powerful presence in His time that every man knew the Lord was a much bigger and tougher Man than any of them. He exuded manhood. He exuded great strength and courage. Men of wisdom rightly give Him His due. It is only the disgusting and deceived who do not.

The religious leaders of the Lord’s time painted a perfect picture of what a mature follower of the Lord is never supposed to be and yet the majority of Christian leaders have always looked more like effete Pharisees than the Lord Jesus, who only wore simple utilitarian clothing, kept a low profile, and presented Himself as a common Man of the people. He never wore a sleek business suit or a bizarre pope hat. He was never ostentatious or drew attention to His humanity but always directed people to the spiritual. This means the majority of “Christians” tend to also gravitate to the pretender side since they support the hirelings and not the Lord, or they are among the vast ranks of the deceived. Why are so many so fooled? As I said previously: They are merely con artists working their trade, on the payroll of unseen puppet masters, making fools of believers and laughing behind your back.

Regardless, no one has a viable excuse. Though we are all possibly deceived at any given time to a certain extent and certainly unaware of the Lord’s full curriculum to various degrees, the Lord has made a way for us to see the Light and WAKE UP. He has overcome the deceivers and their great powers of deception so we can see the charade for what it is. He told us very plainly that “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” That is, in part, that one will no longer be bound by the powers of deception. It will no longer be possible to be fooled. One can then see behind the curtain, as it were. Though the enemy still works hard at his great masquerade, real Christians will see all the pretenders for what they are. Their elaborate vestments and attire will no longer hide them. Their fake sincerity will suddenly be seen as such. Their speech, which before had seemed so honest will be perceived as mere lies and religious gobbledygook. It’s a great thing. It’s great that they look at you fearfully and realize their cover is blown, that you see them for what they are. The look in their eye is priceless. The Lord Jesus got that look often.

The moral of the story, of course, is that there is only one Person who is 100% trustworthy. You can trust Him absolutely and fully. He will never walk out on you. He will never betray you. He will always be faithful and honor His Covenant. The Lord Jesus is that Person. He is the only One. He knows we need Him. And He never made any provision that a Christian should ever put another before Him.

ONE MAN SHOW CHRISTIANITY

This is also why the Lord never allowed for one man shows. Sadly, Christianity has long since fallen into the deception of single “pastors” leading “churches.” It is just one more thing the fakers and deceived appropriate in order to have their way. This is why there is so little accountability in organized Christianity. The pretenders and deceived always feel they must have a ruling “pastor” that everyone can submit to. It does not matter that there is no New Testament support for it. This is what they have been fooled into believing and they are bound and determined to enforce it. It is as if they are so superior to everyone else they are pretty much like the Lord. Some of these morons even claim to be infallible, but that high country is clearly only reserved for the Lord Jesus. That’s His territory and His alone. Whoever attempts to trespass on His sacred ground is obviously working for the devil. There is no one who is as pure, holy, powerful, humble, and loving than Him. It is extremely dangerous when one attempts to equate himself with God or demand that which only God should receive. This would otherwise be obvious but not in the world of the deluded. As I wrote in my book, Real Christianity, “The most fully evolved form of an idol today is a living human being.”

You see, the Lord refers to His Community as His Bride. No one treats women better than the Lord and He will certainly treat his own Bride the best way possible. And though it may be a hard concept for many Christians to grasp, He expects the members of His Bride to treat each other the same way. We are all in this together and are supposed to work together. He says everyone in His Community is on the same level ground in that we are all equal (See Galatians 3:26-28). There are no separate classes of people. There should never be anyone exalted over another. There are no ridiculous hierarchies. He never created a clergy-laity divide, which is the invention of imposters and only exists as a means to a false power grab. How is it then, that a few within the Bride (likely posers) insist they have authority over the Bride? This is asinine. Is the Lord Jesus going to allow another man to have authority over His own Bride?

This is why the Lord carefully and evenly distributes His authority. When He grants authority, and all believers have a level of spiritual authority, He doesn’t grant it so some Christians can take authority over other Christians. THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS AUTHORITY OVER A REAL CHRISTIAN IS THE LORD JESUS. In the Lord’s real Community, He works through each believer. He will obviously work through mature believers to assist new and developing believers, and mature believers must be respected for what they are called to do. Real ministers are servants. This is another way to distinguish between shepherds and hirelings. But how can the Lord work through those who have never received His Spirit? The Spirit of the Lord is what unites the Bride. It is what every member has in common. Since the majority of “Christianity” has rejected Pentecost or substitutes some fake version thereof, the majority of Christian “leaders” doesn’t have or want the Lord’s Holy Spirit anyway. This is why they are forced to disobey the Lord’s actual teachings in this area in order to procure their supposed authority since they are not granted authority by the Lord. They bypass Him. This, again, makes them pretenders. They refuse the prerequisite of Acts 101 and simply skip from the Gospels to the Epistles thereby circumventing that which would allow them to be actual ministers. And many of these are not content to merely reject Pentecost but are hostile to it.

Those who actually read the New Testament and study it know the Lord never allowed for a one man show. He actually set up groups of elders. He did this not only to look after the various small congregations making up His larger Community but also for the elders to look after each other. The Lord always knew, obviously, that He was dealing with human beings prone to sin and error, and He would never put one man in charge because there would be no accountability. Meaning, of course, that such a one would stray—always. This rule is forever in effect. Put one man in charge, no matter how good he looks or how gifted he is, and he will screw it up. The Lord does not want His people being led by a screw up. And it doesn’t matter what the deceived supporters of such a one may think but only what the Lord thinks. It also doesn’t matter how “successful” such ministers may otherwise outwardly appear. We all need to be told when we are wrong in order to get right or we will end up in hell. And when a Christian group is operating correctly there is no place for error to hide.

Now, it is certainly true that some ministers will give the appearance of having it all together despite extracurricular side trips if you get my drift, but that’s usually because of one of the following or a combination thereof: (1) They hide error and sin very well. (2) They are preaching watered-down nonsense or presenting a spiritually dead liturgical pageant that doesn’t attract the devil’s attention or is anything he would be afraid of. (3) They have mastered the craft of showmanship. (4) They have fulfilled the traditional expectations of the congregation (very important). For others, they simply take authority without any pretense whatsoever, letting everyone know who the boss is, meaning that the Lord Jesus IS NOT the boss. It is always an amazing thing to see some young “on fire” minister take control of a congregation. The next thing you know it becomes “his” church and “his” people and “his” pulpit. The people become beholden to him. He is thus not a servant according to the Lord’s requirements but is there to be served. He even puts his name and his name only on the church sign out in front (and all the church literature and letterheads and legal documents and bank accounts). Again, everyone knows who’s in charge. (We get it, okay? You da man.)

Thankfully, one other man in the congregation might actually do some New Testament research, gain some spiritual maturity, and then have the courage to speak the truth. Now, that man is actually doing what should have been done in the beginning. He is being used of God to show the need for accountability which the “pastor” refuses to have though he may appropriate a yes man or two or even a whole church board of dignified sycophants. Those guys also know who’s in charge and will never buck the man or system that gave them their position of prestige. They all cover for one another. So here we have yet again, for the umpteenth time, The Great Error of Trusting Hirelings and Puppets.

REAL MEN OF GOD

Real men of God, after being properly schooled, sometimes in the most effective but difficult manner, learn to never engage in such blind belief and non-scrutinized unverified trust in so-called leadership because they know the devil is a master deceiver who has master actors working for him. Remember, the Lord called the Pharisees hypocrites precisely because the word means “stage players.” The Pharisees were religious actors engaging in a high form of deception. They certainly fooled much of the nation of Israel. The Lord said the bulk of them were working for the devil. Christian Pharisees in America have done and are doing exactly the same. Few Christians can see through the masquerade or perceive the subterfuge but should certainly be able to understand its effect. We all should be able to put two and two together using the brain the Lord gave us and see that these people have not only not stemmed the tide of evil but have instead embraced it and promoted it. Rather than being part of the solution they’re part of the problem.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:25-28]   

Real men of God are smart enough to know that embracing spiritual pride is a sin. They know that appropriating God’s authority for themselves and using it for their own power and purposes is a sin. They know that taking advantage of well-meaning church people to insure their own salary and success and feather their own nest is a sin. They know they are supposed to properly teach the Word of God and assist the Lord in developing strong mature Christian disciples instead of keeping the congregation spiritually immature and under control to be used for their own means. Real men of God know the humble road is the right road. They know they will be subjected to endless insults and dishonor but will have to wade through such flak in order to fulfill their callings. It doesn’t mean they are not strong and spiritually powerful. It certainly does not mean they are not real men. In fact, real Christian men who are Holy Spirit-filled and fully dedicated to the Lord Jesus are the most powerful men on the planet. It is because they know who the real power is and they always humble themselves before Him so He can work through them.

Then the Lord blesses them and they go out and win spiritual victories. And duplicitous hirelings are exposed and called to account. And lost people are saved and find a home with the Lord. And miracles take place. And New Testament Truth is taught. And the Book of Acts happens. And people are filled with the Holy Spirit. And dead churches come alive. And Christians actually develop, mature, and become unified and loving and love each other. And whole societies are turned around. And Great Awakenings break forth.

It’s an awesome thing when we do it the Lord’s way.

The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.

He who gives attention to the Word will find good, AND BLESSED IS HE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD. [Proverbs 16:17-20] [1]         

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.

HIERARCHY HIRELINGS: How Incompetent Posers Gain Authority (Doh!)

         “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 10:11-13]

THE PETER PRINCIPLE        

         According to Laurence J. Peter in his best-selling book, The Peter Principle, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

         This management principle has proven to be absolutely true. It explains everything. It illustrates why we have so many incompetent people in the upper levels of power. It contrasts the real world of cause and effect, risk and reward, and survival of the fittest with the fake world of herds without predators.

         Two hunters deep in the woods are suddenly surprised by a very angry bear. They both take off running for their lives, the bear right behind them. One hunter yells to the other, “Do you think we can outrun him?” The other hunter says, “I don’t need to outrun him. I only need to outrun you.”

         This is the real world. It is why God created predators. Predators are the eliminators of incompetence in the natural world. Unless you stay sharp and at the top of your game the bear will get you.

         This is why incompetent people don’t survive long in real world applications. Many meet a quick end. There is simply no place for ongoing laziness, lack of ability, foolishness, stupidity, and bad decisions. The natural world teaches this. Incompetence is never rewarded or allowed. Natural selection means survival of only the fittest.

         In fake world situations, however, the opposite takes place. Rules are written to protect incompetence. Instead of rightfully being killed and eaten by angry bears, incompetent people not only survive, they thrive. Their bad behavior is rewarded. Everybody gets a trophy.

THE BACKYARD WARRIORS PRINCIPLE

         Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [1 Corinthians 9:24]

         I remember when I was about eleven years old I had a birthday party at my house. We lived in a well-kept suburban working class neighborhood. As part of the birthday fun I set up an intricate obstacle course in the backyard. You had to run around the perimeter of the yard as fast as you could under and through this and over and around that—just a bunch of stuff I found laying around that I transformed into world class athletic equipment. Not bad for a kid. It was pretty cool. I had an old army tarp tied to the chain-link fence at a 45 degree angle that you had to crawl under. There was stuff to jump over, like a strategically located metal trash can. Things like that. You had to run the course while being timed. Whoever completed the course correctly and the fastest was the winner. We probably had some small prize.

         The rules were the same for everyone. I invited a bunch of friends over from school and the neighborhood. But someone also invited my young cousin, who was probably about seven or eight. If that wasn’t bad enough I also had an older sister hanging around who was sixteen or so at the time. She had an inordinate desire to lend what amounted to overwhelming assistance to those such as my young cousin who she thought were in great need, as a way to even the playing field. I had a different perspective. I have always been competitive. My concerns about her ruining the competition were soon realized.

         Some of us had already run the course. We gave it everything we had. When a kid was out there running around he was completely on his own. It was sink or swim. Figure it out. Don’t miss anything. Show respect for the process. Everybody else was watching making sure he did it right.

         Then it was my little cousin’s turn. And what does my older sister do? She starts running the course with him! He appeared to have no clue what to do but probably would have done okay if allowed to run by himself. I still have this mental picture of her leaning over slightly and running off with him with her arm on his shoulder guiding him around. He quickly yielded to her lead. She then decided he only needed to run less than half the layout! And here they come, cutting right through my well constructed obstacle course across the middle of the yard making a total mockery of the game! She’s still right there with her arm on his shoulder, leaning over, telling him what to do while running him back to the start.

         We did not appreciate this. Neither I nor my friends said anything. It was an era when kids showed more respect. She meant well. But what a joke. She almost ruined the whole day with that pathetic display.

         This is exactly how incompetence thrives.

THE JEREMIAH JOHNSON PRINCIPLE

         Again, in the real world only the strongest and wisest survive. America was founded by such people. So was Texas. The few incompetent people out on the frontier were soon dead if they didn’t manage to get back to civilization post haste.

         I am reminded of Robert Redford’s character in the movie Jeremiah Johnson, set in the mid 1800s. There was an early scene when he was way up in the frozen Rocky Mountains trying to catch fish by hand in an icy stream. He was soon in the water. There he was in the deep snow and ice splashing around doing his best to catch a fish to stay alive. The scene then switched to an Indian on horseback silently watching. Later in the movie when the same Indian recognized him in a different setting, he told another, “He fishes poorly.”

         But Jeremiah Johnson survived and then thrived. He figured out how to stay alive in a killer environment. Though he met friends, nobody held his hand. He overcame all obstacles, including some personal losses that ripped his heart apart. That movie was about the real world and survival.

         It is quite the contrast to our present world. Since that time America has largely become a vast, neurotic, socialist nanny state ruled over by bureaucratic incompetents and enablers with selfish agendas in which everybody, regardless of any achievement, gets a little trophy. Many would never be in their positions of authority without some big sister brotherhood opening doors, scripting their work, showing them the way, and refusing to let them stand on their own. It is the complete opposite of survival of the fittest. Because of the ridiculous policy of allowing incompetent idiots to become our “experts” America is going down fast.

         Now, before you think I’m stumping for a certain presidential candidate, I’m not. I’ve been saying this for decades. (That dude stole my thunder.) I have watched this contrary agenda develop over several decades. Of course, many people know what’s going on but almost everybody feels powerless to do anything about it. When some charismatic person comes along who says all the right things and claims to have the answers he gains an immediate following.

         But it rarely or never works. It’s always just words. Those that actually gain power never follow through. The only thing that does work in such cases is following the lead of someone who actually knows what to do and has a proven track record. Such good guys, however, are currently very few and far between, and are becoming extinct. The bad guys have taken over. The paradigm shift of rewarding evil and eliminating the good is almost complete. It’s why Biblical prophecy says the world would succeed in blowing itself up without the Lord’s end-time intervention. Corrupt doofuses in places of authority are the sole cause.

THE LORD JESUS PRINCIPLE

         There is only one Leader who can fix this mess. The reason America is cratering is due only to the rejecting of His leadership. There is no possible way to remove the preserving agent without falling into gross corruption. The more He has been rejected over the last several decades the worse things have become. Though few acknowledge Him, He is the one who holds everything together.

         Also, though the Lord Jesus is the best Father, He never spoils His children. Though He is our Shepherd, He is never the enabler of stupidity, laziness, or incompetence. He only rewards those who give it their all. Whoever will do things His way must be absolutely dedicated and must also be in it for the long haul. One will discover that following His lead allows one to grow stronger and wiser, and possess greater ability to overcome and thrive. He prepares us to be the best. His discipleship methods always work. He is a maker of champions.

THE UNREAL CHRISTIANITY PRINCIPLE

         The reason the Peter Principle has become a burgeoning reality is because the people in power have rejected the Lord’s proper authority and correct management principles. They have replaced them with bulky, unresponsive, impersonal hierarchies and shallow methodologies that reward morons and punish the strong, independent, honest, and righteous.

         GUESS WHAT? THE EXACT THING HAS HAPPENED WITHIN TRADITIONAL AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY.

         Pious pinheads and parading shysters have taken over the outward institutional format and are now the tenured cloth men. We know the majority of these guys have no clue how to right our wayward course or have any desire to, largely because they’re the ones who caused it. They’re invested in it. It serves them very well. These sold-out fakers only exist because foolish people keep throwing money in their coffers, which only enables them and their incompetence. Every time the Lord tries to correct them their supporters reward them. These power-tripping Christian “experts” eventually cold shoulder any real Christians in their vicinity, refuse to support them, and badmouth them, in the sinister effort to eliminate those who would rightfully take their job.

         But this has always been true. Thus, all real Christians must first learn to survive in this fallen world, then learn to fight, overcome, and thrive within it, AND THEN TAKE OVER. It’s how the Lord does things. It’s exactly how He did it. When He was crucified He looked like the greatest loser that ever lived. Three days later He became the greatest winner of all time. If we would be successful we must follow His lead, trust Him, and do things His way.

         This is why the Lord Jesus never coddles His children. He has no use for perpetual babies and whiners. He never hands out participant trophies. He requires us to run the race well without constant enabling. He calls us to follow Him even through the worst spiritual environments that will test us to the nth degree.

THE PAUL PRINCIPLE

         For correct spiritual perspective with respect to real discipleship, consider the fact that the apostle Paul once found himself dead under a pile of rocks. He suffered this fate doing exactly what he was called to do. The Lord Jesus did nothing to stop the brutal attack against him—He let Paul get stoned by a bunch of Jewish religious idiots.

         But He did bless him with a preview of heaven:

         I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. [2Corinthians 12:2-4]

         That’s pretty cool. And He did bring him back to earth. And He did give Paul supportive friends after he was dragged out of Lystra for dead who stood around him when he suddenly got up:

         But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. [Acts 14:19-20]

         Therefore, it is not that we don’t need help and support from time to time. We obviously should help one another. But such help is usually designed to get us on track or back on track. Both of these should be very few and far between events after our initial discipleship training. After that it’s a matter of running the race well without being hindered or enabled, both of which restrict our mission.

         If the Lord has given you honest and competent authority figures at present, be thankful. We need the wisdom of those who have gone before us who have gained the Lord’s wisdom. But in order to be the spiritual success the Lord needs you to be, you must work at becoming a spiritual adult.

         For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity… [Hebrews 5:13-6:1] [1]

         Live the adventure.

         Climb the Rockies.

         But watch out for rocks.

       © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

        Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] 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.

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 3)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

PHARISAICAL FAKERY

         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

(3) Wealth.

         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] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

CULTURAL CONFORMITY

         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][1]

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.]


[1] 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.

  

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

         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] [1]

         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 cant 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.

 CONTEMPORARY IMAGE-MAKING

         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.]


[1] 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.

“Kennedy and his people were the master manipulators of television:”

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 3)