Are you an armchair quarterback? Be honest! I know that I’m one. Every time I watch one of my favorite teams play, I find myself critiquing the plays and the results. It’s a habit I learned in high school when my coaches would have the entire team watch the video of the last game and every play is reviewed. Whether we won or lost, our entire team would be together in a classroom for the entire practice, the day after every game, to see what we did right or wrong. At the same time, we would also review a video of the next game’s opponent at one of their games. We would look for their strongest players, their most effective plays, their standard formations for both offense and defense, and their weaknesses. Then, our coach would go over the plays and changes we would make to counter everything we saw the team would do against their opponents.
We did this because we knew our team was one of the smallest in the state, yet we played against teams that were sometimes twice our size, we couldn’t afford to lose any player on account of injuries. Our team was large enough to field two complete offense and defense squads, but not large enough to fill a complete third string of players. All of us were expected to be able to play both offense and defense, but very few of us were able to stay on the field continuously. Some of us were better at offense than we were at defense. That’s just the way it is with life, we can’t all be good at everything we do, but there is always something we do well. At the same time, no matter how good we are at something, someone else can do the same thing better. So we are always learning, critiquing our work, watching what others are doing, and improving on the things we do. While watching and critiquing, we are acting like spectators. But when we are doing something and improving on the things we do, we are participating in life.
But something strange happens when we apply the rules of living to our Christian lives. Suddenly, we are no longer participating in the spiritual battle. We become spectators instead. No matter how skilled we are at the things we do in our lives, whether it’s our jobs, our careers, our hobbies, or our talents, it seems that we are always infants in our Christian walk. We hear about worldly spirituality and even know that worldly spirituality is powerful. But Christian spirituality is a joke in comparison. Depending upon the denomination we attend, Christian spirituality ranges from cleaning up the flesh to Pentecostal “gifts.” There is absolutely no agreement among the clergy so there is nothing but confusion in the congregation. In the process, the congregation is given superficial teachings about spirituality that keeps us ignorant and powerless, but happy.
We know in our heart that something is wrong, but we don’t know what to do about the problem. We’ve invested our trust and all of our ability to act in our pastors because we are constantly being told that “we need to be saved.” Pulpit teachings begin and end with the assumption that the audience is lost, in the dark, ignorant, and in need of salvation. There is nothing more. There is nothing offered beyond salvation. All practical teachings are aimed to bring an unsaved person walking by the flesh up to the level of perfection that “deserves” salvation. As far as most churches are concerned, the only people that are saved in the church, are the leaders of the church. It’s never really openly stated, but simply understood. Who can a person ask for understanding spiritual life? One of the church leadership. Where do church leadership go to for answering questions they cannot answer? The Pastor. Who knows how to study the Bible? The Pastor. What is really done in a weekday “Bible study?” Just another teaching from the pastor to the audience. It may have more detail, but it is still an extended Sunday lesson.
This is NOT a Bible study, it is a Bible lesson. A Bible study requires the use of concordances, dictionaries, interlinear texts, and for most ministers, an acceptable commentary. The preacher never really reveals how they came up with the lesson they teach, they only teach. A true Bible study would open up the extra materials to teach how they are used and how the lesson was crafted. The average layman is never shown any of this. So they only receive the Word of God, they will never be shown how to actively search the Word. This is passive Christianity at the core and it begins with the answer to this question. How do you learn God’s will for your life?
If you have to learn the Word of God from somebody else, it doesn’t matter who, then you are a passive Christian. If you are able to go to God’s Word directly and get an answer to a question directly from the written Word, then you are an active Christian. This is the most basic and fundamental difference between an active or passive believer. The fear that every pastor has concerning a layman that is able to study the Word directly is this, the layman will always make a conclusion that will disagree with the commentary at some point of time. Then the pastor is forced to justify the difference in some manner and the end result will be this. The believer will eventually realize that the final say does not stand on the Word of God, but upon the acceptable commentary.
So spiritual instruction in the church does not rest upon the spiritual truth from the written Word of God. Spiritual instruction in the church rests upon the opinions of men written in the acceptable commentary used by the pastor. This is second hand information, not primary information. What do I mean about primary and second hand information?
Primary information is learned directly from the authoritative source.
Second hand information is learned from teachers who studied the authoritative source.
Hearsay information comes from people who learned what other people said about the authoritative source.
I am being extremely kind when I say that a pastor is teaching second hand information. In over 50 years of experience with many different ministers, from many different denominational backgrounds, I can tell you will complete confidence that most ministers only regurgitate hearsay information about walking with Jesus Christ. The true, authoritative source for spiritual instruction in the church is the commentary, not the Word of God. This is why there are so many denominations and differences within each denomination or splinter church. Men trust in the words of men instead of the “clear” teachings from the Word of God. Why did I put the word “clear” in quotes? Because there are two major ways that the Word of God is understood in church circles.
The first way is called the “Literal” method of understanding. It assumes that the Word of God says what it means, and means what it says. Unless the Word identifies where a parable, allegorical lesson, or otherwise is happening, the Word is understood to mean exactly what it is saying. This method of Biblical understanding assumes that God has an appointed lesson and purpose in Scripture. It is filled with clear spiritual lessons to teach a believer how to walk in faith with God, the reason for salvation, and by whom we are saved. It is the story of Jesus Christ and the history of the line of Christ.
The second way is called the “Allegorical” method of understanding. It assumes that the Word of God is a collection of lessons that can be ascertained in many different ways. Clement of Alexandria stated that as many as five different lessons can be obtained in any section of scripture. He taught that the Word of God is allegorical, not literal. This method leaves the understanding of the lesson completely open for the teacher to find. There is no absolute truth or lesson that God is trying to convey so the Word is completely open to any private interpretation the teacher wants to make.
The two ways are not compatible and will yield many different conclusions concerning “truth.” Depending upon the acceptable method of Biblical understanding used by your pastor, the “truth” you receive will be very different from any other believer who calls their belief Christianity and is also the reason why there is so much division within the Body of Christ. An allegorical minister will never be acceptable in a literal congregation, likewise, a literal minister will always be unacceptable in an allegorical congregation.
But there is also a third way to understand Biblical truth. Forget the commentaries altogether and let the Word of God explain itself. In this manner, the Word is primarily understood as “Literal,” but allows the Word to be anything that it identifies itself to be. A third of the Bible is prophetic and must be understood literally. Another third is historical and must also be understood literally. The last third of the Bible is poetic, lyrical, and allegorical. But here’s the catch, it will always identify what is happening and provide the explanation. So even when the Word of God is allegorical, it provides the intended interpretation as well. This is letting the written Word of God speak for itself.
There is a Biblical precedent to accept this third way as the standard that should be followed. The first precedent is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He always explained the Word of God literally. Whenever He quoted Scripture, He quoted it and explained it literally. He taught using parables, but explained the parables to the disciples. The second precedent is the testimony of the Word itself.
2 Timothy 3: 16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
The key phrase to pay attention to, is the first part of the verse. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” means it the entire Word of God is spiritual revelation from God. If the basic definition of prophecy is for the man of God to hear from God and tell what he has heard to people, then the entire Word of God is prophecy. Every bit of the written Scripture is prophecy, 100% of it. So, as prophecy, then the interpretation of prophecy cannot be left for man to decide. If God gave the prophecy by revelation, then He must also give the understanding of the prophecy. Otherwise, man is free to make any private interpretation he wants to make and there is another verse that warns us against making any private interpretation we would like to make.
2 Peter 1: 20 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
If all of Scripture is prophecy, (2 Timothy 3: 16), and “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,” then no teacher of scripture has the right to change scripture in any way to say whatever the teacher wants. The teacher is limited to say only what the scripture says. Then God does something in the next verse. He re-establishes the truth that all scripture comes from God by revelation.
2 Peter 1: 21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Moses did not sit down one day and chose to write God’s laws down for the Israelites to obey. David, Samuel, Joshua, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Matthew, Paul, and every other writer of the Bible did not choose to write God’s Word by their own desire and forethought. They were all inspired by the Holy Spirit to write and they wrote what God wanted them to write. And notice this, what they wrote is called “prophecy.” That is repeating what 2 Timothy 3: 16 already said. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
The challenge for every believer is to make the active choice to learn the TRUTH directly from the written Word of God. This choice means we are taking charge of our own eternity by choosing to learn what God says directly and every day. Learning the Word begins with reading the Word. At this point in time, it is impossible to expect to understand what you are reading, but just as every infant grows and matures in life, the understanding will come. The primary way for the Holy Spirit to make itself known in the believer is with the written Word of God.
John 14: 26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
Jesus says, “he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” What things have Jesus spoken to us? His Word written in the Scriptures. So where’s the best first place to start reading? The Gospels that contain the Words Jesus spoke. We don’t want to limit our reading to the Gospels alone, but begin our reading with the first five books of the New Testament. It is possible to read the entire Word of God in one week. If you want to take a little more time, it can be done easily in one month. If you want to take a year to read the written Word one time, The Daily Bible, NIV, is a great book to get. It breaks up the entire Word into 365 pieces to read a part every day and complete the entire written Word in one year.
Once you start getting the written Word into your brain, even though you won’t fully understand what you’ve read, now you have something the Holy Spirit can bring to your mind when you need help. Does it matter what version of the Bible you need to read? Absolutely not. It’s only important to get His Word into your life.
Active study of the written Word is the next step. For this, you need to know what Bible study really is. When we go to a “Bible study” in most churches, we’re not really studying the Bible, but receiving another Bible teaching. Receiving instruction is passive learning. Studying the Bible is active learning. It’s purpose is to “fine tune” your understanding to help you know how to apply the things you’ve read into your life. There has to be a practical application, relevant to your life, that the words of Scripture must relate. If the Word of God has no practical significance to life and living, it becomes nothing more than an antiquated book of morals with dubious modern applications.
Up to this point, it’s all a matter of receiving information, putting that information into your mind, and trying to find out how that information applies to life and living. This is all physical training. The only relationship it has with the spirit is the fact that the written Word came to the men of old by the Spirit and our own Holy Spirit uses the same written Word when we ask for help.
It is when we ask God for help and receive an answer from Him by the Holy Spirit that we go beyond our physical understanding and activate our spiritual understanding and relationship with God Almighty. The Holy Spirit is the only way for God to speak to His child. When the Holy Spirit speaks, it is the same as though Jesus Christ Himself were speaking directly to us. When a child of God does what the Holy Spirit instructs, that instruction must also agree with the written Word of God and that is also why revelation from God is the remembrance of something from the written Word.
This is how we transform our Savior into our Lord. We are obeying God when we obey the written Word. We are obeying the Lord Jesus Christ when we obey the Holy Spirit. This is how we make our Christianity living and real in our lives. Christian religion is the relationship between a pastor and denomination with the congregation. Christianity is all about the relationship between the living God with His children. This relationship is what Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden, and rejected. This is also the relationship that Jesus Christ lived and taught His disciples to enjoy. It is the relationship of a father with his children and Jesus Christ was God’s only begotten son of a woman. Since the day of Pentecost, every believer of the Lord Jesus Christ is also a son or daughter of God.
We have the awesome ability to walk and talk with God daily. Along with that, we can learn how to make Jesus Christ our Lord directly instead of indirectly through men. This is what true Christianity is all about, a fully functioning, spiritual relationship with God that we are able to enjoy every day of our lives.
Radical Liberals already know how to develop a fully functioning, spiritual relationship with their god. To the degree they work against and despise the written Word of God, their god is not the same as our God. They know that they are developing a spiritual relationship with their god. They pray just like we pray. They have religious rituals just like we have religious rituals. But they know without a doubt that they are worshiping a spiritual god that is not Christian or the God of Jesus Christ. Many are open and honest enough to publicly admit that their Lord is Lucifer. If you are a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is who we are living with in the world.
These people are loving, kind, helpful, and compassionate. They demonstrate their walk every day of their life. They are fully convinced that Jesus Christ is evil. They even believe that God Almighty is a false god and worship Lucifer as the true god. They produce signs, miracles, and wonders in their life and know they enjoy a spiritual relationship with their god. They are committed to serve their god because their lives are physically enriched by their god. The only thing missing, is an acknowledging that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and was raised from the dead. The spirit in their life, is not the same as the Holy Spirit in our lives. so they are able to defeat us only as long as we remain ignorant of the power we have working within us.
As long as we remain passive and religious Christians, we will remain ignorant of that power. We will never develop that full sharing relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. We will never develop a level of faith that allows us to overcome the world. You have to quit being passive if you want to mature and develop a strong, power filled relationship with God that allows you to experience deliverance in every situation that the world will throw against you. If you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has given you the ability to know the great God who is above all others, then you have to learn how to live with Him at your side. Our God is the God of love and deliverance. Our God is spiritual and the only way to defeat the spiritual princes and powers of the world is with His help. There is no other way.
My book was written to expose the depth of Christian deception we’ve learned to accept as normal and true. While exposing devilish deception within the church is exposing the problems, I’ve also included the solution, what you can do to overcome those problems. There is nothing wrong with the religious walk of Christianity when you also develop your own spiritual walk with God. As you overcome the world, you will be able to bless your church in ways you never thought was possible before. Are you ready to quit being a spiritual spectator? Get the book below to learn how to become a spiritual participant and a power filled Christian.