Today’s writing sat in rough draft for more than one week and comes from a heavy laden heart and deep concern with how I feel we have become too casual in our obedience to God and our commitment to his Word. As I go off subject again, please know it is not my intention to offend anyone in light of my opinion but my hope is to share words of wisdom, heed of caution, and a little bit of knowledge. Additionally, please excuse the long post but some things cannot be left unsaid.
I have been looming over this subject the past few weeks as I sat and watched a reality show for the past two weeks, wondering what really is going on, not in the world but with the people of this world. I find the manner we condone behavior that is inconsistent with the Word of God have caused us to become too casual in how we maintain our relationship with God. While making the decision to use this as a means to ignore God’s standards and form predisposed ideas when it comes to unrighteous living. In short, we are committing a grave sin against God. And this by far, in my opinion, is a contradiction to the gospel and in no uncertain terms, is killing it. Simply put, it is becoming the death of the gospel.
For all purpose intended, what I am about to mention is only an observation of what I witnessed on the show and ask that you please don’t take this the wrong way as I am not judging others or the relationship of others because many of us may have experienced this same type of event or events in our lives. So please bear with me.
To my dismay, after watching Preachers of LA, headlined with six mega preachers, some well-known, that include Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Ron Gibson, Pastor Jay Haizlip, Pastor Wayne Chaney, and Deitrick Haddon, I became a bit disturbed and disappointed by the show and its inability to accurately disseminate the gospel and the lackadaisical portrayal of religious leaders as evidenced by extravagant displays of sparkling jewelry, fancy homes, and expensive cars observed in the very first show.
The show introduced the relationship between Minister Deitrick Haddon and a young lady that produced a child born out of wedlock resulting in the ending of a marriage based not solely on, but inclusive of infidelity. There was backlash from the public and during the introduction the cast member noted he has sought forgiveness and is now working towards redemption and a change of life. He announced the couple is now engaged and working towards marriage of which I commend. However, some parts of the show failed my expectations upon witnessing the lack of respect shown for the former spouse when making inappropriate references to her as if she did not exist as well as issues surrounding the marriage that conflicted with who this person supposedly professed to be Christ.
In the beginning when I opted to watch this show, my desire was to think objectively because I feel with life, there is a lesson and a teachable moment in everything we do and I wanted to be as open to the idea that this show could help someone who may be struggling in the same area where deliverance would be a potential in the saving or changing of a life. There are a lot of negative reviews the show is getting because some feel it clearly teaches against the principles of the gospel and conflicts with what we as believers are clear on regarding the will and the Word of God. I still was hopeful though because I believe everyone should have a chance to tell their story. But how and where we choose to present the information and the platform we use will make the difference in its impact.
It was upon viewing the second show I became confused with the purpose of the show for several reasons but narrowed it down when Deitrick Haddon was in conversation with Bishop Ron Gibson about shacking up with his daughter’s mother and his illicit response after being advised by the Bishop what the Word does not teach when it comes to “shacking.” Mr. Haddon adamantly stated, not verbatim, how frustrated and tired he was of hearing preachers telling him what the Bible says in relation to this and added he did not see where “shacking up” was nowhere in the Bible. I was taken aback. Hmmm….okay. But that doesn’t make it right, Right?
While I believe everyone is entitled to his or her beliefs and I am not one to judge, I believe God is not pleased with us when we use the Bible as a means to justify sin. When you start using the Word to condone unrighteousness and clear intentions to excuse reasons why you have fallen from grace without taking responsibility for your actions but choose to justify it because you say, “ God knows my heart. I’m a man and I’ve make mistakes.” Yet still do things that are outside the will of God and have found the smallest way to change the way you live, then you are only minimizing why you are not doing all you can to be consistent in your obedience to and respect for God. Additionally, in your failure to honor God’s Word, you make the decision to live according to the world’s standards, not God’s. And choose to take your positions or the gospel for granted.
When we take our privileged positions for granted, we lose focus of the true source, God, that motivates our drive and ambition to do what is pleasing in his sight. We fail to question our own integrity and our inability to see sin for what it is and work to change it. In my opinion, this is wrong. It is not what God intended.
The gospel is for spiritual growth and daily living. It is the good news of and from God, taught by Jesus Christ and His disciples. It is God’s message to mankind. When we read the Bible, we will find different names that tell a story with each emphasizing an aspect of the message. But be clear, there is only one authentic gospel. We cannot focus only on one aspect and exclude other forms only to create an incomplete picture of how we are supposed to live. We must be willing to focus on every aspect of the Bible to gain the whole picture of God, his character, his nature, and what he desires.
We should never take the Word of God out of context and use it for our intentional purposes and fail to prioritize God or conform to the ways of this world because of our status or things we have acquired. When we do so, we run the risk of contributing to the death of the gospel and will cause it to become extinct when we fail to rightfully portray God’s character. Whereby, escaping the true essence of what God desires and the power of his Word that we are to live by only to feed into societal beliefs of those who believe it is okay to do so.
Subsequently, it is never in our best interest to neither take the gospel for granted nor question God’s authority because of our failure to acknowledge accountability. The gospel is not something we should negotiate to condone our behavior just because it specifically is not found in the Bible. As a believer, we all know the Word is clear on how we are to live; righteously, and how we are to behave and act; accordingly, and how we are to honor God; faithfully with reverence and tenacity. No ifs, ands, or buts. It is clear.
2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
To go a step further, the Life Application Study Bible notes,
“The Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths, or merely human ideas about God. It is not a human book. Through the Holy Spirit, God revealed his person and plan to certain believers, who wrote down his message for his people (2 Peter 1:20, 21). This process is known as inspiration. The writers wrote from their own personal, historical, and cultural contexts. Although they used their own minds, talents, language, and style, they wrote what God wanted them to write. Scripture is completely trustworthy because God was in control of its writing. Its words are entirely authoritative for our faith and lives. The whole Bible is God’s inspired Word. Because it is inspired and trustworthy, we should read it and apply it to our lives. The Bible is our standard for testing everything else that claims to be true. It is our safeguard against false teaching and our source of guidance for how we should live. It is our only source of knowledge about how we can be saved. God wants to show you what is true and equip you to live for him (LASB 2 Tim 3:16, 17).”
Need I say more?
With all things taken into consideration, we are aware that reality shows are scripted and may be appropriate for those who enjoy this type of programming, however, when one chooses to create a show led by religious leaders, it must be consistent with the teachings of the gospel and its principles must reflect the Word of God to encourage and build up the kingdom and not validate unrighteousness representative of inappropriate words, actions, or lifestyles of man formed out of foolish pride.
I take the Word of God very seriously and while I am not perfect, I strive daily to walk in obedience, live righteously, and commit to following God’s commands that I may glorify the kingdom. While I cannot speak for the world, I can only speak for myself and believe when we are representatives of Christ, especially when in a leadership role, we are to be examples of Christ. We cannot do as we please when we become Christians. Every fiber of our being must be in alignment with the Word of God, his character, and his nature. How we act and speak reflects on God. Therefore, we should make every effort to live for Him. There is no middle ground, no excuses, and no alternative lifestyle choices to support reasons why it is acceptable to do what we clearly know is not the right thing to do.
As believers it is our obligation to work to reach the lost but we cannot change the gospel. We are to worship but cannot water down the significance of God’s righteousness. We are to not make a mockery of the gospel to justify sin much like the Israelites who committed the same sins when they chose to forget the anointing, presence, and holiness of God. But we are to lift up the kingdom and rightfully represent Christ.
Dear sisters and brothers, take heed. Avoid taking the gospel for granted. Take it seriously. Don’t focus so much on yourself or what you have. Only to forget about the ONE who gave to you what you have. Make God the first and only priority in your life. Don’t put significance on possessions before purpose in your life. Obey the gospel. It is critical. Lead by example and not by distinction. Live the way God intends. Look to God, not man. Let the gospel be your resource and not become your recourse for adaptive living. In the end, you will reap what you sow because God does not approve of unrighteous living.
Don’t let your reality become the death of the gospel and cause it to become extinct in order to fit in with the world’s standards. Don’t ignore God’s standards. Let the gospel be used as a daily resource in order to live by God’s standards. Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Revere God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind. Be conscious of God’s character and His presence daily. Let holiness exude from the inside out every day. Don’t let your reality become the death of the gospel. Work to live each day in alignment according to the gospel.
Be blessed! -JD
Ephesians 2:11-18 “But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways 12 had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. 13 Now because of Christ – dying that death, shedding that blood – you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything. 14 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. 15 He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. 16 Christ brought us together through his death on the Cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. 17 Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. 18 He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.