The title of a popular song, but why are so many content to allow it to utterly characterize their walk of faith? Without repentance, without a complete denial of self, without a life devoted to following in Truth, no matter the cost, what good is ‘Buddy Christ’? To make you feel better about yourself? To rid the guilt tracing the wrinkles of your face? To call on when you need a fix?
In a conversation recently, I heard a common retort to the Lord’s oft-repeated warnings as in 2 Timothy 3:1-5,-
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
A retort I’ve heard innumerable times, “Christ hung out with sinners.” Of all the recycled excuses I hear on a daily basis from professing believers and non-believers alike, this one is one the most grating, offensive, and gut-wrenching. In fact, the sensation to lurch and fall on my knees in the face of such overwhelming irreverence of an Holy God is powerful and hard to bear.
Do they even understand that my Christ, my Savior, is not some long-haired, dread-parading, hemp sandal-wearing, pot-smoking, vegetarian hippy, flashing the peace sign while singing a Lennon song under the banner of “A toke for everyone! And everyone for a toke!” “Strip away religious dogma!” “Why can’t we be friends?!” For crying out loud, people, your “messiah” is none other than Charles Manson!
In his sermon, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”, Paris Reidhead made a series of powerful and indisputable statements. He said, “The philosophy of the day became humanism. And you could define humanism this way, humanism is a philosophical statement that declares the end of all being is the happiness of man. The reason for existence is man’s happiness. Now according to humanism, salvation is simply a matter of getting all the happiness you can out of life.
Well now the philosophy of the atmosphere is humanism; the chief end of being is the happiness of man. There’s another group of people that have taken umbrage with the liberals, this group are my people, the fundamentalists. They say, “We believe in the inspiration of the Bible! We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ! We believe in hell! We believe in heaven! We believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ!” But remember the atmosphere is that of humanism. And humanism says the chief end of being is the happiness of man.
So it wasn’t long until we had this, that the fundamentalists knew each other because they said “We believe these things!” They were men for the most part that had met God. But you see it wasn’t long until having said “These are the things that establish us as fundamentalists!”, the second generation said “This is how we become a fundamentalist! Believe in the inspiration of the Bible! Believe in the deity of Christ! Believe in His death, burial, and resurrection! And thereby become a fundamentalist.” And so it wasn’t long until it got to our generation, where the whole plan of salvation was to give intellectual assent to a few statements of doctrine. And a person was considered a Christian because he could say “Ah hah” at four or five places that he was asked. If he knew where to say “Ah hah”, someone would pat him on the back, shake his hand, smile broadly, and say “Brother, you’re saved!” So it had gotten down to the place where salvation was nothing more than an assent to a scheme or a formula, and the end of this was that salvation was the happiness of man because humanism had penetrated. If you were to analyze fundamentalism in contrast to liberalism of a hundred years ago as it developed, for I am not pinpointing it in time, it would be like this:
The liberal says the end of religion is to make man happy while he’s alive, and the fundamentalist says the end of religion is to make man happy when he dies.
But again! The end of all of the religion it was proclaimed was the happiness of man. And whereas the liberal says, “By social change and political order we’re going to do away with slums, we’re going to do away with alcoholism and dope addiction and poverty. And we’re going to make HEAVEN ON EARTH! AND MAKE YOU HAPPY WHILE YOU’RE ALIVE! We don’t know anything about after that, but we want to be happy while you’re alive!”
And then the fundamentalists, along the line, are now tuning in on this same wavelength of humanism. Until we find it something like this:
“Accept Jesus so you can go to heaven! You don’t want to go to that old, filthy, nasty, burning hell when there is a beautiful heaven up there! Now come to Jesus so you can go to heaven!”
And the appeal could be as much to selfishness as a couple of men sitting in a coffee shop deciding they are going to rob a bank to get something for nothing!
I’m afraid that it’s become so subtle that it goes everywhere. What is it? In essence it’s this! That this philosophical postulate that the end of all being is the happiness of man, has been sort of covered over with evangelical terms and Biblical doctrine until God reigns in heaven for the happiness of man, Jesus Christ was incarnate for the happiness of man, all the angels exist for the happiness of man…, Everything is for the happiness of man! AND I SUBMIT TO YOU THAT THIS IS UNCHRISTIAN!!! Isn’t man happy? Didn’t God intend to make man happy? Yes. But as a by-product and not a prime-product!
Do you see? Let me epitomize, let me summarize. Christianity says, “The end of all being is the glory of God.” Humanism says, “The end of all being is the happiness of man.”
WHY SHOULD A SINNER GIVE UP ALL HIS SINS? WHY SHOULD HE BE CHALLENGED TO DO IT? WHY SHOULD HE MAKE RESTITUTION WHEN HE’S COMING TO CHRIST? BECAUSE GOD DESERVES THE OBEDIENCE THAT HE DEMANDS!!!”
Christ did not come to befriend sinners in their sin, but to call man to repentance, to holiness, to self-denial, to take up their daily cross and forsake themselves! He did not “hang” with publicans and outlaws because they were the cool crowd, but to offer the sick the physician they needed. What sacrilege to claim anything less! I don’t want to serve a God that would be complacent in my filthiness. He commands that we be Holy because He is so!
Our purpose in any relationship, be it family or the cashier at the grocery store, is to bring glory to God by representing His Truth. Kicking back over a beer and bonding over the filth of this world is an utter waste of God’s time and He can get no glory out of that.
Luke 2:49 “…wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
My Savior is not ‘Buddy Christ’. He is real. He is mighty. He is faithful. Oh! That you would know the goodness of a very real, of a very Holy God!