Thursday, June 2, 2011

How To Be Saved According To WikiHow And Cinnabon...Or What's Wrong With Western Christianity...

Ok first.
 After nearly two years of blogging my mom realized that we have it set so that only registered users can comment, that has been fixed so now everyone can comment.

Now back to your regular programing...

We'll get to the Cinnabons is a minute. :)

Out of curiosity I googled "how to be saved". The first one to pop up looked promising enough "how to be saved through Jesus Christ".  This was in the "Christianity Section".  Remember that, it will be very important in a minute.

The Intro starts like a bad Oxy-clean commercial:

"Wondering how you can be saved? Well this article has the answer. The process is simple and the outcome is everlasting!"

But wait if you call now...

Ok so step one:

Leave everybody out of it; it’s between you and the Big Man. You have probably heard this spill a ton of times but this “How To” can change your life! And, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Well...easy as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13, apparently.

Step 2 
 "Admit that you are a sinner. Ask yourself this question, "Have I ever stolen a dollar," -- maybe one hundred dollars? No matter how big or how small the sin is, God will forgive you. He died for the sins of the world, so that we can live eternally."

Ok, so lets say you are an average Godless heathen and you stumbled across this. Does this help you to understand why you even need forgiveness? Does this explain the righteousness of God and his justice? Does this really explain your wickedness? So what's the big deal? I mean no one takes this Wikihow stuff seriously do they? Perhaps not, but sadly this is what most people believe and what gets preached in most churches.

Ok Step 3
Repent of your sins. Remember, God always listens, so speak up! There's nothing in the world that you can't tell him. 

No comment.

Step 4 
Be glad, and rejoice, now that you have been forgiven (because when you ask for His forgiveness, He forgives).

I have to admit that I have done this before. I have led people in the sinners prayer and then immediately congratulated them for entering the kingdom of heaven and becoming a child of God, then proceeded to tell them what they should be doing as a Christian. The Holy Spirit is the only one who gives assurance of salvation. It's not our job to do that. I was given assurance of salvation, I was told that If I asked for forgiveness I was definitely saved. Because of this I never thought to question my salvation. I became a false convert who was trusting on my own good works to save me. Ok so it wasn't overt, I believed that Jesus was the only way (even though I didn't know really what that meant) but I was relying on my works to put me in good standing with God. Although this statement may be technically correct, it doesn't explain enough to an unbeliever what repentance is.

Step 5 (stay with me)
Ask God into your heart, to be your Lord, your personal Savior!

Ok this statement is absolutely wrong. I'm sorry if you like this statement, I used to use it all the time. But it is not in the Bible and it confuses unbelievers to no end, and starts them out with bad theology to boot.

Step 6
Contemplate deeply what Christ suffered during His Passion. From the previous night in the Garden of Gethsemane, all through His trial, and ultimately leading up to His Crucifixion on the Cross, Christ Endured enormous Agony for all your sins.

Step 7
Be baptized. Make sure you do this for the right reasons. Not only to be like Jesus. But instead to have all of your sins washed away so you can go to Heaven after you pass away.

Umm find this in the Bible please...

Step 8 
Receive the Sacraments. They are Christ's Gifts to you.

Ok this is in with "how to be saved" Really? 

Step 9
Honour Our Lord's Mother as your Own Blessed Mother too. Christ gave Mary over to St. John the Apostle to be his own Mother. Therefore, we too, must honour the Blessed Mother Of Christ as our own. 

Ok this is where the whole "Christian Category" thing comes in. This is clearly Catholic. Ok you catholic peeps say that you are just honoring the saints and Mary, but it looks a whole lot like worship to us protestant types. Can we honor and respect the Saints? Sure, but we must realize that they were people just like us and they were fallen, they deserve no more respect than what you would give to an elder man or woman. 

Step 10 
Stay connected with your God. Pray daily. Praying always helps -- even praying for little things such as asking God to help with a test -- and for more serious things such as, asking God to help the doctors figure out what is wrong with someone close to you.
God always listens. He will lift you up when you're down. It’s very exciting to know that Someone is always there for you, and that is Jesus Christ.

Step 11
Look at salvation as a gift to us from God. At this day and age, and with this economy nothing comes free anymore. But, salvation is free, so why not take advantage of this free gift to us? 

Step 12 
Remember this verse:  (John 3:16)

Step 13
Ask all to pray for you to God. Both the Saints in Heaven, and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, can intercede for you to Almighty God.

OK I'm not commenting on some of these because I hope you can see the obvious error. 

Ok now to the Cinnabons...That is why you've read this far isn't it? 

The other day I heard a sermon by Pastor McCool from Coolsville Church (I'm not trying to mock (ok maybe a little) I don't remember his name or the name of the Church) (that's right I just did a parentheses inside a parentheses ;) The pastor was up on the stage and his prop was a Cinnabon. (ok I have to admit if you are going to use a prop you might as well use a Cinnabon) He asked the audience what they thought the best part was. Answers varied from "the middle" "the outside" "the glaze" to "licking the box". The audience erupted with laughter as the pastor cracked a few jokes. Then he said I think the best part is the sweet gooey middle. This is where his horrid analogy (and most sermon series) falls apart. What if I think is the outside is the best? What then with the analogy? What if I don't like motorcycles? (I do) What if I never saw Twilight? (I haven't) What then with your sermon series? It's no longer relevant to me. Anyway at this point the pastor proceeds to munch down on the cinnabon while explaining why the middle is so good. He devours the cinnabon and then says "ya know life is a lot like a cinnabon". (I believe it is customary at this time to use the phrase "Face-Palm".) As he continued with his illustration he said. "ya know life is the sweetest when you are in the center of God's will." He then explained how you can live the sweet life. It went something like this: Find your talent, find out how to use that talent for God, and then basically try to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and pray a lot and read your bible a lot and witness a lot. 

This kind of preaching makes me furious. 
"Hold on Blane back up, I mean sure it would be nice if there were more theological deepness in most churches and more of a sense of reverence, but come on this is not something to be furious over is it? I mean these churches do a lot of good." 

Consider this second person. There are teens all over America who cut themselves. There are people who set themselves on fire. There are people who are at the end of their rope. There are people who's marriages and lives are falling apart. And they walk into happy slappy Coolsville church perhaps looking for hope and hear a "sermonabon". The pastor repels from the ceiling (a pastor actually did that) he then juggles some small kittens and spreads peanut butter in his under arms (all actually happened) Then he gives 4 steps to a better marriage, or 4 steps to living the sweet life like the center of a cinnabon. Then they get a cool worship concert. They get what this guy is describing.

Ok this post is starting to go a little longer than I thought. My thoughts are a tad jumbled and I apologize for that.

One last thing. It can be hard to explain why the happy slappy preaching is wrong especially to close friends. I think instead of ripping on the bad preacher they like or ripping on them, the best thing may be to show them a good expositional sermon from a solid pastor.

Show them something like this...

And then contrast that with their happy slappy preacher and say "hey do you kinda notice a difference?" 

OK that's all.

Aaaaand now you want a cinnabon...don't you?

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