Mike Adams Searching for Bonhoeffer

Mike Adams in an online column titled ‘Searching for Bonhoeffer’ tells of his trip through 22 states and several mega-churches. He found a watered down gospel message that wasn’t satisfying anyone’s thirst.

“…the one thing that has started to change in the mega-church is the message. What once was a slightly watered-down seeker-friendly version of the Gospel is now a slightly Gospel-flavored bucket of water. And it’s not enough to quench the thirst of the masses.”

He recounts such foolishness as the announcement of a Bible Study class that might not have answers but “just want(s) to start a conversation.” Then there was the church that “doesn’t focus on doctrine. We focus on hope.” And the one that said “If Christianity is to survive in the 21st century, everything about it must change.” Some of his conclusions:

By watering down their message to be even more seeker-friendly, today’s mega-churches are not going to achieve their crass objective: To avoid offending people in order to keep their numbers up (read: Keep the money flowing) and eventually pay their mortgage down. Instead, their gains with seekers and the easily offended will be offset by their losses among those who are farther along in their walks and, hence, more traditional in their beliefs. This is consequential because the traditionalist, not the liberal Christian or the seeker, is always the first one to open his wallet.

Law in the New Testament, Stepmothers

Chapter 7, Law in the New Testament, Whole Bible Christianity

If the Law had been ‘fulfilled,’ (twisted to mean ‘eliminated’) then the following is a very curious thing for Paul to say.

1It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. 2You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. (1 Corinthians 5:1-2 NASB95)

Why would he care about a man who marries his stepmother? Wouldn’t all marriages be okay? According to the modern church, isn’t everything and everyone clean? Why would Paul appeal to the Law at all (Leviticus 18:8; Deuteronomy 22:30 and 27:30)? Why also would Paul appeal to the fact that this is something even Gentiles didn’t do?

There might be a thin argument here for the fictitious ‘moral law.’ Except how do we pick and choose what is ‘moral’ and what isn’t when God speaks? Isn’t everything He says by definition ‘moral?’ Could it be that the congregation had changed the law to say that ‘everything was clean?’ Were they perhaps practicing their ‘freedom in Christ?’

Paul doesn’t make up any new commandment here. He certainly doesn’t cherry-pick nor does he apply only the law he chooses. Not only does he say that the Corinthians should be following this Law, he implies it is a natural fact everyone (even the non-believing Gentiles) knows. In other words, God’s people should at least have the sense God gave a pagan. He also gives the punishment for the sin outlined in Torah (“remove the evil from your midst”). Later, it looks like they were “obedient in all things”(2 Corinthians 2:5-11).

I Don’t Hear Jesus

Chapter 6, Whole Bible Objections, Whole Bible Christianity

When I talk about obedience, or anything to do with the Law really, one of the big objections I get is that “I don’t hear Jesus” (in my teaching). What they mean is that I don’t say ‘Jesus’ every other word. Or that I don’t constantly refer everything back to the crucifixion, or some other point of their Jesus dogma. I usually pose this question in reply – Is it that you don’t hear Jesus, or that you don’t hear? Am I not saying, or are you not hearing?

Jesus is all about obedience. It’s His Word in the first place that we obey. He showed up all through the Old Testament preaching and reinforcing the Law He delivered, and had Moses write down at Sinai. After He was born as a human, He consistently taught repentance and a return to God’s Law. He instructed the disciples to take this gospel to the whole world, making other disciples (a word related to ‘discipline’). We have His Spirit who only repeats what He hears from Jesus (John 16:14) and leads us into all truth, which is the Word. Jesus is God’s Word, with the Law, in form and action. You can’t read more than a few verses in the Scriptures without tripping over the issue of staying true to His Word, or returning to His Word, or teaching His Word. There is nothing about obedience that is not intimately connected to Jesus.

If someone doesn’t “hear Jesus” in the Law, or in teachings on obedience to His Law, they are probably 100% correct. They don’t hear (Matthew 13:13, Luke 16:31, John 8:43).

Part Bible Church Power Failure

Chapter 1, A Part Bible church, ‘Whole Bible Christianity’

There are four reasons for why I call the church a part Bible kind of church. First, there’s a power failure. When we get together in groups we need a few rules, but formal organizations tend to drift, and they don’t correct easily. We’ve got a situation very similar to the first century when Jesus and the apostles contended with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Second, the teaching is empty. People are either leaving or not coming into the church because the thin gruel of watered down Bible truth doesn’t connect people to God. Third, the church by and large elevates tradition and dogma over the plain reading of the Word. We have to get endless explanations from the leaders to match what they say with the Word, and end up memorizing dogma instead of God’s living oracles. Fourth, the part Bible church literally splits up the Word and parcels it out, taking the blessings for themselves and forcing others (the Jews) to take the curses. Chapters and verses make it easy to separate teachings better left together. ‘Old’ and ‘new’ are convenient ways to ignore the parts we don’t like. ‘Red letters’ make it seem like we’re really focused on “important” pieces when really it just makes it easier to redefine words granting ourselves permission to sin.

One of our favorite albums is ‘Jerusalem Arise’ by Paul Wilbur.

A favorite song is Days of Elijah. It really kicks your day into gear. Helps even in sad times.

“…and though these are days of great trials, of famine and darkness and sword, still we are the voice in the desert, crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”

Behold, He comes!

Form of Religion but No Power

Chapter 1, Part Bible church, ‘Whole Bible Christianity’

Israel transformed God’s kingdom to man’s kingdom by holding to a form of religion but denying the power of it (2 Timothy 3:1-9). The church, which started out with a good foundation in the first century, has sadly done the same thing. Organizations do this. They start off okay, but drift into self-protection and failure to speak the Word, just like Israel did. Dogma, tradition, and complicated theologies eventually substitute for the simple straight talk from God.

Some things I say in this book might sound like unfair blanket statements. Until you realize that all who claim church membership or have a Christian name tag are not all in the Body of the Christ. Around the year 325 A.D. the Roman emperor Constantine made his version of Christianity the official religion of the empire. Everyone had to convert. Or else. This conversion was often nothing more than slapping Christian labels on pagan practices and being anti-Jewish. The slapping was literal in some cases because he chiseled off idol’s names and re-chiseled on ‘saints’ names. He tried to switch the real Sabbath to Sunday, and ‘Christianized’ pagan feasts that have come to be known as Christmas and Easter. If you wanted to get the empire off your back and do some business, you had to at least look like a Christian on the surface.

Constantine’s pragmatism reared its ugly head again in the revivals of the 1800’s. Preachers and evangelists of this time thought they should reduce the biblical message to ‘whatever gets them in the door.’ So they watered down the Bible to make it more palatable, and comfortable. Perhaps we could even say ‘ear tickling.’ This is where raised hands and going forward came from, which some famous evangelists of the 20th century raised to an art form.

The result is that we have a large population of church-goers conditioned to expect this and perpetuate it, as if it really means salvation. The enemy’s tares of “seeker friendly, spiritual but not religious” teachings were sown under the cover of seeming to advance the Kingdom. But when we sacrifice truth on the altar of expediency, we fill our buildings and not our hearts.

You may recognize that Constantine’s version of “church” still exists today. When I mention the church (little ‘c’) in this book, I’m including everyone who wears the name, even though most don’t truly play on God’s side in the game.

Part Bible Church

First chapter, section on the Part Bible church, ‘Whole Bible Christianity’

The biblical body of Christ eats and drinks the whole of the Word with a soft heart of flesh full of the Law. In contrast, the modern church is fed a thin, part Bible gruel of empty, cracked dogma sold by a stone-hearted, failed power structure which routinely squashes calls for a return to the new covenant. It has kept some of God’s Word and assigned the parts it doesn’t like to the outer darkness of ‘old’ or ‘Jewish’ or outdated.

The part Bible churches are not that well versed in the Bible, but seem to be extremely well versed in anti-Law teachings using what I call the ‘favorite 16’ verses. These are the same few references used over and over again to justify lawless behavior. The church is okay with this because they can keep down “heretics,” meaning anyone who doesn’t agree with the governing leaders. The churches fail to properly equip the saints, and at the same time the system is geared to stop those people who offer healthy correction from the Word. Like whole Bible Christian thought.

Sitting in judgment on which parts of His Word we will follow and which parts we won’t robs it of effectiveness and starts us down a slippery slope to complete lawlessness. Even atheists know better than this. Ayn Rand for instance said (speaking of morality in general):

“The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.”

Can the Bible Be Trusted?

Chapter 4 of ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ section on “Can the Bible be Trusted?”

I’m sure you’ve heard teachings that cast doubt on the authenticity of the Word. For instance, some claim that ‘translational bias’ has corrupted the translations. What they mean is that no one can translate well enough to get God’s message across because our own brains get in the way. We have too many assumptions.

It is true that when it comes to translating the Bible, even the most well trained scholar can color his or her translating. It is also true that even scholars have assumptions. We all have a bias of some sort even when casually reading the Word. It’s been a problem since the beginning.

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” (Genesis 3:1-3 NASB95)

The serpent was obviously against what God instructed the first man and woman to do. “Has God said” is a common refrain among those who seek to destroy the authority of the Father throughout history. Eve had a bias too, as shown by her ‘don’t touch’ twist on what God said (He only said “don’t eat”). Created beings play fast and loose with God’s Words, and we need to watch ourselves. Bernard Ramm puts it this way.

“…we all need a new sense of respect for the Holy Scripture. Believing it to be the veritable word of God, we must exercise all the human pains possible to keep from overlaying it with a gossamer pattern of our own spinning. In each of those cases where human error enters, divine truth is obscured. Let us then steer a straight course through the Holy Bible, neither turning to the left side of heresy nor to the right side of unbridled imagination.”

But the weightiest truth against the claim of translational bias, or any other teaching casting doubt on the Bible, is that the foundation for all of the books is the first five. The Torah was the first canon by which any additional writing, or any prophet or preacher, was always measured.

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20 NASB95)

God’s Word is Law, Love, Light, Lamp, Instruction, etc.

The Bible is given to all people, but some grab hold while others let it slip away. To believers every word from God is love, light, life, a lamp, instruction, law, commands, judgments, teaching, ways, wisdom and truth.

• Love—John 12-14, 15:10.
• Light and lamp—Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 8:20; Revelation 21:23, 22:5.
• Life—Deuteronomy 4:1, 32:46-47; Proverbs 8:32-36; Matthew 19:16, 17.
• Instructions—Isaiah 1:10; Exodus 16:4 24:12; Jeremiah 35:13; Job 22:22, 36:10; Psalm 78:1; Zephaniah 3:1-7; Malachi 2:1-9; Proverbs 1:2,3,7,8 4:1,2; Romans 15:4; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 5:12; 2 Tim 4:2.
• Law—Jeremiah 6:18-19; Zechariah 7:12; Deut 5:5, 17:11, 27:1-3, 26, 30:10,14, 32:46,47; John 15:25; Acts 6:2-4,7 13:44,48,49, 28:23; Romans 9:28,31,32; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Galatians 5:14.
• Commands, judgments, teachings & ways—Isaiah 2:3; Proverbs 5:12, 7:2, 8:10, 1:8, 4:2, 3:1, 6:20-23; Jeremiah 32:33; Deuteronomy 4:1; 2 Chronicles 15:1-7; Matthew 4:23, 7:28,29, 9:35, 13:54, 15:9, 28:20; Acts 2:42, 4:2, 18:11; Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 14:26.
• Wisdom and truth—Psalm 119:43,44,142, 138:2; Proverbs 23:23; Malachi 2:6; 1 Kings 2:3-4; John 17:17, 18:37-38, 8:31-32; James 1:18, 21-23,25.

Everything God says could be described by any of these terms. ‘Law’ is ‘instruction’ and also a ‘lamp’ and ‘light.’ ‘Wisdom’ and ‘truth’ is also ‘love’ and ‘life.’ Some people separate His Words into cubbyholes. They think that somehow a word from Him that is ‘Law’ is not ‘love,’ or that a word that is a ‘lamp’ is not ‘Law.’