[Editor’s note: It takes him a while to come back around to the St. Nick reference. But stick around for it. If you don’t already know the story, it might surprise you.]
A lot of ‘nicer than Christ’ church leadership of today forget just how seriously our forebears fought to defend what was true against heresy and pressure to conform to the whims of the world.
If any modern Protestant denomination should be cognizant of that singular fact, it should be the one whose founder changed history by nailing 95 specific truth claims to a Whittenburg door.
It was not an act of cowardice, or of conformity. It was a sacrificial act of devotion to the truth of Christ himself. And it could have cost him his life.
Such acts of devotion routinely rattle the chains of religious leaders who have lost the plot as well as ordinary sinners. And yet, these acts of devotion spring from precisely the kind of heart by which Christ routinely turns ‘the whole world upside down’. (Acts 17)
But a lot can change in 500 years.
As we see in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament’s apostolic admonitions, it is never long after a true move of God before old habits creep back in, hearts grow cold, and temptations return to use what was made to be an instrument of God as yet another human institution, ripe for the taking by someone with an agenda.
For context, today’s example of someone with an agenda is Megan Rohrer. Megan is biologically female, married (as they see it) to a woman, and invokes the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘they’. This same Megan Rohrer, from San Francisco, was recently elevated to Bishop within the Lutheran Church.
If someone believes he has a calling to be a church leader, the priority should conform to the pattern laid out in the New Testament. Christ is to be the head, the ultimate source of leadership and direction, while the Church (those of us who believe in Christ) are, to continue the biblical metaphor, His body.
In practical terms, that means we should strive to live out his will in our lives and relationships. We conform to HIM and to HIS will, and to HIS truth.
That’s not what this activist bishop is doing.
Rohrer, who was (for whatever reason) made Bishop this month, is insisting that the Church conform to meet the expectations of LGBTQ moral judgments, rather than the other way around.
This goes further than the superficial open disdain for the earliest of Church synods. Throwing contempt on a supposedly ‘fringe’ issue is a clever strategy. It set up a reframing of those early church leaders who had come out the other side after actual persecution as they wrestled with the deepest of Christian absolutes which undermines the rest of what they did.
This is a point in Christian history when there was still a high degree of unity within the leadership of the body of Christ, and these councils are where the creeds themselves were first written.
In casting the leaders who wrote the creeds as villains in a narrative, Megan is undermining the work they have done and the foundation upon which the Church stands. (It’s no less insidious than the 1619 project, directed at the Church, rather than the state.)
Here are Rohrer’s remarks.
Presumably Rohrer was referring to Canon 1 of the Council, which forbids those who have castrated themselves from serving in the clergy. —DailyWire
And here is something else that was retweeted on Megan’s timeline… meaning she liked it enough to amplify it.
Notice how seamlessly that concept would dovetail with the Christ-less Anti-Gospel we’ve reported on elsewhere. HEY CHRISTIANS: Does YOUR Church Condemn This ‘Woke’ Heresy… Or Are They SEDUCED By It?
We wish this person no ill-will. After all, just like some of the most vicious opponents of the political Right have changed their position and become some of the strongest advocates, it is possible that God can do the same with Megan.
But that does not change the problem at hand. The gospel is NOT a political or identitarian message. Anyone who thinks otherwise has been taken in by a bait and switch.
There is NO political party, NO partisan belief, NO personal agenda, NO higher learning, and NO act of kindness that can take the place of saving faith in Jesus and the transformed heart that follows His work of grace on those who believe.
As for leadership? Paul wrote in his letters about what is required of a spiritual leader. (Read, ‘not optional’) In this situation, two criteria stand out.
In his letter to Timothy, he expressly referenced doctrine (‘not to teach any different doctrine’) and LGBT issues (‘the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine). This is taken from a description listing specific examples of what would differentiate false teachers from the real deal.
Meanwhile, in his letter to Titus, he mentioned this among his criteria for leadership.
…holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, …
Establishing leaders hellbent on rewriting the Book to suit their private values and agendas? That was never the plan.
The short New Testament book of Jude, scarcely a chapter long, has some scathing things to say about false teachers. This is one of the milder passages.
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
There’s a pretty basic litmus test for whether the teacher is true or not, whether it’s the real Gospel or the counterfeit warned about by all the Apostles.
Who is exalted: Self? Or Christ?
If it brings us all back to the message Jesus himself preached, repent of sin (that is to say, abandon it) die to self, and accept His new life, His new way of living, and a transformed heart no matter WHAT you considered your old ‘identity’ to be? You’re probably on the right track.
If it brings us back to being authentically yourself, about finding your identity in some kind of sub-culture, be it political, racial, economic, sexual, academic, or whatever other sub-group claiming a more fundamental identity and allegiance than any you have to Christ himself?
Run, Forrest, run, and do NOT look back.
If even the Holy Spirit points to Jesus and not Himself (John 16:14), why would anyone honestly believe that an authentic faith would elevate personal identity above what God Himself would have for us?
John the Baptist, shortly before being beheaded said, ‘He must increase, I must decrease’.
If your ‘spiritual leader’ rejects that blueprint, you have every reason to question their true loyalty and private agenda… no matter HOW ‘nice’ they might otherwise seem.
Oh. And I almost forgot. You might be wondering about that St. Nick reference. What could he possibly have to do with this story?
Arius had a doctrine about Christ that would have stripped the Son of God of any claim to divinity. His ideas were being heard and evaluated. They were later judged to be heresy.
Bishop Nicholas of Myrna (the saint on whom Santa was modeled) is claimed to have slapped (punched?) the heretic Arius in the face for blaspheming, right in the middle of the Council of Nicea. (Read the story here.)
Nick CARED about truth enough to be passionate about it; he cared enough to oppose anyone and anything that would corrupt it among church leaders today.
How sad that the denomination founded by a man who defied the most powerful leaders of Europe with the words ‘Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.’ has been reduced to this.
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