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2 Chronicles 25:14-15 • Dressing Things Up

“Now after Amaziah came from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought the gods of the sons of Seir, set them up as his gods, bowed down before them and burned incense to them. Then the anger of the Lord burned against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, ‘Why have you sought the gods of the people who have not delivered their own people from your hand?'”
    —2 Chronicles 25:14-16 (NASB)

It is the apostle Paul’s admonition that one of the main reasons we are to study the Old Testament is to learn from and not repeat the mistakes so well-documented there. :”(1 Corinthians 10:1-13)”: Some of their examples seem obvious but others, such as Amaziah, do not seem so straightforward. The guy is following God and then just seems to up and abandon every ounce of good sense he had in favor of actually working against God. Having experienced victory and success in the Lord, he unexpectedly embraced the gods of the very losers he defeated. Well, now that I think about it, perhaps this isn’t a crazy and isolated strange behavior after all. Even in the recent history of the church over the past 50 years we have witnessed alarmingly similar behavior.

In something all too similar to Amaziah’s behavior, the very things which our grandfathers soundly rejected and prevented from being adopted wholesale by the church are the things which this generation has embraced. In the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s the affects of Charismania, the false teachings of the Faith-Prosperity movement, and the use of psychology gained only a very marginal foothold and were soundly rejected by the overwhelming majority. Today they have been allowed to permeate the mainstream. Things which for a previous generation were seen clearly as the enemy’s attempts to infiltrate the church are now actually embraced and called “Christian”. There is not a single false spiritual movement, teaching, or behavior that cannot be characterized as something they took the gods of the enemy and called them their own.

One absolute we can depend on is that whatever is proclaimed to be “new” in the church is actually something merely given a snappy new label which in reality has attacked the church repeatedly at different times in history. “There is nothing new under the sun“. :”(Ecclesiastes 1:9)”: Part of the deception always involves taking the same things Satan has repeatedly used throughout history and giving then a clever name for the current generation so it does not sound like the same old thing. But the Purpose Driven nonsense is not new; the Emergent Church Movement is not new; the various expressions of Experiential Theology are not new. They are all gods of the enemy which served to bring down Christians in past generations, served up anew with a fresh coat of paint. Amaziah’s strange behavior is not so strange after all.

We are encouraged to recontextualize the Gospel, to preach it in terms which are relevant to the particular culture we are preaching to. “I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews“. :”(1 Corinthians 9:20-23)”: But the thing we are to never do is incorporate the teachings and practices of other religions and false teachings so as to redefine the Gospel, changing it into something it was never intended. The immutable truth of God’s Word and the work of salvation through the cross are never in need of “dressing up” with the ways of the world.