Spiritual Junk Food #1

Everywhere we turn there is news about food. We have a tomato scare in the U.S.A. (now apparently Mexican peppers are the real culprit). We have concerns about the number of children who are not just overweight but who are obese. We can sign up to have meals come to our door and lose weight like Marie Osmond has – paying a company to control the size of the meal (portion) because you won’t. Now the government of Canada is requiring that Canadian manufacturers list all the ingredients in each product so we can know which ones are really safe for diabetics and celiac patients, for example. This is something the United States government did two years ago.

Of course, one of the main issues in all eating-related stories on the news or the television ads for food products is the junk food we have grown to really like. Food that tastes good but that really has questionable nutritional value. Food loaded with fats, salt, and articifical flavors among other unhealthy ingredients and additives.

But, how many of us are concerned about our spiritual diets and the spiritual food we are feeding our spirit on a regular basis? The material we read, the preachers we watch, the conferences we attend, the CDs we listen to. How many Christians are able to discern between the meat and the mixture? The holy and the profane? That which is biblically correct and that which simply sounds biblical, maybe?

Iverna Tomkins makes an interesting observation: “Many people are so used to mixture that they have lost a taste for what is pure. Lavish displays and methods of presentation have come to be more important than what is being served, and the servers more important than what they serve. Those sitting down at the spiritual “table” reason: If it looks good and multitudes are eating it, then it must be OK.”

Example:

Junk food: Because God so loved the world and God is love we must accept all religions in the name of love without insisting their followers repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. All religions are good and their teachings right and you can chose which one you believe (or chose items from a number of them) as they all bring you to the same place.

Meat: John 3:17-18 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

This issue is of major concern in the Church today. You would think it is only an issue in the world where other religions are finding acceptance. However, this is not the case. It appears that born again Christians either do not know what the Christian faith teaches or no longer believe that the Christian faith is correct.

The Christian faith is both inclusive and exclusive. It is inclusive because “God wills that all men be saved.” (1 Timothy 2:4) So, the message of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is inclusive.

However, the message also declares that there is “no other Name under Heaven whereby a person can be saved.” (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:13). So, we believe that there is only one way into Heaven and His name is Jesus. This means we are being exclusive – we don’t believe that all roads (all religions) lead to Heaven … we believe there is only One Way, One Door, One Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5)

This does not fly well in some nations like my own nation of Canada. We have based our Canadian culture on tolerance and acceptance so we are a mosaic. Unlike our U.S. neighbours where you can be Hispanic American, or Native American or Irish American …. In Canada you are simply of Italian heritage, English heritage, or Scotish decent. We don’t seem to have a Canadian identity and so we simpy accept all cultures as part of the cultural expression but do not attempt to make you “a Canadian” as well. The Americans have fashioned ther nation as a ‘melting pot’ and we have a ‘mosiac’ – a culture that is an expression of many cultures and apparently we are without a single Canadian culture or identity.

This means we are suppose to be very tolerant as a nation. Very accepting. And we are in most cases. We accept people and their cultural and religious expressions … unless you are a born again Christian who believes the Bible. Then, you are fair game to be discriminated against.

A marriage commissioner here in my city has been fighting for several years in the court systems for the right to not officiate at same-sex marriages because of his born again religious convictions – and has lost at every turn. We have a court structure and a Human Rights Commission that seems to defend everyone’s rights except those of the born again believer. In my nation – to preach the Bible and state that homosexuality is a sin and not natural in God’s eyes could bring you before the Human Rights Commision on hate literature charges.

My point – our society today does not encourage the belief that there is only one way to be forgiven and to be right with God. It no longer has the structure that supports the concept that one group is right and so everyone else must be wrong. No, we are an accepting and tolerant society where we accept everything and judge nothing (well almost).

Thus, many Christians have bought into this mosiac approach when it comes to their faith. We simply welcome and accept all faiths into this nation – which is good. However, it goes further than that – we also accept that their beliefs are correct and so simply add them to the already existing mix of religious beliefs declaring that they all speak and teach truth and are all valid expressions of faith. And, there is some truth, I suspect, in all religious structures and doctrines and they are a valid expression of the faith of the adherants of that particular religious belief. But, it does not mean they are right in their understanding of reconciliation and forgiveness, for example.

So, as society goes so goes the Church. Many preachers are no longer declaring that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life. Many Christian churches no longer believe that there is a Hell to avoid and a Heaven to gain. Many no longer believe in a literal Devil. Some preach that Jesus was a good man and a moral teacher but not God incarnate. There was no virgin birth. Therefore He is not the Saviour – which again is okay because Adam and Eve were not real people and with no real Devil to tempt them there is no original sin or actual sin – because God does not hold people to harsh standards such as the ten Commandments and He accepts and loves everyone and ….

Thus, we eat spiritual junk food as it is presented by many churches and ordained clergy today. We think everything is okay because there are obviously many ways to Heaven. Afterall, we have accepted these other religions and there is no way that many people can be wrong. So, we believe what we want to and throw out what we don’t like or don’t believe and deceive ourselves into believing that everything is all right with aGod – if there really is a God.

Spiritual junk food is dangerous to your spiritual health, folks!

More on this tomorrow…

5 replies
  1. Bill Shiers
    Bill Shiers says:

    This country suffers as do many others from spiritual confusion. Supposedly our forefathers founded our country on God, and I say supposedly because you can find little, or no evidence of this today.
    When I went to public school we recited the Lord’s prayer as well as sung both the national anthem and God save the King/Queen. What do we have today? The Ten Commandments have been removed from schools and public buildings, there is no prayer or patriotism in the schools. So where does this leave the children of today – LOST!
    Something else I must add, and I know this will raise some hackles, When we receive people from other countries here to live, and this is fine and as it should be, we tend to be overzealous in accepting their customs, their traditions while allowing ours to be left unspoken and troden upon. Is it any wonder our Christianity is constantly under attack? As long as we accept a very large liberal attitude we will undoubtedly get increased attacks on our traditions, customs and yes the very Christian belief that founded this nation. Of course if you have a nation with no sound base in Christianity, (the born again variety), then it must always be an uphill battle folks.
    Thanks for your time.

    Reply
  2. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Hi Bill,
    Actually our forefathers, to my understanding, did not just found this country on God but on Christian beliefs and Bible principles – that is one reason for years we were called “The Dominion (God rules) of Canada.

    I recently received an email which included comments from the Prime Minister of Australia re. this situation of openly accepting all beliefs and not standing up for the distinctives that made the nation a nation in the first place.

    I have not verified it is actually something he said – so can’t publish it on the blog. Will find it and send it by email to you. If you can verify it I would certainly publish it as it expresses what I feel exactly and what you are saying.

    Great hearing from you!

    Reply
  3. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    Good Day;
    An interesting article to say the least. I’m sorry but I too feel that there is very little nutrition in our sermons today.
    Why? Because the grace movement has all but brought to an end any sense of responsibility, accountability and every other ability. Our society doesn’t think for itself anymore because that would mean having to make a decision; maybe an unpopular one. Most parents over the last generation have been so busy making something of themselves and chasing the all might $, that their children don’t know what responsibility is. There is a serious lack in discipline because Mom’s and Dad’s are supposed to be your friends instead of your teachers.
    Love as I have defined it many times in NOT A FEELING! It is the commitment of one human being to another or others to see to their well-being and to help them to grow and reach the potential that God designed into everyone of us.
    How many young men do you know that can change oil in their cars or mow grass or just do some handiwork around the house? How many young women do you know that can cleaan house or cook when they leave home?
    If we loved our children and others as the Bible states – we would correct, edify, teach, and guide … not let them do anything and everything that feels good.
    I still believe there is nothing wrong with a goodly dose of God’s wrath and hellfire and brimestone to be preached from the pulpits on Sunday morning.
    Wake up preachers – you are going to be held accountable.
    When do we start to preach sin and its consequences; disobedience and it’s consequences.
    This generation and the one coming up is only going to put up with whatever doesn’t point a finger at them and say you have sinned and you need to repent (change) or else. This generation will not admit there are absolutes – there is black and white. You disobey, you pay.
    Do we turn on the stove and tell our children to touch it? Yet we allow worse scenarios on T.V. and then wonder why our children rebel and why they do the things they do.
    Speaking of junk food.
    Tonights news reported that they are finally finding out the new energy drinks on the market are dangerous!!!!!!!!!!!Dah. they cause complete and eradict behavior. Really?????
    People – get back to the basics. Set down rules, set down consequences and stick to it. You can’t be everybodies friend.
    Pastor Sharon

    Reply
  4. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    A second comment on “Spiritual Junk Food” This I took from an article I just read this morning by Anne Cetas.
    Randall Peterson, a retired autoworker, thinks there could be interest in a new version of the Bible. He sarcastically says that a publisher ought to create an electronic Bible that would allow for editing from the pew. That way individuals and churches could make the Bible say what they want it to say. He says it could be called the “LAME” Bible: “Locally Adaptive Multifaith Edition” and “could be sold to any church regardless of what it believes.”
    He’s joking of course, but we might be tempted by such a product. Jesus gives us some hard teachings! As believers, our desire is to be obedient to Him in our choices and attitudes. But at times we resist the Word of God and wish we could often soften His commands.
    Some of Jesus’ hard teachings are found in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5, He says: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (v44). That’s what He tells us to do – so we know we can’t just delete it or change it. (we all know what the Word says about adding and deleting to and from God’s Word) We need to APPLY it to our personal situation with the Holy Spirit’s enablement.
    God’s Word is to be obeyed by His people. We’re the ones who need to be “revised” – not the Scriptures.
    To love God is to obey God.
    “The laws of God are true and right;
    They stand as firm today
    As when He put them in His Word
    And told us to obey” – Fasick

    I really believe that when we finally realize that we must move from the cerebral and intellectual side of the Word to the actual experiential side we will finally see victory in areas we have struggled with for so long.
    Everyone seems to think that reading God’s Word alone is enough – it’s not! We must live from it. Jesus quoted many times, “It is written and then spoke what was wirtten and then lived it”.
    Let’s get on the same page with Jesus and watch what happens!
    We should not do, think, say or act on anything that is not of the Father. Amen. Sorry, it’s sunday and I’m in preaching mode. Or like a mutual acquaintence says in the “zone”.
    Have a great day everyone and may we all see God’s glory in a new and big way today.
    Pastor Sharon

    Reply
  5. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Sharon,
    Thanks for both your comments.
    A follow-up comment … You mention that today’s younger generation do not believe in absolutes – blank and white. True enough.
    However, although my (your) generation believes there are absolutes we have, in many cases, not lived by them. So it is not a new problem that has just arisen – it has been and is a slippery slope which we are on as well.

    We need, your generation (my generation) to lead by example and this we have not done. We can point the finger at the media, video games and whatever else we can blame but surely we should first look in our own lives and the example we have set for our own children – entertainment, divorce rates, church attendance, Bible lifestyle….

    Had a converation with a young man yesterday after preaching in a church several hours from home base. He is on his way to Brazil to do a few weeks of work with some resident missionaries working on the Amazon River there … and he was telling me how he is looking for the real thing – not just talk. He said that he sees too much talk and not enough walk in the Church (my words); that he wants to find what is real in the Christian faith and not just go through religious exercises and the motions without the emotions (again, my words). I agreed with him.

    There is hope yet for the Church with young men like Taylor leading the way. We (the older generation) need to get it together and walk with them (mentoring and helping where we can) or simply get off the road and get out of the way. I have a wonderful book on my shelf – a secualr one from many years ago… entitled: “Lead, Follow, or Get the Hell Out of My Way”. I think that summarizes what I feel must happen and happen soon.

    I am preaching – and it’s Monday not Sunday … so no excuse.

    Reply

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