Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two
opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.
And the people answered him not a word. (1Kings 18:)
so hard-headed and egotistic. You must be a politician."
No, I'm no politician."
you got to be a lawyer or a college professor or the like."
I've been to college, but I'm not a teacher or a
come on then; give it up. I know you ain't no
cabbie or truck driver."
I'm a preacher."
days gone by, and probably still yet in some circles, experts on any
subject were easy to find. Men learned all about politics, the stock
market, current events, and the neighborhood gossip from their barber
or the kid selling newspapers on the street corner. Women were a little
more selective in their search for factual information; they consulted
their hairdresser, the butcher or the corner grocer.
experts tend to be a more specialized, possessing a great deal of
knowledge in a single field of interest. This on the surface seems like
a good idea, and certainly one that would cause information to be more
accurate and factual. However, time has not proven this to necessarily
be the case.
instance: what is the likelihood of receiving honest and accurate
answers to a question on politics from a politician? Wouldn't you be
more inclined to rely on your barber or the kid selling newspapers for
how about learning the value and condition of the used car being touted
by the used car salesman? Again, ask the kid selling newspapers.
been many a stock broker who has grown rich giving financial advice,
while those following his expert advice went bottom-up.
who would you trust most to give you an accurate weather forecast? your
aged aunt with the arthritic elbow that acts up when the climate
changes, the farmer who reads the sky for his living, or the weatherman
with all his multimillion dollar instruments? Aunt Martha is almost
never wrong; the weatherman is almost never right.
any field of endeavor the result is the same: experts battling to the
death to be the one recognized as "right," even though they change
their expert opinion more frequently then Aunt Martha changes her socks.
we continually lend our ear to the "Expert" of the day, trusting in his
or her ping-pong opinion even when we know full-well the doubtful
chance of that opinion being reasonable or based on logic or facts.
first became aware of the fallacy of listening to "Experts" when I
studied music at the age of 65. I won't give a detailed account of the
incident here as I have already done so in the Abstract Musician.
Suffice it to say that I
discovered a multitude of different forms and methods of study; all
claiming to be the "One and Only."
course, each and every teacher and student (with perhaps an exception
or two) firmly and honestly believes their's to be the "right" one.
Yet, they all are definitely "wrong" for me, and had confused me to
tears all these years of my musically uneventful life.
I add to my repertoire of experience the tragic errors I encountered
with the Psychiatric field; and consider the ever-expanding death tole
encountered in modern hospitals, the National Debt, Global Warming, and
the inadequate and often inept advice I received from mother - I take
pause to reconsider "Expert Advice," and I head for the kid selling
newspapers on the street corner for my education.
was a time (there must have been) when
information and fact went hand-in-hand. Perhaps in ancient days when
things were simple and there was very little to know or learn, a person
could then receive accurate information. However, I tend to doubt it,
because even then, the simplest of times, there must have been the
"Expert" con man ready and anxious to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge.
why not? It has been pretty well demonstrated that it is our nature to
elbow our way to the front of the line in order to get first dibs on
the Brooklyn Bridge. And when we see we have been "took," we elbow our
way to the front of the next line where yet another
bridge is being sold.
Finances, Psychology, Medicine, Weather and Used Cars (and Bridges) are
not the only areas where people love to be taken for a ride (only to
complain later). No indeed. In fact these count low on the scale of
effective ways to pry money from the masses and solicit respect from
has long been known that Religion is where the
money and the prestige lies. If you doubt this, take a look at the
Cystine Chapel or the Crystal Cathedral. And although not as ornate,
consider how multimillion dollar churches embracing more loose-wallet
people than the Superbowl are springing up across the country like
boils on Job.
it is not necessary to have a large building to attract people with
more money than reasoning. Consider the TV Evangelists. These programs
(I suspect) bring in more money for less effort and even lesser returns
for their supporters than the Home Shopping Network, which they often
the masses continue to follow after these circus ringleaders, hanging
on every word, like a panting dog after the promised doggie biscuit.
Politician promises lower taxes and cleaner air to those who believe
Weatherman offers protection from the elements and a means by which to
plan one's holiday for those who heed his advice.
Psychologist assures those who follow his advice: health, happiness and
Financial Wizard promises his clients high returns for low capital
Used Car Salesman offers years of carefree driving with the purchase of
that rattletrap he is pushing.
the door falls off the car; when taxes raise and the air turns purple;
when it rains on your picnic; when the Financial Expert is arrested for
embezzling; when you read of your Psychologist's seventh divorce; and
when your bank statement is printed in red ink - you are likely to give
second thought to the "Expert Advice" you have been given.
is how it is in the world of Worldly things.
what is it that these Mega Churches (and the Mini Churches as well) are
offering that is attracting Believers to them like flies to a honeypot?
stated above, sooner or later each of us is going to discover we have
been "took" by the Expert we listened to. But, somehow, this does not
often happen with the churches. Nor, when deception and flat-out lies
are discovered in these churches, there is but very little action taken
to correct it (other than to cover it). And when
action is taken, people continue to throw their
money at the perpetrator in effort to get him or her out
of the pickle he strove so hard (on the believer's money) to get
himself in to.
What is it
these churches are offering?
for one thing they offer Eternal Life. That is, when their followers
die, they are promised they will live again - forever. Not only live,
but live in splendor and glory.
course there are other religions that promise
much the same, and without it costing one penny or too much of one's
time. But these don't provide the circus-like atmosphere the churches
Life. Now there is something to invest in! And
Eternal Life is certainly something to sell without fear of a door
falling off or rain clouds rolling over a parade.
the believer wakes up on that Glorious day of reckoning having full
expectation of receiving their wings and golden harp, and finds the
Preacher he or she has been following is not a Messenger from God, but
a retired Used Car Salesman; a door falling off will seem like small
potatoes next to having one's wings clipped and hallo yanked from one's
head, would it not?
then there will be no recourse or new beginnings one might take to
correct their newly discovered error in judgement. And it will do no
good to rag on the Preacher about his shortcomings because he will be
standing right next to you, minus his wings and harp.
stand on opposite poles demanding their rightness be heard and
respected. Along with the Politician there are multitudes of groups and
organizations insisting they be heard over the din of confusion as
people demand their rights.
world is torn apart with opinions and counter-opinions.
we stand; divided we fall. And are we ever divided!
churches are no less divided in their views and their dogmas than the
world of the World. But in the church these opinions are not called
opinions. Opinions are looked upon as having less substance than wind,
and to be just as unstable. In the churches opinion goes by the name of
"Doctrine" which cannot be questioned or
challenged. They are considered as "Fact," even though those "Facts"
are often diametrically opposed to the Doctrines of the church down the
street, and a million other churches as well. They are also considered
as "Fact" in spite of all "Facts" standing in evidence against
them being in fact "Facts."
these "Facts," unlike the wishy-washy "facts" of the World, are all
based on the very same Book they say is written by the very same God
they purport to worship.
there something wrong with this picture?
as long as no door falls off the Doctrine any one of us is following,
the only way to find out if what we believe is in
fact truth or fiction is to die. Does your church offer a Death
have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
7Ye hypocrites, well
did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This
people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their
lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But
in vain they do worship me, teaching for
doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:)
ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my
mouth. 2My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my
speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb,
and as the showers upon the grass: 3Because I
will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4He
is the Rock, his work is perfect: for
all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and
without iniquity, just and right is he. 5They
have corrupted themselves, their spot is
not the spot
of his children: they are
a perverse and crooked generation. 6Do
ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is
not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he
not made thee, and established thee? (Deut:)
thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou
mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? 4For
thou hast said, My doctrine is
pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. 5But
oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; 6And
that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are
double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less
than thine iniquity deserveth. (Job 11:)
ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know
I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3For
I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in
the sight of my mother. 4He taught me also, and
said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments,
and live. 5Get wisdom, get understanding:
forget it not; neither decline from the words of
my mouth. 6Forsake her not, and she shall
preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. (Prov 4:)
shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand
doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and
drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must
be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line
upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For
with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To
whom he said, This is the rest wherewith
ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the
refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the
word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon
precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and
there a little; that they might go, and fall backward,
and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isa 28:)
Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am
young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was
afraid, and durst not show you mine opinion. 7I
said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. 8But
a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them
men are not always
wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. 10Therefore
I said, Hearken to me; I also will show mine opinion. 11Behold,
I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched
out what to say. 12Yea, I attended unto you,
and, behold, there was none of you that convinced
Job, or that answered his words: 13Lest
ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not
man. 14Now he hath not directed his
words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. 16When
I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and
answered no more;) 17I said,
I will answer also my part, I also will show mine opinion. 18For
I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. 19Behold,
my belly is as wine which
hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. 20I
will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. 21Let
me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give
flattering titles unto man. 22For
I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing
my maker would soon take me away. (Job 32:)
Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt
ye between two opinions? if the LORD be
God, follow him: but if Baal, then
follow him. And the people answered him not a word. 22Then
said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only,
remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are
four hundred and fifty men. (1Kings 18:)
is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there
is that maketh himself poor, yet hath
ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the
poor heareth not rebuke.
light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be
by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is
wisdom. (Prov 13:)
know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I
would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because
thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my
thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of
nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and
poor, and blind, and naked: 18I
counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be
rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that
the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with
eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Rev 3:)