Religion is a Crutch!

Madelyn Murray O’Hair (who fought successfully to remove prayer from school) famously said, “Religion is a crutch and only the crippled quote-religion-is-a-crutch-and-only-the-crippled-need-crutches-madalyn-murray-o-hair-117-14-62need crutches.” She was so crippled with hatred for her father that she chased him around the house with a butcher knife, trying to kill him.

Jesse Ventura said religion is a “crutch for weak-minded people.” Before he went out and sued the widow of the American military hero Chris Kyle. He was so crippled with…something…that he sued a widow.

Always a bad plan to attempt to deride religion by calling it a crutch.
First, some of the very best, most excellent people in history were…religious. Washington, Lincoln, Wilberforce, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Martin Luther AND Martin Luther King.

Second, there will come a day in every man or woman’s life when it will be proven that we are all crippled and in need of a crutch.

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Weak-minded people like Washington, Wilberforce, Tolkien, Martin Luther AND Martin Luther King (none of these weak-minded people sued a military widow).
WE all have bodies and minds that are broken and battered and bruised that will eventually die and decay.

WE are all crippled.

Some try to overcome it through bravado and bravery and pompous comments, some just hobble along until they die, and some deny it to the end.

The truth is…if I live long enough to see life beat the arrogance out of me, and I use just a little bit of the wisdom God gave me, I’ll get to that place where I personally realize that I, just like every other human being, am actually crippled.

I’m crippled in a hundred different ways. Do I need a crutch? You bet I do.


In John 6, Jesus does a remarkable thing. He’s massively popular with around 15,000 men, women and children following Him. So He preaches a sermon that DRIVES EVERYONE AWAY. He cuts His own popularity from 15,000 to 12 disciples!

He notices this and asks his inner circle of 12, “Do you want to leave Me to?”

And Peter the bold, Peter the outspoken, Peter the “often wrong but never unsure” has what may be his greatest moment of inspiration and clarity – he just nails it.

Peter says, “Lord, where would we go? You have the very words of eternal life.

The words of Jesus are more than clever prose or poetic expressions, they are life itself…for today and tomorrow and forever and ever and ever.


So I misled you a bit. Kind of.

Religion can be a crutch. Jesus is not. A crutch just helps a cripple hobble along, Jesus will carry us along, and in His Kingdom will heal completely.

Isaiah wrote about Him almost 3000 years ago. Isaiah 35:6 says “The cripple will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!”

I’m crippled in a hundred different ways. Do I need a crutch? You bet I do.  At my best, at my worst, I’m entirely dependent on Jesus…the one whose words are life itself…for today and tomorrow and forever and ever and ever.

Amen amen!

 

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Wrath of God?

I’m gonna say something that many folks don’t like.

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Was gonna write on The Wrath of Khan, but changed the subject matter. Still, HAD to use this picture! Ricardo’s awesomeness was clearly on display in this role.

God is angry. He’s mad, He has wrath, and this great wrath is being stored up for a great day of judgment which from reading the New Testament, is more terrifying that you or I can imagine.

Just One Example:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18

Being told that God might be angry, the majority of the population RUNS SCREAMING into one of three camps (not literally folks – hyperbole – sheesh).

Singing Kumbayah

Camp #1: Denial. 
“But David, God doesn’t get angry. Anger is my dad when he drank too much or had trouble at work. It was bad and evil, and he’d just as soon give me a slap in the face as look at me, and you never knew why! That’s anger, and it is bad, God is good, so God never gets angry! Come sit with me and let’s hold hands, burn incense and sing Kumbayah.”

Or “David, that’s why the world thinks we’re backwoods hillbillies. And because the world thinks that, even though Jesus said many are headed to destruction, and He is coming with a sword, we need to do away with this belief! So I will declare that God never gets angry!”

Camp #2: Atheistic Agreement with the Wrong Picture.  

“I’m with you David! I know God is angry, and He’s just like my dad who would slap me as soon as look at me, so I’m not going to have anything to do with God! God is angry, so I hate Him!”

Mao, Stalin, Madelyn Murray O’Hair – all atheists and all children of abusive fathers. Paul Vitz argues in his book Faith of the Fatherless that each one of these famous atheists said in effect “I agree that God is an angry, hateful God like my father, so I will reject God…to the point of not even believing in Him.”

Camp #3: Crazy Lunatic Embracing of God’s Anger.

Some folks REALLY like the idea of a God who is pure, undiluted rage. In the old days, these were called “hellfire and brimstone” preachers. They get red in the face and veins pop out on their forehead as they yell at the audience about how miserable they are (even if saved) and how God is furious all the time at everyone and whenever He called anyone “beloved” what He REALLY meant to say was something akin to “heinous beast of woe”.

Like most things, Satan loves to take a little truth and twist it into a caricature. Today the news media is all too ready to promote the caricature as the norm. So you see a little church that is made up of one extended family (40 people in all), being hateful and nasty at military funerals, and you’d think is was the Christian face of America! But it’s not. It’s MAYBE 40 people. But it gets more news than a Second Baptist Houston with a membership of 58 thousand.

So What About God’s Wrath?

So I can deny God’s wrath or reject God b/c of how I view His anger or go crazy with fury thinking erroneously that I’m like God.

Or…I can understand His wrath.  

This seems to be the wisest course. It (His anger or wrath) is mentioned 600 times in the OT, and 25 times in the NT.  So to ignore His wrath, I’ll have to toss out my Bible and start making it up on my own (like a health and wealth preacher!).

Now the question of how you deal with God’s anger is not “do I agree with the preacher?” but “does the preacher agree with God’s Word” and “do I agree with God’s Word?’ For God’s Word clearly teaches about God’s anger. And so it’s important to understand it.

I’ll explain more in my next post, but I will leave you with the best definition of God’s wrath I’ve encountered. Because (this is an important clue of what is to come), God’s wrath, God’s anger is in some ways, VERY different than ours. The definition is by Ray Ortlund, Scriptural genius. He says God’s wrath is…drum roll please:

“His active, resolute opposition to all evil.”
That, my friend, is a beautiful thing. Because evil is so…well, evil! But more on that next post!

See you then. God Speed,

David

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