More on the Flu Shots

I have written several articles and posts on the fact Jesus is not a flu shot.  What I mean is there is a difference in the attitude of the hearers of the Gospel today than those of the 1800’s.  Today we often present the gospel with a “just in case” one-time been-there done-that prayed-the-prayer sales pitch of an eternal life assurance salesman.  We present Jesus like a pharmacist selling the flu shot.  He tells people about the seriousness of the flu (though it is rarely life-threatening) but his emphasis is on the ease of the cure.  No copay, little wait, avoid having to make an appointment with your doctor, quiet the constant harassing sales pitches from the clerks hounding you to get your shot, and live the rest of the flu season without having to give it another thought.  We sell the shot based on the convenience of the cure instead of convincing of the disease to the point people will do anything to get the cure and won’t ever forget it.

I had attended our son’s school play a couple weeks ago, and at the end the Pastor gave a calm truth filled Gospel presentation.  He welcomed anyone who wanted to be saved to pray with him in the end.  I might be grasping at straws here, but everything I heard sounded right.  It sounded biblical.  It sounded reasonable. He even added the law to expose the nature of sin.  Was there anything wrong in it?

After praying and giving it more thought, I believe God showed me why even if everything that is said is true in theory, it might not be biblically sound to do any sort of invitaiton like we do it today.  I am going back to the Jesus is not a Flu shot a bit to explain why i think we likely are in error.

Imagine if I have a basket of filled syringes in my hand for say, 2 chemotherapy drugs.  I have doses of paclitaxel and doxorubicin all ready to go. I have some alcohol swabs, I have small gauge needles so the injection is relatively painless, and I have band-aids and cotton balls on me.  I explain how there are cancer cells in all of us and some day we will all have cancer.  I explain how bad cancer is and how it can be fatal.  I then invite the entire crowd to calmly pick a syringe and inject themselves.   Is that going to convince anyone to actually pull the trigger?

I had emphasized in previous posts how with regards to the Flu, people get a flu shot with a “just in case” attitude.  The flu can be annoying but it is not usually serious, so really motivating people by scaring them with the horrors of the flu isn’t usually the most effective approach.  People can do that with the gospel, and people “non-committedly” pray-the-prayer just in case hell is real and just in case the preacher is right.  Yet they are not convinced.

However, I think you could go a step further and contrast the way we do altar calls today with the way they were done in the 1800’s and see even if we are saying the right things, even if the people somewhat respond with wanting the cure for the right reasons, and even if we correctly explain the cure, that we somehow are missing something because the fruit of our converts is not the same as what was produced in the 1800’s.   Let’s say I had 2 groups of 500 people, and this time they all have cancer that is treatable with Gleevac.  I inject 500 people in Group 1 with Gleevac and in Group 2 I inject them with a placebo.  In 6 months, I look at the cancer levels, and I see no change in either Group.  A reasonable conclusion is that the “right cure” didn’t work.  Perhaps the DOSE was too low, or perhaps the DURATION wasn’t long enough.  If the drug was to be given 5,000mg three times a week for 12 weeks and instead 1,000mg was given, the dose would not work.  If 5,000 mg was given for 2 weeks, the right dose would not be in the system long enough.

I think this correlates to 2 mistakes we are making in the gospel today.

The dose is too low to truly cure the majority of those making “professions”.   They don’t get hit with a hard enough dose of conviction and the holiness of God to fall on their faces and give up their idols in the process.  We instead tend to make Christian Hindus who merely add Jesus to their American Idols.   They love Jesus but they love the gods of this world just as much.  They tend to come with an attitude of presumption — “OK, God, I will let you save me, I know you love me so much you don’t want me to go to Hell so I will invite you in my life, but God this plan of yours better be worth it.”  True salvation totally and radically changes a man for the rest of his life, and there is not a honeymoon period.  God does a work in the saved, and continues to do a work in the saved.  True salvation will bring a man to his knees and root out eventually the sins of self and pride and leave the man miserable in a self-centered existence.

It is not always clear when it is the dose and when it is the duration.  Meaning, when the treatment just isn’t long enough.  Duration, ie length of treatment, might be how long someone is exposed to a strong dose of convicting messages and Holy Spirit drawing before the seed of faith kicks in and true salvation happens.  Duration could also have to do with discipleship and growth after salvation, but I will argue that in someone truly saved, God will not abandon them.  Even if the church fails it’s duties and even if the person gets mixed up in the wrong crowd for now.  The spirit is able to lead men into all truth, so I don’t personally believe a true convert can get saved on Sunday, and on Monday a Jehovah Witness can show up and invite him to a bible study, and the saved man spend the rest of his life pushing Watch Towers.  I believe the Holy Spirit would lead that person from error and God would order his steps or the person never was saved to begin with.

Salvation is a one-time event, and sanctification is an on-going process that proves there was salvation to begin with.  This might be my opinion, but I think if we wander and wallow for any length of time, those that are truly saved, God eventually brings around.  God is patient.  For example, I was saved about 12 years ago from major addictions that I was in bondage over since 3rd grade.  The first 3 years after salvation, there was a great gradual stretch of victory over the major sins.  Some of the minor sins, such as drinking and smoking, went away almost at once.  Other external sins fell off for good after some time, others crept back in during periods of great trials, and as I grow, I see God exposing and rooting out more and more of the sins of the heart.  One area of victory I see is greater spirit-control is when I am mistreated or taken advantage of.  I can still throw my own temper tantrum when I don’t get my way, but more and more I see God snap me out of that attitude.

Now, perhaps I could have had greater victories if I was discipled.  The lack of discipleship in today’s churches is a huge problem.  One, we are too busy, and too wrapped up in our own lives to be able to commit to regularly meeting with someone on a repeated basis until they can get it and grasp how to live for Christ on their own.  To the point where they can pour their lives out into someone else’s.  However, from what I can tell, if the church fails to disciple, this won’t prevent the truly saved from facing the gently molding of God.  I might have not been discipled, but God orchestrated many many events in these past 10 years to mold and shape me.  Hence it may be a moot point to address the failures of the church today after salvation.  I share the opinion of many others  that if the errors of evangelism and conversion get addressed, everything else would snap into place.  More of the church would be saved.  Only those saved care about growth and maturity of the saints.  The false converts are merely playing church and as soon as the external constraints of the church service or the ministry they serve in fall off, the natural unsaved side shows up.

The presentations we give today might be true.  But the dose is too low.  Men in the 1800’s had the foundation of the Bible and most had a respect for the bible and a fear of God.  Yet they didn’t go to a warm entertaining heart-moving play and get a 5 minute invitation after to pray and ask Jesus to save you.  That is the equivalent to my basket of chemo syringes.  They were preached to for hours on the law of God, the holiness of God, and the justice of God.  That was a dose that naturally produced people convicted and falling on their knees and crying out “what must I do to be saved?”

Today we have it reversed.  We reserve the fire and brimstone convicting messages for the Wednesday night crowd, or the revival messages which are geared for the saved.  However, if you are lost because you merely prayed-the-prayer, you have Jesus the Flu Shot and think you have already been-there-done-that in regards to salvation.

So we train goats to act like sheep.

And the sheep get lost in the shuffle.  The sheep follow the Savior’s voice and there is confusion when what it hears from the Shepherd doesn’t match what comes out of the under shepherd   And the real sheep are automatically labeled as rebels and dissenters and shunned.   The real sheep are at times confused and disillusioned and disappointed.  The goats are merely acting and don’t think for themselves.  They only know how to conform.  They don’t know what it is like to be transformed.

I will go out on a limb here and say that the church today prefers the goats.   Our churches are more comfortable to what they can control and what looks good.  A goat who can act and dress right, is a much better addition to the modern too-busy-to-be-bothered already over committed church.  The true convert will fall at times, at times do embarrassing things, and at times act schizophrenic trying to follow an invisible God and gentle leading of the Holy Spirit while trying to obey strong-willed men and dominating personalities.   We don’t mean to be rebels, but I think today there is so much doctrines of men that we can get bounced around by every wind of doctrine and it takes time for the Spirit to gently lead us back into truth.   I am the opinion that today if you have a teachable spirit and a very submissive spirit, you will be in trouble because a lot of the strong preaching is a “Try harder – sanctification by our own efforts – character driven – personality led” style instead of letting the Holy Spirit gently conform us to his image.  Instead we tend to be driven to conform.

You lead a sheep.  And you best lead by example and displaying fruit of the spirit because a real sheep is searching the scriptures, sniffing for wolves, and trying the spirits.

You drive the goats.  I believe you drive the goats with fear tactics, guilt, manipulation, and exalting of men.

Maybe the sheep are just trying to warn of danger if they refuse to be driving.

And sick of having to share their field with a bunch of goats and wolves.

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