Tuesday, November 12, 2019

"Cultural-ishtianity" ~ What the Church Is NOT

The last article introduced this series of articles that I have called “Cultural-ishtianity.”  As I explained, it is not the Church that has been influencing and changing the culture.  Rather, it is the culture that has been, and is, changing and influencing the Church.  That influence includes what is taught and believed about:  Jesus and His claims regarding who He is and what He’s done; when human life actually begins; homosexuality and transgender lifestyles; marriage and divorce; the role of women in the Church; interpretation of the Bible, and other topics.

Before we look at those specific topics, it would be good to define what the Church is and is not.  Let’s start with what the Church is not.

The true Church of Jesus Christ is not any of the following:
A building or a structure
A social club
A dating pool
A political party
A democracy
A theatrical production
A performance hall or concert
A coffee bar
A Bingo parlor
A business run by a CEO
A denomination
A place to come to in order to “feel good” about yourself or your life choices
A pastor or worship leader
A specific nationality or heritage
A group of identically thinking people
A gathering of perfect people
And, perhaps, most importantly, the Church is not Israel

Is that list of what the church is not surprising?  Nowhere in Scripture will you find the Church of Jesus Christ described or defined by those things.

Whenever a church, of any sort, is founded or built upon any of these things, it is not representative of Jesus’ Church.  The following quote from Dale Partridge sums up what that type of church really is, “In other words, watered-down, oversized, uncommitted, spectator churches are much like a pasture filled with Astroturf—to [the] sheep it looks amazing, but in reality, there’s not much to eat.”

As a result, the sheep are starving.  They hunger for spiritual meat and all they find is milk (or less), therefore, they cannot “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  So they roam from one pasture to another desperately searching for the spiritual food that will nourish their souls.  Sadly, there are not many pastures/churches around where the Word of God is clearly taught with clarity, relevance and applicability.  There are some, but they are very difficult to find.

What, then, is the Church of Jesus Christ if it is not any of the things listed above?

Glad you asked!  I will talk all about that in the next article, so be sure to keep checking back.

May the Lord bless you as you seek to serve Him by serving His Church.

By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


An Introduction  
Never heard of that word before?  No surprise there.  It’s a word that has been forming in my mind as I have been observing what is happening to the Church (for the last several decades), that Jesus established through His sacrifice on the cross, His teachings and the revelations that He gave to the writers of the New Testament.

The word, “Cultural-ishtianity” captures the essence of the impact that cultures have had upon the true Church.  At the root of the word “cultural” is the word “cult.” And for some churches that is exactly what they have become:  cultish.  Not just the clearly pagan religions, but also some of the well known denominations.  They have elevated a person or their denomination, or their secret rituals as opposed to elevating Jesus Christ.  They have jettisoned their once strongly held biblical beliefs and practices in order to accommodate whatever the culture declares to be “truth,” regardless of whether or not that cultural truth is in agreement with the Scriptures.  Why?  Because they want to stay attractive or relevant to those who are not interested in hearing the truths of the Bible.

Did you notice what’s missing from the second part of the word “Cultural-ishtianity”?  Christ!!  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6).  Yet, how many of today’s preachers/pastors (of various denominations) have compromised that truth in order to be more “tolerant” and accepting of other religions and their beliefs? In an effort to be inclusive they will say, “There are many ways to heaven,” or “We all worship the same God. We just use a different description.”

Yes, this is a strange title for a series of articles.  However, it describes what is happening in the Church of Jesus Christ:  Cultures (especially Western culture) have had, are having, and will continue to have an influence the Jesus’ Church, and how its leaders will either cling to, or discard, God’s holy Word as their sole source of truth.  I really wish that I could have entitled this series:  “Christianity Impacts the Culture(s),” but, sadly, that is not what has been, is now or ever will happen in the future.  As we continue our journey towards the end of the age of grace, and move ever closer to the Rapture and the Great Tribulation, the “Christian Church” will fall further and further away (the apostasy) from the foundations of Biblical truth. How do we know that’s true, because God’s Word tells us that this is going to happen.

As Paul is instructing Timothy, he tells this young pastor why it’s so important for him to “peach the word,”
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:1-4).  

The time of not enduring sound doctrine and wanting to have ears tickled came many decades ago and will remain.

It is my hope to present a series of articles that will examine “Cultural-ishtianity” and the various places in which cultures have so influenced the Church that it is extremely difficult to find a local church that holds the Bible in high esteem, or a pastor who uses a literal, grammatical, historical, cultural hermeneutic (method of interpreting God’s Word).  I will be looking at some of the following areas:  Jesus and His claims regarding who He is and what He’s done; when does human life really begin; homosexuality and transgender lifestyles; marriage and divorce; the role of women in the Church; interpretation of the Bible and other topics.

Please do not misunderstand.  I am not saying that there is anything wrong with honoring one’s culture or heritage.  By all means celebrate that: God created all people of every tribe, nation and language.  When I use the word “culture” what I am referring to is the ever-changing morals, values and beliefs that society has adopted that dictate some sense of morality, even if those morals, values and beliefs are completely apart from what God has declared to be true in His Word. 

As you think about this word, “Cultural-ishtianity,” think about how churches have changed, adapted, compromised (in a bad way) and whether or not Jesus is pleased with what His Church looks like today. Or, perhaps, some are not really His church at all.  Food for thought.

May the Lord give you insight, wisdom and discernment as you think about this important issue.

By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD): Another Unbiblical gospel

It’s not new.  In fact, this terminology has been around since about 2005.  At that time, it was mostly used to describe what teenagers believed about God. Here’s the thing:  its no longer just teens who believe the tenets of this false gospel.  It’s become widespread in churches in Western Culture and around the world.

Here are its five most basic tenets:
  1. A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

Let’s start with the title:
  • “Moralistic” implies that this is a human derived definition of God, not one that comes from the Bible.  Moral values and tenets, which are man-made, are always subjective, meaning what’s right or wrong becomes the decision of every individual, apart from the Biblical absolutes.  In other words, every man/woman becomes a law unto himself/herself with no accountability to God or His Word.
  • “Therapeutic” is a word used to talk about “feelings.”  If something is therapeutic it helps people “feel” better either physically or emotionally about themselves. Again, there is no reference to God’s Word or His commands.  The popularity of this false gospel is founded upon people “feeling” good about themselves as they have created a god who is at their beck and call.
  • “Deism” has been around for a very long time.  In a nutshell, those who agree with this theology basically believe that God created everything and then stepped back and let it run all by itself.  In other words, He is not active in His own creation.  Deism is one of the key beliefs for those who try to blend the truth of God creating all things and the theory of evolution.

Let’s quickly examine these five beliefs of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD):
  1. A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
o  First:  It is not “a God.” He is THE God, the One and only (see Deut. 4:35; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Chron. 17:20; Isaiah 42:8; 45:5-6, 18; and many more passages). 

  1. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
o  While there is truth in this statement, it is not ALL that God wants for humanity.  In fact, it’s not the most important thing.
o  His most important instruction, again, from His Word, is to believe and receive Jesus, the Christ, as your personal Savior in order to be saved from our sins (see Matt. 17:5; Luke 9:35; John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47; and many more passages).
o  As far as “other world religions” claiming this statement, it started with God’s explicit instructions.  The other religions have simply adopted it as their own.

  1. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
o   This is NOT a biblical truth.  
o   This is – the ultimate goal of life is living for Christ (Phil 3:8–14), and the ultimate model for life is Christ Himself.  Phil 2:5-11 holds up Christ as the definitive pattern of self-emptying love. 
o   And so is this: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
o   This MTD tenet is all about a self-centered, self-seeking lifestyle, which is the furthest thing from biblical truth and instructions for living the Christian life.

  1. God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
o   Really?  God is ALWAYS involved in His creation and the lives of His people and even the lives of unbelievers
o   Read:  Genesis 45:5-8
o   Read:  Job chapters 38-42
o   Read:  Psalm 145:9; 147:8-ff.
o   Read:  Matt. 5:45; 10:29
o   Read:  Acts 14:17; 17:28; Eph. 1:11; Col. 1:17
o   Read the Bible!

  1. Good people go to heaven when they die. 
o   This is part of the “Therapeutic” aspects of MTD. It makes people “feel” good.
o   Nowhere in Scripture will you find proof that “Good people go to heaven when they die.”
o   Read:  Romans 3:10-18.  This is the condition of all human beings apart from being born again from above; being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit.
o   Read: John 3:16-18; 6:40
o   Read: Acts 10:43; Romans 4:5
o   Read: Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a dangerous heresy!  None of the five major tenets are biblical.  People’s eternal lives are at risk and, yet, this is what’s coming from countless pulpits every Sunday morning.

As a chaplain at a major medical center, I meet with many people throughout the week. I can tell you that MTD is being taught in churches and believed by those sitting in the congregations.  

If you are in a church that puts forth this type of heresy, time to find another church --- one that teaches what God says and not some “feel good about yourself” nonsense.

What would the apostle Paul say about Moralistic Therapeutic Deism?  “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D. Min.