Volume 21 Issue 6
How do we control a reaction? When playful boys drop Mentos candy into a soda bottle or set a match to the fuse of a firecracker they do so for the reaction. While juvenile, these curious behaviors in effect explore one of life’s great questions, How do we control reactions? This question dominates science, politics and virtually every social interaction because it appeals to a humans longing for control. For if specific behaviors dictate specific reactions, then perhaps by manipulating behavior we can then control reactions. Right? Or is it really that simple?
In chemistry, creating a reaction in and of itself requires little thought or skill but controlling product As reaction to product B on the path to creating C, the desired product, well that demands much thought and carefully applied laws of chemical kinetics and thermodynamics. My own explosive approach to high school chemistry class did not lead to creating the desired C, but instead led to my becoming an outstanding student, as in out standing in the hall.
In many ways our movement is in a test of reaction theory, and I fear that like immature schoolboys, some are playing with a dangerous concoction of false doctrine and lack of certitude in a time when we are called of God to be steadfast. Make no mistake. There will be a reaction. While we cannot be scared or hesitant to use modern methodology to reach a changing world, we must ensure that our message is uncompromised and that worldliness does not become the unintended consequence of our world outreach. It is the unintended consequences that are the troubling issues of the day and must be considered by the Church. Preachers must think about the long-range impact of every sermon. He or she should ask, Where are we headed? What are the consequences of smashing together the philosophies of the world with the anointed word of God? What truly is the obsession with the NEW, NEW, NEW, BETTER, BIGGER, BADDER, BOLDER? Should a passion for new things be our driving factor in the first place? (Acts 17:21). Anyone can create change. Anyone can throw fuel on a fire. Yet we are becoming more and more fanatical about catalysts and catalytic personalities at a time when someone should be examining the outcome. Have our changes drawn us closer to real revival, real miracles and real Holy Ghost? (2 Corinthians 11:4). That is the measure. Or, are we drifting eerily close to old misleading theology, robed in the garments of progress that intrinsically attempts to strike deathblows to the Pentecostal experience?
Presently, it would seem modern men have enough power and money to do as they wish. Humanism, DNA manipulation, hedonism, and anti-Christianity appear to be enjoying enough public support to risk forsaking the very foundations that made this nation and western civilization a force for good and greatness. With daring leaps off the cliffs, in the name of progress, we are seeing more and more science without ethics, politics without honesty, religion without orthodoxy, and societal evolution without biblical moral guidelines. Sadly, even among Pentecostals, we see frivolous church theater and a dramatic loss of godly lifestyles. We cannot control the reactions. Unfortunately, we may be close to a flashpoint: an uncontrolled vapor that ignites in air and burns through our churches until they are beyond Apostolic recognition.
What we do now will determine our future. Not what we will do later. The world is moving too fast for the Church to have any moment of uncertainty about what we believe. It does not take eons of time for things to be lost. Much can be lost in one generation. Ronald Reagan said the same of freedom,
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
One generation is too many. One church is too many. Yet we are witnessing examples of the deconstruction of our cherished Apostolic doctrinal positions. The reaction: One new pastor comes on the scene and discovers kindred spirits of worldliness. He works slowly, luring hearts with smooth gospel, then attacking convictions as being antiquated, old school. He begins to describe holiness as part of the pioneers tradition but irrelevant for today. All this while moving boldly against the sound doctrinal teaching that was once the core of the very church he inherited. He occupies buildings that were hewn out by God-fearing holiness people and spends the treasure left behind by selfless, Bible-preaching predecessors. He has his clique of mentors who praise his process and emulate the how to change a church formula in their own cities. Reagan was right, It is not in the bloodstream.
In the fear of God we should be prayerful and thoughtful, remembering that although we might be powerful enough, for a moment, to set aside morals, to discredit doctrine, to sabotage holiness, to mix the chemicals, to stir the pot, alter the Truth, challenge the finished work of Calvary’s Cross — we cannot prevent a reaction to our actions. Something will come out of the mix, the heat, the time, the pressure, the speed, the angle, the infusion of different elements. There WILL BE a reaction! And it may be something we never intended or something we do not want.