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Monday, September 01 2014

The Devil’s Gospel

“You can’t do this. Leave people alone, you can’t really know anything for sure so quit acting like you do.”

“ The first thing I tell pastors is don’t trust crowds. They are dangerous, fickle, and they lie to you.”

Bill Hull

“ This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” 

I Corinthians 4:1 Revised Standard Version

Immanuel Kant remains a towering force in Western intellectual history. He remains so because he asked questions to which no completely satisfactory answer can be given. This tiny man with a very dull life convinced his world and ours that you can’t really know anything for sure. Religion is more likely than not an interior thought of humans necessary to cope with life and give it meaning. But you can’t trust any non-empirical knowledge claim that lies outside of scientific truth such as, “I know my mother.” That is a form of knowledge, but it can’t be proved by science. Given Kant’s standard for proof, there is very little that anyone can know that is important about life. Kant played an important role in the development of the Devil’s Gospel. [1] This is the Devil’s gospel because Lucifer is a thief who came to steal, kill, and destroy. [2] The most important possession he stole from us is the belief that we can know something non-material with as much certainty as gravity. Even though the greatest scientific minds can tell you only what gravity is, they can’t explain gravity itself. That is the growing challenge of a pastor seated at his desk holding a bible in his hand. Can he really have confidence that what he is reading, preaching, and banking his life on is knowable? Most of society has decided that he cannot. Religious knowledge is a matter of faith, not of the mind, not empirical, therefore, not to be included within the boundary lines of respectable inquiry now undertaken by a University.

This explains to some degree why pastors are no longer considered custodians of knowledge, the knowable truth about God. As Paul so profoundly stated about he and Apollos, “ we are stewards of the mysteries of God.” [3] The mysteries of God is a body of knowledge that is as serious and relevant as any other truths about life. Most institutions that used to pass on this body of knowledge have abandoned their posts and have left it to the church. But first they had to divest religious knowledge of its meaning and importance by deconstructing the bible. Public schools, governments, national, state, and local authorities along with university’s have now left this hollowed out shell to the church and said, “you can have it, we don’t want it. And, oh, by the way, keep it to yourself, we will let you know if we need it.”

The pastor has his book and he has choices to make. Will he teach it or take another route where he extracts the spicy parts for public consumption? There are the ones who have stuck with it and have taught it faithfully. Others have abandoned any serous attempt to teach it and are using the most interesting bits to grow their congregations. Then there is the muddle in the middle, those who are devotionalists, storytellers, and romanticists who are committed to reaching people on an emotional level. People love to be moved and speakers love to move them, everyone walks away feeling cleansed, affirmed, until the feeling leaves them. But there are precious few who are willing to attempt what the Devil’s gospel says is impossible, “Teaching people to do everything that Jesus commanded.”  The Devil doesn’t want this done, this is what he is against with his complete being ,because people who are taught to do what Jesus commanded have a knowledge that will take him down. It will disrupt his plan, destroy his strategy, and set his captives free. There is nothing he won’t do to stop it. The most effective strategy he has is to convince these stewards of the mysteries of God that it cannot be done. The second is to convince the world that what these pastors teach is worthless. Pastors are the last group that have the knowledge, skill, and opportunity to pass on this knowledge, to implement God’s plan, and to rescue us all. So what now?

 

[1] A.N. Wilson, God’s Funeral, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, page 32-37. Kant is best known for his works, Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, Critique of Judgment and Religion within the Limits of Bare Reason. 1793. Kant lived eighty years, rarely left his town of Konigsberg in East Prussia; never married, never varied his daily routines. He was a small man who barely could be seen above the Lectern, but he left a giant imprint on the minds of European intellectual history.

[2] John 10:10

[3] I Corinthians 4:1 

Posted by: Bill Hull AT 06:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 01 2014

The Devil’s Gospel

“You can’t do this. Leave people alone, you can’t really know anything for sure so quit acting like you do.”

“ The first thing I tell pastors is don’t trust crowds. They are dangerous, fickle, and they lie to you.”

Bill Hull

“ This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” 

I Corinthians 4:1 Revised Standard Version

Immanuel Kant remains a towering force in Western intellectual history. He remains so because he asked questions to which no completely satisfactory answer can be given. This tiny man with a very dull life convinced his world and ours that you can’t really know anything for sure. Religion is more likely than not an interior thought of humans necessary to cope with life and give it meaning. But you can’t trust any non-empirical knowledge claim that lies outside of scientific truth such as, “I know my mother.” That is a form of knowledge, but it can’t be proved by science. Given Kant’s standard for proof, there is very little that anyone can know that is important about life. Kant played an important role in the development of the Devil’s Gospel. [1] This is the Devil’s gospel because Lucifer is a thief who came to steal, kill, and destroy. [2] The most important possession he stole from us is the belief that we can know something non-material with as much certainty as gravity. Even though the greatest scientific minds can tell you only what gravity is, they can’t explain gravity itself. That is the growing challenge of a pastor seated at his desk holding a bible in his hand. Can he really have confidence that what he is reading, preaching, and banking his life on is knowable? Most of society has decided that he cannot. Religious knowledge is a matter of faith, not of the mind, not empirical, therefore, not to be included within the boundary lines of respectable inquiry now undertaken by a University.

This explains to some degree why pastors are no longer considered custodians of knowledge, the knowable truth about God. As Paul so profoundly stated about he and Apollos, “ we are stewards of the mysteries of God.” [3] The mysteries of God is a body of knowledge that is as serious and relevant as any other truths about life. Most institutions that used to pass on this body of knowledge have abandoned their posts and have left it to the church. But first they had to divest religious knowledge of its meaning and importance by deconstructing the bible. Public schools, governments, national, state, and local authorities along with university’s have now left this hollowed out shell to the church and said, “you can have it, we don’t want it. And, oh, by the way, keep it to yourself, we will let you know if we need it.”

The pastor has his book and he has choices to make. Will he teach it or take another route where he extracts the spicy parts for public consumption? There are the ones who have stuck with it and have taught it faithfully. Others have abandoned any serous attempt to teach it and are using the most interesting bits to grow their congregations. Then there is the muddle in the middle, those who are devotionalists, storytellers, and romanticists who are committed to reaching people on an emotional level. People love to be moved and speakers love to move them, everyone walks away feeling cleansed, affirmed, until the feeling leaves them. But there are precious few who are willing to attempt what the Devil’s gospel says is impossible, “Teaching people to do everything that Jesus commanded.”  The Devil doesn’t want this done, this is what he is against with his complete being ,because people who are taught to do what Jesus commanded have a knowledge that will take him down. It will disrupt his plan, destroy his strategy, and set his captives free. There is nothing he won’t do to stop it. The most effective strategy he has is to convince these stewards of the mysteries of God that it cannot be done. The second is to convince the world that what these pastors teach is worthless. Pastors are the last group that have the knowledge, skill, and opportunity to pass on this knowledge, to implement God’s plan, and to rescue us all. So what now?

 

[1] A.N. Wilson, God’s Funeral, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, page 32-37. Kant is best known for his works, Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, Critique of Judgment and Religion within the Limits of Bare Reason. 1793. Kant lived eighty years, rarely left his town of Konigsberg in East Prussia; never married, never varied his daily routines. He was a small man who barely could be seen above the Lectern, but he left a giant imprint on the minds of European intellectual history.

[2] John 10:10

[3] I Corinthians 4:1 

Posted by: Bill Hull AT 06:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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Bill Hull
Long Beach, CA
Email: Bill@BillHull.com
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