Pastor Tracy Ottenbreit
Slave Lake Alliance Church
Last week we began exploring some good reasons to go to church, but many find excuses as to why they shouldn’t.
The list is ridiculous if we compared it to watching hockey: 1) Whenever I go to a game, they ask for money, 2) The other fans don’t care about me, 3) The seats are too hard, 4) The coach never visits me, 5) The referee makes calls I don’t agree with, 6) Some of the games go into overtime and my meal is late, 7) They play songs I don’t know, 8) My parents took me to too many games growing up, 9) I know just as much as the coaches do anyway, 10) I can be just as good a fan at the lake, 11) I won’t take my kids to a game. They have to decide for themselves which team to follow.
Last week I mentioned that church provides a moral compass for us and now I want to show how going to church is a weekly dose of reality.
Many people who do not go to church still carry many of the deeply held beliefs that are taught in church – heaven, hell, the cross, judgment, angels, etc. These beliefs are fine, but they are often mixed in with beliefs that are not compatible with the message of Jesus.
I have met many people who believe that you have to put your faith in Jesus in order to go to heaven while holding contradictory beliefs about multiple lives.
Reincarnation is primarily taught in Hinduism and Buddhism and has never been part of Christianity.
Reincarnation creates too many unanswered questions: Who or what decides what new life you will live? On what basis do they make this decision? What is the point of multiple lives? It can’t be growth because the vast majority of people don’t remember a past life. While many believe sincerely in reincarnation and past lives, it is not part of biblical reality which says plainly: “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
Church is a weekly reality check against such teachings as this: “The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there, for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the Kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know The Secret.” – Rhonda Byrne
This kind of teaching appeals to our sense of self-importance, but it is not reality in the Christian worldview. It says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1) In short, creation speaks of God, not us.
This fundamentally contradicts The Secret, yet many will attempt to hold tightly to both. The universe cannot revolve around me and God at the same time.
There are many other teachings that people believe about fortune-telling, luck, jinxes, karma, mantras, substances or objects that supposedly provide spiritual power and so on. A person is free to believe in any of this, but my point is that they are contradictory to a biblical worldview and are, therefore, incompatible.
Church on a weekly basis is a much-needed reality check. Without it, it is too easy to buy into deceptive ideas that are inconsistent with a Christian worldview, yet are popular in our culture.