Monday, October 31, 2005

Unequally Yoked?

Prominent Christian authors often have books published by publishing houses that are owned by pagans. Is this a violation of Scripture? Here are some thoughts:

1. The Pharisees took a principle of their Old Covenant Scriptures (that one should not work on the Sabbath) and "extended" it even to ladies not having needles in their skirts, since that would be "work".

Pharisee-ism always takes good principles and makes them intoTaliban-like rules for everyone. This is bad enough under the awe-full Old Covenant, but even worse under the glorious New Covenant, wherein each believer has the Holy Spirit in them, guiding them.

2. There has never been a convincing exegesis of the relevant passages about being "separate" and not being "unequally yoked" that would universally forbid all believers from contracting with pagans for book deals. One's own conscience may lead in that direction, but it's a form of Pharisee-ism to "extend" the verse to book deals.

3. There are several Christian book publishers who would get a pass under the "extended" no-unequal-yoke rule, yet they practically specialize in Law-based Galatianism that puts, guilt and condemnation on those whom Christ has made free.

4. The whole discussion here, I believe, is missing the real point. That is, that our essential goal should not be outward, but inward. That we should seek close fellowship with Jesus Christ, seek to be filled with His Spirit, seek to walk by the Spirit. If we walk by the Spirit, He may lead us to renounce, or to embrace, a secular book contract. He will teach us and lead us into His mind regarding those separation Scriptures, and He may lead each of us differently.

5. Revival is not all it's cracked up to be. Jesus is building His church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. Ebbs and flows of so-called "revival" can be very deceptive, as in the Finney revivals which left unregenerate bodies strewn from Ohio to New York.

God's sovereignty is not an excuse for lack of vision, action, or exhortation. But it is a cause for comfort in the midst of what can be disheartening circumstances. It is God "who is at work in us both to will and to do His good pleasure".

6. A Spirit-filled man has love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Finding a man who is filled with the Spirit as a lifestyle sometimes seems like Diogenes with his lantern trying to find an honest man. Yet twelve such men "turned the world upside down", as God saw fit.

Take heart. He is working...through you, and me, and the heretics, and the donkeys.

7. The greatest of courage is not in demanding the presumed "duty" of others, it's in proclaiming the freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the midst of a self-righteousness performance-based church culture.

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." -- Gal. 5:1

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