Playing Games with God
Chapter 16

The Church Game

by Robert M. Smith

Playing Games with God
Chapter 16
The Church Game
by Robert M. Smith

You might be asking yourself at this moment whether there are truly this many games being played in Christian circles. And because of that you might be feeling a tinge of reluctance to enter into this chapter since it will be culminating our introspection with perhaps the most notorious game of all. Well I can assure you that I have only dealt lightly with this concept. There are far more "games" in our midst than these, and this chapter will examine, albeit briefly, a major theme of Scripture.

Why this "church theme"? I have three basic explanations to lay before you: 1) this theme is the reason why the New Testament was written ... virtually every epistle, and even the gospels, was penned to either combat a problem in the church or to assist the church in its spiritual growth; 2) as I have stated before, our Lord Jesus, in the book of Revelation, has shown us how important the health of the church is to Him ... so it ought to be important to us as well; 3) the epistle of Jude. This last inclusion might come as a shock but if you examine this small and often overlooked letter from one of our Lord's earthly brothers you will find something extraordinary. In a single verse Jude reveals the priority of church purity over all else: "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3 NKJV). He wanted to write about the wonder and beauty of the salvation that had come to all mankind – lovely themes of Christianity – but he tells us that he changed his mind, being guided by the Holy Spirit into something that was more important, more urgent. His intentions went from the delights of Christianity to the tough and dirty job of cleaning up the church ["contend earnestly for the faith"] by pointing out some of the difficulties within the church and by pointing out the ways in which those difficulties were entering the church. He spent the rest of his time and energy writing about false teachers and the dangers of heretical matters. His small letter is the perfect introduction to the final book of the Bible where the Holy Spirit divulges the events at the closure of time. Jude's warnings find their completion in John's final epistle. Jude's call for contention finds an echo in our glorified Saviour's evaluations of the churches (Rev 2 & 3).

Some theologians have expressed that the seven churches listed at Revelation's outset can be seen as "church ages". Others believe that all the different types of the church mentioned – Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea – can be found in every era. But no matter what perspective you adopt the best applied and most often applied model of the church, in regard to the current North American conditions, has been the church of Laodicea. Here's what Jesus said about this church:

"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked–I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" (Rev 3:14-22 NKJV)

This group of Christians played the church game to the fullest extent. Note that, at no time, during His assessment of this congregation did Jesus commend them for any reason whatsoever. The other six churches were known and complimented for some action or attitude but not this one. They didn't toil and stand against evil like the Ephesians; they didn't endure tribulation and poverty like Smyrna; they didn't hold fast to the name of Christ in the midst of Satanic onslaught like Pergamum; they had no love, faith, service and patience to compare with those at Thyatira; they didn't even have a few unsullied in their midst to compensate for their general shortcomings like those at Sardis. The Laodicean church may have been "well-to-do" and they may have envisioned themselves as blessed as a result of their prosperity, but according to Jesus they were spiritually anemic and destitute ["wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked']. The problems that the other churches experienced did not keep them from being entirely useless and at no time during His evaluation of them did Jesus ever place His finger on their attitudes. But in Laodicea the despicable and diseased arrogance – their attitude – is front and center! The church game that this group had been playing led them to utter delusion! Do you know of any church gathering that has an ungodly swagger? Perhaps I should ask the question in a different way: do you know of any church gathering in North America that doesn't have an ungodly swagger?

If we gather under Christ as our Head for something, anything, other than the complete honour and glory of God we can most certainly end up like the Laodicean church. It is a natural process: the process of diminishing returns. The lower our standards become, the lower our spiritual health will be. In our day and in our North American fantasy world Christians gather together for all sorts of reasons. Some attend church because of family ties; "my father and his father before him came to this meeting and intend to keep that going." Some come to a specific church under a force of habit; "on Sunday morning this is what we do because we have always done it, so get up and get going." Some go to church because it is the acceptable thing to do in their particular social circles; "Betty and Harry go to that church and, since they are near and dear to us, it's best that we go there too." Some, in a clever search for business opportunities will attend a specific church; "a lot of wealthy and important people frequent that establishment so it only makes good sense to go and rub shoulders with them." Others, in the hope of obtaining social opportunities will prefer one gathering over another; "most of the coolest young people go to that place so I had better stay cool and go there too." Still others have moralistic reasons for attending or avoiding certain churches; "I don't particularly like that doctrine so I'll do my best to stay clear of that group and find a more comfortable atmosphere." Some go to certain churches for personal development; "the program around here really boosts my self-esteem and I love how they focus on my needs." Believers have been known to attend a specific church because of political reasons; "a liberal or a democrat wouldn't be caught dead in this gathering and that suits me just fine." Still other rationale includes things like psychological grounds, in order to feel good, and even to get some well-earned rest ... but none of these things, and many more besides, is of any value whatsoever. These are utilitarian traps and pitfalls that jeopardize one's eternal soul.

We, as the evangelical church in North America, are in deep, deep trouble at the moment. Our concept of "church" and Jesus' concept of "church" are worlds apart. We have distorted the very nature of what "church" is. The mega-churches that many are so proud of are extremely good venues for this disfigurement. They have altered the face of Christianity in our time and this "makeover" has not necessarily been for the better. "There is ... a common thread" writes David F. Wells, "that ties Willow Creek not only to its copycat followers, but also to those who were inspired initially by its success but have gone on to develop their own mutations. That common element lies in the fact that they are all operating off methodologies for succeeding in which that success requires little or no theology. It is an attempt to respond to the spiritual yearnings of Boomers and Xers while creating an experience of the church which is compatible with their habits, likes, dislikes, wants, expectations and sounds. It produces an evangelism which is modest in its attempts at persuasion about truth, but energetic in its retailing of spiritual and psychological benefits. So successful, so alluring, has this experiment become that it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is transforming what evangelicalism looks like."[1]

We, North Americans, think that "bigger is better". We tend to "biggy-size" everything but it is funny how God can alter a perspective with such miniscule things. Last fall, as in every fall prior, my wife and I were out raking up the autumn leaves in our back yard. Because we are so near the forest we usually acquire a bumper crop of them. They are very good as insulation and as springtime nutrition for garden plants but the bulk of them must be gathered up and disposed of. Following a tip from my neighbour many years ago I have used a 10' by 10' tarp to cradle the raked leaves and transport them over to a small ravine on our property. At that point I simply flip them into the ravine where they deteriorate and/or become protection for both plants and small creatures that call the gully their home. During this annual ritual I was suddenly struck with the brilliant idea of using a larger tarp; at three or four times the size of my orange tarp it could hold far more leaves and the job could be completed quicker. I implemented my plan and when it came time to drag the leaves to the gorge I had to beg for my wife's assistance. What seemed like a good idea at the time actually required more man-power to accomplish. The bigger the tarp; the bigger my problems in handling it. So too with church gatherings. The bigger they get the more administration is required ... and the more human administration obtained, the greater the propensity for problems and error. Even the disciples learned this lesson in a relatively short time (see Acts 6:1-2) but we have regressed. And along with our regression we have several erroneous mindsets to address at the moment.

1) "Doing church" is a colloquialism that defines an impoverished and worldly mentality.

There are 108 occurrences of the word "church" is used in the New Testament, and there is something very special about this word. All of those references are nouns not verbs! Christians aren't to do church, they are to be the church! Why do I start here? What difference does this really make? Well, let's see how deep this goes.

"Doing church" has become a catch-phrase in our time because many want the church to be experiential ... not in a charismatic way necessarily [I believe I have dealt with that sufficiently already] but rather as a sensual, non-theological event like going to the mall, the country club or the bowling alley. "Doing church" consequently becomes a subjective experience built on personal preference and truth is kicked to the curb as being too "religious", too tedious. It is assumed that if church is to be theological it must, therefore, be boring and in need of an update. Now, I want to point out that there is truly nothing wrong with a good experience ... but only insofar as it matches up with the truth of the Word of God, not insofar as it neglects that truth. We have been told explicitly that the church is the "pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15) by God, so any dismissal of biblical truth, inadvertently or otherwise, can relegate any gathering to fundamental and exceptional error.

As of late, say within the last 15 years or so, along with the rise in popularity of the Christian music industry, there has been a reconsideration of the import of John 4:23 ["But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him."]. The unfortunate aspect of this refocusing has been that only part of this verse has found worth in many eyes: worshipping in spirit. There is indeed much spirit around; so much so that I am aware of one gathering that calls itself "the unchurch" ... plenty of spirit but pathetically devoid of truth. If we attempt to separate spirit from truth in worship we shall no longer have true worship. If truth is not involved there may be a spirit present but it will not be the Holy Spirit of God for He Who is known also as the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17; Jn 15:26; Jn 16:13; I Jn 4:6) cannot tolerate truth's absence. In our time we have made truth subject to our Christian experience while the true biblical stance is the inverse. As truth holds sway over experience then, and only then, will a true spirit take precedence in our gatherings. When the truth ceases, however, according to Scripture the true spirit and the true church cease simultaneously. John MacArthur also sees the correlation between popularity, music, youth, spirit and the loss of biblical truth: "The idea that the Christian message should be kept pliable and ambiguous" seems especially attractive to young people who are in tune with the culture and in love with the spirit of the age and can't stand to have authoritative biblical truth applied with precision as a corrective to worldly lifestyles, unholy minds, and ungodly behaviour. And the poison of this perspective is being increasingly injected into the evangelical church body."[2] And David Wells adds even more perspective to this languor over truth when he writes: "It is truth, not private spirituality that apostolic Christianity was about. It was Christ, not the self as means of access into the sacred. It was Christ, with all his painful demands of obedience, not comfortable country clubs that early Christianity was about. It was what God had done in space and time when the world was stood on its head that was its preoccupation, not the multiplication of programs, strobe lights and slick drama. Images we may want, entertainment we may desire, but it is the proclamation of Christ crucified and risen that is the Church's truth to tell."[3]

The apostate church that Paul warned about in 2 Thess 2:3-12 is fast approaching. It has a ready-made audience among much of what we loosely call "evangelical Christianity" for one of the major characteristics of the apostate church is that it "loves not the truth" (2 Thess 2:12) and that already exists today! And as the true church flounders too few Christians actually care. As long as we can obtain some spiritual pep rallies on a weekly basis, many of us remain unconcerned about the overall state of the church in the twenty-first century.

2) The "emerging church" is an adaptation of a worldly mindset that favours relativism over absolutes.

I owe men like David F. Wells [Above all earthly powers, Christ in a Postmodern World; and God in the wasteland.], Gene Edward Veith, Jr. [Postmodern Times – A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture] and Os Guinness [The American Hour] a debt of gratitude for making me aware of current trends within the North American Christian community. Among these trends is what appears to be a new revision of Gnosticism called the "emerging church". Within its confines there is a tremendous push toward a theological uncertainty where the exclusivity of Christ is shunned. Using secular patterns and techniques some churches are aligning themselves with unregenerate principles, supposedly, in order to reach the lost. But in his inimitable style, Malcolm Muggeridge has already seen through the fallacy propagated by this approach, "In essence, Kierkegaard was making exactly the same point as Pascal in the Lettres provinciales, which, incidentally, he had read about this time with great delight. Each one was insisting, in a different idiom and in quite different social circumstances, with all the irony and emphasis at his command, that the one sure way to abolish Christ's Kingdom, irretrievably and forever, was to make it 'of this world.'"[4]

Being blind to the facts that Muggeridge relays, the emerging church, with a message that claims no distinctiveness and no uniqueness has actually nothing to offer the lost except further and deeper lostness. And with an echo of Kierkegaard's sentiment McDowell and Hostetler, in their book The New Tolerance state that the greatest dangers faced by the true church today come from within the church itself. Sounding the same alarm as Jesus (Matt 7:15) and as the Apostle Paul (Acts 20:29-31) they wrote: "Do you see what is happening? Voices within the church are calling upon Christians to abandon their stubborn insistence that Jesus is the only way to salvation, the only name by which we must be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Voices within the church are trying to persuade us and our children that Christianity is no different, nor more true, than any other faith.

As Christ's church strives to come to terms with the world, Soren Kiekegaard's words echo ominously, warning of the result of such unholy compromise with the new tolerance: 'Christianity is abolished.'"[5]

3) The "seeker sensitive church" delivers accommodation to the culture along with no change required in the sinner.

Some so-called evangelical church groups are doing virtually anything to be inviting and attractive to all people. The prime motive behind this adaptation is the quantitative success of increased popularity, increased membership and increased finances. One can summarize this mentality in a single sentence: "Accept Jesus and stay as you are!" This promotion of an "easy believism" is quite business-like. It is a transaction without personal commitment; a religious resignation of passivity that alters nothing of any significance in a man. It unlocks no doors and sets no one free; it bends to the will of the creature instead of the Creator.

While on one trip into southern United States in 2007 with my wife, she was searching the radio dial in the car to find a Christian station. Usually Deb searches for Christian music which, for the most part, I "tune out" but as we were passing through South Carolina she found one station that caught my interest immediately. We joined a talk forum that was already in progress so we had no idea of who we were listening to but the subject intrigued me instantly. The main topic revolved around a critique of the "seeker sensitive" or "culturally accommodating" gospel. And as they talked I drove the car and considered deeply what they were bringing forward. Here are some of the contemplations -theirs mixed with mine - that took place that afternoon in my car:

By melding true Christianity with other cultures and consequently the religions of those cultures – often with the genuine longing of bringing Christ to the nations – erroneous doctrines can and do arise. And the impossible becomes the new religious reality wherein such misnomers like "Messianic Muslims" or "Messianic Hindus" start cropping up. Based upon the rationale of those who would promote these aberrations I could well imagine this postulate going as far as approving "Messianic Satanists"! To reveal its shortcomings why not take it to its obvious extremity ... why stop "half way"?!

This radio program was most enlightening and it triggered so many thoughts and insights within me. As I listened it stirred me to inescapable conclusions and what bothers me most about this unscriptural mentality is not so much the attempt at watering down the true gospel in order to accommodate cultural and religious longings – as bad as that really is – but rather the horrendously unscriptural and unspiritual perspectives that bring this about. Being accustomed to spurning the Word of God for the sake of a personal religious experience has led to the obstruction of the true gospel, and subsequently to this aberration. It is not that great a leap from unsound doctrinal practice to the compromising position of preaching a gospel that acts as a melting pot for any and all religions of the world. The quest of reaching out to all people for Christ is commendable but to reach into all religions – sanctioning their practices and beliefs as long as Christ is recognized in some obscure way – is simply anathema.

A Muslim that claims to receive Jesus as Saviour cannot, based upon the truth of the Bible, continue to hold the Koran higher than the Bible, or continue to adhere to the teachings of Mohammed. There is no compatibility between Islam and true Christianity, and this must be stated, understood, received and believed. In other words, there is no such thing as a "Messianic Muslim" ... these two terms cannot coexist ... this becomes a spiritual oxymoron. To leave the same old religious foundation intact and by merely adding Jesus to the mix is not, by any stretch of the imagination, "good news" ... it is grossly distorted news! This is an erroneous attempt at blending light and darkness in direct contravention to the teaching of the Word of God. But then again this appalling concept is the natural outcome of a group/system/mindset that has been in existence for decades; true colours are merely coming forward at the moment.

The essential underlying problem in a "seeker sensitive" movement is one of foundations. If a criterion other than the pure truth about Christ and the centrality of the Cross is used to substantiate a particular denomination it acts simply as an opening for the devil. He will utilize any loophole and take advantage of any nuance over time. If anything is misused in the church he will find it and he will cause ruin with it. One of the best examples of this is the inappropriate use of the spiritual gifts given to the church. If we do not perceive these gifts as spiritual tools for building up the body of Christ we are in trouble. If we look upon them as deterministic in nature – that is determining salvation and sanctification – we have ripped them out of context and have moved ourselves into the path of destruction. This is no miniscule distinction! This is precisely where the errors of foundation come into play. When certain things are dragged out of their proper context – out of their supportive roles and functions – into a position of dominance and authority the overall and ultimate consequence will always be error. Just as in the construction of any building in any community, the error of the present merely testifies to the original error in the foundation!

4) The "postmodern church" where orthodoxy and truth and meaning have been displaced by affluence.

When a dominant culture gets converted there is always a grave danger that it will become the new standard by which all conversion is measured. When North American middle and upper-middle class people get "saved" and join the North American evangelical church the very nature of the church gets rearranged. The notions and views of the middle class suddenly become the notions and views of the church. The church subsequently is seen as a byproduct of the culture and as a systemic platform for the promotion of class values. Over time this has become a major factor in the modern development of the church ... and it has certainly led to the displacement of pertinent New Testament perspectives under the semblance of modernization and accommodation.

The term "postmodern church" is a front for the elimination of moral boundaries within the church. The expectations and the desires of the dominant classes are transferred to the doctrines of the church for the expressed purpose of eradicating discomfort and conscience. The resultant freedom, as Wells indicates, is a most dangerous attempt at breaking the moral shackles of true Christianity in favour of humanistic autonomy: "In a world without meaning there are no restraints. Once God has died and the world has become empty, humans assume a terrifying freedom. It is the freedom to slip off every moral command and every remnant of belief ... When the world becomes meaningless, it also becomes dangerous. Minorities and the weak have much cause for concern when the world becomes empty."[6]

As such, the postmodern church endeavors to present an up-to-date rendition of church. In its politically acceptable toleration of every conceivable vulgarity and in its pursuit of every conceivable middle class caprice it will not tolerate thoughts of hell, sin, the exclusivity of Christ, repentance, the Cross and a host of other personally offensive truths. Like some hideous precursor to the onslaught of cultic activity it disarms Christians and deters the lost. In his book God in the Wasteland, Wells quotes H. Richard Neibhur in what must surely be a perfect unveiling of the erroneous nature of the postmodern church when he writes, "the gospel H. Richard Niebuhr once described as consisting in a God without wrath bringing people without sin into a kingdom without judgment through a Christ without a cross."[7]

There is not such thing among true believers as the postmodern church. Whatever else it wishes to be, it is most certainly not biblical Christianity and should be revealed accordingly. It merely stands as another condemnation of the church games that mankind loves to play ... and it leads us to our final consideration.

5) Christianity, through the use of what may be called "spiritual marketing", is seen like any other commodity in this world.

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" (Matt 21:12-13 NKJV)

Jesus ousted the merchants, the marketers and the profiteers almost 2,000 years ago but they are back, in record numbers, in our day because we have not maintained His zeal and His vigilance for the purity of the church. The moment we started dealing and promoting the true church with the business strategies and acumen of the modern world there should have been alarm bells sounding and resounding in our souls! But there weren't ... and that alone shows us where we stand!

I want you to read carefully the following quotes from David Wells because I am attempting to reveal how great a problem exists within the church at the moment and he, among others, has studied and seen the devastation within the church. It took us a few years to get this way but, as a whole, North American evangelical Christianity is now perilously stuck in this quagmire and only by God's grace, mercy and power are we ever going to get out of this putrid mess. Some of these things appall me to no end and I would be remiss to ignore them in this chapter:

"... in America anything and everything can be 'commodified' and sold, from style to sex, from ideas to religion. In towns and cities are churches, mosques and synagogues; in the Yellow Pages there are choices for worship on Sunday morning ranging from the Episcopalians to the Baptists to the Assemblies of God; at the local bookstore, shelf after shelf is filled with books on New Age, self-help, witchcraft, holism and Buddhism. This is Western freedom and Western commercialized culture. Here, we have the ability to hope for what we want, shop where we want, buy what we want, study where we want, think what we want, believe what we want, and treat religion as just another commodity, a product to be consumed."[8]

 "Willow Creek Community Church's food court was, like its worship services, just the harbinger of things to come. Seeker churches often advertise themselves as serving Starbucks coffee. In Houston, there is a church that sells McDonald's hamburgers, in New York, a sidewalk bistro operated by a church which offers a full menu and a splash of Chardonnay to go with it. In Dallas, after feeding the soul, one can relax the body in a sauna in the church. In Munster, Indiana, a church entered into a business relationship with a string of Burger King restaurants. The restaurants advertise the church's musical programs and plays and the church promotes Burger King on its radio program. Others are luring the public with skating rinks and fully equipped fitness centers. In Florida, The Potter's House Christian Fellowship opened an entire mall in 1996 as part of its church operations. It purchased the former Southern Bell phone center and converted it into a mall with a bookstore, dry cleaners, a bus terminal, a café, a room for games, a hair salon called Angel's Hair, financial services, balloon shop, a school, law offices, and an art shop. The fact is that across a broad spectrum of church life, enormous effort is now being invested in making the Church seem desirable for reasons that have nothing to do with worship, biblical knowledge or service. Investment specialists, entertainers, and inspirational gurus make the rounds. There are dances and dinner theaters. There are music and voice lessons, karate and travel excursions."[9]

"This is probably the first time, for example, that Christian people anywhere in the West have thought that ecclesiastical structure is, in principle, offensive, that religious symbols, such as crosses, should be banned from churches, that pulpits should be abandoned, that hymns should be abolished, that pews should be sent to the garbage dump, and that pianos and organs should be removed. All of this has been happening on the forefront of this movement. This is probably the first time, too, that churchgoers have wanted their buildings to be mistaken for corporate headquarters or country clubs."[10]

Visit the Christian bookstore of your choice and have a quick look around at the shelves and the walls. Check out the book titles, peruse the Christian music section, be mindful of the posters and advertising gimmicks, examine the toys and trinkets, study the testimonial gadgets and above all else try and calculate how many man-hours [complete with approximate costs involved] went into the sales and promotions that you are looking at. Then take note of every medium – radio, television, publishing – to watch and listen for all the marketing schemes and "spin- doctoring" utilized in the advancement of various churches, various ministries, various doctrinal stances and various functions.

You can now get rich, slim, healthy, smarter, more successful, more satisfied and become a better character to boot ... the Christian way! Did you know that you can also do yoga the Christian way ... and probably astral projection too? There is a Christian way to do everything that has formerly been off-limits to those who were following hard after Christ. So many believers feel that they are missing out on life and, in our candy-coated society, have decided to exchange the truth for the lies of this modern age. With a deep longing to parade around with the lost, the worst marketing venture ever undertaken has happened in our lifetime, at our hands: Christ has been sold for this world's bowl of swill! A. W. Tozer would not have us ignorant of these petty compromises and how the Lord shall deal with them. I think it fitting to give him a hearing at this point before we close: "Again, in these times religion has become jolly good fun right here in this present world, and what's the hurry about heaven anyway? Christianity, contrary to what some had thought, is another and higher form of entertainment. Christ has done all the suffering. He has shed all the tears and carried all the crosses; we have but to enjoy the benefits of His heartbreak in the form of religious pleasures modeled after the world but carried on in the name of Jesus. So say the same people who claim to believe in Christ's second coming.

History reveals that times of suffering for the Church have also been times of looking upward. Tribulation has always sobered God's people and encouraged them to look for and yearn after the return of their Lord. Our present preoccupation with this world may be a warning of bitter days to come. God will wean us from the earth some way – the easy way if possible, the hard way if necessary. It is up to us."[11]

Our job is to first repent and then to start caring ... caring about the purity, the health and the state of the church in North America but most of all to start caring about the truth and the Son of God who sacrificed all in order to secure us in that truth. We have lost our "first Love" and with it has come the loss of everything else. The games we have been playing are killing us. It's high time we stopped.

[1] David F. Wells, Above all earthly powers, Christ in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 2005, Page 265

[2] John MacArthur, The Truth War. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2007, Page xi

[3] David F. Wells, Above all earthly powers, Christ in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 2005, Page 231

[4] Malcolm Muggeridge, A Third Testament, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 2004, Page 88

[5] Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler, The New tolerance, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, 1998, Page 188

[6] David F. Wells, Above all earthly powers, Christ in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 2005, Pages 190-191

[7] David F. Wells, God in the wasteland. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 2005, Page 83

[8] David F. Wells, Above all earthly powers, Christ in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 2005, Page 77

[9] David F. Wells, Above all earthly powers, Christ in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 2005, Page 287

[10] David F. Wells, Above all earthly powers, Christ in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 2005, Page 282

[11] A. W. Tozer, The Best of A.W. Tozer – Volume 1, Christian Publications Inc., Camp Hill, PA, Page 57

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