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Lowell Brueckner

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An Endtime Dilemma


“There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves.”
                                                                                                             2 Timothy 3:1, 2

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, the human race separated from its Creator and consequently died spiritually. For six thousands years, it has been putrefying and an ever-increasing stench fills the nostrils of God. As bad as the history of mankind has been, it still awaits its worst moment. Paul prophesied that there would come a generation in the last days, who would surpass all others for indwelling wickedness. Heading Paul’s list of godless characteristics, and probably the cause of all those that follow, is self-love.

   When Jesus spoke of the last days, He first mentioned deceit and He repeatedly warned His disciples, during that discourse, that there would come an unprecedented deception. I believe, the father of lies brought into play two great factors, conceived in the nineteenth century, one after the other, which have contributed to the development of a unique mentality, deeming man the master of his own destiny and determining that he should stop at nothing to fulfill his dreams. It is the mindset at the beginning of this millennium and is preparing the world for the reign of anti-christ. One factor is the theory of evolution (Charles Darwin, 1809-1882) and, although I may offend some, I will dare to say that the other is psychology (Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939). These relatively new doctrines are prominent and almost universally accepted as legitimate sciences.

Two disastrous deceptions
  While evolution is teaching man that he has come into being by cosmic accident, and need not worry about giving account to anyone for his sin and degradation, psychology tells him that he ought to feel good about this. In his worst moment in history, when he ought to be most conscious than ever of his horrible condition, he feels that he is okay, after all.

  There was a time when churchmen debated these cardinal propositions of the psychologist, but with the passing of time, the dissidents, for the most part, have become quiet and today, if a preacher raises the issue, he is looked at askance as a proponent of obsolete thinking. The terms “self-esteem” and “good self-image” are accepted as desirable biblical truth.

  I have to go back to an article from 1982, written by Dennis Denk in “His”, an Inter-varsity Fellowship magazine: “New research reveals that the most common error in people’s self-image is not low self-esteem, but a ‘self-serving bias’, not the inferiority complex, but the superiority complex ... Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind ...  It is not surprising today that many would take the Lord’s command ‘to love your neighbor as yourself’ and totally reverse the focus so that it becomes a command to love oneself.”

Top of the abomination list 
  In the book of Proverbs, there is a list of things especially hateful to God and destructive to human personality. Topping the list is “a proud look”. The enemy’s efforts have been highly effective in producing the most audacious form of unbridled egotism – arrogance at its basest level. People are lovers of themselves and are taught that this is good, normal behavior. The anti-christ, the superman, will appear, following in the steps of Lucifer, who fell from heaven because of His arrogance. The same arrogance is already projected in society in general and protects sinners from deep repentance, therefore assuring their damnation. Likewise, it shields Christians from effective discipline, spoiling them rotten.

  The teaching of self-love and its universal acceptance have had a profound effect on modern preaching. The public speaker, above all else, must be “politically correct.” He must be careful not to offend or frighten his listeners. The prime concern, after all, is to see that they love themselves and he must be careful not to injure their self-esteem.

The preacher’s dilemma
  Ray Comfort wrote the following: The ungodly don't fear Him because the Church has made "void" the Law. It preaches a message that has no bite. It has removed the teeth of the message because it is deemed too cutting for sinners. This has resulted in few showing any interest in reaching to the lost. But as we read of the exploits of the early Church, we see one thing - the Gospel of Salvation being preached to a Hell-bent world.”

  As a result, it is a rarity to see an individual coming under deep conviction of sin and an awareness of eternal punishment. And if someone has enough interest to speak bluntly to bring the family of God to task for their sin and carnality, that assailant will be dispelled or the offended will choose another church. They may not look at it this way, but they simply have learned to protect their self-esteem. It is a dilemma for a God-appointed worker to know how to address people today.  Paul told Timothy, “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth ...”    (2 Tim. 4:3, 4) Rare is the worker, who cooperates with God in applying the cross, promoting brokenness of spirit to produce the attitude of Job, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6)

Spoiled kids 
  Some Christians may recognize the need for discipline, but feel they have the right to choose the kind of discipline and how it is to be applied. Consequently, it is ineffective and God’s kids are too often spoiled brats – if they have gotten into the family of God at all.

  An aversion to serious self-criticism and self-examination opens the door to hypocrisy. Paul revealed in Romans 2:1-3, a teacher or counselor that forbids certain things, yet practices the same. Today’s egocentric mentality can justify such blatant contradiction. How many are ruled by a Holy Spirit-convicting conscience?
  We probably do not realize to what degree we have been influenced by the false concepts of this age and how much it effects the way we look at ourselves. A few years ago, after a discussion with a certain leader, he assured me, “Lowell, I want you to know I love Jesus with all my heart.” Quite recently, it was discovered that this man had an illicit relationship over a period of years. I contend that the only one he loved with all his heart was himself. Paul observed the teaching and lifestyle among some of the Christians in Corinth and concluded, “Some have no (personal) knowledge of God.” (1 Cor. 15:34) How much truer is it today?   
A humanitarian gospel
  Even the conservative side of Christianity today is largely humanitarian, dedicated to the well-being of man temporarily and eternally, rather than, above all, to exalt Christ. We see ourselves in others who are like ourselves, sympathize with their needs and give them a “gospel”… a shabby, easy-believism, accommodated to relieve some of the suffering and guilt, while still protecting the ego. Some of the men of God of the last generation wondered if only a low percentage of evangelicals were actually born of God.  Lately, listening to comments and opinions on what Christianity means to many people, it makes me wonder if the percentage has decreased. How can a person be born again and not see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3)? If he has seen the Kingdom, how can he have so much confidence in this world and conform to its system, education,    entertainment, security and mentality? His children, raised, catered to, and “disciplined” according to humanistic standards, become self-centered and are lost to the world. Abraham saw the Kingdom and turned into a migrant, even in the land he had inherited, and taught his children to live in tents. I am convinced that many involved in the work of God, serving others and working beyond and above the call of duty, are living out a self-serving gospel of works. I don´t see many directly walking by faith in personal obedience to the Holy Spirit.

  Let’s be lovers of truth expressed in and by the Jesus of Scripture, not a christ, who is the product of an egotistical imagination and experience. Let’s recognize our need for God to do His true and eternal work in and through us for His glory, which man cannot add to or take away from. There can be no doubt that such recognition will bring us humbly and desperately to our knees.                     


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