Throughout scripture we see the good and evil of the spiritual world. From Genesis to Revelation, we see God and satan at work. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Wherever you turn, in every town and city and even in the country, there are thousands of buildings called churches. They came in all shapes and sizes and appearance. Inside there is space for people to gather together, some small and some the size of stadiums. At the front there is a platform where worship is led, and preaching takes place. Aside from Covid, every Sunday people stream to their church of choice and gather for an hour or so. Formats will be different as some will follow a rigid liturgical calendar and others will follow other formats. Some services will be lively and some somber and there is everything in-between. No matter what denomination or non-denominational distinctive you attend, even though beliefs are vastly different, what will be very similar is there will be singing and preaching and powerlessness. Week after week, month after month and year after year this will continue, but Covid exposed the powerlessness of the church as we know it. It didn’t matter if you were charismatic or non-charismatic, the church was shown to be non-essential. It hasn’t taken long to get back to how the church was before Covid struck.
The truth is that for hundreds of years the church has been non-essential. You can take the church out of the community, and it will not be missed. Yes, those who attend regularly will miss it, but as far as the impact on the community, it will not be missed. This is because the church is not what it is supposed to be. The church has ended up as a gathering place with no power and people seem to be content with that. God’s plan was for the body of Christ to be the church, not go to church. Many think that because they go to church they are secure, but that will be proven false on Judgement Day. Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” The title of this blog is the demythologization of scripture. That really isn’t accurate though because the bible is not mythology in the first place, even though there are many that believe that way, but it does describe today’s church. “A myth is a well-known story which was made up in the past to explain natural events or to justify religious beliefs or social customs.” For many in the church the bible is just a book of stories, not actual accounts. Myth in the bible would be the supernatural aspects of it and many refuse to accept the miracles, signs and wonders as truth that actually took place. The term demythologize means “to provide an explanation of something, or to present something, in a way that removes any mystery surrounding it.” Another defined it as “1. to eliminate all mythical elements from (a piece of writing, esp. the Bible) so as to arrive at an essential meaning. 2. to restate (a message, esp. a religious one) in rational terms.” In theology this term was “adopted by Rudolf Bultmann to describe the means by which the essential truth of the gospel could be made acceptable to modern people. The world of the New Testament is alien to us; (that is true) we cannot believe in the interventions of God or supernatural beings in the affairs of our lives, and we have long ago discarded the cosmic framework of heaven, earth, and hell which was assumed in the 1st cent., and for long after.” “Bultmann suggested that, in order to make the gospel acceptable and relevant to the modern thinker, the New Testament must be demythologized.” Basically, they are saying, this is what I want the bible to say and mean and because I cannot explain the supernatural, therefore there must be other meanings. In simplest terms it means they do not believe God at His word.
Here is what a now atheist said about this. He turned away from the bible as a source of truth. He said, “The basic idea behind this approach was that the Bible is not a factual book with no mistakes, an inerrant revelation that can speak directly, without remainder, to the modern world. It is rooted completely in its own historical context. They accepted certain “myths” about God and reality that don’t any longer make sense in a modern scientific world. We today have very different sets of assumptions about – well, about everything. And so we can’t simply pretend that we live in their world, assuming what ancient people themselves assumed. if we want them to have any relevance and meaning for our lives — we have to strip them of their mythological assumptions (those held by ancients) and reconfigure them in light of our own assumptions. When you remove the mythological underpinnings of ancient writings, you “demythologize” them. In a sense, I realized that the Bible had to be translated. Not simply translated from the ancient Hebrew and Greek into modern English, but even more, translated into terms that made sense in my own world.” This is a complete rejection of God’s word by saying I am the god of my world, and I will declare its meaning as I see fit. Ezekiel 28:2 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.” But you are a mere mortal and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god. 3 Are you wiser than Daniel? Is no secret hidden from you?”
Looking at all these theologians and supposed great thinkers is like going down a rabbit hole into unbelief. To say the bible only reflects those times of ignorance, as if today our times are so much more knowledgeable. Look at the mess the world is in today. The belief that they had to come up with stories to explain themselves is ludicrous. It shows that in all their scholarly endeavors, they have no idea who God is. This thinking that the bible is not relevant to the wisdom of today is foolishness because you are saying that God is not relevant. In their effort to be relevant they have made themselves irrelevant to God. Basically, demythologizing is despiritualizing by taking out the supernatural element of scripture. They do this with creation, miracles, signs and wonders and even the resurrection of Jesus. This can be seen with Thomas Jefferson. The Whitehouse website says this; “Thomas Jefferson, a spokesman for democracy, was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and the third President of the United States (1801–1809).” This is also said about Jefferson. “James Madison, who appears to have been influenced on the subject by Thomas Jefferson, took the lead in the First Congress in composing the Bill of Rights.” Jefferson would also write (piece together) his own version of the New Testament now known as the Jefferson Bible. His process literally was to cut and paste as so many continue to do today. “Using his clippings, the aging third president created a New Testament of his own—one that most Christians would hardly recognize. This Bible was focused only on Jesus, but none of his mystical works. It didn’t include major scenes like the resurrection or ascension to heaven, or miracles like turning water into wine or walking on water. Instead, Jefferson’s Bible focused on Jesus as a man of morals, a teacher whose truths were expressed without the help of miracles or the supernatural powers of God.” This could be why the First Amendment says religion and not Christianity. There are many who call themselves Christians that have done as Jefferson did. They may not have actually cut verses out as Jefferson did, but they have rejected the supernatural, which means they have rejected God.
You do not have much left when you take out the supernatural parts of the bible, in fact you don’t have God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit or even satan and all you are left with is man. You then just have a meaningless book that offers no hope. Now let’s go back to church and see what we have. We have people gathering, singing, listening, socializing and then repeat. Church has been demythologized and despiritualized as the supernatural parts of the bible have been left out except one and most do not realize this. They may reject the supernatural but satan is behind that rejection, so really, they are contradicting themselves even though they do not know it. satan is present by deceiving those who think they are scholarly and those who think they are worshipping God. In what we call the church, the supernatural has been removed because of unbelief and because of that unbelief God has brought delusion of the His people. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” The church looks nothing like the Gospels and Acts. Most in the church have accepted the powerless gospel as truth but that means satan cannot be defeated. The sick are still sick, disease is still rampant, mental health is declining rapidly, the world is in chaos, the demonic is still present and the church continues to look nothing like the church Jesus empowered at the beginning.
The bible does not have to be changed so that the modern thinker will believe. The bible stays the same so the modern thinker can be saved. The bible is God’s living word. Even King Nebuchadnezzar came to understand the supernatural power that God had. Daniel 4:2 “It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” The bible unlike other books was not written by man alone. 2 Peter 1:21 “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Man did not come up with myths to explain God, God revealed Himself. The modern thinker has to change and believe what is written. Editing the bible as they have done leads to eternal damnation. Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” Paul said, 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
Most would never admit that they don’t believe in the supernatural part of the bible, yet every Sunday they might as well be going to the library for a book reading or listening to a Ted talk. The church today is basically void of power. The have 2 Timothy 3:5 “a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” The church is how these scholars have described, demythologized. Just as the scholars rejected God’s word, the body of Christ has also rejected His words. The power we saw in the Gospels was the power the church was to continue to have. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” For the last 2000 years there has been disease and sickness but today people seem to be content with sickness and do not seek God to turn back to us. Many are content until they get really sick and the doctors can’t do anything for them. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Rejecting the power of God is a defense mechanism to avoid repentance. They would rather change scripture than be changed. Most who call themselves Christians do not want to admit their life is void of the Holy Spirit or to admit that for all the years of going to church they have listened to the wrong voice. John 10:4 “The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” There are many who believe in eternal security and quote this verse but at the same time are cessationists and do not believe there is power available to all who would believe just as scripture tells us. They have removed the supernatural to their own demise. They forget to read this verse where Peter states, 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.”
Jesus did tell us about the power and authority that was available to the church, yet most do not believe. The church has listened to these men and their foolishness and have ignored the words of Jesus. Therefore, this rebellion has caused the church to lose the power that was available to them. Paul said Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Paul also said, Romans 8:6 “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” This is why the church must repent and turn from these wicked ways. Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” God’s word is God’s word, not man’s word about God!