My sister in law, who was raised Orthodox [catholic] has been visiting me daily, and we’ve been having really good discussions regarding the bible. One thing that kept coming up was the kissing of the pictures of Christ that is “mandatory” within the Orthodox church.
Let me back track just a bit, her best friend recently gave her heart to the Lord in a “Pentecostal” church. The Pentecostals here are not, I repeat NOT like the Pentecostal churches in the U.S. They don’t make the women keep their hair & skirts long, and no make-up. They are more like the charismatic/non-denominational churches in the U.S.
Elena, that is my sister in law’s name, has been attending church with her friend, and really enjoys it because she said she actually learns something, unlike the Orthodox church, where they just read a bunch of scripture and don’t explain it or break it down. They just tell you do this, don’t do that, etc. On a side note: the Orthodox priests clothing reminds me of the drawings that have been done of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Every time I see a priest here, I immediately think of the Sandrehin.
Anyway, She knows that I believe like her friend, so we’ve been discussing the bible and religion, etc. The whole kissing the pictures, and praying to Mary thing has come up a bunch of times. When talking to someone who is basically a babe in Christ, you don’t want to confuse them, and freak them out. I explained that NO RELIGIOUS SYSTEM has it all right. That if you are kissing a picture of Christ because you believe that will help you get your sins forgiven, then it is wrong. I explained that I believe it is a form of idol worship because of what God said in the 10 Commandments. So we broke out the bibles, mine in English and one in Romanian for her. We read the commandments as laid out in Exodus 20: 2-17, specifically verses 3-5:
“3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5. Thou shalt no bow down thyself to them, no serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, …”
When Elena read v.4, you could see the light bulb go off over her head, as she exclaimed…”IT IS A SIN!!” See the thing with a lot of the older religions like the Orthodox, Catholics, Lutherans, etc. church has become a ritual, and worse yet, a way to make money through church dues, prayer candles, etc, etc. They have take the clean and made it unclean, the Holy and made it filthy. They have turned the House of the Lord into a den of thieves. I’m not talking just about monetarily either, spiritually, a lot of churches, more of the charismatic, are twisting scriptures to fit their doctrines and beliefs. Take one verse completely out of context from the entire chapter. Because of things like this we find people who get confused, mistreated, trampled on and hurt beyond repair it seems, because man, in his infinite folly, thinks that he knows more.
All the blame cannot be laid entirely at the feet of religious leaders, priests, pastors, etc. The blame lies at the feet of the body of Christ. See, we are believers are called to be watchmen, but we aren’t watching, we’ve let the wolves in, even though the sheep’s clothing is halfway hanging off. We’ve become fat and lazy on the blessings of our fore-fathers, at least in America. So instead of standing up and rebuking the false teaching that is running rampant in our churches, we sit back and soak it all up. We don’t go home and fast and pray, and study the Word on our own. We rely on our pastors to tell us all about it, and trust that they are being truthful, while putting the proverb that tells us that “…the heart of man is deceitful..” out of our mind. Because, hey, we don’t want to feel convicted, we don’t want to live a life of holiness and righteousness, cause dang-it, that’s just too hard. We like riding the fence, being luke-warm. What was that God said he would do to the luke-warm??? Oh yeah, he’s gonna SPEW US OUT OF HIS MOUTH!!!!!
Like I told Elena, No One can take you into Heaven, that is up to each individual. You have to have faith, even if it’s just a tiny bit! And to safe-guard your heart and mind, you NEED to stay in the Word, i.e. the Bible, so that when these false teachers and prophets, with their false words come along, you will not be swayed, you will boldly stand-up and call the enemy out, and kick his butt to the curb where it belongs.