Florence Foster Jenkins was a Movie that I recently rather enjoyed with my lovely wife; starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg. With Actors like that, it has to be entertaining; and it did not disappoint. A hilarious yet sometimes sad, real life adaptation to film of the life of Florence Foster Jenkins; a very wealthy Socialite, with a passion for music and singing opera. Without giving too much away, she apparently had been a child prodigy on the piano who had even played for the US President at the age of eight; which is in fact true. But to the utter amusement or even shock of her audiences, she had no singing abilities whatsoever. Jenkins was tone death; her singing was appalling, like listening to a large angry alley cat getting a bath for the first time. Not exactly Jackie Evancho singing Ave Marie. Someone trying to gargle a bucket of fish guts would sound better; she stunk!
Was it so sinister and unethical to withhold the truth from Florence. I felt that her husband St. Clair Bayfield loved her. Yet had he married for true honest love or for money and a free ride through life? There were other perks and liberties that made his character questionable. Yet deep down his devotion and mercy for Florence was sympathetic. This was evident in his role as Jenkins PR man slash Manager, a rather arduous and daunting task with which played brilliantly by Hugh Grant with the dignity of a cultured English gentleman.
Whilst I watched I began to see a parable of Churches in this modern age. In fact I saw Jenkins as a wealthy Churchgoer, and Bayfield the charismatic yet discrete Pastor trying to keep the lid on things, that was always perilously close to boiling over. So the questions came floating in and out of my mind on how people behave and perform in the Churches. Knowing that we all sin including me (1 John 1:5-10); and “ He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone …..” (John 8:7) Yet when Christ said not to judge (Matthew 7:1) he was saying not to Judge Hypocritically (Matthew 7:3-5). If you yourself, being a closet alcoholic then you are precluded from any position to cast judgment on your brother for doing the same thing. Yet if you have struggled with such a demon as alcohol, and now being sober for a good amount of time; then you become the perfect person to give righteous judgment and support. In Alcoholic’s Anonymous such a system is called the “Buddy System” and its success speaks for itself; yet the Church (not all) seems to lack in this department of self-discipline.
Righteous and wise judgment should be coming from God fearing sober (1 Timothy 3) men who are faithful to God, their wife, family and Church. Would it be safe to say that every Church in the World will have one in Paul’s list in Corinthians of: drunks, fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, liars that are members, pastors, lay preachers, helpers or youth leaders.
“ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
Withholding the truth by not fully preaching against sin; is to just simply ignore it and hope that the love of God will be enough to bring the people to repentance. Sometimes that works and then sadly many see the hypocrisy and leave the Church and their faith behind. Or so I think the theory goes. Those who remain and dare say anything against spurious peoples, policies, practices or doctrine are soon white washed as the proverbial Whistle Blower. The Whistle Blower becoming the enemy by the hierarchy; whilst those who are clearly in sin are treated with love, compassion and applauded as a star. I see massive big Churches that resemble Cabaret shows, followed by carefully crafted scripts so that the preaching is on nice positive messages, “Jesus loves you.” “Jesus forgives me.” “Ï am powerful.” “Ï am wealthy.” But they leave out words such as sin, repentance, Hell, judgement and replace it with a good joke. Yes Jesus forgives you, but continual sinful lifestyle is hardly true repentance. We have homosexual clergy in some churches, and in others they regularly attend, because they fear no condemnation from the preaching. No weeding out those that are blatantly sinning, no preaching on judgment and the fear of God.
“When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die
in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 33:8-9.
What should be happening in dealing with sin, is to present a near perfect Church to God, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”(1 Peter 1:4) We cannot operate inappropriately outside of the will and laws of God in sin, and expect to be received or rewarded when He returns, or you die and are standing at the Judgement Seat of Christ(Rom 14:10). Is this such a hard concept for people to grasp because He will not change His rules; yet we live in an ever changing society that is out of control, where rules and regulations seemingly change on a hourly basis. God’s law has become out of step with modern society His law has the appearance of being tyrannical, unfair and certainly not Politically Correct so to some people it is even evil. So why not water down the words and present a forgiving, loving and giving God, who is always on your side. Leaving behind all mentions of Him being someone that should be feared, no lets present a god who will always love you no matter what. Yes He does love you no matter what, but that does not give you licence to sin; did Christ die so that you could remain in a sinful state breaking His law? What benefit would Christ’s sacrifice be if we are to remain in sin. His sacrifice is our gain for it is God’s mercy that Christ should die for our sakes. So if we chose to neglect such a merciful act, what then is left for you on that day when you have to answer for what you have done. God does not change, in fact He is the same yesterday, today and forever.(Heb 13:8).
” For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:18.[ Figuratively A Jot and Title being very the very basic and the most insignificant part of God’s law]
When Christianity was first born on that most Holy of day’s of Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit was first poured out on all men and not just the Jews exclusively. For Salvation is to the Jews first and then the gentile.(Romans 1:16) The Jews were descended from the Prophets, the keepers of the law and God’s chosen people; they still are but we can talk about that another day. The Jews who converted to Christianity found it hard to do away with traditions that had been past down over thousands of years. They still struggle even today refusing that Jesus was or is the Messiah. In fact they are still waiting for their messiah to return. They choose to believe a lie rather than the Truth, and because of their pride they have suffered greatly, and because of this rejection only a remnant of them will be saved in eternity with Jesus Christ.(Isa 9:22/Rom 9:27)
” A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”Psalm 110:1.
At Calvary where Christ paid the price for everyones sin, through the shedding of His blood and flesh. He paved a way back for man to God because He was, is and always will be that perfect sacrifice that God’s law demands. Jesus Christ being God in the flesh(John 1) died and was empowered back to life by the Glory of God, He sits now at the right hand of the Father in His own body or flesh interceding on our behalf. There is a scripture that states that we are to work out our own Salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:15), humility is the key. Personally I am not trying to cause division or hate but rather the truth as I see it. God is a massive big anchor in my life who has seen me through, sickness, accidents, a near fatal shooting with intent, and near bankruptcy of a business. I know how to be treated with respect as a Police Officer and as a wealthy man for a time. I also know how it is to be treated when you are down and out and being in a Mental Facility. The shame of not being able to physically work after a work site accident that left me both crippled and with a bone disease Osteomyelitis; I am heavy antibiotics and pain killers, My “achilles heel” had been a porn addiction for many years[Mature heterosexual], that by the grace of God and a forgiving wife; I have overcome after I chose to not desire it, and God did the rest. My faith has remained intact despite numerous run ins with Pastor’s, people and life in general; but I have learnt to put my faith in Him and not a man. Everything must line up with the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit combined, it is the ruler or measure of Scripture that must line up with the Plumb Bob or vertical line of reference of the Holy Spirit. What do you love more; God or Scripture? We already know that Jesus is the Word incarnate; so you can not love one more than the other. Plus you cannot please God without faith(Hebrews 11:6) and faith comes by hearing the word by faith(Job 42:5). Faith is the key that opens the doors to God and the mystery of Salvation.
” Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin,which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:16.