© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
The following sample is the complete Intro to the book Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!
For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Apathetic Christianity posted there, along with clips and previews from other R3V Press releases.
That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at the Intro to Apathetic Christianity: “Light and Grace in the Land of the Dead”:
LIGHT AND GRACE IN THE LAND OF THE DEAD
OUR SUPERNATURAL WAR ON ZOMBIE RELIGION
“I don’t read the Bible very much, and I really don’t want to.”
She spoke calmly and clearly, sitting there as we talked over the kitchen table the way we had a hundred times before. Then, between sips from a favorite black coffee cup, she almost casually elaborated, “And I don’t feel bad about it at all. I really don’t.”
I say “almost casually” because she was clearly charting a course methodically and with purpose, yet there was also a certain nonchalant, matter-of-fact coolness to her delivery that either was cover for a deeper struggle that she wished to avoid, or an honest representation of the position to which she had resigned herself on the matter. I couldn’t tell which.
Her contentedness seemed to grow with every passing syllable. This was accompanied by a quickening of pace, as though there was something important waiting on the other side of her presentation.
“I know I’m supposed to [feel bad], but I don’t. I know that [the Bible] says to do certain things that I don’t do, but I don’t want to do those things and I don’t plan to do them, to be honest. I’m fine with that, really.”
By now she was beyond calm and well into a silky smooth autopilot mode. She had the confidence of the fit, self-aware, forty-something career-minded woman that she was.
“I don’t care if I just barely make it in; I’m just glad to be going to Heaven.”
And there it was: The Point.
“That’s all I want. I just want to go to Heaven.”
I can remember those few sentences as if they were spoken to me only yesterday, though now many years have passed since that particular moment with that particular woman in that particular kitchen. Then, as now, I was struck by her ever-so-freely offered words, though time has brought increased clarity – and increased alarm – over their meaning.
She was not doing and had no interest in doing what she already knew the Bible had to say about this, that, or the other thing, and she certainly didn’t have any desire to learn more about what it might say about the other other things she hadn’t already accidentally discovered, but she was happy, confident and oh-so- comfortable in the embrace of the soothing notion that she was, in fact, at the end of the day – or at the end of her days, Heaven bound.
If there was one thing that she knew about eternity – her eternity, it was that she was securely saved and going to that beautiful place.
Her pastor told her so.
Her church told her so.
Her friends told her so.
Practically everyone in her Bible Belt American culture told her so.
And they all go on telling her so. Seven days a week and twice on Sundays.
This is the primary mission and consequence of the dominant religion of post-Christian America, which also just happens to be the religion that spearheaded the inauguration of America’s post-Christian era.
Its god isn’t angry at anyone. He’s far too nice for that; a whole lot more like Santa Claus than Yahweh, to be sure.
Its gospel isn’t a command to repent and turn from sin so that one might avoid the coming righteous judgment of a holy, distinctly un-Santa-like God. It’s more of a pleading request
from a weak, undemanding wannabe messiah/therapist who is just begging you to get out of the line going to hell (if there really even is such a place) and get into the line going to heaven, so that you might instantly and permanently qualify for his no-strings-attached, super-sized plan for your best life now.
With that god and that gospel, this religion’s members are just what you’d naturally expect: Millions upon millions of content and confident, flesh-obsessed walking dead who think like the world, act like the world, love what the world loves and hate what the world hates…all in Jesus’ name.
It’s that last bit – the “in Jesus’ name” part – that really does make all of the difference here. It’s the spark that has ignited the engine. It is through His name that credibility has been attained, ministries have been founded, and empires have been built, and it is through the abuse of His name, nature, Word, and Gospel, that this credibility, these ministries, and these empires have been empowered to twist and hold those who profess Him as Savior into a position of direct opposition to Him as Lord.
In His name, we have been called to abandon good and righteous judgment.
In His name, we’ve been called to make man’s happiness the center of all things, including religion.
In His name, we’ve been called to tolerate and even love the things that He hates.
In His name, we have been called to “be nicer” than…Him.
In His name, we have witnessed the construction of the very machinery now used to most effectively malign His holy name, openly mock His perfect truth, and wage war on His chosen people.
Welcome to American Churchianity.
THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING DEAD
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
~ Colossians 2:8
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4
While George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is widely credited with the inauguration of the modern zombie concept, a strong case can be made for none other than God the Spirit through His perfect written Word as the original author of zombie mythos. After all, it is His hand that wrote of the true nature of fallen man in such startlingly vivid, much-better-than-Technicolor detail, that many who read it simply cannot endure prolonged exposure to the picture that it paints. They recoil and they resist. They object and they protest. Such is the horror of fallen man’s reality.
Scripture paints a picture of fallen men and women in this real world that is far bleaker than the shambling hordes of “living
dead” that dot the landscapes imagined by the likes of George Romero. It’s not even close, really.
Consider for yourself the following truths concerning fallen men and women as revealed in Scripture:
- Fallen men and women are spiritually dead. Not spiritually “wounded” or spiritually “hobbled” or spiritually “critical”, but spiritually dead.
- Fallen men and women, though spiritually dead, are physically animated for a time. Thus, they walk and wander the countryside, so to speak, doing whatever appeals to their spiritually dead, flesh-obsessed nature.
- Fallen men and women love the flesh. It is what inspires them and what they constantly strive to feed and feed upon.
- Fallen men and women have a burning passion to gnaw, maul, and generally obliterate all that is truly holy and good – particularly the spiritually living.
- Fallen men and women, while they shamble about and seek to fulfill their (fallen) natural desires, have absolutely no awareness of a higher world or calling of any sort. They only see what their dead nature allows them to see. They are bound and their wills are defined by this dead nature, and they act accordingly.
- Fallen men and women can do nothing to save themselves from this state. They…are…dead.
Where the biblical account of zombie nature deviates from the more contemporary Romero spin on the concept is that one of the greatest longings and habits of actual zombies is for the formation and promotion of religion.
And it is here where one of the brightest, boldest, and most important battle lines is drawn.
On one side are zombies. They are completely dead spiritually, self-obsessed slaves to sin, lovers of the flesh, and haters of holiness and its Author.
On the other side are supernaturally regenerated “new creatures” in Christ. They are slaves to Christ, Gospel-fueled, lovers of the Lord and His truth. They are called and empowered to wage war against all that would stand in opposition to Him.
It is important to note that everyone is a member of one group or the other, and that every member of Group B was once a member of Group A. In other words, every single member of “Team New Creature” was once an obliviously content, spiritually dead and doomed member of “Team Zombie”…until the hand of God intervened, moving them out from one camp and into the other.
The one and only determining difference between the zombie and the new creature is the grace of God. This truth, when held closely, will be of great assistance as we consider the subject of zombie evangelism.
ON GRACE AND ZOMBIES
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
1 Corinthians 4:7 (NASB)
One goal of this book is to inspire righteous anger.
The anger part of that “righteous anger” formula is all too easy to find and foment. It comes quite quickly and easily to us by nature. It’s the righteous part of the equation that’s often a profound challenge in light of that very same nature, but this is a challenge that we, as new creatures in Christ, are commanded and equipped to overcome. With that in mind, this seems like a perfect time to remind ourselves that, as even the zombies so often like to say: “There, but by the grace of God, go I.”
This is true. Totally true. Even when a zombie says it.
And this truth means that, among other things, you and I both were once flesh-loving, God-hating zombies, right up until the very moment that He chose to save us. Let that soak some, even if you already have a solid understanding of this truth.
You and I once hated God by our spiritually dead nature, and we loved sin by the same. We once sat squarely positioned under the soon-coming righteous judgment of that same holy God and were incapable of moving – or even desiring to move – off that mark by even a single solitary millimeter. We loved it there because we hated Him. We loved what He hates and hated what He loves. We were that dead, or what we call ‘round these parts: “a zombie”. I was a zombie. You were a zombie.
And it was in this putrid, sin-loving, truth-despising, God-hating state that He found and saved you, bringing you from death to life and infusing you with a new nature that inspired you to love the things you once hated and hate the things you once loved. He did this for you while you hated Him.
How’s that hit your sense of personal superiority…or even your sense of an autonomous ability to do anything good at all?
Pretty hard, I hope.
Only with our self-esteem properly obliterated are we able to even enter the arena of battle known as “evangelism” with any real sense of coherence and credibility – precisely because we must realize that all of the credibility is of Him and none of it is of us – even when it comes to the subject of our own supernatural conversion. Everything that we have or know – every thought, impulse, desire, hope, dream, accomplishment or bit of progress in any area of life – is all a gift from Him to us. We have no claim to personal glory here. And only in embracing this truth are we properly equipped to “wage the good warfare” and “fight the good fight” where this modern day American Churchianity-fueled zombie apocalypse is concerned.
This total, perfect grace permeates and defines the only supernatural message with the power to bring true life to the walking dead. And we are called to bring that message – and that life – to those zombies.
Their Slavery, Our Slavery, and the Nothing In-Between
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
~ Romans 6:17-18 (Bold emphasis added)
As we progress through the subjects covered here and in future volumes, the fact that all are slaves – either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ – should remain in the forefront of our consciousness, etched prayerfully into a position of prominence so that we might better accomplish the very challenging goal of balancing three vital – and challenging – aspects of the Christian walk:
1. Personal Humility – We were zombies when He bought us. All glory is His. Put another way: Get over yourself, already!
2. Boldness in Christ – He has bought and equipped us for His purpose and mission. He has done these things perfectly; we are without excuse.
3. Fidelity to the Gospel – We have a duty to honor our King by proclaiming and defending His brutal, hated-by-the-world Gospel in its full, undiluted form.
We must remember that we were once just as dead in rebellion as any false convert, false prophet, or apostate teacher has ever been. And while this should make us gracious, kind, and even loving to His enemies (and ours), it in no way gives us license to adopt worldly definitions of grace, kindness or love as a way of avoiding or deflecting His definitions of those terms and applying them to the defense of His truth as He has commanded. We have been supernaturally saved for His purpose, and He has made plain that this purpose includes our proclamation and defense of His truth.
We are to do this with boldness and clarity, and we will suffer for our obedience to Him in this calling. We will be hated for it. We will lose family and friend relationships over it. And He will be glorified through all of this…which is the whole point.
Only with these truths embraced can we fully understand and obey His call to an action fueled by righteous anger regarding the false religion of American Churchianity.
In Apathetic Christianity, we will explore several biblical reasons for this righteous anger of God’s people against the zombie religion of American Churchianity, including:
Its adoption of secular principles and plans aimed squarely at deposing the family as the God-ordained center stage for worship and primary staging ground for worldwide evangelism, replacing it with…you guessed it…“church”.
Its deep desire to be loved by the world. You know, the world that hates God, holiness, truth, and those who love and stand for the same. That world.
Its obsessive drive to make the dead in sin comfortable on their way to Hell (and doubly so if they “tithe” reliably on their way down).
Hell’s Escort Service
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
~ Jesus (The Real One) in Matthew 7:21-23
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”
~ 1 John 2:3-4
Few systems of religion throughout recorded human history have been more effectively crafted to churn out the “workers of lawlessness” described by Jesus in the seventh chapter of Matthew than that of contemporary American Churchianity. It really does seem to have the whole black art of false assurance mastered; its capacity to comfortably escort millions to hell is without limit (or conscience).
When we use terms like “millions of workers of lawlessness”, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these doomed groups are composed of precious, loved individuals
who are each made in the image of our holy God. Some are religious and some are secular. Some are our family members and some are strangers. Some are our friends and some are our enemies (whom we are to love). They are men, women, boys, and girls who, without the supernatural cure with which we have been entrusted and which we have been called to bring to them, are destined to face the eternal condemnation that we all once deserved.
They are teachers and preachers and pilots and homemakers. They are athletes and artists and leaders and soldiers. They are in your circle of friends and they are in your local congregation.
They even sometimes share a cup of coffee with you while telling you how doomed they are and how comfortable they feel about it. They won’t quite put it that way, of course, but, more often than not, you need neither pry hard nor peer intensely into their soul in order to see the truth that they tend to parade about quite effortlessly:
They are lost.
They are going to Hell.
And they are quite content.
Their religious leaders are paving this path to darkness and nurturing that contentedness, patting them supportively on the back as they take each successive step toward eternal damnation. Without divine intervention, these escorts to Hell will succeed. Fortunately, our Lord has just that sort of intervention in mind…through His chosen and obedient people.
His people and their love first for Him and then for the lost that He has called them to reach with His truth will be all that is needed here. This supernatural love and the action it inspires really is enough.
But wait, it gets better…and more challenging.
Not only does this supernatural weapon of liberation from slavery to sin and death known as the Gospel of Jesus Christ
have the power to free the slaves of American Churchianity, it even has the power to save those who are at the helm – holding the wheel and guiding the ship, so to speak – of this God-forsaken system of man-obsessed religion. Yes, even the very escorts to Hell themselves can be freed from bondage and brought from death unto life, if only we will honor our King and proclaim His Gospel command to Hell’s escorts along with their (temporary) captives.
The challenge here again is to remember that the worst of this zombie religion’s gatekeepers is no closer to spiritual life than you or I were before He brought us from death to that life.
And we must act accordingly.
So when a guy like Rob Bell says something stupid and dangerous – and he will – remember: There but by the grace of God go I.
Same goes for Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and the rest of the “top-tier” – or any tier, for that matter – cast of characters in the American Churchianity line-up.
They are our targets, along with their followers.
They are all targets for conversion.
APATHY IS FOR LOSERS
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
~ 1 Timothy 1:18-20
Vince Lombardi, the legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” In this, he seems to prophetically identify the heart of a problem that has left actual Christians either foundering or floating aimlessly in a sea that has come to be dominated and defined by American Churchianity.
We will not confront error.
We will not take stands.
We will not name names.
We will not obey our King’s command to fight the good fight, wage the good warfare, and tear down enemy strongholds, bringing all things into submission under Christ.
And why won’t we do these things?
‘Cause they’re “not nice”.
And we have become, as Lombardi described, losers.
We’re good at losing.
We like it. A lot. You might even say that, in many instances, we’ve come to love losing.
We definitely love it when we think it makes us look more humble or gracious or kind in the eyes of the world. And we really love to lose when fighting to win as He has commanded would actually cost us something we treasure – something we idolize – like status or peace or friendship or opportunity.
In this we have become that which we are called to destroy. We’ve become apathetic. In becoming apathetic we’ve become “good losers” from the world’s perspective, which makes us just plain losers from a Christ-centered perspective.
So now it is time to get with the program.
His program – a program for warfare.
Warfare with a purpose.
His purpose. And His ultimate victory.
WAGING THE GOOD (AND SUPERNATURAL) WARFARE
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
We will not settle.
We will not compromise.
And we will not imagine for a moment that there is or was ever anything inherent within us that made us more worthy of salvation than any other zombie that there ever was.
We are here to win His promised victory by His grace and for His glory, and we will prevail against the very gates of Hell in the process. We will tear down every enemy stronghold between this place and that, grinding its ruins under our heels as we go on marching and bringing the walking dead to life in our wake. Our war against the zombie religion of Apathetic Christianity will be unlimited in its Christ-defined scope and unrelenting in securing its Christ-centered goals, because this is the only warfare that we can truly know as supernatural soldiers of the Sovereign King.
As we contemplate in these volumes the many battles that have come and gone, the battles that are upon us now, and the battles yet to come, we will examine several critical attributes and consequences of the religion of the enemy, including:
- Apathetic Leadership – Pastors, preachers, teachers, and leaders who scratch the “itching ears” of those who seek comfort apart from the Gospel of Christ and, in doing so, serve as willful escorts to Hell.
- Apathetic Family Life – Zombie religion’s abandonment of (and hostility toward) the family as the centerpiece for worship and development of true sons and daughters of Christ.
- Apathetic Education – Zombie religion’s embrace of
nearly every secular standard and principle of anti-Christian indoctrination in the name of “education”.
- Apathetic Theology and Doctrine – Zombie religion’s growing disdain for sound doctrine and theology…and her growing adoration of all things “relevant” and hip.
- Apathetic Discipline – Zombie religion’s abandonment of biblical discipline and the unrestrained, immature-at-best hordes that naturally result.
- Apathetic Politics – Zombie religion’s embrace of such “progressive” notions as the obliteration of the God-ordained/defined institution of marriage and the “right” to intentionally target an innocent child for murder.
Ultimately, as we are about the business of securing the promised victory of our King, we will culminate this work by examining, exalting and celebrating the unstoppable, supernatural weapon with which we have been equipped to secure the sure and never-ending conquest to come: The perfect, whole, undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So pray hard, stay frosty, and saddle up.
Today we ride…
…it’s time to go zombie hunting…by His grace and for His glory…
(This has been the complete Intro to Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity, available at FireBreathingChristians.com.)
© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.