Written by cycleguy on July 8th, 2014

I know…you are looking at that word and saying, “What the what?”  “Is that even a word?”

Why, yes it is as a matter of fact. 🙂 If you go here you can see wikipedia’s explanation of it.  If you go here you can see the article that made me think there was even a word and then made me think even deeper into the subject.  In fact, I’d suggest you read Ed’s whole article.

I was speaking to someone the other day and said “the problem with many missionaries, especially in the past, is they would go into a new culture, speak to them about Christ, maybe win a few and then try to “Americanize” them. Strange…that is what Ed mentions in his article.

I also see it here. This past year we had a family visit when their church closed its doors. They attended for several months; the kids were involved in the youth group; and the mom was eager to learn. There was a death in the family and I went to the funeral home to visit and was well-received, and later thanked by the husband. Then they disappeared. No clue what happened to them. I sent a note to them letting them know I missed them and hoped they were okay. While visiting with a relative I found out the mom and kids (not sure about the dad) were attending another “church.” A home “church” that would also classify  as a cult because of their “Jesus only” belief. Someone recently saw them in public and they have taken to dressing in long skirts and no make-up, etc. Don’t get me wrong: if someone wants to dress a certain way, more power to them. But when dress is made part of “this-is-what-makes-you-a-Christian” I have a major problem. Outward appearance has now taken the place of real Truth. Conform to an image has taken the place of conform to Christ.

The Gospel has been obscured. As Ed says, obscurantism is when someone confuses the gospel with some idea or expression external to the gospel.”

I have to admit I sorta feel the same way when someone stands up and preaches on Gun Control or Voting Republican/Democrat or Military readiness. Last I looked those were not part of the Gospel. I’m not saying the church should not be socially aware, but to waste people’s valuable time talking about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans is ludicrous. “Preaching” on what the right style of music in God’s your eyes is not the Gospel.

The Gospel never has been and never will be external. It will always be the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and how that works into our lives. Honestly, that is one of the reasons I chose to do The Great Adventure this year-to spend the entire year in the Gospels.

I may have honked some of you off. If so, then please feel free to comment. Kindly, of course. But I would like to know what you think?



21 Comments so far ↓

  1. jeff says:

    No you didn’t honk me off. Not even close. Two thoughts. Missionaries as well as all well meaning Christians are operating with an ulterior motive. Whether in Africa or in Spencer it is not enough for them to just provide aid, support, etc. they are also trying to “win a few”. The aid or support is supposed to be the carrot to get them to believe a certain way. I am not sure they are “Americanizing” them. The missionaries I have met don’t particularly fit into American culture themselves. Maybe that’s why they want to go elsewhere. I think it is all harmless none the less.
    As for those who promote a cult and those that want to be a part of it identity is an important part of it. The author Eric Hoffer describes the motivations quite well.
    As for real truth I would need real evidence to suggest such a thing. The missionary, the cult leader, the others all suggest they have the truth but in the end they have no evidence to support such a claim.
    Christians make extraordinary claims which should require extraordinary evidence to support those claims. People that follow unsupported claims simply want to belong to something, whether a cult, a church, or some other social movement.
    It is all rather harmless usually but can also be incredibly dangerous if they think God is behind there every desire.

    • cycleguy says:

      By Americanize I meant that many missionaries try to get the mission field they are on to think, act, dress, worship “American.” Not sure if that makes sense or not Jeff. You are right about ulterior motives. Even an innocent belonging to an organization can be taken as a wrong motive. But I do agree identity is a lot to do with promotion of a cult. Many get involved because they are given that identity. And yes it is incredibly dangerous.

  2. Daniel says:

    The notion of “honking” someone off made me giggle. As for obscurantism, I have never fallen into that trap even in the slightest manner. It smells a bit of the pharisaical silliness of making a spectacle of themselves so that they would be seen as holy and pious. All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  3. the Old Adam says:

    We say that the Gospel Word is an external Word…that comes to us from outside of ourselves and acts upon us.

    It does not derive from us and is not dependent upon us.

    But we also agree with you that ancillary topics or things that have to do with government or matters of law…are not the gospel and time should not be wasted on those things in a worship service where it may be the last time that someone will be able to hear the gospel (they may die before their next opportunity).

    • cycleguy says:

      I’m unsure what you mean by the first two statements Stephen. I’m wondering if I worded something strangely. However, you definitely “get” what I mean with your last paragraph.

  4. I just shake my head when I see a bumper sticker that says something like “If it ain’t King James then it ain’t Bible.”

  5. I’m not honked off at all. In fact, I’ve honked a few folks off covering some of this same territory. I like the honked off terminology so much that I may never write another sentence without using it.

  6. Ben Nelson says:

    Honk if you love this Post! – – Honk

    Well said Pastor Bill. This is a good word. We clutter the gospel with our culture and opinion rather than allowing folks to hear that they can be free from all that crud that crowds their life.

    thanks much!

  7. Hi Bill,

    I agree that we are all too fast to mold others into our own cultures, backgrounds, taste preferences. It’s something everyone in ministry has to watch out for. And while missionaries in generations past sometimes messed that up, contemporaries now work very hard to truly separate Bible truth and the salvation message from any western trappings, and doing so very well, from what I’ve seen. Ethnomusicologists are one example of that, and the hard work that missional linguists have been doing to enter into undocumented, unwritten languages to learn them, preserve them, and save them from extinction is another. All while humbly loving, serving, and pointing to the beauty of a God who made all nations and is calling everyone to Himself. What a great Artist God, huh?

    Thanks for raising this thought,
    Jennifer Dougan

    • cycleguy says:

      You bring up a good point Jennifer…and I’m glad you did. I spoke in generalizations. Not ALL do what I said. You are correct in that and I correct and apologize for any misconception I presented. I admire, either way, anyone willing to follow God’s call to go to another people culture. And yes, He is an amazing artist.

  8. Sorry, like many others apparently, I can’t get past the term “honked off.” 🙂 Never heard that one before, but I understand what you mean! We all have the propensity to do this, but you’re so right, we have to guard against it. It’s worthless at best and damning at worst. It leads us places we don’t want to go. Thanks Bill.

    • cycleguy says:

      never heard it? WOW I AM old. You are right about the best/worse thought. Thanks for taking the time to comment Jason.

  9. floyd says:

    I’m with you, Bill. It’s when people lose site of the foundational truths of Biblical doctrine that they begin to become a religion instead of God’s truth.

  10. Rick Dawson says:

    Never heard honked off myself, Bill – but no matter, it *is* funny 🙂

    As to the topic at hand? For me it has to be Christianity as expounded in the Gospel message, not “Christianity and X” where x is whatever floats your boat and you want to rubber stamp Jesus on your beliefs. A great post, as usual…honk on, brother, honk on (Why that makes me think of Canadian Geese I haven’t a clue 😀 )

    • cycleguy says:

      I think you say it well Rick when you talk about “Christianity and x.” We do that way too often. There has got to be a song with that rhythm of “Honk on, brother, honk on” but can’t get it down. 🙂 Thanks Rick.

  11. Jan says:

    🙂 Good post! Maybe “honked off” is an Indiana phrase? Heard it when I first moved to Indiana.