A Voice in the Wilderness - Observations and Excursions of a Christian Zealot

Terry Walker's Weblog --- Occasional articles on the Christian Ethic

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ain’t no cooks in the kitchen!

Have you ever heard the expression “to many cooks spoil the stew?” The general premise being that when too many well meaning, eager beavers, get together in an effort to accomplish a common goal, you usually end up with a dish that is rarely palatable, much less glorifying to God.

Why is that? Why is it that our best effort as a group rarely meets our individual expectations? Why does our best caviar taste like last month’s meat loaf? All our individual ingredients are in order, fresh and white as snow. The recipe seems fine, nothing but biblical doctrine. We prepare it with care, with plenty of study and wisdom. We cook appropriately, with patience and long suffering. But when it’s time to eat, we got nothing but chaff.

What has happened to Christiandom as a whole? What has happened to the body! Oh sure, over here is a church that seems to be experiencing revival and over there is a church that has a resemblance to the churches of old. But what has happened to the flavor of fervor? It seems to be all but lost. It is a sad state that we find ourselves in, when it is far easier to find a church with a homosexual preacher, than it is to find a church that preaches the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God! There must be a reason for this, and I believe it is because “there ain’t no cooks in the kitchen!”

A real cook, a master chef, knows that the first thing he must do, is to establish who is boss in his own kitchen. Too many so-called cooks, each one adding their individual preferences to the mix, and you spoil the stew. However a master chef knows that without a few bad cooks around, no one would know the difference between an exquisite entree and the green garnish you throw out when you are done eating. The next thing a chef does, long before he starts cooking, is to determine what he wants out of his food. He decides if he wants wild or mild, light or heavy, sweet or sour. The third thing a chef does is to create a plan, a recipe to set some limits. After all, if you fry ice cream too long you don’t end up with fried ice cream, you end up with greasy milk. A master chef knows that no matter what he makes, there will be people who reject what he cooked to perfection. Everyone likes what they like and you can’t change that. A master chef knows that the people sitting at the table are more than likely, going to ruin his creation by adding salt, pepper, or God forbid, ketchup. Patrons will modify and add until his food has lost its very essence. But most of all, the master chef knows that occasionally someone who eats his cuisine, will enjoy it as it is, as the master chef meant it to be. This is what truly pleases a master chef, when a person is filled with joy and overflowing satisfaction that originated from chef himself.

Such is the case with God, our master chef, who cleaned out His own kitchen and cast Satan and the lot to earth, that they might set an alternate example, contrary to His own perfect righteousness. So that man might know the difference between what is wrong and what is right. God decided to create man, forming him from the dust of the ground, for the purpose of His own glory and that His Son might be firstborn among many brethren. God decided before He preheated the oven, that few would be chosen, and those few, through His own will, would be conformed to the image of His Son. God has already set the limits and wrote the perfect recipe. He has instructed us to use it for preparing ourselves for the enjoyable task of glorifying Him. God knows what He wants from his people; He wants us to die to ourselves so that we might become empty vessels, hungry for Him, so that He can fill us to overflowing with the righteousness that originates only from Him, the master chef. Once filled, He expects us, not to remain at the dinner table, but to become cooks ourselves, not as the so-called cooks who add their individual preferences to the mix, leaving out vital ingredients and adding useless ones, that simply confuse the palate. But we are to become master chefs; who follow the recipe to perfection, because to serve anything less, does not satisfy, but rather destroys and leads to death.

But such is not the case today; there are far too many short order cooks, grease monkeys, serving only milk from their own understanding, more interested in pleasing the masses with revelry than preparing them for sanctification, thinking they know something when they know not what they should. Where is the water that satisfies and leaves no one thirsty! Where is the bread of life? Where is the meat!

“God is a God of love.” Where is the meat? Praise be to my God almighty for He is also a jealous God of wrath, in fear and trembling I walk in His way. Do you not know that Jesus did not come to earth to bring peace, but a sword? “Judgment is so judgmental.” Where is the meat? Is there no wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? “I know he is living in sin but he confesses to be a Christian, so I have no reason to doubt his salvation.” Where is the meat? Do you not know that he who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a  liar, and the truth is not in him. “It’s no big deal, everybody is doing it, and he really isn’t hurting anybody.” Where is the meat? Do you not know you are to take heed to yourselves? If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. “Christians should be more accommodating and less critical” Where is the meat? Do you not know that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. “I know she is a woman, but she is a very inspirational preacher.” Where is the meat? Do you not know to let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home. “My child is so sensitive and spanking seems so harsh.” Oh, please! Where is the meat? Do you not know that as many as God loves, He rebukes and chastens. Do you not love your own children?

It sickens me to think of all the churches I have been in that are led by preachers that are weak in all the wrong places. Instead of being weak in the knees they stand upright while teaching fluff. How can preachers who are supposed to be “beyond reproach” find themselves so rightly accused? Accursed be you false preachers. In 1990 I sat in a pew of a church at nearly 30 years of age and listened as the preacher, just prior to serving the Lord’s Supper, warned his congregation of participating with an unclean heart. In stunned silence, having heard this for the first time, I wondered how many people have died because their preacher didn’t warn them. I have seen entire congregations get up to partake, men, women, even children, leaving me alone, in the empty pews, apparently I was the only sinner in the church. In 2002, at 40 years of age, I heard the first preacher in my lifetime preach grace as the only way of salvation. Perhaps this could be understandable if your own history is traced through only a few churches in your lifetime. But I have attended many more churches than a few, from nearly every denomination you could imagine. How is this possible, that the Bible could so clearly detail what is so obviously not preached today?

Because grace doesn’t make our human flesh feel good, we want to think that we control our own destiny, we want to make our own choices, we want revelry, we want frivolity, we want our own cake and we want to eat it to, and we want our cake to be bigger that theirs. And all the grease monkeys have fallen for the same temptation; it’s easier to satisfy than it is to sanctify, and it’s a whole lot more popular.

Why? Because sanctification is like eating vegetables, supposedly it’s good for you, but it doesn’t taste like desert. Sanctification isn’t a comfort food; it’s like the manna that God gave to the Jews. Perfect for existence and growth, but just like the Jews, we get bored of what God says is good for us and we search for something different, something a little more fleshy. Perhaps a little quail will satisfy.

But perhaps I am being overly harsh on today’s so called cooks, perhaps they are not consciously spoiling the stew, perhaps they think the recipe just needs a little update, some modern pizzazz, so as to keep up with today trends. So they leave out the hard sayings, after all who can stomach them. They modify the two edged message of the word to the consistency of a wet noodle. And let in a few abominations so as to not offend the offendable. And soon you have an old leavened lump of a lifeless church. A good example of this is crayons, not very good to eat, but throw the red crayon in a hot pot in you get beautiful red puddle, melt a green crayon and you get a beautiful green puddle, throw them all in and you get black every time.

Do you not understand, that what God wants most from us, is less of us? The less we have of us, in us, the more God can fill us with Himself. That is what He means when He says we are to “die to self.” And the more we are able as individuals and as a church to die to ourselves, the more Christlike we can become, to be what He wants us to be whether our flesh likes it or not.

We as Christian are to be set apart; we are not to live in this world, but in the spirit. And while we can’t bring about revival on our own, we can prepare for it. We can heed our master chef’s recipe and purge the old leaven, that we might be a new lump. Purge it from ourselves as individuals, purge it from our church body, purge it from our religious denomination, purge it from our country’s positions of power. And then we can fall to our knees and beg for what we need most, the master chef to come back to the kitchen.

Brother Terry Walker
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, South Carolina