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"Fortune Cookie Religion"

Larry Ray Hafley

Some folks are amazing. They will accept the word from within a fortune cookie, but they doubt the living word of the living God.

Others want a "fortune cookie religion." They want it to be short and sweet. Give them pious sounding expressions that, in reality, say nothing of substance, and they are happy. Give them nothing but glorified wishes in a well stated phrase and they will smile with delight. They want a religion that is cute and clever. It must not ring with the clear and certain sound of authority. It must not sound "dogmatic." Fortune cookie revelations never condemn. "Fortune cookie preachers" never alarm nor warn with fear. (Contrast that with, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men," and, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (2 Cor. 5:11; Heb. 10:31).

Fortune cookie religion, with its light, generalized phrases, appeals and applies to all. It extends the right hand of fellowship to everyone. It demands no repentance and never identifies any act as sinful, nor any specific person as a sinner. Fortune cookie religion amuses. It never disturbs. (By comparison, when the apostles preached, sinners, cut to the heart, "trembled," Acts 24:25)

Fortune cookie religion satisfies the curious, appeases the skeptical, and entertains the idle. It provides no strength to the soul, no path for the seeker, no hope for the faint and forlorn. It tolerates and encourages mediocre spirits by failing to summon them to stand for what is right and oppose that which is evil.

Does the description of "fortune cookie religion" sound like your idea of what religion ought to be? Does it sound like a definition of this church's nature and character? If so, may God help us all!

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