A Big Rock Candy Mountain Faith

Dr. Anthony W. Adams
Dr. Anthony W. Adams

If there is any one thing that plagues Christianity and particularly the Pentecostal faith, it is immaturity. The fact is, although a person is immediately born again, maturity is a lifelong process that requires diligence and effort. This lack of spiritual growth on the part of many has proven to be a detriment to our witness and influence. If I can be plain spoken for a moment, some of the things that are said and done in the name of Christ and Pentecostalism causes people to think that we are scripturally unsound and just plain nuts. Undeveloped and childish people jump from one church to the next, from this doctrine to that, seeking and searching for the next ecclesiastical thrill. They stand in awe and swoon at the prophetic wisdom of certain teachers and simply accept anything and everything they have to say. These spiritually dwarfed people are not a benefit to the church, and any influence they have serves only to run foolish and weak minded people on the rocks of destruction leaving them destitute, disillusioned, and devoid of a genuine Christian experience. Paul warned the Ephesians to “no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14, NIV). The writer of Hebrews instructed us to “go on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:2, NIV). The Message Bible interprets this passage, “Grow up in Christ” (Hebrews 6:2).

Many of these believers are also of the opinion that once a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they will no longer have any problems, despite the clear teaching of the Bible which states, Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (Psalms 34:19, KJV). Their belief and doctrine coincides with the words of the Big Rock Candy Mountain song:

 

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
And he said, “Boys, I’m not turning
I’m headed for a land that’s far away
Besides the crystal fountains
So come with me, we’ll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There’s a land that’s fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
And the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmers’ trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay
Oh I’m bound to go
Where there ain’t no snow
Where the rain don’t fall
The winds don’t blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There’s a lake of stew
And of whiskey too
You can paddle all around it
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin.
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in.
There ain’t no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I’m bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
….
I’ll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

The song conveys the idea that people will not have any obligations or responsibilities if they go to this special place, and everything you desire (good or bad) will simply be provided. It is a funny song but a damnable doctrine.  There are many who want to make Jesus out to be a big Santa Clause.  They believe their life should now be just one Big Rock Candy Mountain. But the reality is, this is simply not true. The Bible declares that we will have problems and afflictions in this life. It is equally true that God will make us more than overcomers (1 John 5:4-5), but my point is we will have to exercise our faith and face and deal with the difficulties of this life. Problems do not simply go away because you have committed your life to Christ.

The fact is we as Children of God and laborers for the Kingdom of God must become mature and strong in faith. God is calling us to a great work. We are called to liberate those who are held captive in the bondage of Satan. We have been called to be the body of Christ on this earth.  Therefore, we must intentionally and purposefully prepare ourselves. The apostle Paul told Timothy to, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7, NASB). “The word translated discipline in the New American Standard Bible is the Greek word gumnasia from which our English words gymnasium and gymnastics derive. This word means ‘to exercise or discipline,’ which is why the King James Version renders 1 Timothy 4:7, ‘Exercise thyself rather unto godliness'” (Whitney, 1991, p. 18). The New International Version says, “train yourself to be godly.” Spiritual disciplines are the habits of devotion and are for the purpose of godliness and becoming spiritually mature.

When a person truly becomes mature in Christ, sound in doctrine, and full of faith and the Holy Spirit, that person will become and have a powerful impact for the Kingdom of heaven. Paul warned, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, KJV).

Question: What are your thoughts concerning Christianity and spiritual maturity?