How Pop-Evangelicals Undermine God in Evangelism

10 11 2006

evangelism-frustrations.jpg

As a fairly new believer I attended an evangelistically zealous Arminian Southern Baptist mega-church here in Omaha. I too was zealous for evangelism and for growth. I enjoyed the culture of evangelism that the Senior Pastor had developed and fueled. However, as my theological senses began to sharpen and I began growing in the word, something strange happened, I got frustrated.

The church rolled out a new evangelism strategy that was geared toward reaching and converting more people. There was a slick acronym that the evangelist was to follow and there were key verses that we must use. Additionally, we were all told that we had to go and attend the training provided by this new evangelism program’s guru.

As I read the outline and interacted with the strategy I was shocked to uncover the seed of my discomfort: the avoidance of mentioning sin/judgment/wrath/substitution. So there I sat in visible frustration with this new program. I was even told not to do evangelism at this church unless I adopted this methodology.

With zeal accruing like the national debt I attended an all church meeting launching this new program / strategy. When the Pastor was finished with his promotion and/or presentation he opened up the floor for questions. After a few others gushed with pragmatic testimonies of success in this program I raised my hand. The pastor came over and in front of the 4,000+ in attendance I asked him at what point in the “presentation” we might tell them about sin. He deferred to the leaders of the new program, who began to get a bit loud in refutation of my seemingly silly question. There was no answer because sin was not discussed. Sure it may have been referenced as some type of moral inadequacy but never in terms of direct rebellion and disobedience to the Sovereign of heaven and earth.

As you might imagine I soon left this church. However, the ‘evangelism’ strategy has not. Nor has it left the scores of other pop-evangelical churches across America, who, fail to explain sin in there proclamation of the gospel. This ridiculous practice sounds nice when we don’t believe in biblical sin, but it is ridiculous when we speak in terms of real and fatal disease. Imagine the uproar if medical professionals began skirting the diagnosis of diseases such as cancer or AIDS in favor of making their dying patients “feel better”? It is an unsettling testimony to observe the standards for medical fidelity are higher than gospel fidelity.

As God would have it he saves sinners through the gospel. It is the gospel alone that is called “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1.16). The gospel as Paul says here is that body of truth that explains God’s character, man’s sinfulness, and Christ’s substitutionary atonement, man’s repentance from sin and reception of the righteousness of Christ by faith (justification). How can anyone understand their need for or even desire a Savior apart from understanding their destitute position before a just and inflexible judge? It is ridiculous and biblically stupid to hold forth a loving Jesus who is tolerant of sin, plagued with a bad memory, willing to be bribed, and so nice that he became God’s spiritual piñata and took a beating that we might get all the candy because we are so good.

To hold forth a different gospel is to hold forth a different Jesus. How about this: it is to lie! You are lying when you don’t tell people that God is angry at sin, that he is intolerant of it and that he is going to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts with rigid righteousness lest we repent and flee to the Lord our Righteousness for loving forgiveness.

This really is perverted. See in effort to accommodate “seekers” or the “unchurched” or the “dechurched”, (unbelievers) they undermine the only message that can truly save their souls. It is no different than the doctor telling the guy with a tumor that he just has allergies. It is gospel malpractice. It is worse than being silent, it is misleading sinners and undermining God. God saves through his gospel of his son and this gospel is not up for revision. Evangelicals who try to get cute and smart (regardless of motives, for I do not know them) undermine God.

So much like sanctification we have in evangelism the following conclusions:

If God saves sinners exclusively through the gospel (and he does) and people do not proclaim the biblical gospel (and they don’t) we must conclude:

1) Many pastors and church members do not know that the gospel is the exclusive power of God for salvation

2) Many pastors and church members do not believe that the gospel is the power of God for salvation

3) Many pastors and church members do not chiefly value people getting saved

This is discouraging but true and it calls for Christians to take up Jesus’ gospel and study it, preach it to ourselves, defend it in the church and in the world, and then faithfully share it with all.





How Pop-Evangelicals Undermine God in Sanctification

9 11 2006

tire-slash1.jpgI have found that I have personally become quite exercised about some of the various methods and practices that are employed within the popular American evangelical community. Sometimes I have, through introspection, wondered if my offense was based upon my preference and these evangelicals’ divergent view of ministry. In other words, I wondered if my issue was chiefly my offense or God’s.

So in effort to have clean hands, a clear conscience and pure motives I examined this, and tried to understand what in the world contemporary evangelicalism is doing. And you know what? I’m offended. But now more than ever I feel that my offense is rooted in the attack upon God’s method for accomplishing his own end.

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How the Elections should increase your passion for Jesus

7 11 2006

One of the great pictures that God draws for his children by way of stark contrast is that of the kings in the Old Testament. Whether we are talking about a ‘good’ king like Josiah or a ‘bad’ king like Ahaz we know that at the end of the day all kings fall short of God’s ultimate standard for ruling.

So too likewise for us today on a National Election day, with the news agency spinning, the poll numbers cranking, and the candidates sweating, we know that all of the candidates for whatever office, all fall miserably short of God’s design. This is not to say that candidates and elected officials are worthless, for I understand Romans 13 that the government and the respective officials are servants of God and being used in his providence to even accomplish his will. For us today with the election blitz we are reminded of the intended and optimal form of government: Theocratic Monarchy.

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Is Mr Rogers the NT model for preachers?

31 10 2006

mr-rogers.jpgOn Sunday night my favorite Senior Pastor exhorted the flock here at Omaha Bible Church to be demanding of their pastors. In our study of 2 Timothy we are learning about specific non-negotiables for the pastoral ministry.

In chapter 2 pastors are commanded to ‘be strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus’. Pat took this opportunity to question what strong does and does not look like. In typical form Pat (who previously exhorted preachers to look less like Richard Simmons and more like Arnold Schwarzenegger) contended that preachers should be noted for strength and conviction rather than a pasted smile, polyester zip up sweater, theological puppet shows (drama), while always being concerned with being everyone’s friend and calling everyone and everything ‘special’. Well this quote aside Sunday night was an encouraging sermon within a great study on an awesome book, so therefore, consider it recommended.

Another killer quote: “Daintiness would slur a sermon just as a pink ribbon would make a cannon appear rediculus”

> listen > download

note: before anyone gets loose with the ‘but Mr. Rogers was a decorated war hero with 200 confirmed kills in Korea’ comments, please read this. Fred was not a war hero, he was a nice guy who wore sweaters and did puppet shows. But I did read somewhere that Rick Warren was a Navy Seal…(joking!)





Gay Police bashing Christians?

27 10 2006

This story caught my attention today. Apparently there is a Gay Police Association (GPA) and they have been less than positive about Christianity in a recent advertising campaign.

…3 curious questions:

1) why are they advertising?

2) why do we need to have a gay police association?

3) can you please wear a rainbow on your badge to distinguish yourselves from the straight cops?

In the ad a Bible was purposely placed next to a pool of blood. The purpose for the advertising campaign, which appeared in the national press, was to enlighten citizens about the drastic increase in the “religiously motivated attacks against gay people” the numbers are up “74 percent in the last year”.

The watchdog group, Advertising Standards Agency has ruled that the ad was offensive to Christians who were implicated as the source of the homophobic attacks.

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What is biblical repentance?

25 10 2006

mac.jpgJohn MacArthur has provided a helpful article on the nature of biblical repentance on PulpitLive! This is much like what he has written so clearly in The Gospel According to Jesus and The Gospel According to the Apostles.





follow up to the John Stott post

24 10 2006

There was some good dialogue regarding the John Stott interview in CT. As a follow-up, let me just highlight a few great statements from the interview and then a concern or two that I have:

::Good Stuff::

To the question of what is an evangelical?

An evangelical is a plain, ordinary Christian. We stand in the mainstream of historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity. So we can recite the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed without crossing our fingers. We believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

For evangelical people, our authority is the God who has spoken supremely in Jesus Christ. And that is equally true of redemption or salvation. God has acted in and through Jesus Christ for the salvation of sinners.

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