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Makes Me Wonder Again…

Theological Matters & Unity

When I was a boy, I was raised in the Assemblies of God.  My family attended an AG church that was miles from us and we would wake up on Sunday mornings and drive over an hour to church.  We did it twice on Sunday and then again on Wednesday evening.  Eventually they planted an AG church on our side of town and we ceased driving that far.

In those days, our AG churches were clearly AG.  Every AG church had the name “Assembly of God” somewhere in their name.  Whether it was Airport Assembly of God, Trinity Assembly of God, Calvary Assembly of God, Northeast Christian Assembly of God, etc., the name “Assembly of God” was incorporated into the church.  I remember the first AG church to not use “AG” in their name (Christian Outreach Center) and it was controversial to say the least.  I remember hearing people say that COC was compromising and they were moving away from being Pentecostal.

Fast forward to today.  In my city there are about 10 AG churches.  Only two have the AG name.  COC is gone but after COC, other churches begin to drop the AG name.  This moved started in the late 1990’s when Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Church was making its rounds among AG pastors.  Soon they too were dropping the AG name in favor of “community church” names or just “Trinity Church.”

Now in fairness, I don’t think they all did this to be popular.  Some would still gladly claim to be AG while not using AG in their names.  Some were pragmatic and did see the “community church” movement and jumped in.  I see it a different way and I’ll explain in this post.

First, in the late 1990’s there were two “moves” among the AG churches I was familiar with.  There was the revival movement coming out from Brownsville Assembly in Pensacola, FL.  Many thought Brownsville would drop the AG name or even leave the Assemblies of God altogether but they never did and still remain to this day in the AG with the name “Brownsville Assembly of God.”  The Brownsville revival died out around 2002 and the other stream took over.  This was the Rick Warren stream.  Warren had even been invited to the General Council of the Assemblies of God, the first non-Pentecostal speaker ever to the Assemblies of God.  Warren did not know it but he became the chief of church growth to many in the AG churches.  I still remember pastors at AG ministers meetings I would attend in those days all boasting about reading and implementing Warren’s purpose driven styles.  Some AG pastors I knew were even following Warren’s preaching style to the point of wearing Hawaiian shirts like Warren did.  They dropped preaching out of the King James Version in favor of the New Living Translation because of Warren.

Secondly, this led to churches uniting around methodology and not theology.  When I was a boy, the Assemblies of God were clearly Pentecostal churches.  Our church was very Pentecostal in the worship and in the preaching.  I remember talking to my father about the Baptist or Presbyterian churches and he would tell me they were indeed Christians but they didn’t know much about the Holy Ghost.  Pentecostal theology was vital.  I still remember hearing a Pentecostal pastor preach, “I fear the day when we will be Pentecostal in theology but not experience.”  At every turn, Pentecostal theology was taught and emphasized.  When a person got saved at our church, they were baptized in water and they told to seek God for the Holy Ghost.  The wording might be wrong but they clearly knew their theology even if you don’t agree.

Fast forward to today.  Most AG churches I am familiar with no longer emphasize doctrine at all.  In fact, doctrine is often avoided at all costs.  I personally have had an AG pastor tell me that theology does not matter.  He felt doctrine was not livable and so he wanted to preach “life application sermons” rather than theology to his church.  Where does this come from?  Rick Warren!

I had another AG pastor friend who was going to plant an AG church.  What did he do?  In the old days, the AG’s would set up a tent and have the preacher hold tent meetings.  This would usually draw small crowds at first and the preacher would preach on the need of the people to be saved and baptized in the Holy Ghost.  Those who came and got saved or baptized in the Spirit were then included in the new church plant.  The preacher would work until the church could support him (most stayed bi-vocational their entire lives).  Now AG church planters usually get some money from the District and plant the church.  They will attend numerous church growth conferences to learn the latest gimmicks to church growth.  Gone are the days of fasting and prayer (though they say they still pray).  In my friends case, he traveled to all sorts of churches many of them non-AG to learn their gimmicks.  At one point I asked him (after he traveled to a large seeker church in the West) why he would want to learn from them since they are theological different than the AG’s?  He replied, “Because they are growing and we can learn from them.”  The bottom line is this: growth is desire and whoever is growing is who we look to.  Theology is not the issue.  Prayer and preaching is not the issue.  Pragmatism is.

Now my point here is not to boaster the Assemblies of God.  I have no dog in the fight.  I am simply observing the church world from the bleachers.  I understand the desire of pastors to be full-time.  I was there.  I am thankful I am not now.  The pressure to grow your church (and yes its viewed as “your” church) is immense.  Rather than learning how to preach, how to pray, how to fast, how to evangelize, etc. the emphasis is on the latest gimmicks to get people in the door.  My friend above who planted an AG church uses every gimmick you can imagine from dropping Easter eggs from helicopters (thanks to Steven Furtick for that gimmick) to offering free movie tickets to attendees to giving away a new car.  All gimmicks designed to get people in the door.  Once they are there, he preaches goofy sermon series’ designed to “get them hooked to church.”  Sin, repentance, holiness, even AG doctrines such as the baptism in the Spirit are not emphasized.  Their “worship”service is am emotional rollercoaster full of sappy love songs to Jesus and make you feel like your a 14 year old at a junior high school dance rather than church.  And my friend has one goal: numbers.  It’s all about the growth.  His mentors are all seeker sensitive pastors and he idolizes men such as Perry Noble and Andy Stanley.

Go back 50 years and not one AG pastor would have listened to a Perry Noble or Andy Stanley.  Why?  Because they were not Pentecostals!  Pentecostals only listened to Pentecostals in those days.  The attitude was that Pentecostals have the baptism in the Holy Ghost and Baptists do not.

Some see all of this “unity” as good.  I don’t.  Again, I’m not arguing for Pentecostal theology.  In many ways, my theology is more Wesleyan now than Pentecostal.   I still love Pentecostal people and while I do see theological errors among them (mainly among those who claim Pentecostal such as those in the Word-Faith camp), I would not classify myself as Pentecostal.  What I see taking place is not unity around the gospel.  I see unity around methods.  John MacArthur warned that churches today are uniting around methodology and not theology.  I agree.  The lines are not blurred between the distinctives of the Pentecostal movement and those in the Baptist churches.  Yet it is not theological unity that is taking place.  It is emotional experiences that are unifying them.

There is no doubt that Jesus prayed for unity of His body in John 17:22-23.  In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul the Apostle emphasized unity in theology.  The people of God are unified who have been saved by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:14-21).  Jesus is Head over His Church (Colossians 1:15-20).  Jesus also knows those who are His own (John 10:27; 2 Timothy 2:19).  Unity in the local church must be around theology.  We must know what we believe and speak the same beliefs.  Obviously, as sinful humans, we are not perfect in our understanding and we all need correction.  This is why we need the church.  The church helps us to know what we believe and maintain that belief through faithfulness and good works (Hebrews 10:23-25).  The elders of the church help us to obtain this unity by teaching us the Word of God (Ephesians 4:11-16).  Doctrine does matter (1 Timothy 4:16).

The balance of all this is to have both sound doctrine (Titus 2:1) and sound experiences.  I don’t want to go to church to hear a theological lecture every time.  We need a balance of sound doctrine with practical living.  Notice this is how Paul taught in his epistles.  He would teach theology and how to put it into practice.  For example, Ephesians is six chapters.  The first three chapters of Ephesians are theological in nature.  The last three are application in nature.  Our theology transforms our lives for better or for worst.  This is why Paul would issue such a condemnation as in Galatians 1:6-9 over the issue of the gospel.  Without sound doctrine, the gospel is lost.  Salvation is gone.  The Lordship of Jesus is robbed.  Life is hopeless.

My friends, I urge you to pray for the Church of Jesus Christ.  Pray for God to show us the need for sound doctrine.  Pray for the Lord to us godly elders who are not leading for gain but for the love of Christ (1 Peter 5:1-5).  Peter the Apostle wrote in 1 Peter 4:8, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”  I want all this for myself and the church of God.

May the Lord be glorified in and among His Church!

Needed: Biblical Discernment

Proverbs 2:3-5 (NKJV) reads:

3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

I am convinced that we need a revival of biblical discernment.  How often do I hear sermons, songs, books, movies, etc. that claim to be Christian but lack any sound doctrine?  Sound doctrine is neglected as pragmatism now reigns over the churches.  We truly need a revival of discernment.

We need to question everything and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  How do we learn to discern?  Discernment comes by heeding the Word of God.  We must learn to hide the Word in our hearts so that we have the sword of the spirit to cut through false teachings (Hebrews 4:12).  This comes by faithful reading and studying of the Word of God (Hebrews 5:11-14).  As we hide the Word in our hearts, the Lord gives us the ability to discern based on His truth (John 17:17).

Proverbs 2:3 above states that we are to cry out for discernment and lift our voice for understanding.  John MacArthur writes:

This shows the passionate pleading of one who is desperate to know and apply the truth of God.  The least bit of indifference will leave one bereft of the fullness of wisdom.

I often pray for God to give me discernment according to His Word.  I want to judge all things by the truthfulness of the Word of God (1 John 4:1-2).  God’s Word is perfectly sufficient to provide all we need in hearing from God and learning discernment.  We don’t need the Bible plus an inner voice or plus hearing “the voice of God” by subjective means.  We need to open the Bible, learn the Bible, and through the Bible we get discernment to judge all things.

If this were to take place in the Church of Jesus Christ at large can you imagine what would take place?  “Christian music” would turn from shallow, narcissistic lyrics to sound doctrine.  Sermons also would turn from shallow stories, poor eisgesis, toward sound doctrine with unction.  Evangelism would be focused on the gospel and preaching the truth of the gospel instead of trying to make friends with the world.  The church would turn from its entertainment drive toward truth proclaiming.  Pragmatism would be replaced with sound doctrine and biblical discernment of Bible teachers.  False teachers would be turned away as the Church embraced the sufficient of the Word of God and learned how to rightfully divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

All the things the church is now known for from the love of money to the willingness to accept false teachers who fleece the saints to using worldly entertainment to feed the goats, this would all clear up if biblical discernment were sought after diligently.

Where do we begin?  First, we must pray for discernment (Proverbs 2:3).

Secondly, we must seek discernment from the hidden treasures of God’s Word.  This will in turn lead to a holy fear of the Lord and we will find the knowledge of God.

I want both the fear of the Lord in my life as well as the knowledge of the Lord.  I want to know Him more and more (Philippians 3:7-10).  I know that only in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).  I want to know the Word of God not just to point out false teachings but for the good.  I want to hear from God (John 8:47) and I know that I hear from God when I read and study His Word.  His Word is the voice of God (Hebrews 1:1-3; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  I need no other voice.

Lord give me discernment.

The Shallowness of Seeker Churches

Over the past ten years or more we have been witnessing a revival in Calvinism and Reformed theology.  I can remember in college back in the 1990’s when neither Arminianism nor Calvinism was a big issue.  The issue in those days was the Lordship controversy with John MacArthur and the Dallas Theological Seminary teachers such as Charles Ryrie and Zane Hodges.  There were debates over spiritual gifts (charismatic vs. non-charismatic) and debates here and there over the security of the believer but by in large the issues related to Arminianism and Calvinism were not much of an issue.

Fast forward to now.  The debate couldn’t be much hotter.  I do appreciate that more and more brothers and sisters are learning to debate with grace toward each other as Scripture commands (2 Timothy 2:24-25).  Philippians 2:3 is becoming a passage we all need to heed.  Philippians 4:2 needs to be preached more.

On the one hand, I as an Arminian do not rejoice in the revival of Calvinism I see around me.  After all, I oppose the “doctrines of grace.”  But I do rejoice that disciples of Jesus are longing for more, wanting to go deeper in their theological knowledge, wanting to explore the deeper things of God.  And while I confess that I believe Arminianism to be deeper than Calvinism on many issues, I do believe that Calvinism is a move past the basics that are often not even being preached in the Western churches.

In my neck of the woods, we have a very large seeker sensitive church.  They would likely argue that they are not seeker sensitive but “Spirit sensitive” but their sermons, their music, etc. are all focused on attracting people to church.  They don’t care if you love Jesus or not (though they say they want to introduce you to Him).  Their point is to make church cool again, to get you in the doors, to get you “plugged in” with small groups, prayer, etc.  Some of what they do is good.  Jesus is mentioned a lot.  I appreciate that.

Recently I have subscribed to their podcast to listen to their preaching.  I have been listening to two different seeker sensitive churches in my area both of which are large.  After hearing a few of their sermons, I see why so many young people move toward Calvinism.  Calvinism is readily out there with podcasts, apps, study Bibles, Bible conferences, etc.  The works of John Piper are even quoted a few times by one of the speakers.  Tim Keller is mentioned much.  Matt Chandler seems to be a favorite.  All three men are Calvinists.

The preaching is typically focused on the people.  The text does not drive their preaching.  While they will occasionally quote from the Bible, the focus is the hearer.  The audience is their focus.  These are not dying men preaching to dying people about the living Savior.  These are showmen offering products to consumers.  That is the bottom line.  The sermons can be heard at any Amway presentation.  “You can make it.”  “You can do it!”  “You will survive this!”  “You got this.”  “Jesus will help you!”

So I can see a young person sitting in these churches just coming to faith in Christ.  They were drawn to the church by the women, the men, the cool music, the awesome logo, the lights, the sounds, the largeness of it all.  They came broken by a world that offers nothing and takes all.  They heard about Jesus, thought they would give Him a try and so they take the preacher up on his offer and they raise their hand, say a prayer, get baptized in a mass baptism, and start going to a small group.  While I would not say these people are saved at this point, they are are just what John Wesley described as “awakened sinners.”  They know they are lost, know that they are sinners, know that they need a Savior.  They have been brought to Christ by the traditions of men and not the Bible.

That said, they start to listen to the sermons, download the podcasts and they take a chance on hearing John Piper.  Piper blows them away!  He is actually preaching the Bible!  Piper begins to teach them and they become his students (or his cubs as Roger Olson puts it).  Soon they are reading Piper, listening to other Calvinists, and the door is opened to a new life in Calvinism.  Like Austin Fischer, they plunge into the world of Calvinism out of the shallowness of the seeker church.

The young person moves up!  Some of them actually repent at this point and get truly saved.  They leave their shallow seeker church to go to a Reformed church.  Some of them remain here.  Some move on higher out of Calvinism.

The seeker church has been a source for the revival of Calvinism.  I listened to just three sermons from a large seeker church and I was done.  It was not good.  The guy is a pretty good public speaker but he is no elder (1 Timothy 3:2 with an emphasis on teaching here).  The duty of biblical elders is to shepherd the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-2) which includes teaching the Word (2 Timothy 3:16-4:5; Titus 1:5-9; 2:15).  I heard talks but didn’t hear exegesis of the texts.  I heard much talk about people but little emphasis on the sinfulness of mankind in light of the perfection of God’s holiness.  I heard much about Jesus coming and what He has done for us but I heard little in way of repentance and faith in His saving work.  I heard much about praying the sinner’s prayer but no emphasis on the Lordship of Christ and our submission to Him when we repent (Luke 6:46-49; Acts 2:36-41; 3:19-20).

The Arminian church must preach sound doctrine.  Now is not the time to become pragmatic and want to copy the seeker churches to gain the crowds.  Our duty is to preach Christ to the lost (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  Our duty is not to gain crowds.  Our duty is to be faithful to our King and not to this world (John 14:15).  What you win them with is what you win them to.  If you preach Jesus and His Lordship, this often doesn’t draw crowds.  In fact, it often draws hate.  People love Jesus so long as He is their “god” that they worship and they created.  People often despise the true Jesus when He is preached in the power of the Spirit (John 15:18-16:4).  There are many counterfeit Jesus’ being preached by many (Matthew 24:23-24).  Our duty is to preach the true Jesus by preaching His inerrant and infallible Word.

May the Lord help us all, whether Arminian or not, to preach the Word of God faithfully and to exalt the one true and living God.  Jesus alone can save sinners and we must proclaim Him and His glory!

Why I Love History!

Having spent a week in Washington DC, I was surrounded by history.  Every where I turned, there was history all around me.  I visited the battlefields at Manassas, Virginia where not one but two Civil War battles took place.  Both were victories for the Confederates.  In First Bull Run, it was General Stonewall Jackson and his Virginia soldiers who turned the tide of the battle.  President Lincoln was convinced that the Southerners would want to return to the Union once they saw the power of the Union army.  How wrong Lincoln was.  In fact, most Union soldiers and citizens believed that this battle at the train depot town of Manassas would end the rebellion.  Lincoln called for loyal men of the Union to join his army and they signed up for only 90 days!  Lincoln convinced the people of the North that the South would crumple against his army.  He did not account for the tenacity of men such as Jackson or Robert E. Lee.  The battle intrigued people of the North so much so that they journeyed that Sunday morning, July 21, 1861, about 20 miles from Washington DC to Manassas.  They came to watch “the only battle to be fought in the Civil War.”

The battle of Manassas begin with the Union gaining the upper hand but the tide turned when Stonewall Jackson rallied his men to fight for the South, “their country.”  Jackson was a fervent man of prayer and he would often walk the trails praying.  The night before First Bull Run, tradition tells us that Jackson journeyed into the open fields where the war would take place the next day and he prayed.  Jackson was beloved by his men and they fought and died for him and the Southern cause.  It was Jackson and his men who turned the battle that day and they so routed the Union that the Union soldiers and the common folk who came to watch the battle tripped over themselves running back to DC.  Lincoln knew he was in for a long fight after that battle.  The South would not go easy.

History teaches us many things.  It doesn’t just teach us where we came from.  It teaches us where we are going.  The roots of the Civil War are not just found in the question of slavery.  They go much deeper than that.  The battle lines for the Civil War were laid at the beginnings of the United States but few study history to know that.  In fact, we are still seeing much of the effects of the Civil War even today.  The key difference (and it is huge) is that we are now viewing the Civil War and all of history through the lenses of postmodernism.  Only those of us who are seeking to be enlightened and reject postmodernism as a false ideology and another line of humanistic philosophies that will fail understand history.  Postmodernism relies on deconstructionism.  This is the idea that we must reevaluate everything we learn and rebuild it how we want it.  So now, history is seen as “European arrogance toward the Natives in the New World” so that Christopher Columbus, who was praised for nearly 200 years in the United States for his discovery of the New World, is now seen as a warmonger, a bigot, a racist, and he took the land from the Natives and gave it to the Whites.

I saw more evidences of deconstruction at work as I visited the various museums in Washington.  European history or “white” history has been completely replaced with various views from Africans and Hispanics.  While Africans and Hispanics are praised for their cultures, their inventions, their people, etc. the Europeans are viewed as racists, bigots, liars, thieves, and slave owners.  While these words do not appear, the praise for every culture but Europe is seen all in the history museums.  The Civil War exhibit alone praised the abolition movement, spoke of the horrors of slavery, etc. but failed to address the deeper issues involved with the Civil War, mainly States’ rights and whether the States would be allowed to control their own destinies or whether the expansion of the Federal Government would be the victor.  Yes slavery was a major point but it was along other issues as well and the Smithsonian ignores that in favor of the hotter topic, the enslavement of the African race.

Now some will read that above and glean racism from it.  I mean no harm.  I think it is right for us to praise our races.  God made us all unique in our color and our cultures.  We are made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) and we all share a common blood but we are all different nonetheless.  We are unique.  There will only be one of you.  There will be many whites, blacks, red, brown, etc. colored people but only one you, one person created in God’s image.  That is the cure for racism.  Further, we must not deny people the right to praise their own race.  Paul praised his race in Romans 9:1-5.  There is nothing wrong with whites celebrating in other whites nor blacks celebrating other blacks.  In fact, President Obama is both white (his mother) and black (his father).  I don’t think we should tear down white history in favor of other histories nor should we promote one history over the other but teach history.  We can learn from history!

The Civil War is more and more being viewed from the lenses of deconstruction.  All of the South is now viewed as racist.  Stonewall Jackson and men such as Robert E. Lee are seen as racists.  The South is seen as fighting for the cause of slavery but while slavery played a part, it was not the only part.  The vast majority of the men who fought and died for the South never owned slaves.  They believed they were fighting and dying for their friends and ultimately their right to live as free people.  Deconstruction has attacked such a view.

I love history but I dread to see where we are going with it.  We are attacking nearly all our history through the lenses of postmodernism.  We are doing so with the Bible now as well and we must guard against that.  We must stand firm for the authority of the Bible and preach the truth of the Word of God despite the rejection we will receive due to it (1 Peter 4:12-19).  People will not be saved by us being nice and tolerant but through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17; 10:14-17).  We must preach what our society does not want to hear, that people are sinners in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23).  We must preach that men are not basically good but we are wretched before a holy God (1 Timothy 1:8-11) and apart from His grace, we cannot be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We must preach the truth of John 3:1-7, that all people must be born again or they will not enter into the kingdom of God.  We must expose their sins through the Law of God (Psalm 19:7; Romans 7:7).  We must not back down proclaiming the truth of the Word of God in favor of deconstructionism.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/17/2012 at 11:00 AM

Post Election Thoughts from an Arminian

Much has been written already on the 2012 US elections.  Many godly men such as Dr. Al Mohler has pointed out that we are facing a dramatic culture shift in the United States.  President Obama won both the popular vote and the electoral vote despite claims by political conservative pundits that he would lose.  Some guaranteed Obama’s defeat (see Dick Morris for example).  I felt that Obama would win but thought he would lose the popular vote.  I was wrong on that as well.

What do we learn from the 2012 elections?

1.  True Christianity Is Losing the Culture War.

Some “Christian” such as Rachel Evans hold that we should realize that younger “evangelicals” just don’t care about abortion or about same-sex marriage and thus why they voted for Obama.  Christians have made the culture war their mandate for many years now but if we learn anything from the 2012 elections it would be that Christians are losing that battle.  Same-sex marriage was passed in the states of Maine and Maryland and likely Washington.  Minnesota rejected the idea (good for them).  The map is clear that in the North and the Northwest, Christianity has little to no bearing on the voters.  The South continues to support traditional marriage but it is a matter of time before that changes as well.

Our mandate as disciples of Jesus is not to transform our culture through politics.  Our fight is not abortion or same-sex marriage though I think we should vote righteously on these issues.  Our fight is for the gospel (Romans 1:16-17).  The gospel will transform our society.  You want people to have a biblical worldview?  Then preach the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God and that Jesus alone saves.  This will transform our society from the inside out (Titus 3:1-7).  People are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3) so why should we not be surprised when they vote for their flesh and not for God?  We need to disciple our people to think biblically and to proclaim Jesus to the lost (Matthew 28:19-20).  This will transform our nation.

2.  Prayer Must Be A Focus!

The one positive that I see coming out of the 2012 elections would be the call to prayer.  I feared that if Romney won the election then disciples of Jesus would view that as a reason to sit back and relax but with Obama winning, I saw many people calling for prayer.  Good!  This should not take the election of one wicked man to force us to pray.  We should have been praying already.  Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1-7 what to pray for and it is clear that we should be praying for the lost to be saved.  The true Church should pray for President Obama to repent of his sins and be saved (Acts 2:38).  We should pray for Obama to repent of his views on abortion and on same-sex marriage.  God can change Obama’s heart.

Jesus said in Luke 18:1 that we should always pray and not lose heart.  How many lost heart over the elections last nigh?  I did.  I was discouraged when I went to bed and woke up with a heavy heart.  But Jesus said that that should drive us to prayer.  Our faith in a sovereign God should lead us to pray for the United States to repent and for God to be glorified in His Church (Ephesians 3:20-21).

3.  Be Ready For a Fight Even Among “Christians”.

We will see a shift over the next four years.  The younger “evangelicals” who have been soaked in postmodernism, in the seeker church, will push for evangelicals to come “mainline” with the political views of our culture.  We will be asked to allow for same-sex marriage, to accept homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, and we will be asked to curb our focus on abortion.  We will be asked to move more toward the left on most issues.  The Republicans (and other “conservatives”) will move away from cultural issues toward more liberal views.  Obama, at the 2012 DNC, was cheered for defending abortion and for coming out in favor of same-sex marriage.  That view, an anti-God view, won last night.  It is clear that our nation agrees with Mr. Obama, that abortion should be allowed and that homosexuality is legitimate.  The Church should not.

We need to stand for what the Bible teaches.  Many younger evangelicals will ask us to reinterpret texts that are against abortion or against homosexuality.  When it comes to abortion, we will be asked to realize that we can never get rid of it but should seek to curb it.  This is the stance of many evangelicals who supported Obama.  They believe this is Obama’s view as well.  We will be asked to embrace same-sex marriages and this will happen because the media will ridicule the traditional view, popular media will give us movies, television programs, and books that support same-sex marriage as a positive and good thing, and many evangelicals will grow weary trying to fight the push to accept the sinful practice of homosexuality.  Many will simply give in and accept cultural norms without a fight.

4.  A Clear Division In the Church.

We will see a rise coming of more and more seeker sensitive, shallow churches.  Why?  Because as the cultural moves more and more to the left, so will the Church.  The Church will do this because they want to be popular, to draw crowds, and of course, make money.  To preach against abortion, against socialism, against homosexuality, against adultery, etc. will not draw crowds.  The words of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 will soon come to pass.  The Church will either embrace postmodernism or will suffer.  I pray that we will heed the words of 2 Timothy 3:12 and suffer for Christ.

On a positive note, the house church movement will grow!  Many churches, to keep their budgets and to keep their buildings, will embrace postmodern Christianity but the true disciples of Jesus, the true Church will stand firm for the Lord (Matthew 24:13).  House churches will grow because they do not require buildings or monies.  Like the underground Church in China, the house churches in the United States will see growth over the years to come.  We can rejoice in that.

May God separate the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46).

5.  We Must Preach Salvation Through Christ Alone!

Postmodernism will ask the Church to reject the inclusive nature of the gospel but we must stand firm (Romans 10:14-17).  Faith comes by hearing the gospel.  We must preach the truth to people who will hate us for preaching the gospel.  Have no fear.  Even if they kill us, let us stand firm (Matthew 5:11-16).  Jesus didn’t say the world would love us but rather they would hate us (John 15:18-25).  Peter makes it clear in 1 Peter 4:12-19 that we will suffer for being disciples of Christ.  There is no escaping the coming persecution.  The truth has never been popular.  We will be ridiculed for our stand for biblical marriage (Matthew 19:4-6), for our stand that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27), for preaching that salvation is in Christ alone.  We will be told to accept what culture defines as norm.  May we resist!  May we stand for the Word of God even when we are laughed at for doing so.

Salvation will never come through politicians.  Transformation of our culture will not come through politics or by corrupting the gospel.  True salvation will only come through making disciples (Mark 16:15-16).  We must preach Christ alone.  We must stand for Christ alone.  We must preach His Word alone.  We must not give in to the culture for to do so will mean the loss of eternal salvation through Christ.  We must preach Jesus.  We must declare to all people to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30-31).  We must lay out the biblical demands of Jesus to follow Him (Luke 9:23-25; 14:25-35) and not water down the gospel for easy decisions.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to do His sovereign work of regeneration (Titus 3:5-7).  Salvation is from the Lord (Jonah 2:9) and He will save sinners as the disciples of Jesus preach His truth but we must open up our mouths and preach Him in order for souls to be saved.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/07/2012 at 9:15 AM

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