What is really at issue here is understanding how the Evangelical church is becoming the mainline Protestant church. They are moving away from their biblical foundations toward a new identity.
When We Do Not Take a Clear Stand
This is not really a surprise since Evangelicalism has cozied up to the mainline denominations for a long time. It has refused to make any real, clear distinction between the Evangelical Gospel of grace and the Mainline Gospel of works.
So, that the leaven of compromise has spread back to the Evangelicals.
Ironically, the Mainline churches are now copying the generic, contemporary style of the Evangelical churches — as spiritual compromise comes around full circle. So that the two now look like identical siblings. They sing the same music, have the same drums, the same guitars, the same graphics on the screen and use virtually the same language.
Using the same biblically-sounding words — yet meaning something worlds apart.
So, has the salt lost its savor?
Has the church lost the cleansing and sanctifying power of the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?
Because that is the bottom line here.
An Obsession with Lesser Things
It is our obsession with community service, social justice and social interaction that has distracted us from the higher priority of biblical teaching and faithfulness to the word of God.
This distraction has lead to the trimming back of the Gospel message in order to reach people by doing good works for them. And even, in some cases, joining with them to do good works.
On the surface, that might seem like a viable evangelistic strategy. To do good works so that people will see those works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
That sounds solid.
But that verse is based on the assumption that something else is also taking place.
Namely, that the church is solidly focused on the biblical training of believers. So that Christians will be able to give an answer to every man who asks them for a reason of the hope that is in them (I Peter 3:15). So that the Spirit of God, using the word of God, can speak to lost individuals.
However, this does not happen if we hold back the full truth in hopes that we can eventually gain a foothold by being nice people. Hoping that the unbeliever will eventually come to Christ because they are in close contact with us.
Sounds kind of egotistical actually. Sounds like some sort of spiritual-osmosis process. You know, where cells pass nutrients back and forth by close contact.
The Gospel That Jesus Preached
Jesus did not do that. Even though that is exactly what the New Evangelical teachers are saying is the way to reach the world.
The Lord Jesus did good works. Really good works. Amazing and miraculous good works.
But then He gave them the full, unvarnished truth. Sometimes with both barrels.
The mainline churches preach the Social Gospel. It is a replacement for the biblical gospel of repentance from sin, embracing the word of God, and trusting Christ alone, by faith alone for salvation. The Evangelical church ignores this reality.
In fact, this goes to the core of the main problem with Evangelicalism today. That the word of God has taken 2nd place to other concerns. And that biblical compromise is justified in order to bring people to Christ.
The biblical Gospel is based on the word of God; not social action, community service or social awareness.
Which, by the way, is filled with deep traps of compromise that we ignore as we continue to create associations, dialogues, resolutions and coalitions with unbelieving groups and false religious leaders. Creating “deep dialogues” and “warm friendships” with religious leaders that have rejected the gospel of Christ.
The children and the young people see this.
They may not fully understand what is happening with all this compromise; but they know that something is wrong.
Our Special Identity
We are a meant to be a “peculiar people”. Our Gospel must not be watered down. Our pulpits must not make the lost feel comfortable. And we must not become distracted by secondary ministries.
Our churches must be places of deep and profound teaching of His Word.
That is our peculiar identity. That is how the Lord reaches people.
And it is how He reaches our children.
Above all else, we must teach and instruct all our people, both the children and adults, to know the Lord and His word. This must be a fervent and unceasing process.
May the Lord have mercy upon us if we continue to try to be “social justice warriors” or whatever else the contemporary teachers are telling us to be. While we continue following after the rabbit trails of the Social Gospel.
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