The current shift from faith in truth to faith in ones outward good works is based on a rejection of written truth.
Specifically, on the written words of God.
Based Upon What Specifically?
To understand this shift, we have to go back for a moment to the early part of the last century. To the origins of the Evangelical movement.
Evangelicalism, even at its founding, was unsettled about its basic beliefs. It was a movement lacking the spiritual courage to take a solid stand on anything outside of a general faith in Christ.
It’s practical motivation was more about separating itself from the unpopular positions of Fundamentalism. And then identifying with the accepted social and intellectual culture of the day.
So, its continuing slide away from clear doctrinal faith is the inevitable result of neglecting the written accuracy and authority of scripture.
Which partly explains why the average Evangelical today would be hard pressed to give you a solid biblical reason why he is born again.
Most professed Christians could probably give a testimony about coming forward at an altar call. Or making a decision to live a more moral life. Or having a renewed love for Jesus. Or maybe even re-dedicating their lives to Christ.
But not much about going from unbelief to belief in any specific biblical truth. Not much about clear, specific truths that they specifically believed in order to be saved.
Assuming that we must actually believe something specific about Christ, about Eternity, and about Salvation, what then do Evangelical Christians really believe today? What could we say are the most common, foundational doctrines of Evangelical faith?
What, for example, distinguishes the faith of an Evangelical from a Catholic? Or an Evangelical from a mainline United Methodist? Or from any other mainline denominational “Christian”?
(And note, we are not talking just about peripheral traditions here. We are going deeper. Into matters of the soul.)
Is the average Evangelical any more likely to go to heaven than one of these other groups?
And, if so, based upon WHAT?!
To Be CERTAIN
Please, don’t misunderstand what I am asking here. Or, more specifically, WHY I am asking these questions.
This is all about CLARITY.
This is about Certainty versus Wishful Thinking.
This is about understanding the clear difference between the doctrinal faith of a saved person versus a lost person.
Because, there DEFINITELY is a difference! It’s as clear as night and day.
Tragically, however, the average Evangelical seems to have very little clue about this difference. Which places him in a very dangerous position regarding his own salvation.
Moving Away from Faith Alone
Contrast this bleak situation with the general movement by Evangelical pastors away from solid doctrinal preaching.
There is an alarming pattern of decreasing biblical teaching in churches. As in regular teaching from the pulpits, in the church classrooms, and in the Sunday School classes.
If you can even find a Sunday School class anymore.
In case you haven’t noticed, the feeling among the much of the leadership, in many so-called Bible churches today, is that this doctrinal emphasis is not really necessary anymore. It’s as if, doctrinal teaching is old news. Old business. Old stuff that they’ve already got handled today.
So that, not having to focus on thorough, multi-classroom teaching, gives pastors and church leadership an excuse to focus on other things. So they can move on to other types of ministry. To put “feeding the sheep” on the back burner.
While they break up the congregations into smaller groups. In a sense, making the smaller group leaders the new “pastors”. Sort of a new take on the old, biblical “deacon” model.
All of this allows the professional church leadership to become more “missional”. So they can create more outreaches. Focus more on the youth. And on doing more good works in the surrounding community.
Are Good Works and Faith Equal?
All of this is about moving Evangelicals away from the message of salvation by Faith Alone in the word of God alone. While moving them toward following a gospel of works. Where good works are increasingly considered equal with faith.
This is the same false gospel that the mainline denominations and the false religions of “Christendom” have been following for generations. And which Bible churches are now openly embracing to varying degrees.
Creating a terrible confusion among those in the church congregations about WHAT Salvation really is.
Causing people to ask, “What must I do to be saved?”
To Be Continued . . .
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay