Tim Brown over at Reformed Gadfly has weighed in on the sad situation with Ted Haggard. In his insightful post Ted Haggard: The Symptom Tim makes an excellent point and is telling tragic truth when he says that, “I’m sick and tired of being associated with a ‘Christianity’ that does not seem to care one whit about holiness or obedience to God’s Word. Let me say this as perfectly clear as I can: I believe that ‘Christianity’ in America is nearly totally apostate. Why? We have abandoned the vision of the Holiness and Fear of God.” With this in mind I repost an earlier work of mine on the critical forgotten subject: the fear of God.

Fear the LORD your God, serve him only… [but] “there is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Deuteronomy 6:13, Romans 3:18)

Enemies of God

In The Falling Away Of The Evangelical Church I covered the subject of self-esteem in quite some depth. For those who may have seen that article, it should now be much more evident to you why the wrong idea of mankind’s true condition before God is so eternally fatal. Years ago a grossly misguided “theology” was injected as a spiritual poison into the evangelical community through heretical teachers like the twin saints of sappy sentimentality – “positive thinkers” Norman Vincent Peale and his placid protégé Robert Schuller. And here we find the root of just how Satan was able to penetrate his puppet pulpiteers into the evangelical camp of our Lord’s Church in the first place. For the enemy of men’s souls himself, has held such men as these as his very syringes.

And sadly, the evangelical community is now beginning to fill with sallow preachers of weak-kneed stature who are all too willing to defend the so-called honor and “dignity” of man in order to win favor with the world. Now, whether they themselves realize this is absolutely irrelevant. The question professing Christians today must begin asking themselves is: Why aren’t these so-called “ministers” of Jesus Christ as ready to defend God’s honor and to protect the glory that is due to His Christ alone?

You may recall that the Bible does say – For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:10). In the above verse of Holy Scripture we learn the incredible truth that all the time it has not been that God considers mankind as His enemies–but rather it is actually us–who in our basic unregenerate sinful human nature believe that the Creator is our enemy!

We turn now to Paul’s letter originally written to the churches in Rome (there was not only one church there) and let us look further at this critical subject, the growing absence of the fear of our Lord in His Church, from the Bible. As a matter of fact the verses prior to the one I just quoted couldn’t be any clearer as to why the fear of God, which is so glaringly missing in our so-called postmodern churches, is proving to be such a tragic and ominous reality for this generation.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:6-10)

I draw your attention again to verse 6 – You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It readily becomes obvious to everyone with eyes to see that mankind didn’t do anything for this to happen. And, if the truth be told, we actually did everything we could in our power as creatures to give our loving God every reason not to come in the Person of Christ to die for us. You’ll also notice in the b part of verse 6 – [that] Christ died for the – “preservation of the dignity of mankind–who actually have many ‘redeeming’ qualities.” No! – Christ died for the ungodly.

How could God the Holy Spirit have made this point any more lucid? The late Dr. Walter Wessel–who taught New Testament at Bethel Seminary–puts it very well when he says about this verse of Romans 5 – “God’s free grace…is not the result of any inherent worthiness found in [mankind]. In fact, it is lavished on us in spite of our undesirable character” (NIV Study Bible, 1985 ed., p.1712).

Pride is the Root of this Accelerating Apostasy

Do you know why so many people just don’t like this type of teaching? One word gives us our answer. P-R-I-D-E! Well, listen to the father of pride–Satan himself. Did you know that he’s quoted in the Bible? He is, a few times. Listen to his pride –

I will ascend…I will raise my throne…I will sit enthroned…I will make my-self like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14) – “I have a free will–and I have the right to make my decisions my-self.

Oops–that last statement is just like that you will hear from those you talk to as you share your faith in Christ Jesus. Or, maybe even similar to statements you may have possibly made your-self. It’s self-centered. It’s self-ishness. It’s prideful self-esteem. It’s love of self and it’s the oldest lie in the Book. “Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5).

However, the Bible clearly teaches us that true love is other-centered:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, ESV).

Now let’s listen to our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth–pure Love in human flesh–as He’s suffering unspeakable anguish and anxiety before He’s set to be crucified and to die for the ungodly.

And going a little farther He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

All the while battling against His human nature–that proud desire to preserve one-self at all cost–unlike us, our Lord still follows the way of true Love and goes to the cross anyway. And this is because the Master told us – the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what the Father has commanded me (John 14:31). You may also recall that Christ Jesus taught us – My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12-13). It should become immediately evident that this is certainly not typical human behavior, and certainly not from so many of the people who would today so brazenly dare to call themselves Christian.

God’s Incredible Love In Christ

What we will do next is to put all of what we have just learned together with Romans 5:6. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Our Lord thought nothing of His Own will, but instead chose to cast Himself upon the Father in demonstrating His great love for God and humankind. Oh yes, the Christian life is so much more than mere talk. Jesus Christ of Nazareth died for us, not because we were worthy, but because the Lord, in His loving mercy, knew that we were powerless to stop sinning on our own. We were ungodly–not like God–we were unworthy and helpless. Can you see it now?

There’s one other thing I’d like you to consider. Since we know that Jesus is also Deity–this would mean that in a sense it was God Who died for us. For in Christ God gave His Own life, which is exactly what the Bible literally says–God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:18, NASB). And we have just seen clearly that Scriptures tell us that Christ died for the ungodly–for those who thought He was their enemy–for those who didn’t even love Him. Now do you understand 1 Corinthians 13 – Love is patient, love is kind…it is not self-seeking. And John–the disciple whom Jesus loved–tells us God is love (1 John 4:8).

Now let’s stop and look at a hard fact. It is deplorable to see such a growing number of evangelical leaders, right now, who are falling one by one for the lies of the Purpose Driven Life and Church Growth Movement pragmatists and who will then go on to say that to teach this way negates the great love of our benevolent and O so merciful God. Well, as you should now be able to see it is in actuality exactly the opposite! So, let’s ask ourselves: Just who is the personal being that is the exact opposite from God? The answer of course is Satan himself. And this will now tell you where this kind of self-centered backward view of God’s love actually originates, will it not?

Writing as someone who loves God because He first love me, and for his amazing unmerited favor toward me (do you see why synergism is so dangerous), I want nothing to do with all this cheap grace that takes away from the greatest love that was ever shown. And this would be God’s Own loving sacrifice of Himself in Christ. Pure Love–which was itself freely given to self-ish creatures. And so, so many of whom are still so ungrateful! Have you ever read the following words in the Bible: “Even if you were the only person in the world, Jesus would have died just for you.”

Mankind’s True State Before A Holy God

A couple of other quick comments here on Romans 5:6 – You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. I would like to bring out this word powerless–which is asthenes in the Greek. It means “without strength,” “impotent,” and “feeble” – as in “wanting in manliness and dignity” (Thayer‘s Greek-English Lexicon, 80). You see, at just the right time, when we [human beings] were without power–helpless–feeble–impotent–and lacking dignity. So, in reality, mankind’s true state before our Holy and Righteous God is not really such a pretty picture is it?

And then the second part of verse 6 – Christ died for the ungodly. If you read this in most English translations you would get the idea that Jesus died for us simply as a ransom. However, this word for carries the meaning “instead of,” and, as Dr. John Witmer points out – “The Greek preposition huper often means ‘on behalf of,’ but occasionally it means ‘in place of,’ it’s meaning here” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, 457). As in Christ died [in place of] the ungodly.

Let’s look at Romans 5:6 one last time – You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. So what God the Holy Spirit is telling us here in this verse is that our Lord demonstrated His incredible love for us and came to save us even though we were totally without any power to stop living our lives of sin. In spite of this Christ died in our place–for us. Which I might add, is exactly what we have just read back in Romans 5:8 and what we will see again in just a moment.

Right now though we look one more time at verse 7 – Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. Here we can unmistakably see the absolute truth of God’s statement –

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”(Isaiah 55:8-9).

The Fall Has Warped God’s Image In Man

What has been largely forgotten within our warped and narcissistic postmodern culture today is that God is nothing–NOTHING like us–as our sinful nature has irreparably marred His image within us prior to regeneration in Christ! This is what is actually the key flaw in all these pragmatic philosophies, both secular and religious (and who can tell them apart), which are currently eating away at this rapidly decaying nation that God has chosen to place us in (see–Acts 17:26). And tragically, a huge misunderstanding concerning the true nature of man is what is also leading so many well-meaning seeker-sensitive ministers astray in its satanic sway.

Here is what so many are missing, in His Bible God instructs us – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). And the Lord also warns us – Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18). Now, are we still so quick to think that some of the excesses of Darby/Schofield/Chafer dispensational theology–leading many into a dead letterism–have not had any detrimental effect on the Church?

And verse 8 makes the following contrast – But God–[Who is not like mankind–as He alone is righteous and just]–demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Which we have just seen, is to actually say–instead of us–in place of us. The Apostle Peter put the same truth this way: For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18). The Greek word translated “for” here being–huper–the same word Paul uses in Romans 5:8.

Then verse 9 tells us – Since we have now been justified–[its past tense; its already happened]–by his blood. We are justified by the blood of Christ and not because of any so-called “dignity” of mankind so that Christ alone receives all the glory. Jesus Christ of Nazareth–Who died alone–also provided alone–everything a sinner needs to be justified before the majestic and awesome Yahweh Elohim–the one true and living LORD God Almighty of Biblical revelation. A Being Who is so pure–powerful–and holy–that we would literally disintegrate in His awful Presence!

With this all of this in mind in the Book of Hebrews the Bible tells us that Christ Jesus said – “ ‘I have come to do Your will, O God.’ ” Which itself is a quote of Psalm 40:68. And this same passage of God’s Word then goes on to tell us – And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…12 But when [Christ] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God…14 because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:7,10,12,14).

Can you see it – through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…he has–[already]–made perfect forever those who are being made holy. And this is why Jesus could say on the cross– “It is finished” – paid in full (see- John 19:30). Christ did all the work. Christ died for the ungodly. And Christ made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

There is absolutely nothing a man can ever do that could improve on what our perfect–loving–and merciful God has already done! Now do you perceive it? There is no need for that false gospel of the apostate Roman Catholic Church–with their self-righteous man-centered sacramental system of delusion. Now can you see why those purveyors of falsehood who are so caught up in the lies of the Purpose Driven Life and the Emergent Church are all undoing the Reformation and leading you right straight back to the bondage of Rome? Are you finally beginning to recognize the twisted work of the enemy of men’s souls? You should–for the Bible tells the true Christian: we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Subtraction By Addition

The real truth here is, the very fact that men keep trying to add to Christ’s work on the cross, is actually proof of our old stubborn, sinful nature, and of our ungodly self-ish pride. And in the same way, the fact that men keep on trying to “improve” on the methods of church growth as taught by the Master Himself is also proof of our innate stubborn human pride. Somehow unregenerate mankind is simply powerless to control our foolish human arrogance. We irrational creatures just can’t bring ourselves to admit that God alone is right and we just do not have any dignity on our own and the Lord certainly does not need our help to reach the lost.

To sum this section up we go back to Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His Own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies.

Now you should be able to understand why we are commanded to love our enemies? For if, when we were God’s enemies–[even while we hated Him]–we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Let us pray that those who have become enraptured and ensnared by hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ (see-Colossians 2:8) within our Lord’s Church will finally come to see–to God alone be the glory!

And, as I said, God doesn’t require our help at all to grow His churches. No, instead He chooses to use us to show that this power to reach the lost comes from Him. In His great love the Lord wishes to let us share in His joy as sinners return to Him. The truth has always been that God doesn’t need our help in anything because quite frankly He doesn’t need us–period! The Bible tells us that the Lord is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. (Acts 17:25). If the Church would but rediscover Who the Christ they say they serve truly is then all this confusion over hollow and deceptive business methods that are based on the basic principles of this world finding their way into sacred Christian churches would vanish just the same as a nightmare does upon awakening in the morning.

While we’re at it, let’s put one other foolish sinner-sensitive teaching to rest as well: The Lord did NOT create man because He needed someone to worship Him. No! God–in His unfathomable love–created us even knowing full well the pain we would certainly cause Him so that we would be able to experience Him. God brought us into existence so that He could delight as we get to experience His amazing self-less love while we wonder–in reverent awe at His unspeakable splendor and majesty. Beloved, this is what it truly means for the Christian to fear God! And I offer that it is a horrible shame indeed for CEO-styled hirelings to deny people this glorious opportunity with their disastrously diluted consumer-friendly messages about “felt needs” focused on human tradition and a temporal world that is only fading away.

True Biblical Self-Esteem

And none of this should make you feel bad at all. Oh no–quite the contrary! If you truly love Jesus this truth should make you feel exactly the opposite. How much more self-esteem do you need? You want to talk about self worth! Mankind is so important to our loving God–Who is full of mercy and grace–that He took pity on us because He loves us so much. The Bible tells us that God the Father sent His only begotten Son into His creation and that He became a Man–Jesus Christ of Nazareth–Who willingly sacrificed His Own life in place of the ungodly. The Scripture tells us–Jesus the just dying for the unjust, a foolish and fallen race who actually considers Him still, as their enemy.

Dear Christian, do you not remember?

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

And it is also written: We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). How in the world could God have better shown us that He loved His Church than for our Lord to give His Own life for a depraved mankind? And that, as we have pointed out, even though we consider Him our enemy! That’s how important we are to Him. In fearful and reverent awe, let the true redeemed child of God say that He alone is worthy of honor and glory. O dear God; when will the ever-growing number of these pragmatic preachers of pettiness in their seeker-sensitive playpens who are now simply regurgitating the same old PDL/CGM/ECM psycho-pop Christian mystic fluff while they exchange the glory of the immortal God finally come to see it?

If you are a genuine Christian, the kind of message we are discussing here will actually make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and you will feel God’s Spirit rejoice within you as you hear this glorious truth! Our spirits will soar as we sing: O Holy and Majestic LORD God Almighy – “How Great Thou Art.” However, we must become aware that with such a dreadful lack of the fear of our Lord in His Church today–there is a haunting truth that remains–the Devil is wily and he is shifty.

And please believe me when I tell you that I am an alarmist (in a proper sense) as I remind you that one need only crack open the door and Satan will come flooding in to keep on deviously twisting God’s Word. He and his evil minions are ever so stealthy as they bend and mangle God’s truth until what we end up with is this despicable sinner-centered cotton-candy theology. It begins as an ever so subtle perversion of proper Christian doctrine which continues to grow until one ends up thinking they are walking next to Christ when in truth they are actually following deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1).

Giving Heed to Seducing Spirits, and Doctrines of Devils

Regrettably many of these doctrines of demons have already begun penetrating into the dying evangelical camp. Pathetically pragmatic ideas that are currently buzzing around huge arenas like gnats (and who is the “lord of the flies?”) in so many of these worldly romper rooms passing for churches which are literally deceiving thousands into believing they can have the world and Christ too. The wise man however, would do well to remember that the religious leaders of our Lord’s time also thought they had all the right answers.

Now before one is too quick to dismiss all this as far-fetched I encourage you to consider the following from Christ Jesus of Nazareth Who said – “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). These chilling words from the LORD God Almighty Himself in human flesh should be the cause for great concern for all the pastors of alleged Christian churches who have been making the willful choice to employ methods which undoubtedly originated within secular businesses. Does the name of the late Peter Drucker ring your bell?

Beloved, we must kneel and pray before open Bibles asking God to help us see how much He hates these “doctrines of devils” which are perverting the correct concept of our Lord’s great love. And the basic reason that we can’t fully grasp all of this is because we are so warped, corrupt, degenerate and sinful in our unregenerate human nature that on our own we don’t really understand what true love is in the first place. Remember we have just seen that it is written: We love because He first loved us.

To Use the Methods of the World Is to Live Like the World

When will the conservative sector of the evangelical community finally awaken from their slumber? Or will they simply continue to sleep on until they petrify? Didn’t you know even the liberals among us can see it? There isn’t much I’d agree with Dr. Ron Sider about normally but I do have to raise my Bible to him here. From an article in tepid Christianity Today magazine called “The Evangelical Scandal,” Sider alerts the percepive Christian to a hugely destructive problem for the Body of Christ in America – “The heart of the matter is the scandalous failure to live what we preach…evangelicals live just like the world” (70).

So you see–I’m really not the only one who has been saying things like this at all. In his excellent book Ashamed Of The Gospel Dr. John MacArthur tells us that twelve years ago:

[Os] Guinness points out that although we are called to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-18), many Christians have reversed the formula, becoming of the world while not really being in the world. They did this by allowing cable television, VCRs, radio and other forms of communication to infuse worldly values into their thinking, while isolating themselves from any personal involvement with the people in the world who desperately need the gospel (191).

Dr. Walter Martin–among others–was sounding the same warning twenty-five years ago. Tozer was saying the same thing fifty years ago–C.H. Spurgeon one hundred fifty years ago–Jonathan Edwards two hundred fifty years ago. Well, hopefully you get the point. God’s patience with more and more of His Church in this belligerent nation–as it turns more and more to its self-condemning theology and its false gospel of self-esteem–would appear to be just about up.

Back to what Dr. Sider was saying for a moment. “The heart of the matter”– as to why Christians now have about less than zero affect on worldly people – “is the scandalous failure to live what we preach” (ibid., emphasis added). And yet, too many of our so-called distinguished and “gifted” evangelical leaders looking down from their lofty ministry estates still fail to realize what a pathetic lack of discernment is to be found in the Body of Christ. Why even the famous atheist and antagonist of Christianity, Voltaire himself, could understand this hypocrisy two hundred fifty years ago when he said:

“If Christians want us to believe in a Redeemer, [then] let them act redeemed” (cited in Nick Harrison, 365 WWJD?, 55).

It’s not often as a Christian that you can find yourself saying “amen” to the comments of an atheistic unbeliever; but here I must say–AMEN!

However as Dr. Sider sadly informs us too many “evangelicals live just like the world. Contrast that with what the New Testament shows about what happens when people come to living faith in Christ” (ibid., emphasis added). And so, you must come to understand that the crucial part of Sider’s comment here is that people must come to a “living faith in Christ.”

But how are they to do that in a church environment that’s more suited to some psychiatric discussion of their “felt needs,” rather than our teaching them that what they really need–is to be able to feel God the Holy Spirit meeting their biggest need–salvation from a Christ-less eternity in a literal place Jesus Himself called Hell! For this is what is being so tragically obscured by all the rhetoric surrounding the Purpose Driven Emerging Church Growth Movements, and this is also what is at the nearly forgotten heart of the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ, man is a sinner who desperately needs to be saved!

The True Source of the Confusion

If we hope to stop all this madness, then we must be willing face the distressing fact Satan has introduced so much confusion into the Church in these last days. The Bible reveals that it is indeed the enemy of men’s souls who is the actual voice behind all the seeker-sensitive and consumer-oriented psychobabble, which is leading to this large-scale apostasy of so many of our churches. Congregations who nevertheless still gather for “services” and social events, but that can no longer rightly be called New Testament churches. And all the while during Satan’s shrewd perverting of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ in this growing apostasy, one of the most important matters in this world, and, for that matter, the one that is to come as well–the proper view of mankind’s true unregenerate nature–has become obscured amidst the cacophony of what Paul Proctor has so aptly called “worshiptainment.”

Don‘t you see–to come to the “living faith” of the person in Christ–one would first have to feel that they are irrevocably lost and need to be saved by personal faith in the historical Person, Jesus of Nazareth. You see–that’s the problem with the so-called “modern” gospel–it is really no gospel at all (see-Galatians 1:7). And hopefully this is all becoming more apparent to you, and you are beginning to see why this misunderstood issue is so critical today.

If we who are His true disciples ever hope to actually make a difference for Christ in this puffed-up nation of America, then we will need to finally realize that this ignorant culture we live among is every bit as foreign a mission field as the wildest depths of the steamy jungles of Africa. If we truly love our fellow man, then our most important “felt need” would be to lovingly and boldly declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this hopelessly lost people. The final and absolute truth is–that if a person has not been justified by God–by His grace alone–through faith alone–in Christ alone–then he has not been forgiven of his sins! Further, because such a person remains in his sin condemned already (John 3:18)–John the Baptist tells us–God’s wrath remains on him (John 3:36). And this is what it means to be on that broad pathway that leads to a literal Hell. Doesn’t anyone care that anymore?

For it was the Lord of Glory Himself–Christ Jesus of Nazareth Who said – “I Am the Way–I Am the Truth–I am Life–and no one comes to [God] the Father except through Me (John 14:6). His Apostle Peter further informs us – “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). And just as all religions do not lead to God–so all “gospels” of salvation do not lead to forgiveness from God–no matter how seeker-sensitive someone may seem or, even how much of the “God” vocabulary they may in fact use (see-2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-9). Or, for that matter, no matter how many leaders in the Emergent Church like Guru Brian McLaren arise trying to sell us an inclusive non-gospel.

Are You Justified In Your Beliefs?

The Christian Church in America can best serve this country by going back to preaching the correct biblical doctrine concerning central issue of the Gospel of Jesus Christ–which is undeniably the crucial doctrine of justification. Forget all this politicizing nonsense, unregenerate men cannot ever live out Christian ideals in the flesh! The time has arrived where we need to tell those who are irrevocably lost that they must to come to grips with the most important question that can ever be asked this side of eternity: How is the ungodly person–who is powerless to save himself–already under the wrath of Almighty God and thereby destined for Hell–possibly to be pardoned from the guilt of his sin against this perfectly righteous and Holy God?

Because the issue before us really is this simple: If a person seeks to be forgiven of his sin in a way that he cannot be forgiven by God; then he will not be forgiven–even if he has a “peace” within himself that he has been. When will the evangelical church recapture the spirit of the Reformation that it is currently only paying lip service to? This is not only what we have to make sure we comprehend ourselves, but it is also our job as Christ’s ambassadors in this fallen world to attempt to help others to come to grips with it as well.

In this generation of lukewarm and timid tolerance it is essential for you to come to fully understand that we are not talking about some peripheral issue here. The doctrine of justification is not some minor little thing off to the side. This is most assuredly not something that we can just “agree to disagree” on. How a man is actually saved from his sin is not something that we can just pray about and then let God sort it all out. No! No! No! For this is the very reason Christ Jesus left His glory in Heaven and came here to live among the squalor of sin in the first place! And our Lord stood for the Truth–to the end, and He has called each of us to do the same.

We must never forget that this doctrine of justification is the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the clear overly Arminian acquiescence to satanically inspired worldly “sentiments” within this overly sinner-sensitive Purpose-Driven Church Growth Movement has led to a severe perversion of this absolute truth within the swiftly fading evangelical church. And I simply cannot state the importance of this crucial issue too emphatically, or too often. In fact, the great Church Reformer Martin Luther himself (anyone still remember him?) correctly stated that the doctrine of justification is the very article upon which the entire Church of Christ stands or falls.

The Peril of Pragmatic Religious “Traditions”

This would be a good point to shift our emphasis a bit and to take a look at what Jesus of Nazareth had to say about the religious teachers and the worship of God in His own day in Mark chapter 7. As we have been thoroughly examining the appalling lack of fear of God in our arrogant and sinful society–and sadly even among so many professing Christians–we are now in a much better position to apply what the Master Teacher says here in Mark to these perilous times that we find ourselves living in today.

As you read on, and as you think about what we have already seen, you should come to see that the world-loving “worship” in these sinner-friendly PDL/CGM churches (see–2 Timothy 4:3-4) does bear an alarmingly striking resemblance to this very description from the lips of our Lord, Christ Jesus Himself.

[Jesus] replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” 9 And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”

It sure would seem as if this is relatively self-explanatory. For if Jesus said these kinds of things to people who perverted God’s Word, and worshipped Him in a centered on self way, in order to hold to their on to their own traditions while He was still physically present upon His earth–then would He not then continue to hold this same view today? Remember now–it is written: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As such then, what else could these verses of Holy Scripture here possibly mean to us today? After all, we do say that we believe that God still speaks to us today in the Bible–do we not?

By the way, this is Hebrews 13:8 from the English Standard Version of the Bible. But you know what? I have also searched out this verse in a number of different translations of the Bible–and they all say the very same thing! I have examined this Scripture in the literal Greek of the Nestle text, and even in the Textus Receptus as well–for our friends in the KJV Only camp. And this Scripture always reads the very same way! Which forces us now to a crucial question: If Jesus Christ is the same today–and–if unregenerate mankind is also the same–as he has always been since the fall–then why are we now attempting to change Christ’s Gospel?

To the one who has been given a love for the Holy Scriptures the answer is as obvious as light and night. The Christian Church in America has gradually and steadily been succumbing to the Devil’s clarion call to compromise through relentless indoctrination of liberal humanistic man-centered “philoso-theolog-ophies” as championed by Satan’s own hypocritical liars (1 Timothy 4:2). Sadly, these sell-out pulpiteers are but pawns for the Devil–who willingly do their master’s evil bidding and faithfully preach their heretical doctrines of demons and tolerance in order to protect themselves from conflict with the world.

Evangelicalism Itself Has Its Own “Traditions”

So today these satanic shills and the others who blindly follow them tell us that if we want to grow a church, then we’d best first go inquire of the heathen to ask them what they would like to see in what is supposed to be a house of God. And just what are the curiously compelling reasons they will then offer to those of us hopelessly “out-dated” preachers of Bible as to just why this is so? “Well, because Robert Schuller says so; or because Bill Hybels says so; or because Rick Warren says so, that‘s why.” Can you imagine something so far from biblical revelation, and so utterly ludicrous to God, that the Creator of the entire universe should be asking His rebellious creatures what they would prefer to have Him do for them? Where possibly do these pernicious purveyors of Christian cotton candy possibly see the magnificent Christ of the Gospels bending over backwards in order to try and please depraved mankind? And just how blind do you have to be to think that our holy and righteous God is actually blessing this type of pathetic “witness.”

Those of us who are still standing, those of us who can still recognize the Voice of the Spirit, will already know that the sad truth is that too much of the leadership within the evangelical Protestant camp itself long ago decided to begin praising each other, and to start quoting from each other’s books, all the while neglecting the Book. And this is what has opened the door to the biblical condemnation concerning more and more of Evangelicalism as found in Revelation 2:4: I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Ah, but verse 5 contains our hope, because in His great mercy the Lord says – Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

The fatal flaw of the fallacious preaching coming from the pulpits of the seeker-sensitive churches, is that peace with the world is more important than boldly challenging the unholy and ungodly on their own ground with the superior power of God’s wisdom. The CGM/PDL-type mentality is that you just can’t preach to today’s “sophisticated” alleged postmodern society like an Edwards or a Whitefield (who were only standing during the First Great Awakening) because this capricious culture is so different. Really…

Unfortunately, no matter how good the intentions may be, this is a most dubious belief at best, and an extremely misguided attempt to live in peace with a warped world that will not listen to the Gospel apart from the convicting power of God the Holy Sprit, no matter how cuddly, consumer-oriented, and purpose-driven our presentation may be.

Let Us Ride To The Sound of the Guns

Dutch Protestant pastor–theologian–scholar–journalist–educator–and-statesman–Dr. Abraham Kuyper was so right when he said:

When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day–then battle is your calling and peace has become a sin; you must at the price of dearest peace lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy with all the fire of your faith.

However, this searing exhortation clashes horrifically with the apathetic spirit of this age of lukewarm compromise that we are slowly being swallowed up in. Which is exactly why the evangelical church is currently so pathetically powerless in these United States. I must tell you, that my own heart yearns to see my Master’s Church courageously approach people today with the glorious Gospel of salvation, and not just in word only anymore, but in the Holy Spirit and power! But we will never be able to do this until we lie at Christ’s feet, and tell Him we will not move out again until God endues us with this power. Do you remember Exodus 33:14 where God said to Moses – “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” For the mighty Church militant, our cry today must be the same as that of Moses, who said to the Lord – “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”

As a minister who has done much study in the field of Comparative Religions, I humbly offer the following advice with a prayer that it will prove edifying. One of the nice benefits of studying another person’s religious beliefs is that it also gives you the chance to study your own once again from a different perspective. And as I have been researching the teachings of non-Christian cults–as well as many other false religious systems–it has also given me the chance to talk with a lot of other evangelical Christians over the past few years as well. As I have been doing so, I believe the Lord has helped me become increasingly aware that far too many of these people have simply accepted what has been taught to them without first checking to see for themselves whether these doctrines will stand in Holy Scripture (see- Acts 17:11).

Now you must understand that I am not talking here about the essential cardinal doctrines of historic orthodox Christianity. What I’m referring to specifically is this idea that has slithered into the Church that somehow we aren’t going to have to defend the Christian faith anymore. Too many leading ministers today teach as if somehow, now that we’re so eminently educated, the enemies of the Gospel will no longer persecute true Christians. Is that so? Then what are we to do with this verse of Scripture: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).

Not to mention, at last check, the Bible still does contain this from the Book of Jude – Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (v.3, NKJV). And contend earnestly translates the compound Greek word–epagonizomai. If you study this out you will come to realize that it means: “to contend about a thing, as a combatant” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, p.125). It was also used to describe the effort exerted by contestants in Greco-Roman wrestling matches in the ancient Olympics. But how many Christians today would find the most effort they put forth these days is searching for their TV remote?

Beloved, there is just no getting around the fact that this verse gives us a crystal clear directive that we must “fight” for the historic orthodox Christian faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. And the time has now arrived when those of us who are true Christians must stand up for the truth just as our Master–Jesus of Nazareth did–no matter how those we must oppose may react to us! That is what Apprising Ministries is committed to doing, and it is what all of us who truly love our resplendent Lord must continue to be committed to doing together here in this acrimonious age which has been so dreadfully corrupted by a veritable cornucopia of erroneous teaching.

The View From The Wall

This time has arrived for the watchmen to begin to sound the alarm to arouse and inform the slumbering Church that we now living among a people who have been deeply afflicted by the extremely socially destructive theory of evolution. So each day you will mostly run into people who A.) Don’t even believe there is a God at all. Or B.) If they do happen to believe that He might exist, they think that scientific theories about the origin of life somehow prove there isn’t any real way to know for sure–so why even bother trying to find out. It is a sad state of affairs–but this is where we find ourselves today. And even Chuck Colson, who is hardly a paragon of discernment (the ECT fiasco comes to mind), can see it when he points out that Christianity is no longer in the mainstream of American culture.

The fact is that we who are true Christians are now looked at as outcasts of society, a hopelessly out of touch, narrow-minded people living in a past that so-called “modern” man has somehow proven never even happened in the first place. And if you want to be an effective Christian witness for Jesus–and you should want to be–then it is you will need to understand this. Today we are simply left with no choice but to approach this so-called “One Nation Under God” as a foreign mission field, as I suggested a moment ago.

As we get ready to close out this look at why the fear of God reveals His love we must come back to face the harsh reality of this evil age we are in. The true Christian must earnestly pray for the courage to look honestly at what God the Holy Spirit is trying to tell the Church today in the Bible–right now. We need to seek the Lord regarding the proper approach to stand for the absolute truth of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ in this sin-sick, foolish, and wicked generation. And yes, Mr. PDL/ECM/CGM pastor, we hear you, the Bible does say – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

However, by the way this passage is written – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, it clearly tells you that it just will not always be possible to live in peace with everyone. Let us keep in mind that controversy has always closely accompanied the stand for truth about God. To paraphrase a line from one of the hymns of the Church – “Truth is more often on the scaffold, than in the marketplace.” Of this there can be no doubt. However, the 11th chapter of Hebrews can help us grow a backbone when it reminds of some of the true heroes of the Christian faith who –

were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them (vv. 35-38).

Let me ask you, when is the last time you met any Christians such as these? And now, we must ask ourselves the critical question: Isn’t our Lord–Christ Jesus–worth standing for? No matter what–to the end…

Get Dressed For Battle And Make Your Stand

Right now the Church of Jesus Christ must abandon the lie and the false hope being offered to us by the church growth movement of some kind of Emergent Purpose Driven Peace with our increasingly pagan culture by systematically laying aside proper biblical doctrine. In his classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults Dr. Martin was telling the truth about our ever controversial Christian faith when he wrote:

We must remember, however, that controversy in itself has always been a stimulus to thought and in our own country has provoked many needed reforms in numerous instances. We might also observe that there is the easily verifiable fact that the criticism of another’s religious beliefs does not necessarily postulate personal antagonism toward those who entertain such beliefs.

Hence it is possible for a Protestant to criticize Roman Catholicism or Judaism, for example, without being in the least antagonistic to members of either faith…the New Testament itself, the very cradle of Christianity, reflects in a startling way the fact that the faith of Jesus Christ was built and nourished upon the controversy that it provoked. It was said of the early Christians that they ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6); indeed, the message of the cross itself is offensive and controversial by nature (473, emphasis added).

The answer to seeing more people respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ will never be found in “new” and “novel” methods of presenting our Lord’s timeless message. This critical answer will never be found in the allure of Madison Avenue sales techniques, cute slogans or any of the other PDL/CGM trappings. No, there is but one way the evangelical church will ever begin to impact our society once again, and that is to make a clean break from the use of sinner-centered business techniques, and to fall on our faces before the Lord, and to tell Him we are sorry to have ever soiled His spotless Church with all this outlandish nonsense in the first place.

If you listen to the Spirit you will hear Him say – “if My [true] people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). The only answer to how we can see more people respond positively to God the Father’s Gospel, and to truly become converted to God the Son–Christ Jesus, is found in the pure wisdom of Words already breathed nearly two thousand of our years ago by God the Holy Spirit:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

The growth of a real Christian Church truly is this simple for the humble in heart. And this is offered as a prayer, that those in the Body of Christ who consider themselves evangelicals, would wholeheartedly return to the classic Reformation position of soli Deo gloria! May we all return to our loving God, with holy fear and reverent awe, and let the Holy Spirit begin to use us to once again proclaim His Gospel with the Words the Lord Himself has inspired, in order for Christ’s ambassadors to tell mankind the truth regarding our Creator’s desires for His world that God loved so much that He gave His one and only Son.

…he who has an ear, let him hear…