But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

The Strongest Power Of Mankind Is Powerless To Advance The Kingdom Of God

While commenting on verse 5 of the above text years ago A.W. Tozer pointed out a growing problem in the spiritually petrifying evangelicalism of his day circa 1950:

To teach that the filling with the Holy Spirit is given to the Christian to provide “power for service” is to teach truth, but not the whole truth. Power for service is but one effect of the experience, and I do not hesitate to say that it is the least of several effects. It is least for the very reason that it touches service, presumably service to mankind; and contrary to the popular belief, “to serve this present age” is not the Christian’s first duty nor the chief end of man…. (That Incredible Christian, 36)

Side-stepping the rabbit hole, concerning when this “filling” happens, the main idea Tozer is illuminating here is: Unless one is literally regenerated, i.e. born again by God the Holy Spirit, he has not been “washed” of his sin and remains quite outside of any power originating with God. And as such, no matter how noble his/her efforts to serve their fellow man might be, the Lord is not empowering that work.

Therein lies the root of why the social gospel of liberal theology advanced by mystic dreamers like Marcus Borg, as well as it’s repainted postliberal version as articulated by mystic Emergence pastor Rob Bell, is spiritually bankrupt. In the New International Biblical Commentary Dr. Gordon Fee brings out a critical point in his discussion of our text above:

The what of salvation is expressed in three metaphors: rebirth and renewal in this verse and justification in verse 7. Between them they condense the twofold aspect of Christian conversion: (1) a new (renewed, restored) relationship with God—the positional aspect—expressed by “justification” and (2) a radical change in one’s inner being—the regenerational aspect—expressed in new birth (palingenesia, “regeneration”) and renewal (anakainosis) (204, emphasis his)

This then brings us around to another reason why it is imperative that we, as Dr. Walter Martin used to put it, cultivate a “good working relationship with the Holy Spirit.” Can you see why — I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Note carefully what it is that God the Holy Spirit empowers—the Gospel—and not even Erwin Raphael McManus, clever as he is at adapting other people’s ideas and methods that he’s “borrowed,” can truly impact anyone for Christ.

Today, as an illustration of just how far off-track the new traditions of men (see—Mark 7: 6-9) have driven, in her Slice of Laodicea post Church Features “Saturday Night Slam” Ingrid Schlueter queries, “I wonder if the 12 Apostles staged Greek-style wrestling matches to draw young men to Christ?” She then makes a few dead on target assessments concerning today’s centered on the self churches:

No record of that anywhere in the Scriptures. Chariot races are also not mentioned anywhere in the book of Acts as a method drawing a crowd to hear the Gospel. All the Apostles had was the Holy Spirit who worked through their preaching to save the lost. That was all they needed.

Pastors today don’t believe in the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t exist to them. That’s why they behave like fools in ever more desperate attempts to draw a crowd. Here’s a pastor in South Dakota who says that the church is having a hard time attracting young men. That’s because the “church” was never intended to attract young men or anyone else. The Holy Spirit alone draws through Spirit-empowered preaching. Such preaching is absent today in our prayerless, man-centered churches, and that’s why pastors are reduced to becoming jesters and exhibitionists to draw a crowd. (Online source)

In fact the article to which Schlueter links in the piece above actually gives us even further indication as to why seriously off-the-rails evanjellyfish is so pathetically impotent:

Judy Shaw, pastor of the non-denominational Center of Life Church, said she sees nothing unusual in turning altars into boxing rings. “I travel throughout the United States, and I travel abroad, and what Pastor Alex is doing is not out of the ordinary for churches that are very progressive,” Shaw said. “A lot of youth will not go to the traditional churches they were raised in. They say it’s not relevant, not teaching them and they’re bored.” (Online source, emphasis mine)

Apprising Ministries has already covered this rebellion in Thoughts On Women Pastors so here I’ll simply say that another reason God is abandoning apostatizing evangelicalism is its disobedience to His Word in the ordination of women to the male-only role of teaching elder in the church. Tragically, today’s largely man-powered mess passing for American Christianity has itself become spiritually dying proof of an old adage as paraphrased below:

He who doesn’t stand for something, will fall for anything.