For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23)

The Fact Is, The Truth Will Often Hurt

The above is not a pretty picture of the true nature of mankind. It isn’t Seeker Driven/attractional, and won’t please the postmodern followers of the Emerging Church. So unfortunately, those of us who teach this truth today aren’t likely to come away with much of a following. However, this is what the Lord Himself has told us.

This is the proper backdrop against which we must begin our look at the marred image of God in so much of the visible church. A gross misunderstanding of the true nature of man is the root problem of this whole seeker sensitive Church Growth movement, which has spawned both the Purpose Driven/Seeker Driven camp and the Emerging Church. You will be coming to see that the leaders within both of these groups are closer than most people think, and most all of them share the same serious spiritual flaw concerning the true nature of man.

You must understand that we’ve now witnessed many years of too much of the professing Christian Church worldwide dwelling on the love of God toward man until it has been magnified out of its proper Biblical context. Sadly, the message preached today is a quite distorted view of what Christ actually taught, as evidenced above. The truth is, far from teaching that mankind merely has a little “sin problem,” Jesus of Nazareth—the Creator Himself in human flesh—even told His own disciples they were evil by nature.

This will come as a shock to the attractional megachurch crowd and the Emergent Church, but this is also clear from Matthew’s eyewitness testimony. Look below as he reports that Jesus taught:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

Did you catch that in verse 11? Christ says — “If you then, who are evil.” And here is where the ancient Church would easily connect this back to the fall of Adam and Eve. But the Emergent cry today is: “But mankind is created in the image of God!” Even Rick Warren tells us in The Purpose Driven Life, “Adam and Eve enjoyed an intimate friendship with God” (85).

Yes, and yes again; it is true that mankind is created in the image of God, and Adam and Eve had a most intimate relationship with God. However, what is missing in these teachings is the very reason for the Gospel of Jesus Christ; Adam and Eve sinned and caused that image to become marred through the irreversible nature of sin to be perpetuated in their progeny.

Irreversible, that is, until Christ Jesus took our sin upon Himself so that God could offer repentance and forgive us all our trespasses by nailing the record of [our] debt of sin to the Cross (cf. Colossians 2:13-14).But today more and more of contemporary evangelicalism has even begun openly denying this vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of our Lord.

The Marred Image Of God

One of the things we need to keep in mind here is from the creation of mankind in the first chapter of Genesis, sin becomes so accelerated and so terrible, that it is only takes until chapter six before the LORD God Almighty—a Being of pure love—becomes so grieved with mankind He decides to destroy them all in a global flood, save eight people. I wonder how often people think about this.

And as I’ve mentioned before, as love of self (cf. 2 Timothy 3:2) spreads via Contemplative Spirituality Mysticism, what is not being taken into account in large segments of the church visible is that the earth then becomes repopulated from these same eight. However many leaders within evangelicalism point people back to Genesis one and tell us that mankind was created in the image of God.

But now you can see the twist of the Truth by Satan here; although we are created in the moral character of God, those of us on the earth right now are also descendants of people who already had a fallen nature. Now that you have all of this in proper prospective you are in better position to understand why our Creator Christ Jesus has called us evil above. He wasn’t being mean, He was being honest.

You should also now be able to see that the oft-quoted Jeremiah 17:9 — the heart [of man] is deceitful, is far from just an isolated principle latched onto by rabid fundamentalists. It is a sad fact concerning the horrific corruption to the image of God in mankind that happened because of the Fall. And our Lord’s comment about the true nature of man is right in accord with what He had said back in Genesis 8:21.

There the LORD God plainly tells us about mankind’s true nature apart from Christ — the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Perfectly in line with Matthew’s account of Jesus. And then this is further confirmed by God the Holy Spirit through His Apostle Paul when he informs us — For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12).

What Paul is telling us here expands on what he said in verse 9 — For we know in part and we prophesy in part. Then in verse 10 the Apostle explains — but when the perfect comes — and we are glorified with Christ, then we will have the image of God completely restored, and no longer will it be a mirror dimly or as the KJV says we’ll not look — through a glass, darkly.

The Apostle John is also talking about this same event when he says:

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

As we look at the Bible from God’s perspective these things become clear as crystal, and even especially so as we look at Romans 5:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (vv.6-10)

And this marred image of God is what is missing from the message of the “gospel” proclaimed by those infected by the man-centered Church Growth Movement, which Galatians 1:7 tells us is really no gospel at all. The key flaw behind this mythical evangelical wishful gospel is that if we don’t tell people how much God loves them, and if we don’t “ease” them into our churches then they won’t come.

But what these blind leaders who are leading their blind followers don’t understand is this: If we don’t preach the Gospel that God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave us to preach on behalf of God the Father then God the Holy Spirit doesn’t come in power. Thus we are in a most sorry state where we might well have pleased man, but we have most assuredly grieved God, and left people in their sin.

Until the Seeker Driven and Emerging churches get back to telling people the Truth then they will only continue to see growing churches that slam the door to the Kingdom of Heaven in the faces of those to whom they are lying. And let us not forget that Christ Jesus takes a very dim view of the type of religion espoused by the man-pleasers of apostatizing evangelicalism:

“woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides.” (Matthew 23:13-16)

After years of bankrupt Church Growth teaching we now have people in the pulpit who’ve never been regenerated.

See also: