For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3,4)

Contextualization Has Helped The Church Growth Movement To Even Infiltrate Reformed Sectors

Apprising Ministries has talked much about the growing syncretism, i.e. blending together, of disparate doctrinal camps in ways we’d likely never have dreamed possible.

For example, who could have predicted this Ravi Zacharias: Word Faith Preacher Joyce Meyer “Such A Great Bible Teacher” God Is Using or their defense of it Ravi Zacharias Praise Word Faith Preacher Joyce Meyer.

A root of this is a core teaching of the man-centered (i.e. pragmatic) Church Growth Movement that if we’re to be effective in getting people to respond to the Gospel, then we need to put it the context of a given culture.

Where such as these jumped the track is found in this section of that sentence: If we’re to be effective. There’s where they have it turned exactly backward. For it is written in God’s Word:

And day by day, [Christians were] attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.

And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47)

Notice that God the Holy Spirit wanted us to know that it’s the Lord, not man, Who grows the Church. Our job is to faithfully preach the Message we’ve been given. This would be the Gospel; it’s not ours to change or adapt.

With this in mind then, let me first remind you that I was saved several years ago in a charismatic church, which quickly introduced me to the writings of A.W.Tozer. I am well aware of his proclivity for Roman Catholic mystics.

As one who holds the doctrines of grace, and as a former Roman Catholic myself, I do not quote Tozer often, or without this qualification. That noted, he did write some things that were dead-on-target; such as the following.

Keep in mind also that A.W. Tozer’s beliefs do quite accurately reflect those of the average quasi-contemplative evangelical today. In other words, he writes as one them; so, here’s some sadly needed wisdom from Tozer.

You’ll see that it applies completely to the largely undiscerning evangelical community right now:

Any evangelism which by appeal to common interests and chatter about current events seeks to establish a common ground where the sinner can feel at home is as false as the altars of Baal ever were.

Every effort to smooth out the road for men and to take away the guilt and the embarrassment is worse than wasted: it is evil and dangerous to the souls of men!

One of the most popular of current errors, and the one out of which springs most of the noisy, blustering religious activity in evangelical circles, is the notion that as times change the church must change with them. Christians must adapt their methods by the demands of the people.

If they want ten-minute sermons, give them ten-minute sermons! If they want truth in capsule form, give it to them! If they want pictures, give them plenty of pictures! If they like stories, tell them stories!

Meanwhile, the advocates of compromise insist that ‘The Message is the same, only the method changes.” What a tragedy that in our day we often hear the gospel appeal made in this way:

“Come to Jesus! You do not have to obey anyone. You do not have to give up anything. Just come to Him as Savior and make Him Lord later!”

The fact that we hear this everywhere does not make it right! To urge men and women to believe in a divided Christ is horrid teaching. “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad,” the old Greeks said, and they were wiser than they knew.

That mentality which mistakes Sodom for Jerusalem and Hollywood for the Holy City is too gravely astray to be explained otherwise than as a judicial madness visited upon professed Christians for affronts committed against the Spirit of God!

The above as written decades ago; and one wonders: Do the leaders of this new form of Seeker Driven New Calvinism, e.g. Rick Warren, think the Lord sleeps? “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.” (Matthew 23:32)

Further reading