Here at Apprising Ministries you’ve heard me talk about the devastating effects of the ill-fated Church Growth Movement ((Christian apologist Bob DeWay further elaborates upon this movement in Faulty Premises of the Church Growth Movement: Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Donald McGavran, and C. Peter Wagner Mislead the Church.)) vomited out of the theological cesspool we know as Fuller Theological Seminary. Sadly, rather than reject major proponents of it like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, mainstream evangelicalism would embrace them.

This is precisely how the Purpose Driven/Seeker Driven CGM bait and switch ideas of using Madison Avenue advertising to lure people into supposed churches were born. Remember now, no one credible is arguing that these techniques of man-centered pragmatism fail to bring people into so-called Christian functions.

Sadly though, it’s also a recipe for creating stillborn “Christians.” By this I mean people who claim to be Christian because they’ve walked down some aisle thinking that now they’ve “decided” to follow Jesus and have been saved. But the tragic thing is, this SD/PD model of CSM deludes people into believing they’re in the faith.

However, people like this have never been regenerated. Now multiply the phenomenon over decades and you have such as these behind pulpits. Think of it; people learning from “pastors” who are not even born again themselves. People who are almost saved, but not quite. But is such a thing actually possible? The answer is, yes.

For it is written — Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test (2 Corinthians 13:5). The road is a lot more narrow than you’ve been previously led to believe.

The truth is, the Gospel message has been perverted into a postmodern idea of changing the world through establishing community and developing relationships; but this does not a Christian make. Yet you’ll even get this idea of changing the world below from the trailer to the new movie Son of God:

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Almost saved, but not quite. Doing good deeds in the flesh and so deceiving yourself into thinking that you are in the faith. This is what Charles Spurgeon is addressing in the following sermon excerpt. Today I encourage you to examine and test yourself. Please repent; won’t you come to Jesus, before it’s too late:

“Remember Lot’s wife” and remember that she went some way towards being saved. Mistress Lot so far believed the message that came to her about the destruction of the city that she was awakened. She rose early as her husband did and she prepared to leave the house. She ran down the streets; she passed the city gate; she reached the open plain along with her husband. She was willing, for a while, to run with him, following his example. She did so for a considerable distance till she began to think over what she was doing and to consider what she was leaving. And then she slackened her pace and lingered behind.

Remember, then, that she did go part of the way towards safety and yet she perished! And so many may go part of the way towards Christ and they may go a little way out of the world—but if their hearts still linger with the ungodly, they will perish, notwithstanding all. There is one very solemn thought and that is that the angels’ hand had pressed her wrist. When they said, “Up, get you gone” and Lot lingered—the men laid hold upon his hand and the hand of his wife. So it is expressly said. An angel’s hand had pressed her wrist to draw her forth to safety and she had gone a little way under that sacred constraint—and yet she perished.

Some of you may have had spiritual touches upon the conscience and heart which you will never be able to quite forget and the responsibility of this will cling to you, though you have drawn back from godliness and your heart cries after vanity and lusts after its idols. This woman was actually out of Sodom and she was almost in Zoar, the refuge city, and yet she perished! How near she was to the little city of escape, I cannot tell, but she was certainly almost there and yet she perished. Almost saved, but not quite.

Let me repeat those words, for they describe some of you who are present at this hour—and they may be your epitaph if you do not mind what you are about—“Almost saved, but not quite.” Escaped from the vilest form of sin, but not truly in Christ! The mind not weaned from its idols, iniquity not given up in the soul, though perhaps given up in outward deed! O you who are Almost saved, but not quite, “Remember Lot’s wife.”

This brings me to a third point of remembrance, which is this—remember that though she went some way towards escape, she did actually perish through sin. The first sin that she committed was that she lingered behind. Moses tells us, “Lot’s wife looked back from behind him.” That is, the good old man was making such haste as he could, but she, though she had run side by side with him, lingered in the rear—I should not wonder but what the same angel had one of them by the right hand and the other by the left while the other angel brought the two daughters on behind. But Lot’s wife slackened her pace and fell behind.

That is the first sin with most people who profess religion, but are not true to God—they begin to backslide by creeping along very slowly—they are not half so earnest as they used to be, so they lag behind. One service a day is sufficient. A very little reading of the Bible contents them. They do not quite give up the appearance of prayer, but still there is very little of it. They do not see the good of being in such a fury over religion. They do not see why they should exercise any sacred violence to take the kingdom by force.

They linger. It is because, after all, the world is master of their hearts! They would, if they dared, be as worldly and as ungodly as others—and they finally prove their true character by slackening their pace. Having slackened her pace, the next thing she did was she disbelieved what had been told her. You must remember that their flight out of Sodom was to be an act of faith, for the angel said, “Look not behind you.” That Sodom was to be destroyed did not appear at all likely, for it was a bright morning.

They were to fly with as much haste as if they could see the fire-shower falling, but they were not to see it. Their flight was to be urged forward by faith in the angels’ words. Faith may be as well exhibited by not looking as by looking. Faith is a look at Christ, but faith is a not looking at the things which are behind. Lot’s wife saw the sun rising, so we are told—“the sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.” She saw the bright dawning and everything lit up with it and it came across her mind—“It cannot be true! The city is not being destroyed. What a lovely morning!

Why are we thus running away from house, goods, friends and everything else on such a bright, clear morning as this?” She did not truly believe—there was no real faith in her heart—and therefore she disobeyed the law of her safety and turned her face towards Sodom. Yet, mark you, she had received the angels in her house; she had seen them blind the wicked mob around her door; she had heard their majestic words of persuasion and felt their kind compulsion—she had plenty of evidence that God was speaking—but she doubted the truth of His Word and here was the very essence of her sin!

What if some of you that have mingled with the godly—and have been numbered with them and have participated in their worship, should—nevertheless come short because of unbelief? It is by no means improbable, for out of all that came out of Egypt there were only TWO that entered into Canaan! They could not enter in because of unbelief—their carcasses fell in the wilderness. May it never come to pass with any of us that we shall leave our carcasses outside of the eternal hope because we, too, do not believe in Him who is invisible, but must walk according to the sight of the eyes!

Having gotten so far as lingering and doubting, her next movement was a direct act of rebellion—she turned her head— she was told not to look, but she dared to look. Rebellion is as much seen in the breach of what appears to be a little command as in the violation of a great precept. Our fall at the first came from the plucking of forbidden fruit—and this woman’s death came by a look! Take care of little things. There is life in a look and here is a case in which there was death in a look. She looked, but why did she look? I suppose it was this—her heart was that way.

She loved Sodom and she abhorred the separated life. She had led her husband and her children away from the peculiar people of God, for she felt that she would rather mix with the reprobate multitude than with the chosen few! She was not of the spirit that could walk with God, alone—she clung to society and to sin. Though she was running for her life, she thought of her household stuff and of the ease of Sodom—and she looked back with lingering eyes because she wanted to be there.

And it came to this, that as her eyes went back, her whole body would have gone back if time had been allowed. She already lingered. She would have soon turned. That one glance betrayed which way her soul was going! A little thing in professors may show what they are and we may readily betray the inward turning of the soul by an act as simple as that of turning the neck to look towards Sodom. This was her sin. Now, dear Friends, let us remember Lot’s wife, each one of us, by learning a personal lesson. Here is a hard thing—we must go outside the camp or utterly fail.

Can you maintain the life of God and walk with Christ and be separate from the world? Many of you cannot. You may pretend to do so, but you cannot, it is beyond you. I fear that the number of true Christians in the world is very much less than we suppose. We are encumbered with a host of people who call themselves Christians, but are as much of the world as other people—whose inheritance is in the world, whose pleasure is in the world, whose speech is worldly—and who are altogether of the world. And because they are of the world the world loves its own and, therefore, there is little or no strife between them and the world!

Alas, I fear the Church is not true to itself and, therefore, the world begins to love it. It says, “You have come to live with us and do as we do. You do not bear your awkward protests as you used to do and so we need not to burn you as we did your fathers. You are hail fellows well with us and, therefore, we will treat you kindly.” Only let as live as Christ lived and we shall find the dogs of this world howling at us as they used to do at our forefathers! My Hearers, can you live the separated life? If you can, God help you and bless you in it!

But if you cannot, remember though you do not so go into Sodom as to indulge in its most gross sins, yet the very looking at it, the wishing for it, the desiring to be there shows where your heart is and your heart’s tendency is your true character. You will be judged according to the going of your heart. If your heart goes toward the mountain to escape and if you have desired to be with Christ to be His separated follower, you shall be saved. But if your heart still goes after evil and sin, his servants you are whom you obey and from your evil master you shall get your black reward!

Here comes our remembrance of Lot’s wife in the fourth and most solemn place and that is—remember that her doom was terrible. “Remember Lots wife.” Remember that she perished with the same doom as that which happened to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah but that doom befell her at the gates of Zoar. Oh, if I must be damned, let it be with the mass of the ungodly having always been one of them! To get up to the very gates of Heaven and to perish there will be a most awful thing! To have lived with God’s people.

To have been numbered with them and to be joined to them by ties of blood—and then, after all, to perish—will be horrible, indeed! To have heard the Gospel. To have felt the Gospel, too, in a measure, and even to have amended one’s life because of it. To have escaped from the filthiest corruption of the world and to have become moral, amiable, excellent and yet to still not have been weaned from the world, not to have been divorced from sin and so to perish—the thought is intolerable!

That same brine and brimstone which fell upon the inhabitants of the four cities overtook Lot’s wife! She was on the margin of the shower and as it fell she was salted with tar—she was turned into a pillar of salt where she stood! Dreadful doom! On the verge of mercy to be slain by justice! On the brink of salvation to be the victim of eternal wrath! This came upon her all of a sudden, too. What a picture! She stops as she is fleeing—she turns her head! She scarcely looks! The gaze is not long enough to single out her own house—and, lo, she is turned into a pillar!

The fire-salt has fallen on her! She will never move again! She had not time to start or turn and, with her neck just as it was, she stands as a statue of salt—a warning to all who should pass that way. (source)

Further reading