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How Did We Make
Such an Evangelical Mess?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 | Comments (115)

You don’t have to be an astute observer of the evangelical scene to notice the unrelenting barrage of outlandish ideas, philosophies, and programs. Never in the history of the church has so much innovation met with so little critical thinking.

Giving a thoughtful biblical response becomes harder and harder all the time. Merely sorting through all the evangelical trends and recognizing which of these novelties really represent dangerous threats to the health and harmony of the church is challenging enough. Effectively answering the huge smorgasbord of accompanying errors poses an even greater dilemma. New errors sometimes seem to multiply faster than the previous ones can be answered.

To sort it all out in a godly way, cutting a straight path through the wreckage of evangelicalism, several old-fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling, and a willingness to enter into conflict.

Let’s be honest: those are not qualities the contemporary evangelical movement has cultivated. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Consider the values and motives that prompt postmodern evangelicals to do the things they do. The larger evangelical movement today is obsessed with opinion polls, brand identity, market research, merchandizing schemes, innovative strategies, and numerical growth. Evangelicals are also preoccupied with matters such as their image before the general public and before the academic world, their clout in the political arena, their portrayal by the media, and similar shallow, self-centered matters.

Maintaining a positive image has become a priority over guarding the truth.

The PR-driven church. Somewhere along the line, evangelicals bought the lie that the Great Commission is a marketing mandate. The leading strategists for church growth today are therefore all pollsters and public relations managers. In the words of Rick Warren, “If you want to advertise your church to the unchurched, you must learn to think and speak like they do.” [Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995) 189] An endless parade of self-styled church-growth specialists has been repeating that same mantra for several decades, and multitudes of Christians and church leaders now accept the idea uncritically. Both their message to the world and the means by which they communicate that message have been carefully tailored by consumer relations experts to appeal to worldly minds.

Many church leaders have radically changed the way they look at the gospel. Rather than seeing it as a message from God that Christians are called to proclaim as Christ’s ambassadors (without tampering with it or changing it in any way), they now treat it like a commodity to be sold at market. Rather than plainly preaching God’s Word in a way that unleashes the power and truth of it, they try desperately to package the message to make it subtler and more appealing to the world.

Runaway pragmatism and trivial pursuit. The most compelling question in the minds and on the lips of many pastors today is not “What’s true?” but rather “What works?” Evangelicals these days care less about theology than they do about methodology. Truth has taken a backseat to more pragmatic concerns. When a person is trying hard to customize one’s message to meet the “felt needs” of one’s audience, earnestly contending for the faith is out of the question.

That is precisely why, for many years now, evangelical leaders have systematically embraced and fostered almost every worldly, shallow, and frivolous idea that comes into the church. A pathological devotion to superficiality has practically become the chief hallmark of the movement. Evangelicals are obsessed with pop culture, and they ape it fanatically. Contemporary church leaders are so busy trying to stay current with the latest fads that they rarely give much sober thought to weightier scriptural matters.

In the typical evangelical church, even Sunday services are often devoted to the trivial pursuit of worldly things. After all, churches are competing for attention in a media-driven world. So the church vainly tries to put on a bigger, flashier spectacle than the world.

Evangelical fad surfing. Contemporary evangelicals have therefore become very much like “children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4: 14). They follow whatever is the latest popular trend. They buy whatever is the current best seller. They line up to see any celebrity who speaks spiritual-sounding language. They watch eagerly for the next Hollywood movie with any “spiritual” theme or religious imagery that they can latch on to. And evangelicals discuss these fads and fashions endlessly, as if every cultural icon that captures their attention had profound and serious spiritual significance.

Evangelical churchgoers desperately want their churches to stay on the leading edge of whatever is currently in vogue in the evangelical community. It almost seems like ancient history now, but for a while, any church that wanted to be in fashion had to sponsor seminars on how to pray the prayer of Jabez. But woe to the church that was still doing Jabez when The Purpose-Driven Life took center stage. By then, any church that wanted to retain its standing and credibility in the evangelical movement had better be doing “Forty Days of Purpose.” And if your church didn’t get through the “Forty Days” in time to host group studies or preach a series of sermons about The Da Vinci Code before the Hollywood movie version came out, then your church was considered badly out of touch with what really matters.

It is too late now if you missed any of those trends. To use the language of the movement, they are all so five minutes ago. If your church is just now experimenting with Emerging-style worship, candles, postmodern liturgy, and the like, then you are clearly way behind—that train already left the station…and crashed.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that all those trends are equally bad. Some of them are not necessarily bad at all. For example, there can be great benefit in teaching a congregation how to respond to something like The Da Vinci Code. But contemporary evangelicals have been conditioned to anticipate and follow every fad with an almost mindless herd mentality. They sometimes seem to move from fad to fad with an uninhibited and undiscerning eagerness that does leave them exposed to things that may well be spiritually lethal. In fact, the question of whether the latest trend is dangerous or not is not a welcome question in most evangelical circles anymore. Whatever happens to be popular at the moment is what drives the whole evangelical agenda.

That mentality is precisely what Paul warned against in Ephesians 4:14. It has left evangelical Christians dangerously exposed to trickery, deceitfulness, and unsound doctrine. It has also left them completely unequipped to practice any degree of true biblical discernment.

The sad truth is that the larger part of the evangelical movement is already so badly compromised that sound doctrine has almost become a nonissue.

The mad pursuit of nondoctrinal “relevancy.” Even at the very heart of the evangelical mainstream, where you might expect to find some commitment to biblical doctrine and at least a measure of concern about defending the faith, what you find instead is a movement utterly dominated by people whose first concern is to try to keep in step with the times in order to be “relevant.”

Sound doctrine? Too arcane for the average churchgoer. Biblical exposition? That alienates the unchurched. Clear preaching on sin and redemption? Let’s be careful not to subvert the self-esteem of hurting people. The Great Commission? Our most effective strategy has been making the church service into a massive Super Bowl party. Serious discipleship? Sure. There’s a great series of group studies based on The Matrix trilogy. Let’s work our way through that. Worship where God is recognized as high and lifted up? Get real. We need to reach people on the level where they are.

Evangelicals and their leaders have doggedly pursued that same course for several decades now—in spite of many clear biblical instructions that warn us not to be so childish (in addition to Eph. 4:14, see also 1 Cor. 14:20; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Heb. 5:12-14).

What’s the heart of the problem? It boils down to this:many inthe evangelical movement have forgotten who is Lord over the church. They have either abandoned or downright rejected their true Head and given His rightful place to evangelical pollsters and church-growth gurus.


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#1  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Tuesday, March 02, 2010at 8:16 PM

I feel i have to agree with you. Im only in high school and don't know enough about the scripture yet to actually voice my opinion. Yet, I agree with you strongly on this subject. Evangelical people have been leaning more to worldly views than they should and it makes me sad to see this. This nation of ours has been slowly on a backwards track from God. Technically i strongly believe that have lost the fear of God. People who claim to fallow God but yet work for profit more than the knowledge that people need God seems completely wrong. Especially since Jesus said in Matt 10:9-10 not to acquire money. Well anyways, I don't know why I'm leaving this comment. I might even be wrong in the things I wrote, but thats just what i believe from what scripture i know.

#2  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 4:05 AM

Well Christopher, you may 'only be a teenager' but your post shows more discernment than many adults in what passes for Christianity today. They say the youth rebel against their parents generation - I certainly hope our youth rebel against the shallowness of many of todays evangelicals! Keep learning and discerning and most importantly keep the faith. Your point about No Fear of God is right on target. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

What we see in Evangelicism today is a reflection of the people....

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

But we are to: 2 Timothy 4:1-4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

The "people" are getting exactly the kind of teachers they desire to have. And the prescription is to Preach the Word - that's what people need "even today", it's not some new thing they need, some new relevant way of doing church. It's the Gospel that they need in every age! I have found that it is very common, when contending for the Gospel, to be accused of being divisive. Then they will whip some quote out about unity and loving (totally out of context as I show them). Todays people are often more about uniting in love even at the expense of teh Gospel instead of contending for the faith. As if God wants us to forgo the gospel for 'peace'. That is assuredly a false peace and we know where that leads! Only In Christ (born again believers) can we even be united in love.

This part in the opening post references what post moderns say: We need to reach people on the level where they are. Well, I daresay that IS exactly right, they just don't see how right they really are when they say that! The "level where they are" is in sin and in need of Salvation and the prescription is still to preach the word! Sinful man has always been sinful man until saved by Grace. That hasn't changed. We know God never changes. The problem (sin) therefore, and the solution (The Word) haven't changed either.

We hear about and see what goes on in many churches, the utter foolishness, the outrageous behavior of 'televangelists', and I think "have these people and their followers lost their minds?" They must have to believe any of that garbage.

Much of the Evangelical Christianity looks like a bad circus. I wonder if that's how Martin Lutehr felt when going to Rome and seeing all the 'buying and selling'.....? There is indeed nothing new under the sun.

Shauna Bryant

#3  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 4:05 AM

I feel like a linebacker in the locker room before a game. The coach just gave the most inspiring talk ever and now I wanna rush the field and mow down every opponent dumb enough to get in the way. This is exactly what believers need to be embracing...a return of primacy to God and His Word! We must decrease so that He might increase!

#4  Posted by James H Russell  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 4:40 AM

My feelings exactly, Mike! Except as a 300lb defensive lineman -- linebackers were scrawny -- I read Dr. MacArthur and want to bust through the line and sack the Q-back! We need to pray for one that we will remain true! God's Speed

Jhr

jrussell@bju.edu

#5  Posted by James H Russell  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 4:43 AM

Thanks for your note, Chris! ??? You show good discernment! Keep your eyes in scripture and your knees on the ground, Buddy!

jrussell@bju.edu

#6  Posted by HING SHUM  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 6:39 AM

My pastor warned us about the postmodernism affecting the church in the late 90s, sadly its been true for the past decade. Most church growth gurus or so called church leadership gurus replaced conviction with convention, they promote a form of godliness but denied its power (II Tim 3). Somehow evagelicals think attracting people to come and stay is the primary step, church must be loving and non confrontative, whatever a well articulated christian business man/celebrity says is truth as long as he ended with couple of quotations from the bible (no matter how out of context it is or how many worldly methods are mixed in it) because they have the star power!

Satan do not prosecute the church in the free world but just corrupts it from within - just takes the good and comforting part of it; you can even acts according to the goodness in the bible or pray as long as you are far from Christ the true Lord.. Sadly the evanglicals nowadays only measured by numbers, forms, catchy themes, 40days programs, 7 times weekly method, good children programs, entertaining fellowships, great building facilties for families... once the number grows and people resist of listening to praching on sins and repentence, turning back is just too much ego let down of the leaders and further compromise the situations. The warnings to 7 churches in Revelation served as a great reminder - "what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place "

#7  Posted by Mike Dillon  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 6:50 AM

I am a 24 year-old single male. I fall in to the age category in which appears to be missing from churches. I often hear Christian radio hosts panically discussing this issue and how we should reach out to this unchurched/lost group of people. What a subtle but blatant display of pride! We are told in Romans that the Gospel is the power of God for saving souls. That may be a short statement but it carries a tremendous amount of depth. The Gospel is God's power to save souls. That's it, nothing else. Not marketing schemes to make church more 'relevant' for young adults. THE GOSPEL IS ONLY IRRELEVANT WHEN YOU DO NOT SEE A NEED FOR IT. First, we must clearly know what the Gospel is. Secondly, we must always acknowledge our need for it, show people their need for it, and minister to those who know they need it. I thank God for leaders like MacArthur in whom God uses to help deliver people like me from the oh so subtle lies of the evil one to a full knowledge of the Truth!

#8  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 7:47 AM

Christopher,

I have four teenage sons and I only hope they see the crisis in today's church as clearly as you do.When I see comments like yours it gives me hope for the next generation.Don't apologize for your youth,just continue to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 3:18.

#9  Posted by James Mickle  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 8:47 AM

I can hardly type these words as my heart is crushed from the reality of a life lived for self that has set its course on fire. Broken home; broken business; bad choices and utter despondancy. While I wish to blame heretical teaching for this happening in my life, I'm the one who sacrificed the Godly heritage of my grandparents and their biblical influence on me, for this "pablum" of itching ears new age garbage. I am grateful for the grace of God that has allowed me to see my error in time. I'm thankful for the resources made available by Pastor macArthur and the encouragement from you posters, to return to biblical Godliness! Let us, "earnestly contend for the Faith.."; there is nothing else worthy of His precious time granted to us!

#10  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 9:06 AM

James,

Welcome back to the fold.I too forsook my Christian heritage for awhile and lived a life for self.But thanks to some persistent Christian friends and ministries like GTY I returned with a renewed zeal for God and His truth.God has since blessed me with a wonderful wife and four great boys.He will bless you as you stay faithful to Him.Keep up the "good fight" 1 Timothy 6:12.My prayers will be with you as you are not in this fight alone.

#11  Posted by James H Russell  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 9:08 AM

Hey, Jim...

I'm not a teary-eyed kind of guy, but you're post brought a tear or two. Hang in there! Ever run track in high school or college? I was a shot-putter and my coach made us run a "fat-man's" race...and I took up running in my 30's. Bottomline: sometimes we're sidelined because of injuries: self-inflicted, stumbles, trips, etc. Sure, the start and the run are important, but it's the FINISH, friend! Keep on keeping on: the prize is before us!

Jhr jrussell@bju.edu

#12  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 9:37 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#13  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 9:55 AM

For almost most of human history the state of God's "people" (Jewish or Christian) has been a mess. The religious life in Jesus' time was HUGE mess, the "church" prior to the Reformation was a sespool of corruption for a long time, and the early church faced threat after threat. This is because of 2 main reasons -- Satanic influneces and human weakness to stand up against the current culture. When times are good, you can be sure it won't last long, and then it will take a colossal effort to fix things up. The "fixup," if it comes, is usualy some horrendous event, like war, invasion, economic collapse, etc. -- and that is directly where this country is headed for.

Buit today is different like never before in all of human history. As brave a stand as people like John MacArthur take, because of the fast-paced, media driven culture we live in the enemies of good teaching propogate their evil stuff at lightening speed, so fast that the good people just can't keep up with them in countering the dangers.

My point is that the defenders of solid teaching simply can not win. The main reason as to "How We Made Such an Eevangelical Mess" is very much an issue of technology. TV, Internet, texting, cell phones, etc--all these brief shallow communication forms, dull people's minds in general, and that plays into the hands on the bad teachers because people do not think as deeply as they could, and when the mind is shallow and empty, wrong doctrine can take grip much more easily. How do you fight against this? It is next to impossible. We must always defend the trurh but there are technological and societal forces at work never seen before that make the defense extremely diffucult.

#14  Posted by Russell Carroll  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:01 AM

Mike Sexton said:

"I feel like a linebacker in the locker room before a game. The coach just gave the most inspiring talk ever and now I wanna rush the field and mow down every opponent dumb enough to get in the way."

So you would rather go to war with Rick Warren over his methods for increasing the Kingdom rather than to wage war against sin in ones own camp that limits ones own individual effectiveness?

#15  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:03 AM

In all of this I try to keep the long-term overall perspective, looking to our blessed hope! The real "root" of the problem goes back to scripture and God's plan for the ages. The New Testament has many references to false teachers infiltrating the church "not sparing the flock" (even in the 1st century) and indications that such will only get worse, not better, throughout the Church Age until our Lord returns. We certainly don't like seeing it, but we should not be surprised. Horatius Bonar said it well, 150+ years ago, regarding the Church Age:"With reference to the Church, the interval is evil, not good; dark, not bright. During all this period she is a little flock,—a lily among thorns. Her lot is tribulation, persecution, shame, and tears! As an oppressed widow, she cries against her adversary day and night, “How long, O Lord! how long?” Satan rages on every side, seeking to devour her. The world, like a flood, circles her about with its swelling waves. The haters of the Master are haters of the servant too. Nor does time soften the hostility or abate the persecution. The evil increases, the darkness thickens into deeper darkness as the crisis approaches. Satan pours forth his fiercest, fullest rage when the time of his binding draws near. And, besides all these, the absence of the Bridegroom keeps her sad and weary. So long as he is not with her, earth must be a wilderness, even though no enemy threatened, no sorrow wounded, and tempest wasted her. Nothing but His return can satisfy her."

#16  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:09 AM

I see a problem in our churches. Big communities have many churches in them and they do not work with each other. I know there are a lot of conflicts between churches and there own theological ideas. yet i believe the churches need to set aside there differences and work together to bring people to Christ. We are suppost to be one body in Christ Jesus. So why do we have conflicts between churches in our communities. People need to put aside these differences and every now and then work together in the community to save the lives of people who are lost.

#17  Posted by Ernest Cisneros  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:19 AM

James,

"one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13,14

Ernie

#18  Posted by Ernest Cisneros  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:26 AM

Alex,

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

#19  Posted by Ernest Cisneros  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:45 AM

Chisopher,

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple swhom Jesus loved following, ... 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

22 Jesus said to him, ... what is that to you? You follow Me.”

#20  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:50 AM

Ernest:

What is the point of your response? What I was saying is that whatever mess we are in now, it became a mess in ways like previous messes never developed, and still to cleanup such a mess will probably take a "horrific" event -- and that is how God has worked in the past anyway--no different. So I do not understand what you are driving at. Jeremiah et. al all boldy stood for truth and still national judgement was not averted, etc.

#21  Posted by Trish Jansen  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 10:54 AM

James Mickles, I know how that feels. I have been there. In 2008 My whole lifed changed literally. It was like experiencing what Job had lived through. I can say, without any doubt, that I sit here now sharing this with you because of the Lord Jesus Christ. He rescued me when I though I could not go on another day. Every day He has helped me make it through the day and each day I get stronger. I know psalms 116 was written for me. I know have the Word of God and my testimony. Like you, our testimony shows how mightly God works for those who truly seek Him.

Trish

#22  Posted by Ernest Gregoire  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 11:38 AM

Great commentary from John Mac Arthur as usual!

I just fired off an e-mail to Dr. Albert Mohler, a very big name in Christianity and a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration.

I was responding to his reason (excuse) for signing the MD. This kind of equivocation is sickening! It is also very distressing when I consider the source. I have always held Dr. Mohler in high esteem and regarded his radio teaching as non-compromising; until now that is.

Any size hole will sink a ship if it is ignored for long enough! The MD is a classic example of what John Mac Arthur is talking about here. The disease of apostasy is wide spread and getting worse. When a rank and file Christian like me can discern things that multi-degreed Christian leaders cannot, there is something wrong with this pudding indeed! It stinks!

Evangelicals are rushing headlong into a dangerous course that leads them to Rome, eventually.

If these are not the last days, then they’ll do as such until the real ones come along.

Maranatha!

#23  Posted by James H Russell  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 12:44 PM

Alexander, we both know that the enemy is sowing tares (albeit while the godly are sleeping), and yet, how can the righteous win? (I know we will only because I read the last chapters of Revelation ;-) Technology didn't blindside our God! and His command "preach the Word" is still in effect. So, we must be found faithful....

I wonder why churches are trying to appeal to the unsaved, and why would an unsaved person even want to come to a Gospel preaching church? (I am not saying the Gospel should not be preached: we bring our unsaved children, and the Gospel is important to our sanctification. It should be preached). But, am I not to be equiped to go into the world and disciple others? and the new believer into the assembly?

Mike was making an anology about a football coach's peptalk. Like any parable, I looked at, appreciated, and empathized with his major emphasis. :-)

Grace/jhr

#24  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 1:01 PM

Ernest Cisneros, I understand what you are saying. Yet it does say that they are to geather the tares and burn them after they grow. But when is that. When will the crop be ready and we destroy the tares. Oh never mind i just noticed it was in revelation. I was thinking it would happen in an eathly form, but God will destroy the tares and cast them into the fire durring the revalation time. I just answered my own question. If im wrong please tell me.

#25  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 2:27 PM

Much to say, but for now, less is more.

I read early this morning, but no time to reply. I smiled most deeply, that Christopher, a young person of this evil world was the only person to have replied at that point and to raise the voice of Truth in response. A True testimony of God in operation and that the world is now so sick to vomit level that the youth of our generationally increasing depravity is enough to drive people back to God! I'm 43 years young Christopher and I didnt have your wisdom at high school age, only the wit, back then, rather than wisdom to overcome evil. Bless you and may God increase your voice. We are all children of God, never adults, but mature we do and you show a sincere maturity indeed! Let that increase in the Word!

I also loved Johns title for this blog entry..."How did WE make this evangelical mess"

Taking responsibility, cos oh yes, we all did make this mess! Not one of us is clean from this evangelical mess at all. Not one of us have not failed in the causation of this. Not one of us has not contributed to this mess.

God bless you John Macarthur and GTY ministry for recognising that fact and being in strenght enough to be on knees enough to realise that fact and therefore forthright enough to take responsibility for this, speak out and make the right ammends In Christ.

Evidence of the True 'we' anmd the one True body, rising in him!

If only all ministries cos say how did 'we' and be so radical and revolutionary!

#26  Posted by Alan Samuel  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 2:37 PM

I totally agree. I live in Vancouver,British Columbia, Canada, and in my short 10 years of being a believer I have been to several churches, and seen a whole lot of lack of Biblical Discernment, it's very disturbing. Until I started reading the Word of God and studying it, could I have any sense of discernment, unfortunately many well intentioned believers trust in their feelings, and other ideas rather than on the Word of God.

#27  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 2:38 PM

" cos "

"could"

...my grammar is bad enough without typos:-)

#28  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 2:44 PM

Russell

I guess no one is understanding whar I am sayig. The topic of this blog is "How Did We Make Such an Evangelical Mess", and what I am saying is the "Evangelical mess" is also significantly attributed to technology factors. TV, Internet, video games, ipod, cell phones, chat rooms--all the ways in which people in our culture are forced to thiink short, fast, quick, shallow, etc And when the human brain is dumbed down to such a low level, you are goig to get your "Evangelical mess" a lot faster and quicker and stronger. Of course we should always preach the truth, but what I am saying is that it is just going to have less effect to correct any "mess" than in previous generations. Youi can have a long string of John MacArthurs, RC Spouls, and guess what?--nothing in this modern western church culture is really going to change as a result of them all. I mean these guys are older men now and have been on the scene for a long time, right?, and the evangelical "church"is still going down and down and down. Nothing is getting better. Why? Because for every good sermon or teaching these men produce, 100 bad teachings and sermons will be propogated along the technological highways that they, we, all have access to.

Things like the Internet have opened the floodgates of "garbage in" like humans have never before been subjected to.

#29  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 3:01 PM

"TV, Internet, video games, ipod, cell phones, chat rooms--all the ways in which people in our culture are forced to thiink short, fast, quick, shallow, etc And when the human brain is dumbed down to such a low level, you are goig to get your "Evangelical mess"

You are wrong! Such things just highlight the lack of real discernment and the reliance on things which delude and are of the flesh. ie vision, eyesight, body position, eye contact. etc. If a person needs such things they are not capable of thinking on their feet in Christ at all, they are vulnerable, their hearts are wide open!

People already are dumbed down by relying on the igod self of discernment through false mediums, visibly and physically, the heart can be seen clearly and Truly even over internet for and with those with full discernment.

So your views are taking us back to insanity entirely!

If God himself walked in a chatroom, ipod, text, or on the net, wuld you know him? Or would you not? Does God stand infront of you, visibly, no he does not, but he is absolutely tangible as is the Truth and heart of those in him everywhere and those not in him everywhere!

The internet does not open the floodgates of evil, but Truth. It is written that the ENTIRE floodgate is opened and will be, we cant blame the internet or technology, but man can only blame himself if he refuses to heed the Truth that is right out there on all mediums for him to hear. None with excuse. I'd love to here the 'guy' at judgement that said, not me, that chat room, cellphone, internet connection, x box game - wouldnt you? Sin, always! No excuse!

#30  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 3:14 PM

"Such things just highlight the lack of real discernment ..."

Yes they do, but who can argue against the fact that these things also foster a type of environment that make lack of discerment more prominent, easier and possible?

You have to train people to be discerning. It does not come natural to sinful man. And the kind of technoloigal culture we live in just has so many ways to kill the mind.

You think I am wrong? Well, just compare kids of this generation to that of 40-50 yaars ago. Everyone can see the difference. I do not know a single older person who can't see a vast difference, or a single older person who would wish to have grown up in this age.

That is what I am getting at.

#31  Posted by John Kelsie  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 3:21 PM

James Mickle:

May God continue to bless you and your ministry mightily for you have ministered here on today.

#32  Posted by Mark Smith  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 3:31 PM

When you attend a Church or listen to someone preach on TV or radio try to think like you never heard the Gospel before. I have done this and it is surprising how many preachers I have listened to that do not make a clear and complete presentation of the Gospel. How many people that are not saved after listening to some of these preachers have no better understanding of the Gospel? I have heard many so called gospel presentations that never mention the resurrection. I almost always here that God loves you, but no explanation of who that God is or what he has done to show mankind his love. If clear preaching of the Gospel is not being done, I believe all other teaching that is done by that teacher is suspect. Know your Bible and you will know who to listen to.

#33  Posted by James H Russell  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 5:24 PM

Hey, Mark:

I think you're 100% right! Some go into "overdrive" trying to dillute the Gospel because it is unacceptable to the unsaved; rather we all should clearly present the Gospel to show the unsaved they are unacceptable to God without Christ.

#34  Posted by Mark Smith  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 6:02 PM

Hi James:

I also can not remember the last time I heard that people need to be saved because that would mean that people are in trouble and perishing and we dont want to be negative. Jesus is presented as a good life choise not as the Savior and the only hope for the forgiveness of sins.

#35  Posted by Mark Smith  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 6:08 PM

Sorry misspelled choice.

#36  Posted by Ernest Cisneros  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 6:39 PM

Sorry, Alexander I been gone all day

Chrisopher in post #24 You are getting it.

James Russell in Post 23 said it, (to him I say "Amen").

We are to Glorify God and injoy Him forever.

Hing Shum in post#6 said

Satan do not prosecute the church in the free world but just corrupts it from within - just takes the good and comforting part of it; you can even acts according to the goodness in the bible or pray as long as you are far from Christ the true Lord.. Sadly the evanglicals nowadays only measured by numbers, forms, catchy themes, 40days programs, 7 times weekly method, good children programs, entertaining fellowships, great building facilties for families... once the number grows and people resist of listening to praching on sins and repentence, turning back is just too much ego let down of the leaders and further compromise the situations. The warnings to 7 churches in Revelation served as a great reminder - "what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place ".

What is Happening is they are Glorifing themselves and not God, they are injoying themselves,

and not God.

When we look to the Word and Pray, Then Wisdom will come.

Wisdom calls aloud outside;

She raises her voice in the open squares.

She cries out in the chief concourses,

At the openings of the gates in the city

She speaks her words:

“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?

For scorners delight in their scorning,

And fools hate knowledge.

Turn at my rebuke;

Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;

I will make my words known to you.

Because I have called and you refused,

I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,

Because you disdained all my counsel,

And would have none of my rebuke,

I also will laugh at your calamity;

I will mock when your terror comes,

When your terror comes like a storm,

And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,

When distress and anguish come upon you.

"Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;

They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.

Because they hated knowledge

And did not choose the fear of the Lord,

Our Lord said.

"on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."

Amen and Amen "Come Lord Jesus"

God Bless You all, Good Night

#37  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 6:43 PM

Yea and it doesn't just stop with needing Jesus as our only hope. Then people question the law of the bible saying that it was only relevant during that time in history and has no affect on how we should live today. So not only do people believe that fallowing God is "a good life choice" but when they do fallow they don't fully obey the law. Does scripture say that if you love me (referring to Christ) than you will fallow all my commands.

#38  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 6:56 PM

Thos eof us born again do keep His commandments, and surely, as Gods Words says, his commandments are not grieveous!

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38This is the first and great commandment.

39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

The narrow road not the wide self righteous one!

Shauna

#39  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 7:07 PM

Thanks I needed to hear those scriptures. I need to start looking up the quotes from the bible i use because I'm on the edge of making them up and thats completely not good. Everyone here that has posted seems so knowledgeable. I strive to have the knowledge all you have. That is one of the reasons I keep posting on here. You all help me so much and I am very grateful.

#40  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Wednesday, March 03, 2010at 7:58 PM

Chrispoher,

Immerse yourself in Gods Word - that is what will give you that knowedge! You are fortunate to be young and have such a desire for Gods Word - I have sometimes thought of the many years of studying God's word that I wasted when I wasn't saved. Try this sermon about the law: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-178_The-Purpose-of-the-Law?q=keeping+the+law

and this one: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-285_Redeemed-from-the-Curse-of-the-Law?q=keeping+the+law

Then this one: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-303_Free-from-the-Law-Yet-Free-to-Obey?q=keeping+the+law

These will give you an excellent understanding of the Law!

Happy listening,

Shauna

#41  Posted by Jerry Slade  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 6:29 AM

James-It is never too late to be aware of one's need for truth, particularly when one is fortunate enough to be led to John MacArthur's teachings and others similar. Every day I admonish myself for spending so many years in a series of churches that didn't expound the truth of scripture regularly and emphatically. I can look back to the almost four years since I was exposed to these teachings and see a lot of growth in my life but much more yet to overcome. I would encourage you to keep in the Word of Truth and renew your mind. God Bless you much.

#42  Posted by David Montague  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 7:32 AM

I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you Pastor MacArthur for this ministry. I tried to post this on a previous post topic, but the blogging for it was closed! I have been reading, listening and watching your ministry for about a year now, and what an amazing growth in knowledge of God's word I have gained from it! I thank God that He has gifted people such as you to help us see more clearly His word. Your teaching and preaching has been a great asset in my spiritual growth. Once again, Thank You, and God bless you, you're ministry and family!

#43  Posted by Kelly M  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 9:34 AM

Alexander & Shona,

Alex: I understand precisely what you are saying. It helps, though, that I used to teach a high school media analysis course. My fiancee and I frequently discuss the direct relationship of mass media to the spiritual state of man.

Shona: I highly recommend you get your hands on the book: Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. It gives a compelling explanation of how the media metaphor shift (getting our info mainly from "the screen" such as internet, tv, movies, ipods, etc. rather than textual sources such as books, newspapers, etc.) is affecting the way we think and process information.

As Marshall McLuhan so wisely said "The medium IS the message." (Emphasis added)

The medium is the message is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. (Taken from Wikipedia, but cross referenced to confirm validity.)

#44  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 12:29 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#45  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 2:15 PM

Kelly M:

If you want to take this to a whole other level, watch the John MacArthur video series on the web site. "Christian Parenting" he stated mind-bogling facta that in the deade before television there were just 700 (going by bad memory) cases of child criminal acitivity in the whole nation, but 10 years later that number incresded 8,000 (or 80,000)%. JM explnation was that before the age of TV and mass media PARENTS and TEACHERS ONLY controled what children took in, but when TV came around, children were exposed to adult themes and topics much earlier than they were phychologically prepared for (and thus the dramatic rise in child crime), and the parents and teachers LOST CONTROL of what kids see.

I heard elsewhere the average age a kid was first exposed to porn used to be about 12-13, but now it is 5 FIVE! years old. Now is that because parents are allowing that, or is it becasue they can hardly control it anymore what and when their children see what and where/when they (kids) see it? Answer is obvious.

Although this does not have anything to do with the "evangeligal mess," it is totally mind boggling the NEGATIVE effect of mass media on us all--children and adults. For anyone who has grown up in the era of TV and mass-media, they have no way to compare and make comparisons to judge this, but adults nowadays can compare the before-Internet and after-Intenet age, and see the big difference just this one form of medium has had. It breeds superficialty, especially superficial relationahips and communication (chat rooms, etc,) at almost all levels.

And this then trickles down to the "evangelical mess," via lack of discernment, lack deeper thinking etc., etc.

#46  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 2:19 PM

# 44 -Alexander.

I think it does have to do with the evangelical mess. I agree with you on the media thing. Postmodernism + immediate gratification = no discernment.

A movie was made of a book and the director was explaining the differences between one form of communication and the other. He says that the written form leads us into thinking, to get what's going on you actually have to pay attention to the words. Whereas on film people don't have the need to think and consider what they are seeing, it goes straight into their minds without filtering anything. That is so true! So, the more we expose ourselves to mindless, senseless information, guess what, the more like that we get, and we loose our capacity of clearly analise. We just take everything in!! It's no wonder every single add on tv is geared a 5-7 year-old mind: because whatever ability of reasoning we have, we turn that off!

I also agree with the internet. We can see how positive it can be, but just think about blogs for a minute. =) Everyone's got their own opinion, and everyone is entitle to their opinion, and if you don't like it, well, move on. How many times we read "opinions" and take them as truth? Not even the Berean people were that gullible!

Shona, I understand your point, but think of this, which I think you don't take in consideration: to the UN-regenarated heart/mind, anything that "sounds" good and give "good feelings" must be the truth. Not one of us, not a single one, can find or seek the truth if not by the will of God! Add to our total innability the total "refuse" our leardship to stick to the truth (those that actually know some of it, that is), we get part of the mess.

I don't understand why expository preaching is not popular among the leaders. A friend who is a pastor, I asked him how he makes his sermons, he says he chooses a topic and fits the scripture in it! ha ha Furthermore, told me that teaching the bible within its grammar, history, geography context is totally overrated!

E.

#47  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 3:51 PM

Kelly, Thankyou for the book links, but without mali.e, i shall not be reading at all. One look and i have lived it, written it an it is nonsense, total. You would not like my 15 year old daughter in one of your .lasses os she would leave that book and your tea.hing, legless. (Exuse me i have a missing letter 'sea' on this keyboard).

I am more than happy to live in this age and mudslide, total, it requires those with feet and not malaying to paranoid fear and Truth reje.tion. The deeper it goes, the more a privelege it is.

I understand totally media, objets, people and brains but will not be .otowed to this fear indu.ing nonsnse.

It really reminds me off a su.,esion of jehovah witnesses to my home. the se.ond after they learnt they wouldnt get pearls for pigs was, arent you s.ared for your .hildren in this environment.

The response with a big smile was NO, its great, they love it, .os its all prophesied and it is written and this mess is eviden.e. It ex.ites my hildren rather than leave them with fear.

A few weeks later, they .ame bak, i had hardly even opened the door when the ringleader started violently waving his fist in my fa.e. I had said nothing, done nothing. I pointed up, didnt even open mouth at all, and he shook with terror an they literally run out my gate. Not been seen sin.e

Why are you here?

Interestingly on the topi. you raise, it eviden.es how good John is as i like most spent seonds on a webpage an Johns arti.les are way too long for internet audien.e, but i sit through and read them? Why is dthat? .os they open the dimmed brain parts others think have permanantly .losed

Why psyhology and psyhiatry is a mess too.....

#48  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 4:00 PM

Ps i have no more time for 'amusement' than i do for 'sor.atil' like fear inuing nonsense of the seond author in question. The medium is the Gospel whih will survive for all time over every medium as we .an all see.

#49  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 4:03 PM

John Bryant,

Thanks for pointing those sermons out to me. I now have a better understanding of the law than I did before. And as everyone has been talking about, the internet and TV have dulled down our thinking capabilities. We look for "visual aids" more than reading and forming our own ideas. Technically i got tired of TV programs and just stopped watching TV altogether. There are not many things on TV that are good for our walk with Christ. I know there are some good shows but there are not many which is saddening.

#50  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 4:17 PM

I agree, Kelly M., but here is anohter side to this.

While it is true that within a google-millisecond, with the touch of a key stroke, we can have junk philosophy, junk theology and junk science, this unfortunate mixed bag of sour fruit did not start with the mass media, nor have we ever needed, as a society, this type of mass media to proliferate such stuff. YES, as things progress and as the world moves closer to the Lord’s return, things WILL GET WORSE, but the seeds of bad thinking started long before the inception of T.V., idiot pods and the Internet.

At one time Jean Jacques Rousseau, in his essay, A Discourse on the Sciences and Arts, blamed the progression of the sciences and the arts as causing the corruption of virtue and morality. Where did all of this start? Who and what do *WE* blame, Adam and Eve, the printing press, or the mere fact that man suppresses the truth about God and wants to be autonomous?

Take for example, The Age of Reason. It was primarily an age of intellectual pursuit. With the Dark Ages far behind, and the threat no longer looming that one would be burnt at the stake for having thoughts dissimilar to the Roman Church, it was a veritable heyday for philosophical and demonic thought. People were free to be ME, so to speak. Intellectual ponderings rendered all kinds of deviant, godless theories.

The Age of Reason brought heresies abundant, like grapes dripping on the vine, which only shows that there is nothing new under the sun. There was dualism, pantheism, and deism. Not to mention philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche, who said, “God is dead.” And long before that, Plato, who believed in transmigration of the soul, and Rene Descartes’ famous blurb, “I think therefore I am.” Not “I am” because God created me. We have been through existentialism, humanism, liberalism, rationalism, empiricism, Sabellianism, Pelagianism, and a myriad of other ism’s. We are just perpetuating old ghostly theories in new clothes and at a faster hyper-rate of speed, in nano, milliseconds.

But at least they were THINKING back then, and READING. With the current age of communication the way it is, we rely on sound bites, not just sounds bites, though, it is MINI sound bites, not to keep us engrossed longer then our short attention spans are good for, after all there is a nap somewhere in there for our over-taxed brains. Then there are snippets, and excerpts, which many people rely on to give them the correct view of the doctrines of grace, but it still preferable to reading anything Dave Hunt has to say on Calvinism.

Then again, who even needs the media for information or enlightenment, Thomas Paine declared in his book, The Age of Reason, “My own mind is my own church.” So we can all stay home from church and commune with our own minds, and forgo the wisdom of anyone greater than ourselves. Isn’t this exactly what the unchurched do?

So, while I do agree that mass media has made the birth pains exponentially increase, the inception of wrong thinking has been a burden shared by men throughout all of history, and nothing is new under the sun except for the rate of speed it takes to engulf the person who google’s his life away.

Here is what JM said in his article: “To sort it all out in a godly way, cutting a straight path through the wreckage of evangelicalism, several old-fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling, and a willingness to enter into conflict.”

Who outside of Christ can claim any of these virtues? No one. So let the worldly-wise flourish, we have a more sure word: God’s Word. But take heed lest we all become “wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever (2 Peter 2:17).”

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ [is] God's (1 Cor 3:18-23).

#51  Posted by Trevia Jimenez  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 5:51 PM

@Shona Cohen

Sis! what is with your 'c' key?! The geek in me is having a fit. LOL Type on....type on.

#52  Posted by randell danner  |  Thursday, March 04, 2010at 8:28 PM

I believe the bottom line is that America has buried the truth in a sea of westernized ideology and a culturely induced church. People are caught up in the latest fads and "moves of God" and have forgotten how to walk the walk much less talk the talk. Through it all the Body of Christ has not lost its mind but its mind of Christ. The church is a headless horseman riding aimlessly through the earth and yet thinking (iron because how can one think without a mind) all the while all their mindless tactics are impacting the world and not realizing the world is impacting and invading the church. The poet Wordsworth said, "the world is too much with us." I do not know if he was a believer but the quote is true of the church today. How will we turn the world upside down when it has turned us downside up. In other words we are sitting on our brains and thinking with-well i won't finish the sentence for fear of having my comments denied by the user of whom i have much respect. Of course the charismatic church has nothing to worry about since they have figured out how to bypass the brain and emotions and move straight into the "spirit."

#53  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 9:41 AM

@ Trevia.

LOL, due to undue care and attention of a littlie with liquid, it ended up over the laptop. Before i could jump over to remove power, black screen, dead laptop. 8 hours wrapped in towel down back of radiator, it was rescucitated. No keys working though. After a good wash most keys work again now, bar some function keys and the letter C. So, I have to plug in an additional keyboard now. But, just to top it off, ive had a virus for weeks now and managed to cough my back out of place completely yesterday, so am currently a cross between walking doubled over, lol, or crawling around to get stuff done. So, id done two posts last night, sat with keyboard, couldnt take the agony sat in chair with keyboard attached anymore, so crawled to bed and used the broken laptop keyboard for other posts.

Praise the Lord for inspiring man to make washing machine 'on' buttons reachable from the floor, supermakret floor coverings slippery enough to kick a basket round with your feet eh, he covers all eventualities.

And of course in this evangelical mess age where the gospel is still the message, no matter the medium, when a letter goes wonky on a keyboard if is the C key - praise Him again. If we write 'hrist', everyone knows we mean Christ cos The C can't be taken out of anything without Him still being visible. Id concern if the 'u' key packed in cos the last thing God wants missing is 'you';-)

#54  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 10:44 AM

So how can we fix this evangelistic mess we are in?

#55  Posted by Landon Webb  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 10:45 AM

RE post #14 by Russell Carrol:

"So you would rather go to war with Rick Warren over his methods for increasing the Kingdom rather than to wage war against sin in ones own camp that limits ones own individual effectiveness?"

Russell, are you sure Mr Warren is increasing the Kingdom or just filling a church with warm bodies? Beware the warning of Jude 4, "certain men have crept in unnoticed." I hope he and his followers are true believers but the doctrines they teach and omit certianly call into question if a true Gospel is being taught/believed.

#56  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 11:43 AM

MET

"The Age of Reason, “My own mind is my own church.” So we can all stay home from church and commune with our own minds, and forgo the wisdom of anyone greater than ourselves. Isn’t this exactly what the unchurched do?"

Respectfully, I think the opposite can apply too in regard to the unchurched. I, physically, live in a very narrowminded and evil consumed town (that is seen by those of the world as beautiful and picturesque of course) and myself and family had been to all the Churches, no Gospel preached, just the lie and no Christians inside either.

And far from think the mind was our own Church, we ached and longed for fellowship with other Christians. Needless to say these Churches did not want us in there either at all, they visibly shook with terror often, and we had not even said anything. Before finding a Church (physical) for many years the only place i could find other Christian brothers and sisters was online and they are still my dearest Brothers.

At a point we were under many dark forces attempting to attack, i suddenly (God gave) thought, hang on, what about this place - the one place for all those years we'd never even thought off. I phoned them up, and boy must they have laughed at me cos i sat on the end of the phone for around an hour like a machine gun literally interrogating them with one question after another re their stances on scripture and doctrine. All solid, so i said ok, we will all be there Sunday!

And it was just amazing going, walking into a building and so many people with indwelling spirit, evident, (not all...sadly). But in the long run, they neither uphold what they say or scripture in their activations. But some Christians in there - yes and fellowship with them continues. They as a Church org too have so recognised this town out of the entire UK as most in need of God (Id already done that for big cross global reasons) so have their entire finances and energy deployed into this joint, required, bigtime!

God provides the Church for us in his Time. If we haven't found it yet, it doesn't not necessarily mean we are self minded or reliant, just discerning.

Why i dont get some of the comments above cos we could be online 24/7 and never infiltrated by evil, but know instantly when to shut down a page, just like we know how to close a door.

Are we not all sat here in a Church - attending a Church right now? GTY?

I'm very Thankful to God for internet because there is no Church in my town which is True at all to Gospel, so i can come here and i feel blessed and priveleged, humbled to be able to do so.

God's so amazing too, the only fleeting memory i every had in my life pre meeting other Christians online, of a Christian in this town was an oldish man i met once in this town when i was 5 years old. And i never forget thinking back then, 'he is a Christian', albeith why i thought that or that came into my head made no sense at the time at all. And i had never again seen that man from 5 years old. but the other week, the ordinary me, was requested to attend by all .gov agencies and criminolgists a workshop and conference to help and advise them. Because they are off this world, i prayed and talked to God deeply before going in to do what was right for him in there, and i know i upheld that, but the funniest thing happened. There was this very old man sat with his back to me, and when we did intros, it came to him, and this voice came out, and he said, i dont know why im here but the Lord put me here (and it was an echo of my own comments) and i turned around, and it was the little old man, but a much older now little old man, id met at 5 years old God is great eh - and i laughed too and thought ok s you have worked solo for a long time, but God has put 2 of us in here today, not one...

And before we were done, he turned to me and said, there is another meeting on x date, related to something else, the Lord wants you there too...how he increases eh!

#57  Posted by randell danner  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 11:53 AM

I like the way Bro. John M. puts it: "our practice must match our position." We cannot waiver from it in the face of modern day Phariseeism and the spirit/attitude of Jezebel in operation today. In order to cleanse the church of all unrighteousness we must confront sin according Matt. 18. and indure the persecution that comes from it but we must stand our ground for sound doctrine. I am in that boat as we speak. We cannot be afraid to shun those who refuse to repent and walk uprightly and cannot afford to spare their "feelings." This is an unpopular and painful way but it must be done. we can't coddle people and pat them on the back and sweep sin under the rug and forget about it. It will eventually crawl back out and the cycle starts again. And when people want to call the police on you for lovingly confronting them biblically, offer to dial the number for them. Just one example i guess. i'm sure there are more ways that are not as extreme but this shows that we must do whatever it takes to get the leaven out of the Church.

#58  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 12:03 PM

LOL, love that comment re call the 'police' randall. We have a standing 'joke' in our house that social services have a special button on their automated message system. "For complaints re S - press 5"...

#59  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 12:06 PM

I have observed that some evangelical leaders have rejected the church model of 200 people who know the Bible inside and out for the model of 2,000 people who know some sound doctrine. The emphasis moves from Christian education to building relationships in small group environments, and from going deeper in Bible study to going deeper in their relationship with Christ. Practical teaching with application is emphasized over doctrinal teaching. The argument is that people learn things on a "need-to-know basis", and some biblical principles are more important than others (e.g. percentage giving). So, as the logic goes, if you're going to have your audience on average about 40 times a year, you need to be selective.)

The other thing that I've observed is that these small group Bible studies never really go any deeper than what is being taught on Sundays. The majority want "easy" lessons, such as a DVD study with no homework, easy questions, and (gasp) no reading. The church leaders encourage people to read and go deeper, but they are not really being led to read and go deeper.

Like I said, just some observations.

#60  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 12:11 PM

Randall, long story behind this one, but the Jezebels are there for saving too. I'm dealing now with the worst and most absolute one ive ever seen who literally tried to behead me and brought out in another the most evil words i have ever heard spoken out loud by anyone.

She is now coming to Truth and has doen the right thing and said, i have no evidence and wants to hear the right kind of evidence...

#61  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 2:36 PM

Reply to #59--Randy

Although this is not a direct reply to your points, you raised the issue about getting "deeper"...

>The church leaders encourage people to read and go deeper, but they are not really being led >to read and go deeper.

I am sure that church "leader" Greg Laurie loves the Lord and I am not judging his motives or character, but I am amzed at how may people follow this guy, and he simply is not "deep." He mostly restates the text, or/and offers simple explnations of the text, and fills his talks with jokes and stuff about this life. Did you notice you can listen to 40 years of John MacArthur preaching and hardly know a single thing about him personally--that is because he sticks to the Word so thouroughly and does not chew up precious preaching time with unimportant material. I struggle to underdstand why if people are given a choice to listen to JM or GL, anyone would prefer GL. Don't people know there is deeper teaching out there? Why JM even appeared at some preaching conference hosted by GL, which shocked me, because in terms of explanation, education, experience, JM is much more qualified to teach, and teaches much more thoroughly.

But, it also comes down to "simple" people vs "complex" people. Some peope are just "simple-minded" and just can not take in what JM can offer, and are totally satisified with GL for all their lives. I find this so hard to understand but it seems to be a fact of life. The thing I always struggle with is can a "simple-minded" person be "changed" to "non-simple-minded." Some people just stay stiuck in their rut and won't move forward--can they?

Anyway, how does this related to "evangelical mess?" Simple preaching, like that of GL, just does not stimulate people to think deeper. They get used to their simple ways. And the issue of mass media comes into play here as well (see my previous post), with GL airing his crusades on the unbiblical TBN station, even appearing there on interviews, etc. Like he has no discernment. And maybe that is why he is "simple." Does his simple preaching promote lack of discernment, or does his lack of discermnet fuel his simple preaching?

It hard to sort this out many times. Yes, there are many "church leaders" who just are not "deep" for whatever reason, and because of that they can not guide their flock to deeper things. And the more of these that appear in the churches and on mass-media, well, that is why we also have the "evangelical mess."

One more point: if GL has any gift, he would say probaly he is an evangelist. Almost by defintion an evangelist is not a preacher-teacher, and if an evangelist is in the media spotlight (like also Billy Graham was), you are never going to get very deep.

Please don't anyone construe my mentions of GL as any sort of attack on him--it is not. But I am also stating clear points and observations related to this blog.

#62  Posted by Mark Smith  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 3:21 PM

We are in an Evangelical mess because there is very little God centered Bible teaching. I find hard to believe a Christian would not be attracted to Bible study that led them to a greater understanding of their God. Most of the Gospel presentations that I have heard in the past 20 years are incomplete and thus powerless to save. And when foul mouth pastors such as Driscoll are not shunned by “Christian Leaders” until they repent, we are in trouble. When I listen to John MacArthur and Alistar Begg teach I am humbled, and marvel that God would save me, and rejoice that he has.

#63  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 3:51 PM

Comment deleted by administrator.
#64  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 4:04 PM

Mark, we can teach Gospel all day and night but if the heart is not right in the deliverance it is wasted breathe...only love delivers the Word!

#66  Posted by Mark Smith  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 4:12 PM

Shona, the Gospel is LOVE.

#67  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 4:13 PM

Shona:

I sent you an email of explanation before deleting your post; it violated one of our guidelines.

All:

If we delete your post, please don't be offended. Due to busy schedules and multiple responsibilities, we won't always be able to send emails. So if your post is deleted, just scroll up to the blog guidelines, consider your comment through our eyes, and try to see how it may have violated them. Then, shake off the dust and get back in the game. Thanks!

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry

#68  Posted by Shona Cohen  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 4:19 PM

i agree, totally Mark. thankyou Travis shall check email.

#68  Posted by Greg Tegman  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 8:23 PM

As for myself,here in the United States, I have been raised in a competitive society,a capitalist society. A country full of competition. He or she who is or has the most,the prettiest,the handsomest,the largest,tastiest,smartest,nicest,strongest,toughest.etc. On and on it goes. Affluence has prevailed as a character trait. We have been spoiled with pleasure and selfish ambition. "I like that pastor,he is good". Entertainment is a big industry. What is this thing about researching peoples felt needs and thus taking polls on this?. And then creating sermon's that draw in the crowds?. The church is in competition with all forms of worldly entertainment. "Boy!, That was a stressful week at work. I'm beat". "I think I am going to skip Sunday service and go see "Avatar". Rick Warren?.........never mind,you cannot hear. Shame on you.

#69  Posted by Alexander Kontov  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 9:20 PM

>What is this thing about researching peoples felt needs and thus taking polls on this?

if you watch RC Spouls videos on ONEPLACE.COM or his web site, in one of his videos, a really old one where RC looks a lot younger, there is an audience that he is lecturing to, and RC specifically asks a person about a novel new thing he (the person) was doing. That person was taking a poll to see why people do not come to church (mostly because it is "boring" if memory serves me right).

That person was --- Bill Hybels!! sitting there in front row with his wife taking copius notes on RC's leacture. He too looked young so this video must go back to the early 70s.

I wonder if RC understood just what was about to unfold from Bill Hybels! In the video it seemed like RC thought this was a good thing to do, useful, informative. At the very least it gave his lecture some pisazz back then.

#70  Posted by Matthew Smith  |  Friday, March 05, 2010at 10:57 PM

Brother I get where you are coming from. I attend a large Church in Denver Coloado, with a pastor who genuinly loves his flock. But the body, at least here is so un-willing to be told they are wrong or that the way they are doing things is broken. I mean just look at their lives and you can see something is off. Behind the scenes they are blaming the pastor for the lack of church growth, But I can atest to his love and sound doctrine because I see his heart, and more often then not I walk out feeling convicted, and like my toes were stepped on. This problem of some kind of self founded superiorty is what erks me to know end, God opposes the proud, but here people are often times proud of their pride. It's rediculous. However we should be pumped as the "typical" church goer filling the pew to stand up boldly and remind people that Gods word is alive and it's complete relevance is just as potent today as it was then. "Then" being forever ago. WE serve an awesome God, He doesn't need our help making his word palatable for a post modern generation. Keep the faith as I will. This generation is not a lost cause because our God is still God.

#72  Posted by Keith Harper  |  Saturday, March 06, 2010at 5:38 AM

Had flashbacks to the late Dr. Vance Havner. Used to ask the question,"How many times does God have to say it before we believe it?" The problem is that we don't know how many times God says something because we don't know what He says to start with. We have given God the one finger salute, turned meetings into nothing more than pep rallys, and can't understand why the bicycle isn't coming out right. We need to learn how to read AND follow the directions. Everything has been so dummied down in our society that we cannot function. It is time we smarten' up. It is time for personal example and personal accountability that comes from a personal walk with the Lord. We all know the result of continual trips to Dr. Feelgood-you die(Elvis,Marlyn,Michael,etc). Follow the directions.

#73  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Saturday, March 06, 2010at 8:25 AM

Keith said:

“Everything has been so dummied down in our society that we cannot function. It is time we smarten' up.”

Keith, when John Knox took Calvinism to the country of Scotland, the people were ignorant. Here is an excerpt from the Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, by Lorraine Boettner (which I highly recommend, btw).

"McFetridge tells us that before Calvinism reached Scotland, “gross darkness covered the land and brooded like an eternal nightmare upon all the faculties of the people.” When Calvinism reached the Scotch people,” says Smith, “they were vassals of the Romish church, priest-ridden, ignorant, wretched, degraded in body, mind, and morals. Buckle describes them as ‘filthy in their persons and in their homes,’ poor and miserable,’ ‘excessively ignorant and exceedingly superstitious,’ ---with superstition ingrained into their characters.’ Marvelous was the transformation when the great doctrines learned by John Knox from the Bible in Scotland and more thoroughly at Geneva while sitting at the feet of Calvin, flashed in on their minds. It was like the sun arising at midnight….Knox made Calvinism the religion of Scotland, and Calvinism made Scotland the moral standard of the world.

It goes on to say that crime was virtually unheard of, and the same was true of the Puritans, divorce was unheard of among them.

I could almost guarantee you that after sitting under John Mac’s teachings for a while; it would be totally impossible to be ignorant of the Bible. He, like Sproul and Piper all carry on in the same tradition of the Reformers.

#74  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Saturday, March 06, 2010at 8:38 AM

Good comments, Greg. "Affluence has prevailed as a character trait."

Loose your job and see how much your identity is tied to what you do for a living. It is good to loose a job, you quickly find out that your identity is found IN CHIRST, not in corporate America.

#75  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Saturday, March 06, 2010at 8:56 AM

Hi Shona:

"The Age of Reason, “My own mind is my own church.” So we can all stay home from church and commune with our own minds, and forgo the wisdom of anyone greater than ourselves. Isn’t this exactly what the unchurched do?"

I think you may have misunderstood what Thomas Paine was saying. Btw, I think I may have spelled his last name wrong. He was saying that he is his own god. He needs nothing other than to commune with his own mind and thoughts, which is exactly what autonomy is. His wisdom supersedes any wisdom of man, and especially that of God’s.

Have a great day and God bless.

#75  Posted by Ann Johnson  |  Saturday, March 06, 2010at 7:26 PM

Very true and very sad! Hopefully, God will raise up a new generation of young men who will faithfully, and boldly proclaim His Word....without waffling! Thank God for all those pastors out there who still hold on to the truth and proclaim it clearly!

#76  Posted by Greg Jones  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 7:58 AM

But if you think about it most of these people are Armenians and do not believe in limited atonement. So in some ways this is the natural progression for people who believe all they have to do is "convince" people to believe in the gospel. The more olive branches or acrutraments they offer the more they can convince. AS Dr. MacArthur has said before the problem is that te "entertainment" has to keep getting better each week. Another thing that it all boils down to is that evangelism has become based on what people can get out of Christianity that "What's in it for mr attitude" instead of people being made aware that they are sinners in need of a Savior.

Greg

#77  Posted by Greg Jones  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 8:03 AM

Also, I have read some of the blogs re teleevangelists and agree with Dr. MacArthur and maybe I missed it but did he mention anyone on TV who is solidly preaching the Word on TV currently?

Greg

#78  Posted by Elizabeth Krohn  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 3:07 PM

Hello Everyone:

I am VERY familiar with the "seeker friendly" evangelical church of today. I was born and raised and I can say first of all that I am ever so thankful for Grace to You and Pastor MacArthur. If it was not for this ministry and Pastor MacArthur teaching God's word accurately, I would have never realized that I wasn't saved! My husband and I followed Joyce Meyer, (I followed) Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard Brown, T.L. Osborn, Katherine Coleman, I partook in the Brownsville Revival, Ashland Virginia Campground Revival, you name it and I was there for the most part. I'm 22 years old, and I was HEAVILY into the Charismatic Church and the Seeker Friendly Movement.... Although I must say that I was never a fan of the Prayer of Jabez or Rick Warren.... But, to get to the point, the unfortunate thing about the evangelical church today is that they have strayed so far from the truth. SO many verses of scripture were twisted into meanings that fit your life and/or your circumstances.

We were also taught that questioning what was taught to you was being doubtful and not believing in God's promises. Which is a total and utter lie. Everything that is taught to you MUST line up with Scripture or else it is not the Word of God.

If anything, my heart truly cries for the people that are being mislead and those who are misleading them. The people who are apart of the "lets keep up with the rest of the world" idea now a days are truly mistaken. God's word is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

#79  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 3:19 PM

It is Satan at work. It is an all inclusive Gospel just like Constantine set up with the Catholic Church. It has no firm foundation, and the truth is whatever the current leaders of the mess say it is. The Bible is used to prove some points they like and discarded where it contradicts them. It is Satan in the Garden of Eden with 90% truth. It is complicating simplicity, and setting up a business. The Gospel is simple...Christ died and shed innocent blood to make it so you don't have to work your way in, it is Grace through Faith in Christ's shed Blood and nothing else. The Gospel says Hell is real, and if you don't want to cover your sin with Christ's Blood, you will face judgement and pay with your second death, which means you will be cast into the Lake of Fire with real hot fire and weeping and wailing and nashing of teeth where God is not present, just the Devil and his Angels who will soon join you. If there is no punishment, there is NO SALVATION from it. Simple. What we are witnessing with the "Emergent" church is the "Emergence" of a One World Church, Catholocism, for the AntiChrist. Peace Bro, Rock on for Jesus.

#80  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 3:37 PM

You do not have to be "deep" to preach the Gospel of Christ or teach the Bible. You just have to know the Bible. You do not have to know Greek, the same Bible has been translated into English for you from the Textus Receptus, the "Received Text". You just have to make sure your own life is cleaned up so that you can lead by example and have a real burden for souls. Keeping it simple is the only way, the Truth is simple, and the Bible is very understandable. When I hear a preacher talking over the people who work at various jobs all week, not preaching, and come in to hear a weekly Bible lesson, the first thing I think is "this guy is trying to set up a business". It's like when a Doctor or Lawyer speak to you in terms they know the laymen is not going to understand, it is just them saying "you can't do this on your own, you NEED ME cause I'm smarter than you". The best preachers of Truth throughout history have been those who just studied the Bible, prayed for understanding and wisdom, and preached It says it. The "deeper" a preacher tries to get, the more disinteresting he will become. The laymen just want the truth, not to know how high the preacher's I.Q. is.

#81  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 4:07 PM

Hey Chris,

You are exactly right ! The Gospel is simple, and students in early America used to learn to read from reading the Bible in Public Schools ! We have let...1. ) False Big Religion for profit take over our simple churches, and ....2. ) Socialist, Communists take over our Public Schools and eradicate God from it. Our churches don't resemble anything they used to, the idea of a church used to be the Community center where people in the area knew they could go for help and to clean up their lives and get Truth from the Bible. Now they are a complicated mess with many denominations and names, and they are focused on numbers and money and buildings. Satan has done a great job of dividing and concurring. You really don't even need a church because you and the Bible, and faith in what it says as it says it are all you need to get to Heaven. A good church is good for fellowship though, as Christ says. As for the schools, the teachers union has destroyed them by making them political arms of the Democratic Party with the gaol of graduating Democrats for life. Taking God out of schools is their most important task because the Constitution your founders gave you says all your rights...Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness came from a "Creator", not government or man. This does not line up with their philosophy of "Big Government" that can take what you earn and give it to someone else. That is what the Healthcare debate going on right now is. One party, the Conservative Republicans who believe in a non Government solution to the problem, are up against the Democratic Party in charge that believes Government should use everyone's tax money and control the Health Care industry in our nation. Our founders did not intend Government to try and control all these things, we were set up on self responsibility, and being a Christian nation we felt it our duty to take care of our own families and communities. Not to work, give half or more of our money to the Government and have to trust them to dole it out responsibly. That is why we are in the mess we are in right now. Our churches and our Government, the very foundations of our country have been turned upside down. We have complicated the very simple and gotten ourselves in big trouble. It is sad, but the fix is simple. Read and teach the Bible as it written, and read and teach the Constitution as it is written. Simple.

#82  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 4:22 PM

The internet has what you are looking for. If you look for bad, you will find it, but, if you look for good, you will find it. I found this blog, and it has been good for me and helps me. The internet has also removed the grip of mass media on this country where one thought used to be pushed on the masses, there is balance and much more availability of truth if you want it out there. Good, and Bad.

#83  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 4:42 PM

America was and is a "Christian" nation, but you have the right to believe anything, and do anything you want as long as it does not intrude on the rights of others. If we allow God to be "changed", or "abolished" from our founding documents, we have lost "Freedom", for ALL TRUE FREEDOM comes from God. Anyone who says we should take Him out of our Government, wants to take control of you and your country and make you do what they want and not what you want. Simple.

#84  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 4:57 PM

Hey, anyone else here heard Pastor Haggy on tv say " if you're witnessing to a Jew, you're wasting your time". Scary stuff. Apparently he thinks we are saved by Grace, and the Jew is saved by works ! Weird. Christ died for the Jew first, and through their rejection, we the Gentiles got in on it. They come the same way we do, don't let them go to hell !

#85  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 6:36 PM

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#86  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 6:37 PM

**Shauna Bryant, wife of John Bryant**

Mike, Unfortunately I have heard that. That is "dual covenant theology" and he's not the only one who subscribes to it. And you are right - we are all, Jew and Gentile, saved by Gods Grace through faith. These people fail to understand that fallen man has ALWAYS been saved by God's Grace through faith in His Word - even in the Old Testament. And Jesus Christ IS the Word. They seem not to understand, for instance, when Paul says that Abraham BELIEVED God (what God told him - i.e His Word) and it was counted to him for righteousness ......that is Gods Grace. They then ignore all the times obedience comes up in Paul's epistles - they just skip right over them as though they aren't there! And I know they do - because I was taught that way and so I once did too. James talks about what Abraham DID as a result of this Grace........Because Abraham obeyed - and it also was counted to him for righteousness....not only by his work though - but because he had, by Gods Grace, FAITH in His Word, so he obeyed Gods Word BECAUSE he believed God's Word. In Paul's epistles, We believe Gods Word so we obey Gods Word. There is no doubt, beautiful harmony in all of Gods Word!!!

So, the evangelical mess happens when evangelicals fail to consider the WHOLE counsel of Gods Word. Shauna

#87  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 6:41 PM

**Shauna Bryant, wife of John Bryant**

Just so I am not mis understood...I do mean FAITH ALONE. We cannot even begin to work righteously until we are saved By Gods Grace through Faith alone in His Word. But once truly saved...we will work, not for our salvation, but BECAUSE OF our salvation. Shauna

#88  Posted by randell danner  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 7:30 PM

Greg, i don't know either, what bro John has said about any good teachers on tv but i will say surprisinglynow many may disagree with me, especially those in Calif. who may know her better but i think Melissa Scott is a pretty good teacher of the Bible. Don't get me wrong i still do not by into women being lead pastor of churches but i think she is pretty sound in her teaching and has gotten better over time. If you can get past her rabbit trailing alot and her clothing, you can glean some good stuff from her. I would rather listen to her right now than any preacher/teacher in the oh so wonderful "bible belt" i live in. Can someone let me out??!? I actually moved away from TX for about 8 years and how i gravitated back here is beyond me. Nothing has changed and only gotten worse. Not trying to be negative just looking at the reality of it all. After all we have the "DR. Ruth" of evangicalism right here in the Metroplex-Ed Young. The banner i heard Bro John speak of that he saw flying into Dallas had to been from his compound-uh i mean- church.

#89  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 7:35 PM

** Shauna Bryant, wife of John Bryant**

I wonder how someone in direct violation of Gods Word could be a good teacher of it....hmmmm.........They couldn't.

#90  Posted by Mark Smith  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 7:41 PM

Revelation 2:6-11

"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:

9'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

10'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.'

Do the fraudulent teachers and liars ignore this piece of scripture? Jesus had no correction for this church of poverty and suffering. Where do the word of faith teachers and the prosperity preachers, and the faith healers stand on this scripture.

#91  Posted by randell danner  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 9:32 PM

Mark, the same place they stand on Matthew 18:15-19 and 1 Cor.5 and 6; NOWHERE! Jer 5:30- a shocking and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy lies, the cohanim (priests) obey the prophets, AND MY PEOPLE LOVE IT THAT WAY. But what will you do at the end of it all? That is a question i cannot immediately come up with. But it seems like a "we'll scratch your back (send you money) if you will scratch ours (don't step on our toes.")

Jer. 6:13-14 For from the least to the greatest of them, ALL (majority of the House) are greedy for gains; prophets and cohanim alike, they all practice fraud- they DRESS the wounds of my people, BUT ONLY SUPERFICIALLY, saying, "There is perfect shalom," when there is no shalom. (paranthesis mine)

All there "moves of God" and "revivals" are superficial at best (i for one do not believe God is in them) and eventually wear off. People get there quick fixes but at the end of the day the issues of the heart still remain. GOD DOES NOT ZAP OUR PROBLEMS AWAY! And it is funny how many "faith" people are passive in their faith, which is no faith at all until you obey, thinking that there problems are just going to go away. But let you exercise your faith and they will say, "God doesn't work that way, brother." There rules change all the time to work in there favor. Why? Because there faith has no foundation and or teetered to and fro between opinions. What ever is convinient for them at the given moment. Sunday they will say, "don't give out of your need," but wednesday comes and the say, "if you have a need, plant a seed." WHICH IS IT????? If they don't drive you out they will drive you crazy like they did me.

#92  Posted by randell danner  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 9:40 PM

Yes, i here what you are saying Shauna if you are refering to Melissa Scott. However, maybe God has set her up to confound "the wise." I cannot explain it either. And don't get me wrong i would not go to that church if i lived out there. I do think she does her homework well. Ironically (or hypocritically) i could never listen to her lated husband Gene Scott. The cigar drove me batty. I was too young in the Lord at the time to handle it. i'm not sure what he taught.

#93  Posted by Daniel Martin  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 9:56 PM

Pastor MacArthur, you have hit it well on the mark. I have felt for at least the last ten years that many Evangelical leaders are Evangelacial in name only. They have transformed themselves to the marketers of the world instead of transforming their flocks to the Word of God. They are more absorbed in making the best selling list of the New York Times rather than the Book of the Lamb of God. Unfortunately, many are following their lead. Sadly, this is reflected in our schools, places of employment and society at large. Consequently, our natiion is on a decline and unless there is an awakening God will not honor us as He did not honor Jerusalem when the abandoned Him.

#94  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 10:09 PM

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#95  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 10:11 PM

**Shauna Bryant, wife of John Bryant**

Yes Randall. I think it's an interesting 'production' they have there. It's as it's always been....Have you ever noticed the pre-arranged/written boards? She's made some telling alliances recently as well. She is in violation of Gods Word and Gods people should not listen to or be impressed by her productions. That's all I will say, as the info on her is out there (yet much seems to 'vanish'). It's time to be seriously discerning.

#96  Posted by randell danner  |  Sunday, March 07, 2010at 10:25 PM

Thanks Shauna, i'll take it to heart. You may know more about her than i do. I could be very wrong.

Interesting thing about my name, and EVERYONE gets it wrong- mispronouncing it and mispelling. Why? Because my dad mispelled it on my birth certificate the day i was born. It was supposed to be randALL but he wrote randELL. Interestingly, EL in the Bible means "of GOD," such as Beth-EL. So it always makes me think that Someone else named me. Unfortunately in life i have not always acted like i'm "of God." But thanks be to God for grace and mercy undeserved!

#97  Posted by Neda Hall  |  Monday, March 08, 2010at 2:42 PM

Alexander,

Please remember the "Doctrine of Election". Only those who were chosen before the foundation of the world will come to Christ. Only if the Father draws them, can they come to Christ. There are the John McArthurs and the R.C. Sprouls out there preaching "Repentance" and they are preaching to the masses, to reach those that the Father has 'chosen". They don't know who they are and they won't be striving to bring thousands into their church every year because they understand the above. Remember, "Many are called but few are chosen".

The Father has been drawing me since I was a little girl. I was 32 when I finally gave God everything (or so I thought). I'm now 59 and last year was the FIRST TIME I heard repentance preached. I downloaded from John's 'sermon archives". I have spent many hours a day, since, under the tutelage of John McArthur, unbeknownst to him. Iam constantly learning, repenting and growing over and over and over. Thank you John.

I want to represent Christ in my actions. I believe people will hear that before they listen to my words that are not all correct yet. (I spent many years learning lies and now I'm unlearning them)

#98  Posted by Neda Hall  |  Monday, March 08, 2010at 2:44 PM

Christopher,

Please download John's sermon on "How To Study The Bible". It will be extremely useful for you.

#99  Posted by Trish Jansen  |  Monday, March 08, 2010at 10:06 PM

Elizabeth, what do you think of Joyce Meyer?

#100  Posted by Rick White  |  Monday, March 08, 2010at 10:10 PM

Mike,

In response to your #80 post.I agree with you that the gospel itself is simple and easy to understand.However,there are many parts of the Bible that are not easy to understand without knowing some background information and some of the suttle nuances of the original languages.Many of the errors being taught in the pulpits today is because too many pastors are not doing their homework.How can a congregation learn anything from a pastor that knows less about the scriptures than they do?I believe what makes John MacArthur so effective is that he studies deeply into the scriptures he's preaching on and then is able to bring it down to our level.Also,your view of Textus Receptus is very naive.You really should do some research on where that term comes from.Maybe even read James White's book The King James Only Controversy.I guess my whole point is that there is nothing wrong with digging deeper into the scriptures to gain understanding.And we need to seek scholarly sources to do that.I'm not saying that it doesn't profit us to just do a straight reading of the text of scripture alone,but I constantly come across portions of scripture that I don't understand with just a straight reading of them.When that happens it is my obligaton to seek information from scholars that can explain those portions of scripture to me.I have yet to meet the person that has a complete understanding of the scriptures from just a straight reading of them.

#101  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 7:27 AM

Rick,

Don't rely so heavily on "scholars". Comments like "subtle nuances of the original languages" is exactly what I'm talking about when I say "setting up a business with it's own language to make others feel they need to come to you, like a Lawyer or a Doctor will do", and "talking above the congregation". This is University talk, focussed on learning a "Bible trade", which unfortunately has become the business of "Christian Universities". Please give me an example of one of these "subtle nuances" in the Bible that I would have to know Greek in order to understand it better. I also did not say the congregation should know more than the pastor, what I did say is people are out working jobs all week, while a pastor studies for a sermon all week, I would hope he would know more about what he is teaching than the lay person in the pew ! But once he starts saying things in Greek, or things like "subtle nuances of the original languages", the people are falling fast asleep and looking at their watches, trying to hang in there til the I.Q. on display is finally done. "I noticed you didn't say that when you have a problem understanding something that you pray and ask God to reveal it to you. No, you run first to a man ? And I also noticed you seem to take offense at the Textus Receptus calling me "naive"...what was your alternative ? Does the AV 1611 King James Version of the Bible offend you for some reason ? The very Bible responsible for the founding of this country, countless revivals, the repentance of of millions to Christ...? Do you prefer the other manuscripts, the ones that Catholics carried as they wiped out millions of true believers in the Inquisitions ? The manuscripts used to write the watered down new versions that are responsible for the very watered down massages we are talking about here on this very blog. The TR Manuscripts out of Antioch are responsible for only one Bible, the AV1611, all others came out of Alexandria Egypt at the start, written by men who thought Jesus was just a good man, not a Saviour or God in the flesh. Maybe this is why you run to scholars first before consulting God for understanding. I will bet you not ONE of these new age emergent churches that are leaving out "punishment, for sin, or for not receiving Christ" preaches with a King James Bible in the pulpit. Name me ONE. The King James Version is the God authorized version in English, unless you or your scholars know better than God Himself. Enlighten me some more. Like I said, all one needs is God, and if you are english speaking, a King James Bible translated from the TR Manuscripts, which are the oldest, and which lead right back to where the disciples who hung out with Christ Himself started their preaching of Grace through Faith right after Christ's death. All other manuscripts came out of Alexandria Egypt with a "scholarly", although unsaved rendering of the "scriptures". Read a true story of Origen, or Usubius at Alexandria Egypt...not sure these spellings are right and don't care...look um up. They are responsible for the "other texts", but were they Christians, or just "scholars" who knew better than God ? I would go to God first.

#102  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 7:38 AM

Mike writes,

The TR Manuscripts out of Antioch are responsible for only one Bible, the AV1611, all others came out of Alexandria Egypt at the start, written by men who thought Jesus was just a good man, not a Saviour or God in the flesh.

Mike,

I use to be a KJV onlyist for about a decade, from my college days in 1989 to about 1999.  I use to argue like you have for the TR and AV1611.  There are a lot of problems with your particular perspective and apologetic for KJV onlyism that are too many to hash out in the comments of our blog.  However, if you are interested, I did write up my testimony, Confessions of a KJV Only Advocate, that can be read here:

http://www.fredsbibletalk.com/confessions.html

plus I have written extensively in response to the KJV only apologetics.  My articles and audio lectures on the subject can be located here:

http://www.fredsbibletalk.com/kjvonlypage.html

Fred

#103  Posted by Scott Spiewak  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 8:18 AM

This is an interesting conversation thread as I am a PR practioner and strong Christian believer. I take great pride in my work with ministries trying to help them navigate the waters of entereing the media landscape. Reading this helps me to see things and stay true to what the Lord has called us to do. Our business is a ministry, so allowing the Lord to lead is always first and foremost.

#104  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 9:11 AM

Hey Fred,

Thanks for the response. I read your whole thing on how you came to find out that the KJV was "just another version", but all I saw for the reasoning was that you learned that Wescott and Hort were really good guys. I was hoping to find the textual reasons for your enlightenment. What did they translate their new bible from, and where did that come from, etc... I'm not being a wise butt here, I'm seriously wondering, you kind of left me hangin there. It sounds like in the end that you had been taught that Englands Wescott and Hort were bad, and now you found out they were good, so you changed your mind about the KJV.

#105  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 9:17 AM

Mike, you have to read the other material, too.  The testimony article merely expresses how God used Gail Riplinger to open my eyes to the fact that much of the KJV only apologetic is based upon dishonest research with a conspiratorial tone.  There are other links to other material as well.  As Christians, we have to be truthful in all we proclaim.  The holiness of God demands such from us.  When KJV only advocates make up lies and distortions about Westcott and Hort, they are dishonoring God and breaking the 9th commandment. 

I would encourage you to read through my other stuff and feel free to email me at the email provided at my site.  www.fredsbibletalk.com.

Fred

#106  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 9:21 AM

Mike,

We are getting a bit off topic here with this subject.  I would be happy to discuss all of this with you if you are interested, so I'll contact you.  Any additional discussion on the KJV only issue we'll have to delete because it really isn't relevant to the main posted article.

Fred

#107  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 9:26 AM

Can anyone here explain to me why I can't stand the term "apologetics" used for explaining your position on God's Word ? Just doesn't make sense to me. Where does this term come from ?

#108  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 9:47 AM

Yes Fred, I agree. When either side makes up lies and distortions, or even character slurs that have no relevance to the subject, it is wrong. Against the Ten Commandments as you said. We should not do that. It's like the Democrats and Republicans, we are supposed to be for the same country, but yet so passionately divided with deception, distortions, bribes, pride, and worst of all a departure from the original founding documents, and a planned rewriting of them.

#109  Posted by James H Russell  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 10:12 AM

Hey, Mike...

(1) See 1530s, "defense, justification," from L.L. apologia, from Gk. apologia "a speech in defense," from apologeisthai "to speak in one's defense," from apologos "an account, story," from apo- "from, off" (see apo-) + logos "speech." The original English sense of "self-justification" yielded a meaning "frank expression of regret for wrong done," first recorded 1590s, but it was not the main sense until 18c. The old sense tends to emerge in Latin form apologia (first attested 1784), especially since J.H. Newman's "Apologia pro Vita Sua" (1864).

(2) Because the word is generally used defense of the Christian Faith, the above is secondary: the word APOLOGIA (see apology?) is a transliteration of the very word "answer" (read defense) in 2 Peter 3.15. some may think there is a slight play on words with APOLOGEO & LOGON.

(3) I don't recall Apologetics encompassing one's preferences on the version question.

Grace/jhr

#110  Posted by Mike Quinton  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 10:18 AM

I guess I'd rather say " I defend the Christian Faith" than " I apologize for the Christian Faith". I guess it's like "gay" used to mean "happy" kind of thing.

#111  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 10:28 AM

By "apologetics" what I am referencing are the arguments a person who may hold to particular convictions will put forth in order to defend those convictions.  When we speak in terms of Christian apologetics, we would be offering argumentation that would defend the claims of Christianity against a hostile and unbelieving world who would desire to challenge our faith.

Everyone holding to any kind of convictions regarding what ever subject has a set of "apologetics" they use in order to defend those convictions.  Even atheists have "apologetics" they appeal to in order to make a case for their beliefs against those who would challenge those beliefs.

Fred

#112  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Tuesday, March 09, 2010at 1:44 PM

**Shauna Bryant, wife of John Bryant**

#99 Trish

While I'm not Elizabeth, since it's an open blog, I thought I'd put my 2 cents in. As for JM.....as a female Pastor she is in direct violation of God's Word so I wouldn't (and don't) listen to her. That's one doctrinal problem, which should be enough without having to go into all the rest of them!

*KJV issue*. While not KJ Only....I do prefer it above all others available. I have a penchant for the language of it... I have many Bibles I will use for study, but for memory work and reading I use the KJV only. It's funny, I had a NIV Study Bible when my daughter was born, and as I began reciting verses to her I realized that I knew them only in the KJV (from a kid). I had been re-translating them in my head all these years! So I went back to the KJV. Gail was a fraud and anyone involved in that should have seen that from the outset. She had a position of power in that camp that was not biblical. She took truth and exaggerated it, thereby discrediting even the true aspects! She did exactly what those against the KJV did. They made the King out to be a bestial sodomite who practically hand wrote the KJV in the blood of innocents. The fact of the matter is, other than being King and authorizing it, he had not much else to do with it. One time as this man was off on his pedestal telling me why the KJV wasn't the only one (and by the way, I hadn't said a thing - he just saw my bible and went off) and how 'old fashioned' the language is and how people who read it were wrong that it was the only one......when I finally got a word in I asked him - Yes, I get all that even though I don't think all that, but the question is 'is it an acceptable version?' To which he replied Yes. Then move on I said because you must know ludicrous it is for you to have spent all this time arguing against the KJV when you just admitted it was an aceptable version.

#113  Posted by William Cadmus  |  Wednesday, March 10, 2010at 1:31 AM

Right on Mike. Also, we no longer hear about denying self and taking up our cross.

Jesus Christ is Lord of all...or not at all.

God bless

#114  Posted by Tom Harvey  |  Wednesday, March 10, 2010at 2:20 PM

Very slowly but surely, the church I just left arrived at the point of the "soveriegnty of man" and the "responsibility of God." A very enticing pholosophy that is not reached in one giant step but in little baby steps. I think the first step was when we changed the last statement in the church's mission from "Evangelize the lost" to "Evangelize those needing Jesus." One very small step that led to further steps of changing everything. So, we had a good solid marketing plan to evangelize. Our plans became supreme and God's instructions were set aside as being out-moded. So very, very sad.

#115  Posted by James Mickle  |  Wednesday, March 10, 2010at 7:17 PM

Neda #97,

I'm right where you were with your walk with God. Somehow, I understood the precepts of the Word to be out of date and irrelevant to life in America. After destroying my family through deceptive, misguided philosophy, rather than adhering to biblical teaching and wisdom, I woke up! Thank you....and all the others posting here for your words and insight. lets....LIVE A LIFE BEARING FRUIT in KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE.

Jim