Thursday, June 26, 2008

Serious Problems in Evangelica

A new Pew Research survey about Americans and their beliefs about religion has been released. Among the very disturbing findings, is the fact that 57% of "Evangelicals" believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life". Bear in mind, these are supposed evangelicals - those who are supposed to believe in the fundamental doctrines of Scripture. Even more disturbing, though not as surprising, is the finding that 83% of those associated with "mainline" churches believe this very same thing. As I said, this isn't all that surprising because we've known about theological liberalism's influence over the major denominations for decades. It is, however, a bit baffling that any pastor who claims to believe in the Word of God can teach such a thing from the pulpit.

What use is a religion that isn't the only source of truth? If many religions lead to eternal life, why be a Christian? Why not a muslim or a buddhist? The answer lies in one's view of the purpose of religion. For years, liberal theologians have advanced the notion that Christianity is more about our life on this earth than any life thereafter. The idea that Christ came not to save, but to set an example for how we should live is rampant in America's mainline churches. His death did nothing more than show us how much He loves us, and its purpose is actually to prompt us to love Him back, and live as He did. If this is in fact the case, we are all doomed. Show me one person who has ever lived up to such a standard.

I am truly baffled as to how one can read the letters of Paul and still be convinced that Christ's death was nothing more than an example. There are countless assertions throughout the New Testament concerning the purpose of Christ's death and resurrection. His death accomplished our salvation. End of story. The Gospel cannot be any clearer for those who have been given the faith to believe. It is no surprise that churches who long ago abandoned the orthodox teachings of Christianity are so lost. What is most disturbing is the fact that so many who are part of the evangelical movement can be so misguided. And yet, the cause is one in the same.

In recent years, more and more churches within evangelicalism have drifted away from the emphasis on sound doctrine and teaching in favor of marketing campaigns and entertaining services. The results of the Willow Creek model have opened many eyes to what happens when the focus of a church is on growing the numbers and meeting people's needs, instead of opening their eyes to the Truth. Many of us have totally lost the idea of what a church should be. The church service isn't a place for us to have our needs met. We aren't there to sing songs that are appealing to US. We don't need to hear sermons that make US feel good. We are there to worship the one true God for accomplishing our salvation. Our services should be focused on Him - not us. Our pastors should be relaying the truths of Scripture to us ever Sunday - shepherding us back toward the Gospel when we stray, preparing us for a difficult existence in a world that is fallen and cursed.

A church that loses all respect for doctrine and sound teaching will eventually lose it's way. We are sinful. Our natural desires will always lead us away from the truth, as is very evident in the findings above. The comfort lies in the other truths found in Scripture - that God is sovereign in His election and preservation of believers. Even the very faith required to believe in the historical and spiritual reality of the Gospel is a free gift from God.

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