Part 12 of 22 –
Apostacism, Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism & Deception
In Paul’s epistle to the Romans he declares “the gospel (good news) of God... concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (
1:1-3). The core of the good news, which Paul proclaimed, concerns Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Paul was always talking about Christ. Paul’s epistles are filled with Christ. In Paul’s message, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as “the life giving Spirit” (1Cor 15:45) was everything. Yet, we may note that Paul never wrote of any thing Jesus of Nazareth did or said during His earthly ministry to Rom. (2Cor 5:16). Israel
The believer’s Christ centeredness (
3:11), is in his being placed “in Christ” by his rebirth, as his source of God’s spiritual blessing, which has been given to all believers (Eph 1:3). This Bible truth of “the dispensation of the grace of God” is in striking contrast to much of modern day evangelism, which is most often not Christ-centered, but rather man-centered. Col
Thus, today we hear many preach, “Tell God what you want.” “You can expect a healing, miracle, and material blessings.” “You can command the blessing.” This false teaching is obviously gross error and a totally man-centered message, having nothing to do with the dispensation of the grace of God. Many preachers today, particular among the charismatic and neo-Pentecostal sects, make God man’s “go for.”
On the other hand many portray God as a sort of cosmic extortionist who will not “bless you” with what you want unless you give him your money. How does this fit with God’s love and sovereignty working in the life of the believers? Doesn’t Paul teach us concerning the need for believers to endure sufferings (Rom 8:17)? We have proper understanding only in the light of the Christian’s proper eternal view and values that Paul offers us in 2Cor 4:17.
Dr. A. W. Tozer, shortly before his death, wrote this of evangelicalism’s humanistic approach:
“The flaw in current evangelism lies in its humanistic approach... It is frankly fascinated by the great, noisy, aggressive world with its big names, its hero worship, its wealth and pageantry... This gross misapprehension of the truth is back of much... of our present evangelical activity...
“This concept of Christianity is a radical error, and because it touches the souls of men it is a dangerous, even deadly, error... It is little more than a weak humanism allied with weak Christianity to give it ecclesiastical respectability... Invariably it begins with man and his needs and then looks around for God, while true Christianity reveals God as searching for man, to deliver him from his ambitions.”
Dr. Tozer was a writer of forty books based upon the believer’s deeper life in relationship with Christ and based upon His cross-work. God’s good news for the world is about Christ freely given to all who would believe (trust) in Christ alone. This good news includes His love; His Spirit of life and power in overcoming sin and death; His nailing “the Law” to His cross, paying just penalty for the sin of all men, so that all who believe might be justified and receive the resurrected “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” into their spirit to be their new life (1Cor 6:17, Col 1:27, Gal 2:20). This is why Paul’s gospel is called “the gospel (good news) of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and “the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2Cor. 4:4). To be saved and enter experientially into the truth of the good news of the grace gospel is the great total blessing one can possibly enjoy. How often do we hear this gospel clearly and simply preached or proclaimed?
Thus we might ask; are the souls won to the Lord under this modern “man-centered gospel” really saved with a “saving faith” that is able to change lives by the power of the grace gospel? Since God is sovereign and knows the heart I would say, in spite of the error that is preached, sometimes there are ones saved through the Holy Spirit anointing a few words of truth, but most times they are not. Only God knows the heart of each person. I’m quite certain that there are many who are deceived to think they are saved when in fact they really are not; this is mostly due to the compromised and mixed humanistic man-centered gospel message of the Apostates and the neo-evangelicals.
Paul warns us many who will use the word craftily.
2Corinthians 4:2-5 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness (trickery), nor handling the word of God deceitfully (to deceive); but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom “the god of this world” (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Sadly, once people abandon or exchange the truth of the Bible for a lie they are subject to all kinds of deception. We cannot exchange the truth of Paul’s grace gospel for today for what we are “feeling,” or for erroneous notions based upon “spiritualizing the word” and still expect “the power of God unto salvation.” Yes, we must be Bible based, but then only according to Paul’s instruction to be those who are … “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15 KJV). As stated earlier, most Christians erroneously assume whatever Biblically concerns
also applies to “the church, which is the body of Christ” today. So they maintain the law and outer works in their search for outer blessing. Such folly makes one subject to the lies of the “seducing spirits” of the Devil. Israel
Some naively call it “faith” if it is “spiritual,” even if it is faith in almost anything they can conjure up, so long as it’s in the name of Jesus. Among non-believers the deception is most grossly seen by the acceptance of the message of such people as Shirley MacLaine and Oprah, looking to them as “spiritual” leaders or guides. They wrongly assume, if it’s spiritual or mystical then its close enough to Christianity; when in fact it is not Christianity at all. The key to deception is ignorance of the truth and ignorance among non-believers and believers alike. It can be fatal to come under the preaching of those leaders who do not believe or teach the truths of “the faith” that Paul received from the ascended Christ delivered to the members of “the body of Christ.”
Even when the evangelicals recognize that they may be compromising the word of God here and there they may say, “Its only a minor compromise – after all we can win souls if we join with them (the Apostates) in this or that program, organization, or effort.” This tact of course never works except to render the true pure gospel of “the faith” impotent, then also polluting the gospel for future generations. There are numerous examples in the Bible that should convince us that rather than the Apostates and heathens being beneficially influenced through “a little compromise,” the believers themselves will become influenced by the methods and philosophy of the Apostates, falling away from “the faith.” E.g., Though God often warned
Israelof mixing with the pagans; was repeatedly influenced for the worse when they did mix with and accept pagan things, going against God’s warning. Israel
Frankly, I dearly love and appreciate Billy Graham and his ministry. God used his TV crusade preaching as instrumental in preparing me for my own salvation in 1968. Billy preached the gospel of the salvation of God by grace through faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection – not of works. This is the great and true grace gospel for today. However, the thing that has always annoyed me is how Billy Graham would always close the crusades saying – “Now go to church this Sunday,” no doubt with the best of intention. My question for Billy would be “Okay, I’m now saved, but which church should I go to?” Genuine Christians should recognize that the pure grace gospel of the “saving faith” is not presented in every so-called “church,” certainly not the Apostate church, and now the compromised and mixed gospel is presented in many of the so-called evangelical and fundamentalist churches. Thus misled, any “newborns” saved at Billy’s crusade may be misled to become what I call “still-born babes in Christ,” never growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Many who visit these “churches” become “pretending babes,” not really born again at all. 2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
I would guess that Billy Graham Evangelistic Association organizers don’t strongly differentiate between the pure grace gospel preaching churches and those who aren’t. I would assume they do this so they can get as many “churches” as possible to participate and pull more people into the crusade. But this is compromise. Whenever we do “good things” the “wrong way,” we will get both good and bad results – including the “still borns,” and “pretending borns.” Sadly, the pretending borns are deceived, thinking they are saved because now they “go to church” or they are perhaps now on the church board. The compromised diluted gospel and a gospel that is a mixture of law and grace corrupts the true of the grace gospel, fogging God’s genuine message of …salvation by grace through faith, apart from works of the law. Again, only the gospel according to the truth has the power to save and change lives inwardly.
How can I say some so-called fundamentalist have fallen away? Sadly, many “fundamentalist” churches have also “departed from the faith” that Paul taught, adopting legalism (law-keeping), and adopting measurable requirements for one to be considered saved (such as you must pray daily, go to church three times a week, don’t go to movies, don’t eat in restaurants that serve liquor, etc.). This is not “the faith.” Each of these things may not be bad in themselves but they do not make you a Christian or a better Christian. They mix law and grace. Their culture and their teachings of the law negate the pure grace of God.
Linda and I were saved at such a
Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Churchin North Plainfiled, , in 1968. In spite of the mixed message that was taught, I was saved by responding to the truth portion that I heard by the Spirit drawing me. For the first time I saw a Bible and heard the verse 2Corinthians 5:17, which rang in my ears for 2 weeks before I was saved. Of course, not meeting the fundamentalist standard, we were literally asked to leave and not to come back within six months of our salvation only because we had visited an unacceptable church. Paul says any law of works for salvation, or to maintain right standing with God, is the mark of them who have “fallen from grace,” making Christ’s cross “of no effect.” “CHRIST IS BECOME OF NO EFFECT unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE.” Galatians 5:4 New Jersey
Some Baptists churches (not all) teach that you can’t be saved unless and until you are water baptized – baptismal regeneration – thus they impose a law that was given to Israel alone and abandon the message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Many Pentecostals (not all) say you aren’t really saved unless you “speak in tongues” – thus also abandoning the salvation by grace through faith alone. So many sects, groups, and denomination add to the pure unadulterated grace gospel, negating the grace of God in Christ alone.The gospel for us today is given to us our Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul (Rom 11:13), for this day of “the dispensation of the grace of God…” (Eph 3:1-3). Once we abandon our stand for the reference line of the truth of “the faith that was once delivered” (Jude 1:3), we have fallen away. Then it is easy to lose our way. Certainly by the time the second generation of compromise and law-keeping has taken root, the reference line of truth is obliterated and cannot even be found. This is how once believing churches progressively fall away, and this is what has led to the impotent fundamentalist churches we see today