Sunday, August 5, 2012


The American Evangelical Christian is aware of the need for a major change within the church and government.  There is a call for revival but is this what we need?  The question that should be asked is why a revival?  The common practice  to fight off spiritually lethargic attitudes within the church is to have a revival.  So we call an “evangelist” to instill new life into the congregation and a new commitment to Jesus Christ.  These special meetings are scheduled for the spring and fall each year.  These meetings will run from a “Weekend Revival” to as much as a “Ten Day Revival” depending on how much money has been budgeted and the results will be the same each time.  Everyone gets emotionally charged with “spiritual feelings” and talks about the great music and messages.  Now before you stop and disregard this as the ramblings of someone who has lost his way let me at least present my case.

First, these meetings should never be called a “revival”.  A “revival” will bring about a change not only in the church but within the community as well.  Just because there has been some “spiritual activity” does not mean a “revival” has occurred.  Many of the so called “revivals” are no more than the church leadership trying to retain control over the congregation.  Not to get sidetracked with all the ways church leadership has abused its power and authority let me just say we do not need “revivals” we need transformation.

This transformation is not achieved by emotional “spiritual feelings” but from the power of the Holy Spirit.  Transformation is the product of true repentance, forsaking the old life, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.  When a believer is truly converted they will be standing fast in the WORD, not wavering, not compromising, and not being overcome with fear but steadfast in TRUTH.  

What has been frustrating to me is the number of people who are unstable in their walk with Jesus Christ.  Many have their spiritual life attached to their emotional feelings.  The question I have asked many times is what does being a Christian feel like?  Why is it that some people can wake up in the morning and feel they have lost their salvation?  What is sad is that many preachers play upon these emotions.  Ministers are taught to be result oriented.  How many conversions, how many baptisms, how many rededications, and how many members did you have this year?

This is not new, actually Charles Finney gave the Evangelical movement the revival meeting, the altar call, the mourner’s bench, the invitation or decision to “accept” Christ based on an emotional appeal.  These new methods were designed to give results.  

Finney "believed that all that was needed for conversion was a resolution signified by standing, kneeling, or coming forward, and because the Holy Spirit always acts when a sinner acts, the public resolution could be treated as `identical with the miraculous inward change of sudden conversion'."   

Finney believed that conversions could be obtained by the "use of means" to get people to walk the aisle, and he got results.  But many of his converts fell away soon after making their "decision."  One of his ministry associates, in a letter to Finney, stated: "Let us look over the fields where you and I have labored as ministers and what is now their normal state?  What was their state within 3 months after we left them?  I have visited and revisited many of these fields and groaned in spirit to see the sad, frigid, carnal, and contentious state into which the churches have fallen and fallen very soon after we first departed from among them." 

It is this type of results the church has contended with since the time of Finney.  The transformation that takes place to bring about a new creation is Christ Jesus cannot be staged by the manipulation of men.  Something is wrong when new converts are not demonstrating the fruits of salvation.  Evangelists are ranked by the results they get.  To get these result they have become emotional manipulators rather than depending on the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sins.  The Holy Spirit does not need gimmicks to convict men of sins.  If the power of God is in the message it does not matter whether or not an altar call is made.

Here is where my friends are going to think I have totally lost all sense of what the ministry is about.  Some will even place me in the heretic category.  But hear me out.  

The Evangelical church depends on entertainment (Song Evangelist) psychological manipulation and methods to get people to come to the altar, shake the preacher’s hand, or repeat some canned prayer asking Jesus to come into your heart.  All this has been done by men using the same tools used by Hollywood and Wall Street to get people to make a decision.  Is it any wonder that the people who join the church without a transformation of their soul turn out to be as mean and carnal as the Devil.  The Church has been suffering from false profession of faith without the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Evangelists today are little more than a super salesman with the title of “soul winner” who is only concerned with closing the “deal”.  These preachers have corrupted the message of Salvation and minimized true repentance.  The result is a nation of those who call themselves Christians but lack the vital godliness that goes with being a follower of Jesus Christ.  The result—a generation of professing Christians who have not possessed the transforming power of Jesus Christ, making them a new creation.

There is very little preaching today about true repentance.  Today’s evangelists are more concerned with their own glory demonstrated by the number of converts they can claim at the next conference.  The Church has been tricked into making salvation a decision of the mind rather than a spiritual change of the heart.  The large numbers of converts today are a disgrace to the cause of Jesus Christ.  Many who profess to be “Christian” are no more than superficial professors of a religion they call Christianity.

Evangelicals are so desperate for results that we use every psychological trick in the book to get them to kneel at the altar and pray a prayer that is no more than a mantra asking Jesus to come into their heat and then convince them that they are saved by their acknowledgement, “ I am so glad Jesus came into my heart.”   No wonder we are in the spiritual mess we are today.

Here is what has convinced me that results at any cost are not what the Church should be seeking.   In the book of Acts the early Christians turned the world upside down in about twenty-four months, without going to church on Sunday, church buildings, professional clergy, Sunday school, revivals, workshops, conferences, Christian Books stores, Gospel music  and all the other 'advantages' enjoyed by Evangelicals today.  How did this happen--by the TRANSFORMATION of the soul and these converts become a royal priesthood responsible for their own salvation. ( . . .work out you own salvation with fear and trembling.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Religious Faith or Saving Faith

The most dangerous time that the Evangelical church has known for several generations is facing us today. For a long time now there has ceased to be convictions that united the Church in a practical application of Christian beliefs. This is evidenced by the number of people who have renounced their membership or have left the church from their indifference to spiritual life. The Church has lost its purpose and mission. The main message of the Church should be the salvation of the lost. This is first and foremost the purpose of the Church.

We are losing the battle against evil. We have lost our purpose and direction. Some will want to justify their purpose by pointing to their mission projects and the number of mission trips their members have taken. I will be the first to admit the good the Church has done around the world. I will stand up and voice my objections when individuals malign the name of the Church. However, I will also look deep into the soul of the Church and see where we have gone astray and forgotten the message which is Salvation. I have come to the conclusion that “foreign missions” and “mission trips” are no more than an activity to ease the conscience of a guilty church. While we are trying to secure new converts to the Faith, we are losing thousands of members here at home. These former members have forsaken the local church and adopted their own interpretation of Christianity. The consequences of this are found in the moral life of the country-- it is changing to a society that is amoral. The foreign mission outreach is no more than an administrative position of control over the foreign converts. Mission trips are glorified vacations that make one feel good about their service and give them a sense of having carried out the purpose of the church. If you will not give the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your neighbor what make you think you are justified by giving to foreign missions or taking a mission trip? The message of Salvation begins at home, then my neighbor, then the uttermost parts of the world.

The Church has lost its faith. Men are saved by faith, but not just any faith—saving faith. The absence of faith means spiritual death. Just because we say we have faith does not ensure spiritual life, there are many kinds of faith. The faith that will ensure a spiritual life is a saving faith. This is a faith that brings about a religious reformation, a change in the actions and life of the recipient.

The Church has in times past been the means by which societies has been preserved, today we must admit that the majority of the Church is in a weakened and ineffective condition. What makes this sad is that there are many churchmen who have compromised with sin and brought disgrace to the cause of Christ. This week, a pastor of a large evangelical church in Indiana was dismissed after have an “affair” with a sixteen year old girl in his congregation—he is 54 years old. The church seemed to think that because it was not “illegal” in the State of Indiana, and no civil laws had been broken that it was not as serious as those outside the church were making it to be. This is a sad commentary on the spiritual condition of the American church. This church should have the same reaction to this sin as they do towards the homosexuals. Sin is sin and they should treat both the same. However, this is not how the Church works today. It is time to speak out against evil no matter where it is found.

In the controversy and political division that erupted this week over “chicken”, which became a rallying point for many who are “fed” up with the direction evil leaders are pushing this country. (The political leaders should not have under estimated the power of Christian outrage.) This however, is not saving faith but it is a move in the right direction. For too long the present unsatisfactory religious situation in America can be attributed to those who have encumbered the ideal of faith with material prosperity and health have given rise to an utterly futile conflict between religion and Salvation. In this conflict religion has been the victor with Salvation being a concept that is outdated to the modern church member.

Christianity as a religion is damaged goods. The damage has come from those who have corrupted the message of salvation with political and material interest. There are those who use Christianity as a political tool to gain power—they are not to be trusted. These wolves have sold their faith and would collaborate with the devil himself if they could get away with it. I do believe as Christians we must be active against evil in every aspect of life, church, government, education and our homes but not at the cost of our salvation by supporting evil dressed as truth and righteousness. We cannot water down our belief system to the point we are no longer effective. As Christians we cannot continue to compromise with evil. The attitude that we must support the best of two evils is still supporting evil. It is time the Church acted upon the principles of justice and mercy, truth and righteousness and permit God to take control of the situation. We have made a mess of trying to do things our way and the result is we have lost our “saltiness”.

What do we do when even the “salt” has lost its savor? We cannot substitute religious faith for saving faith. The consequence of this substitution will be borne by the whole nation. When the Church begin to lose hold on its foundational teachings and begin to vacillate on its moral principles we fell apart. We are no longer salt and light to an evil world. Our candle has been hidden and the world is going dark.

The American Church needs to open her eyes to the problems within the Church and correct them before we try to change the political direction of this country. I fear that we have too many “Christians” who have been admitted into membership within the Church who are unworthy of membership. They have not “paid their dues” they are the profiteers of the benefits gained by the members who fought the battles and established the teachings and mission of the local church. These unworthy members have no mission to fulfill—they want only the benefits. They jump from one church to another, they are not dedicated to the mission of the church nor are they loyal to the cause—they are religious profiteers.

It should be noted that these religious profiteers are more likely than not the ones who will attack the foundational principles of the church. There was a time when religious teaching and saving faith were once accepted by church members. It was a force in their lives; they accepted the absolute authority of the doctrines of faith as the foundation of their spiritual life. Today, that same authority is challenged and subjected to endless interpretations and opinions which have led to complete anarchy within the Church. The American Church has put herself in a position to become a worthless religion.

Yet there is still hope. The solidarity of the Christian faith is an important factor in withstanding the storms of evil intent. The lack of “saving faith” which results in true repentance and a new direction in life has been obvious to everyone who has not been blinded to the message of Salvation. When Christians are once again in harmony with the message of Gospel of Jesus Christ we will see the power of the Church unfold and evil will be put on the run. The political issues of the day will fade away as men and women find the life change power of faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ.

We must first start at home and purge the local church of “the sin that so easily besets us” and once again become the place where trouble souls find satisfaction and peace.