Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 Cor 4:1 – 5 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world 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. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
1 Cor 1:1 – 2 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours
The mission of the church is more accurately found in Ephesians 4:12 & 13 – “the church exists For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Titus chapter 2 seems to sum up the mission of the church very nicely.
There is no place in scripture where saints are told to bring lost souls to the gathering nor is this portrayed in any scriptural narratives. The only place I know where scripture comments on lost people being in church is 1 Corinthians chapter 14. Paul is wrapping up his comments on the lust for gifts exhibited by the church in Corinth. “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” It’s clear in this passage that the priority is on the clear proclamation of God’s Word – not on being mindful of making lost folks feel comfortable.
When church leaders focus on lost people, they disobey scripture (Colossians 3:1 – 3, 2 Corinthians 4:18, etc.) and they will be distracted from the right focus on God. Seeking to be appealing to men, elders must turn from seeking to please the Lord – this is disobedience as well. And no man can do both (Galatians 1:10). Furthermore, such a focus on man inevitably leads to the practice of teaching men they can choose Christ – as the natural man wants to be in control of his life. The lost man is dead in his sin (Ephesians 2:1 – 5) and cannot seek God lest he be drawn to Him by Him (Romans 3:10 – 11, John 6:43 – 44, John 1:12 – 13) nor can he comprehend the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:12 – 14, Ephesians 4:17 – 19). It is demeaning to God to pretend man can have a hand in saving himself, giving himself spiritual birth (1 Peter 1:2 – 5, John 15:16). Those who teach and preach are held to a higher standard by God (James 3:1) because they represent God to people. They, therefore, ought to be very careful to only speak for God what He has declared in His Word.
These men pleasers tend to teach people that evangelism consists of inviting lost neighbors to church, so they can hear the preacher. The Bible knows of no such evangelism, telling us to go and preach Christ to the world (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:14 – 15, Col 1:23). It’s the work of the church to disciple babes in Christ, to bring them to a full understanding of our glorious Lord (1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Timothy 1:1 – 4, 1 Timothy 4:6 – 11, Titus chapter 2, 2 Peter 3:17 – 18, Ephesians 4:11 – 16).
Our audience – as regards any Christian ministry – is God, not man. His Word – alone – tells us how He wants to be represented to His creature. Our job is not be creative in finding ways to make heathens like the church – the cross is an offense to them (1 Corinthians 1:26 – 29, 1 Peter 2:7 – 8, Galatians 5:11). Our job is to proclaim Christ crucified, trusting God to call to new life those He predestined to be His children (Ephesians 1:3 – 6, Romans 8:32 – 34, John 1:13, Romans 9:6 – 11, Romans 11:5 – 6, 2 Peter 1:2 – 11), making disciples of those are redeemed by Christ. Anything that glorifies man – his status, position, abilities – is sin (Isaiah 48:9 – 11). The aim of each child of God is glorify Him – this is the foundation of everything we do. We cannot love one another properly without God’s glory being the basis. We cannot love lost folks properly if our reason for doing so is anything other than bringing God glory. Any other reason will lead us astray, into doing things for pragmatic reasons, mindful of results and numbers instead of God and His glory.
“Soli Deo Gloria” – Glory To God Alone
“Solus Christus” – Christ Alone
“Sola Scriptura” – Scripture Alone
“Sola Fide” – Faith Alone
“Sola Gratia” – Grace Alone
May we serve the lord with joy and seek to be forgotten, that those we speak to will remember the Christ of Whom we spoke.
Stuart L. Brogden
“Will you let Jesus take the heroic right out of you? Will you let Him make you see yourself as He sees you until for one moment you stand before the Cross and say, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring”? How many of us are there to-day? Talk about getting people to hear that, they won’t have it! Jesus says they won’t. No crowd on earth will ever listen to that, and if under some pretence you get them and preach the Cross of Christ they will turn with a snubbing offence from the whole thing as they did in our Lord’s day (John vi. 60, 66).
The abominable ‘show business’ is creeping into the very ranks of the saved and sanctified–‘We must get the crowds.’ We must not! We must keep true to the Cross! Let folks come and go as they will, let movements come and go, let ourselves be swept along or not, the one main thing is–true to the yoke of Christ, His Cross.”
I blush today to think about the religious fodder that is now being handed out to children. There was a day when they sat around as the fire crackled in the hearth and listened to a serious but kindly old grandfather read Pilgrim’s Progress, and the young Canadian and the young American grew up knowing all about Mr. Facing-Both-Ways and all the rest of that gang. And now we read cheap junk that ought to be shoveled out and gotten rid of.
I have an old Methodist hymnal that rolled off the press 111 years ago and I found forty-nine hymns on the attributes of God in it. I have heard it said that we shouldn’t sing hymns with so much theology because people’s minds are different now. We think differently now. Did you know that those Methodist hymns were sung mostly by uneducated people? They were farmers and sheep herders and cattle ranchers, coal miners and blacksmiths, carpenters and cotton pickers—plain people all over this continent. They sang those songs. There are over 1,100 hymns in that hymnbook of mine and there isn’t a cheap one in the whole bunch.
Our fathers sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and we sing junk.
“Should not every Christian be expected by his ninth or tenth year to know all the holy Gospels, containing as they do his very name and life? A spinner or a seamstress teaches her daughter her trade while she is young, but now even the most learned prelates and bishops do not know the Gospel.
Oh, how badly we treat all these poor young people that are entrusted to us for discipline and instruction! and a heavy reckoning shall we have to give for it that we keep them from the word of God; their fate is that described by Jeremiah: “Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people, because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city. They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom” (Lam. ii. 11, 12).
We do not perceive all this misery, how the young folk are being pitifully corrupted in the midst of Christendom, all for want of the Gospel, which we should always read and study with them.”
We here at DefCon (as well as our brothers and sisters at other sites, such as Ken Silva and Ingrid Schlueter) use the written Word of God as the rule and basis for everything we believe about God and how one is to worship Him. For that, we are constantly accused of being “Pharisees” by those who would lead the Body of Christ away from the clear teachings of Scripture, and into areas which are questionable (at best) and/or heretical (at worst).
Well, here’s my question–what exactly does it mean to be a “Pharisee”? Are we justly accused as Pharisees by the Seeker-Driven™/Purpose-Driven™, “Let’s all just get along in unity” church-goer who does not dare speak for fear that it may offend someone? Or is there a more accurate description of a Pharisee? Let us examine the issue.
The Pharisees were outraged at being called sinners.
Luke 18:9-12—Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'”
If you deny that you are a sinner, and you think that your “good works” are enough to make you righteous in God’s eyes–YOU ARE A PHARISEE!
Romans 5:12—Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.
—————————— Continue reading
In the First Century AD, Cerinthus was a well-known heretic, being one of the early leaders of the Gnostic movement. John opposed him as fiercely as a man possible could (thus giving us a better example of how to deal with heretics than the many modern-day milquetoast “pastors” who think we need to buddy-up with heretics and call them “brothers in Christ”). In fact, the story goes that when John and some of his disciples (possibly Polycarp) were about to enter a bathhouse, and John heard that Cerinthus was inside, John fled the building with his disciples, shouting
“Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
If only that which calls itself “the church” in America today would follow John’s example, we might not need a site like this. If the quote-unquote “church” would rise up and flee, flee, flee! Flee swiftly from those institutions that teach things that are contrary to the Word of God!!
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Roman Catholic idolatry, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Emergent “Christianity”, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Purpose-Driven™/Seeker-Driven™ egocentrism, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Prosperity heretics, those enemies of the truth, are inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Robert Schuller, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for self-esteem, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Compromise of all sorts, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
That which calls itself “church”–if only they would adopt the attitude of John the Apostle, and “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for [fill in the blank], the enemy of the truth, is inside!” Remember these words which our Lord Jesus spoke to this one who fled from Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth. Listen to what He said to these gatherings that claimed to be of Christ–but which allowed Satan to enter through the front door, all the while claiming they did it “for Christ”:
Revelation 2:12-16—“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write…I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”
Revelation 2:18-23—“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write…I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.”
These were churches that were “doing good things.” They went around preaching “Love!! Love!! Love!!” They had all kinds of faith. But what did they do? They brought the enemy inside. They brought in Balaam, and they brought in Jezebel–and by doing so, they brought in all of their destructive heresies.
- Did Jesus say, “Oh, I’m so proud of you!! You’re using Satan’s methods to bring people in the doors! How wonderful!!”
- Did Jesus say, “It just thrills my heart to see you joining the worship of the true God with those who teach false Christs and bow down to worship statues!!”
- Did Jesus say, “I love how you guys are engaging the culture around you!!”
- Did Jesus say, “That’s the way to do church!! After all, who wants to sit there for a half an hour and just hear about…Me? Bring in more games!!”
Look at the warnings Jesus gives the church at Pergamos, and the church at Thyatira. Notice how they compromised with the world, and notice the rebuke from Christ. Then ask yourself: Would your church receive a “Well Done.” Or would He rebuke you for flinging wide the front door and inviting Balaam and Jezebel inside?
Ohhhhh, the ways this passage is twisted, and perverted, and turned on its head by the oh-so-hip, oh-so-cool, oh-so-relevant “pastors” of the many seeker-sensitive, non-offensive, cross-less “churches” that pepper the American religious community today. They take the words of the apostle Paul, and they use them as an excuse to perform all kinds of free-for-alls by inviting all kinds of filthy, heathen, Satanic methods into a place that is supposed to be sanctified, consecrated, and set apart for the worship of Almighty YHVH.
And what is their excuse? “See??? Paul said he was ‘all things to all men!’ So take that you Bible-thumping Pharisee!” And we who love the precious word of God and consider ourselves slaves to it, shake our heads and groan on the inside, knowing that one more person has just allowed themselves to be conformed to this evil world, whilst trying to hold on to Christ. So, for the sake of clarity, let us examine just exactly what the apostle meant. Here are his actual words:
1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New King James Version)—19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
But, let’s take the attitude of those who would say, “Of course they played Marilyn Manson music in church this morning! They were reaching out and being relevant to Marilyn Manson fans! I mean, how else are they going to draw them?” And let’s draw it out to its inevitable conclusion. This is what they would have Paul say–
1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New Seeker-Sensitive Version)—For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I may win more; and to the murderers I became a murderer, so that I might win murderers; to the blasphemers, as a blasphemer, so that I might win the blasphemers; to the pornographers, as a pornographer, so that I might win pornographers. To the pagans and Wiccans and Druids, I became a pagan and Wiccan and Druid that I might win the pagans and Wiccans and Druids; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.
But is that what Paul was saying? If you think it is, then stop reading right now and go back to reading Rob Bell or Doug Paggitt. Because you will not like what I am about to say. Paul was not saying that he committed acts that were sinful, neither was he saying that he brought Satanic rituals into the church, nor is he saying that we should be conformed to this world so that we can be “all things to all men.”
After reading Pilgrim’s post below, as well as this post about George Barna’s recent “waffling” and his growing fascination with ecumenicalism (and this follow-up), I decided to combine the two into one FICTIONAL story.
From Jerusalem Post, c. 33 AD:
By Mariam Zecharyahu
Jerusalem (JP)–A new George Barna poll has found that the popularity of a certain Nazarene prophet, which had been growing geometrically over the first two years of his ministry, is beginning to show signs of slowing, and, in some cases, the number of people opposed to his teachings is actually greater than those who still favor his doctrines.
Yehoshua Ha’Mashiachah bar-Yusef, whose claims about being the Christ of YHVH have divided people everywhere he has gone, continues to enjoy support from the outcasts of society. But among those in power–especially among the very influential Pharisaical community–his claims to being the only begotten of YHVH Himself have brought about only scorn. As one Pharisee (who spoke to us under condition of anonymity) has said, “He is a blasphemer! I was there when he said that he and YHVH were one. What an outrage to mock the Shema like that! Only YHVH is One!” A scribe, who also wished to remain nameless, said, “The man has a lot of gall! To say what he did, that ‘I AM.’ Does he not know, that is a title reserved for YHVH?” Continue reading
Via The Apologetic Front:
As a follow-up to CD’s post, I found this video of how the Seeker-Sensitive, Flesh-Driven Purpose-Driven follower would sing “Ode To Joy,” and who the focus of their worship really is:
In case you can’t understand the lyrics, here they are:
Me me me me
Me me me me
Me me me me
Me me me me
Galatians 6:14—God forbid that I should glory but in the Cross of Christ, by which the world was crucified unto me, and I was crucified unto the world!