Vol. 3 Number 4 April 1997
Inside This Newsletter
1. As Goes The Nation---So Goes Our Churches?
2. Facts & Figures
3. NEWS WATCH
4. CN&V'S NOTES
As Goes The Nation---So Goes Our Churches?
By Andy Neckar
Church mostly made up of un-believers.
Although 86 percent of Americans profess to be Christian, some 45 percent of Americans-including 30 percent of those claiming to be "born again"-say they believe that Jesus, while on earth, committed sins; and a large number do not believe the key Christian doctrine that He was physically resurrected. Are these "born again" Christians??? really saved?
In contrast to earlier decades, only one in four Americans today believe there is such a thing as absolute moral truth, and the proportion of those who believe in absolute moral truth is down even among active churchgoers.
George Barna, Christian pollster of Barna Research Group says "...there seems to be a tremendous interest in faith and spirituality these days, as evidenced by sales of books, attendance at seminars, the number of people "investigating" various spiritual paths and talking to each other about religious things".
Speaking to a group of more than 7000 participants at the Evangelistic Association of New England's Congress '97 in March, Barna said although it looks like Christianity in America appears to have entered some troubling times, with church attendance, according to his research, lower than it has been at any time in decades, he is firmly convinced that "in the next five to seven years, America is about to enter a great transformation, where the outcome is either massive spiritual revival or moral anarchy."
Well--I believe we will have both. We will have a massive rebellion against God in the guise of spiritual revival. How? More and more the public is pressured to accept such "individual rights" as abortion, and "alternate lifestyles" as homosexuality, that former actions viewed as immorality will no longer be considered as such by the overwhelming majority of the American public as well as the "church". But not "THE CHURCH".(the body of Christ)
Speaking of the so-called baby booster generation, (people under 30) Barna says, " Among the generations, they may well be the most relational generation that America has had in this century. They are looking for intense friendships, solutions to family difficulties, and practical teaching on how to live a more meaningful life"
And how to reach this generation? Well, he thinks the thing that worked for the churches 10 years ago doesn't necessarily work today, because the culture is reinventing itself every three to five years. The stuff that we used a decade ago, he says, "is two change-cycles away and therefore outdated and irrelevant". He says, "We have to keep the timeless truths of the faith in place, of course, but the way we present it has to change."
And that change is happening within the church, but "without the timeless truths of the faith in place".
As the church conforms even more to the world, more worldly people will come into the churches. As the church and the world embrace each other the people in these churches will have no "inward change" as evidenced by a lack of "outward manifestation"(James 2:18).
The power of God unto salvation is the gospel of Christ. How do we "modernize" the "preaching" of the gospel. You know, the thing that worked for the Apostle Paul was the "preaching of the gospel of Christ" by a "preacher" (Rom 10:14) The word "preacher" in this verse is the Greek word "kerusso". This same word is translated "preach" and "proclaim" in different verses and "publish" in Mark 1:45 and "published" in Mark 13:10.
The Old Testaments prophets "preached" (Isaiah 61:1; Jonah 3:2) Noah was a "preacher of righteousness".(2 Peter 2:5)
Many centuries had passed between Noah and the time of Jesus and Paul, yet they still held to preaching. Preaching hadn't become "outdated and irrelevant" in all those years, and look how many times the culture had "reinvented itself" in that period of time. The churches must keep the "timeless truths of the faith" and the "timeless method of proclaiming that message of truth".
The church doesn't preach the gospel of Christ. The church doesn't preach repenting and believing. (Mark 1:15) The church preaches making a "commitment to Christ because He loves you". The church preaches a "social gospel" of a "morality as defined by the churches". The church is teaching what the people want,.(2 Timothy 4:3) solutions to family difficulties, and practical teaching on how to live a more meaningful life"
The church is in the entertainment business, not God's business of teaching the nations "...to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..."(Matt 28:19-20) The church will give you drama presentations, contemporary and rock music, exercise classes and sports activities. And maybe if you show interest they will throw in a little morality lesson. But will they teach repentance from the infallible and inerrant Word? Forget it. Repentance and faith don't sell, and these worldly evangelists are salesmen. They open God's Book and speak the words of man, throwing in enough of God's Word to make their message believable to the gullible.
And why are these people gullible? Because they have not studied to show themselves approved unto God and to rightly divide the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15). Neither have they exercised their senses to discern good and evil.(Heb 5:14)
Satan has always set a snare for humanity and he always deceives the majority, but he seems to be succeeding against God's remnant, the elect. In this he will fail (Matt 24:24), but we must warn and save as many of the multitude as we can.
The churches are "preaching the world", "conforming to the world", "embracing the world" and calling it "spiritual revival". Satan is happy and my soul is vexed.
There is rebellion against my Commander in Chief. My Master is being ridiculed and made a liar by impostors who say they are my brother. The work of my Savior is being credited to a woman. (Roman Catholic's Mary)
My real brothers in Christ are being deceived by wolves in sheep's clothing. By dumb dogs that cannot bark.(unqualified and deceived pastors)
Isa 56:10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. (KJV)
Isa 56:11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. (KJV)
New members are being recruited into the churches by Pharisees. The Body of Christ are told these are brethren
Matt 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (KJV).
I am told by some I have an un-loving spirit. Well, I am angry. I am frustrated. I am involved. These people are trying to deceive me. Besides, I am a member of the family of God, and I don't like it when people mess with my family. This battle is between me and them, and I am ready for R and R. A Righteous Ruler. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Come get me and take care of them
Facts & Figures
By Andy Neckar
Deceived spreading deception; Ignorance ministering to ignorant; Blind leading the blind..
What am I trying to say?
Get this! "Lost sinners evangelizing lost sinners".
Researcher George Barna reports (and I believe it) "Many efforts aimed at leading people to faith in Christ aren't effective because they aren't biblical (emphasis mine).
Based on 1996 surveys of "evangelizers" Barna sites six serious problems. Among them are:
*Ignorance of other faiths. He says that "almost four out of five Christian Evangelizers do not realize Catholics and Mormons have a different understanding of salvation than Protestants posses". He says, "Six out of 10 evangelizers contend a person's faith of choice doesn't matter, since all major faith groups teach the same lessons".
* Ignorance about Jesus. Three out of 10 witnesses "refuse to rule out the possibility that Jesus committed sins during His time on earth".. He says, "A similar proportion do not buy into His physical resurrection".
* Bad salvation theology. He says given the bland views on grace, heaven, forgiveness, and eternal life held by evangelizers, such as, 40 percent of people who witness think "a person can earn a place in heaven by doing good deeds", and 30 percent believe "a person who rejected Christ is not necessarily condemned to hell by that decision"
Now-Lets reflect some on this survey Those evangelizers who do not believe God do not have the saving faith unto salvation. Remember, it is those who have heard the gospel of Christ, repented, and believed in faith, that are saved. If these people think that Jesus may have committed sins while on this earth and doubt the physical resurrection of Christ, when the Word clearly teaches that Christ was sinless,(Heb 4:15; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22) and that He rose bodily (Luke 24:39-43), then we have a clear example of the lost sinner evangelizing the lost sinner. The blind leading the blind.
* Misplaced trust. "Evangelizers... are more likely to put their trust in feelings and assumptions than in God's written message to us. Without a definitive, consistent, recognized standard of truth, imagine all the beliefs that get shared under the banner of Christianity, and all the cross-free routes to salvation that can be validated".
I say, preach on Barna. People nowadays place their trust in signs and wonders. They forget, or don't know that the "only" way to salvation is the "gospel of Christ".(Rom 1:16). We believe unto righteousness.(Rom 10:10) We believe in our hearts by faith. But what are we to believe?, The gospel of Christ, the power of God unto righteousness.(salvation). How do we hear the gospel of Christ? By a preacher.(Rom 10:14) and by studying to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15) We are approved unto God when we are declared righteous by Him. We are declared righteous by Him when we believe the gospel of Christ We get the gospel of Christ by hearing, or by studying. (reading). Either way, our heart hears. Where does the gospel of Christ come from? From the holy scripture which is able to save us by faith in Christ.(2 Timothy 3:15)
By experience we know that the churches, from the pulpit to the pew, are full of non-believers We find this out for ourselves by keeping informed of evangelicals and the beliefs of professing Christians by the "study" of the things they say, the company they keep, as well as their actions (lifestyle) and judging these findings by the Book of Standards, (God's Word, the KJV Bible) we soon find that the world's churches are full of un-believers. They are preaching from the Pulpit, teaching in Bible Study Classes, evangelizing on Radio, Television , Missionary Ministries, and Seminars and baptizing many new converts twofold more the child of hell than themselves (Matt 23:15)
A note of explanation here. Not all churches and evangelizers fall into this classification. But-I believe most of them do. And as I said in last month's newsletter, if you find a church that "does not", if you are in a sound fellowship of believers you have found a gem. "Hold it tight, and don't let go".
Christianity as we have known it in the recent past will never be the same again. We are in the midst of a mass apostasy unparalleled, I believe, since the mass influx of pagans into the Roman Catholic Church during the time of Constantine.after he made Christianity the State Religion. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, better known as Constantine the Great, was the first Roman emperor to adopt Christianity. Constantine's conversion to Christianity made it the most favored religion in the state; after 380 it was the sole official religion.[Multimedia Encyclopedia 1992 Edition]
Strangers or Fellowcitizens?
Mainline churches must welcome strangers or face continued decline Patrick Keifert, church growth expert, and the keynote speaker at the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, the U.S. mission arm for the United Church of Christ, says. Churches cannot include strangers unless they recognize that the church is not their private family property "but God's house, where God is the host and we are all strangers together," Keifert said. (UCC Office of Communication 11/6/95)
But does God reside in an earthly building? Are believers of the gospel of Christ strangers, or children of God?. If we are strangers then we have no hope. (Eph 2:12) But believers of the gospel of Christ are not strangers. (Eph 2:19) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Penance for Sin?
Ash Wednesday begins Lent, the 40-day period of spiritual reflection and penance before Easter.
Once practiced mainly by Roman Catholics and Episcopalians, Ash Wednesday liturgies are becoming more common in Presbyterian, Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Lutheran, and even some Baptist churches, The Washington Post reported. [The world's churches are "going home to Rome"]
Worshipers often attend services in the morning or at noon, and return to work or school with ashes on their forehead. Young people especially seem to like the visible sign of their faith, which shows that they stand for something, one Presbyterian pastor said. [Our lifestyle should be the visible sign of our faith]
The ashes symbolize penance as well as mortality. [Some synonym's for penance are, atonement, expiation, restitution, and penalty.
Can a Christian offer "any" of these to God? I say, NO! Only Christ can].
BUDDA, In A Baptist Church? Rev. Tim McDonald has no problem allowing Buddhists to worship a different divinity in his Baptist church's annex. Konomu Utsumi, a Buddhist monk from Japan, established a small temple with a gold shrine to Buddha in the annex of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta five years ago (1/11 Houston Chronicle). McDonald said: "They worship an idol god, but that god has some of the same principles of love and compassion as our unseen God." He added: "Jesus never called himself a Christian. That's the label we put on it." It is blasphemous to compare God to an idol! (4/1/97 Calvary Contender)
More Bridge Building?
SBC-SDA ECUMIENICAL SEPVICES- A church choir from a predominately black Seventh-day Adventist church and from two predominately white Southern Baptist churches (Huntsville, AL) will "break down racial and denominational walls" that separate them to join for three performances (one in each church) of the musical cantata "Make Us One," March 22-24 (3/15 H. Times). The SDA is still a cult (Dr. John Whitcomb lists six reasons for classifying it as such in the March-April BDM Letter. The article is available for $1 from: BDM, PO Box 679, Bedford, IN 47421.) Apostasy is still rampant in the SBC.(4/1/97 Calvary Contender)
Roman Catholics Sanction Promise Keepers.
On the national radio program "Promise Keepers This Week" PK founder Bill McCartney remarked: "I believe that there have been thousands of Catholic men that have come to Promise Keepers, . . . and they've said, 'We want more of this.' And the Catholic churches have gathered, the bishops have gotten together, and they've sanctioned Promise Keepers."
He continued, "Now Promise Keepers is going to have to understand that more Catholics are going to participate. And what every guy needs to do is stop looking at people's labels, and ask this question, 'Does this guy know Jesus?' . . . So let's not start categorizing people. Let's just allow God to be God and He can bless who He chooses to bless. And that's how Promise Keepers is going to grow" (O Timothy, vol. 13, #10).
Is everyone that "knows Jesus" saved? Acts 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? (KJV)
This newsletter keeps growing... and growing...and growing... I pray it will be "long lasting" like the Energizer Bunny.
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May the Lord God bless you, and keep you in His Holy Word until His Son comes to take you away.
See you next month.
We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith.