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Posts Tagged ‘Independent Fundamentalist Baptists’

(revised 02/12/14)

There is a debate going on today among Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, regarding the nature of conversion. Followers of Jack Hyles for example believe that when accepting Christ (becoming born again), one must repent. But they define “repentance” not as repenting of sin, but as turning from unbelief to belief.

Sorry, folks, repentance from sin is essential. I came across the following Baptist blog detailing the need to repent from sin. Click here for the original source of this article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets]. I am also adding some links and some images.

Bible Repentance

Here is a message on repentance in the life of a believer from a member of our church:

From Repentance to Revival

[and a sermon as follows]

The Baptist, Bible position on Repentance
by Pastor Matt McPhillips (Pastor from Port Huron, MI.)

I am going to attempt to write about the doctrine of repentance. About two years ago I became so troubled about my lack of study about the Gospel and my acceptance of four points and a prayer that I dove into studying it head first.  Not knowing completely what my conclusion would be, I saturated myself with books, articles, and sermons by men of the 1900’s, 1800’s, 1700’s, and 1600’s only to find an amazing thing.  The issue of what is repentance in reference to salvation is a modern issue.  I looked at the numerous confessions of faith only to realize they all defined it as a sorrow for and turning from sin. This would include the London Confession (1644), Armenian [Arminian] Confession (1834)[I assume this is the same as the Confession of the Free-Will Baptists (1834)], Philadelphia Association (1734), French Confession (1879), Swiss Confession (1848), New Hampshire [Baptist] Confession (1833) and many others. As much as it pained me, I even began to look at non-Baptist confessions only to find the same.  So, maybe it was that I would find men from the past that would define it as a change of mind from unbelief to belief or one’s dependence to another and I was amazed at what I found.  Notice that all of these men agreed as to the true nature of repentance [repenting of sin].

Oliver B. Green “True repentance is sorrow for sin committed against a holy God and not only sorrow for sin, but TURNING FROM SIN, FORSAKING SIN AND TURNING TO GOD. Sin nailed the Savior to the cross and certainly that fact alone is sufficient reason why ALL WHO HAVE GENUINELY REPENTED HATE SIN AND FORSAKE SINFUL WAYS” (Oliver B. Greene, Commentary of Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:37-38, 1969).

Lester RoloffRepentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven” (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1950s).

Charles Spurgeon“Just now some professedly Christian teachers are misleading many by saying that ‘repentance is only a change of mind.’ [Interestingly, this teaching was present back in the  Spurgeon’s day – it did not originate with Independent Fudamentalist Baptist Jack Hyles.] It is true that the original word does convey the idea of a change of mind; but the whole teaching of Scripture concerning the repentance which is not to be repented of is that it is a much more radical and complete change than is implied by our common phrase about changing one’s mind. The repentance that does not include sincere sorrow for sin is not the saving grace that is wrought by the Holy Spirit. God-given repentance makes men grieve in their inmost souls over the sin they have committed, and works in them a gracious hatred of evil in every shape and form. We cannot find a better definition of repentance than the one many of us learned at our mother’s knee: ‘Repentance is to leave the sin we loved before, and show that we in earnest grieve by doing so no more’” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Royal Saviour,” Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, Feb. 1, 1872).

George Whitefield“Repentance is the carnal and corrupt disposition of men being changed into a renewed and sanctified disposition. … It is the nature of such repentance to make a change, and the greatest change that can be made here in the soul. Thus you see what repentance implies in its own nature; it denotes an abhorrence of all evil”  (George Whitefield, “Repentance,” c. 1750).

D.L.Moody“If you ask people what it is they will tell you, it is feeling sorry.  If you ask a man if he repents, he will tell you oh yes; I generally feel sorry for my sins.  That is no repentance.  It is something more than a feeling sorry.  Repentance is turning right about and forsaking sin.  I wanted to speak on Sunday about that verse in Isaiah, which says, “Let the guilty forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” That is what it is.  If a man don’t turn from his sin he won’t be accepted of God, and if righteousness don’t produce a turning about – a turning from bad to good – it isn’t true righteousness.”

William Tyndale“Concerning this word repentance … the very sense and signification both of the Hebrew and also of the Greek word is, ‘to be converted and to turn to God with all the heart, to know his will, and to live according to his laws; and to be cured of our corrupt nature with the oil of his Spirit, and wine of obedience to his doctrine.” (William Tyndale, “To the Reader,” Tyndale New Testament, 1534).

Jonathan Edwards “So saving repentance and faith are implied in each other. They are both one and the same conversion of the soul from sin to God, through Christ; the act of the soul turning from sin to God through Christ, as it respects the thing from which the turning is, viz. sin, is called repentance; and as it respects the thing to which, and the mediation by which it turns, it is called faith” (Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, 1741).

Charles FinneyA turning from sin to holiness, or more strictly, from a state of consecration to self to a state of consecration to God, is and must be the turning, the change of mind, or the repentance that is required of all sinners. Nothing less can constitute a virtuous repentance, and nothing more can be required” (Charles Finney, “Repentance and Impenitence,” 1878).

Harry Ironside“Shallow preaching that does not grapple with the terrible fact of man’s sinfulness and guilt, calling on ‘all men everywhere to repent,’ results in shallow conversions; and so we have a myriad of glib-tongued professors today who give no evidence of regeneration whatever. Prating of salvation by grace, they manifest no grace in their lives. Loudly declaring they are justified by faith alone, they fail to remember that ‘faith without works is dead’; and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God. … To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ. … So to face these tremendous facts is to change one’s mind completely, so that the pleasure lover sees and confesses the folly of his empty life; the self-indulgent learns to hate the passions that express the corruption of his nature; the self-righteous sees himself a condemned sinner in the eyes of a holy God; the man who has been hiding from God seeks to find a hiding place in Him; the Christ-rejector realizes and owns his need of life and salvation”  (Harry Ironside, Except Ye Repent, 1937).

I thought to myself this can’t be, how could we have men today defining repentance different that they did throughout history and then I found a message preached by D.L. Moody in which he was honest as to the reason he did not preach repentance and the basis for today’s lack of it. “You will find my text tonight in the seventeenth chapter of Acts, part of the thirtieth verse: “And now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” I have heard a number of complaints about the preaching here in the Tabernacle, that repentance has not been touched upon. The fact is that I have never had very great success in preaching upon repentance.  When I have preached it people haven’t repented. I’ve had far more success when I’ve preached Christ’s goodness.  But tonight I will preach about repentance, so you will have no more cause of complaint.  I believe in repentance just as much as I believe in the Word of God.”

Repentance does not work in our mega-this and mega-that mentality and if it works we do it and if not we don’t.  When our goal is momentum, results, and growth, we will neglect or diminish truth that might hinder our numerical growth. After all Jesus did say, “Preach momentum; be instant in season and out of season”.  Didn’t He?  John the Baptist went everywhere preaching momentum, decisions, and growth, right? So I went to the creator of easy believe/quick prayer methodology,  Charles Finney. Surely he would have diminished repentance in order to produce results.  Listen to what he said were signs of genuine repentance and false repentance:

Genuine Repentance

  • There is in your mind a conscious change of views and feeling in regard to sin.
  • The disposition to repeat sin is gone.
  • It worketh a reformation of conduct.
  • It changes our character and conduct.

False Repentance

  • It is not founded on such a change of opinion.
  • It is founded on selfishness.
  • It leaves the feelings unchanged.
  • It works death.
  • It produces only a partial reformation of conduct.
  • Its reformation is temporary.
  • It is a forced reformation.
  • It leads to self-righteousness.
  • It leads to a false security.
  • It hardens the heart.
  • It sears the conscience.

Now this  cannot be true, how did we get to this place in our churches?  Well, it starts with the dumbing down of our biblical study to be approved of God and our elevation of academic, liberal arts, and growth equals power mentality. We have Baptists following non-Baptists in modern day evangelism and methods. We have the ecumenical, fundamentalist movement diminishing doctrine, and we have liberal arts schools training preachers instead of local churches training them.  We have Christian newspaper editors establishing orthodoxy instead of Baptist preachers in Baptist pulpits.  Sadly today, psychological manipulation experts teach soulwinning, while Protestant revivalists are touted as our heroes. So I realized I have been deceived, misled, and ignorant of my Baptist doctrine and sold a bill of goods in order to protect a system of thought not found in history or the Bible.

I will leave you with these questions:

  1. Can you show me the examples of people getting saved and not changing in the Bible?
  2. Can you show repentance that did not amend the life of the person in the Bible?
  3. Can you find our modern day definition of repentance more than 100 years ago?
  4. Why would we ignore Matthew, Mark, and Luke and only  use John as our basis for the Gospel?
  5. When Jesus cast out the money changers, gave us Matthew 18, told us to turn them over to Satan (I Corinthians 5), commanded us to rebuke before all, to reprove and rebuke was he teaching us to protect momentum?

I do not have an axe to grind, but I am deeply troubled and burdened about our lack of revival and our man-made attempts to create it.

Note From Brother Ted Alexander: First let me say that I very much agree with this article.  I am bothered by the modern day preachers tampering with the doctrine of repentance and pulling out the word repentance from their message and even tampering with the old hymns. The revisions do not line the messages or songs up with the Bible or the historic Baptist position on repentance. Brother McPhillips pointed out that the modern fundamentalist, limp-wristed, numbers- driven definition of repentance is not found before the early part of the Laodacean church age/fundamentalist movement.  We wonder why ”Christian” people today live like the world and America is going to hell!  Could it be because Jesus was right in Matt. 7?  Has our generation been decieved [sic] into easy-prayer salvation that is not salvation at all?  When our desire becomes God alone, and we seek true conversions more than numbers and the approval of the brethren, we will begin to preach for God’s glory instead of a packed pew?  THINK!!!

FOR FURTHER READING

Easy Believism Fast Track to Hell

David Cloud’s articles (Google hits) criticizing the “easy believism” or “easy prayerism” heresy of Jack Hyles

Johnny the Baptist, Does Repent Really Mean Repent? – defends the need to repent of sin

The Repentance Blacklist – a long list of so-called heretics who say repentance of sin is necessary when accepting Christ. (Actually, this fellow has done us a favor by listing those who hold to the biblical position.)

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Paul admonishes us to:

“… be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2, KJV)

Yet how often do we encounter professing Christians who are conforming to this world – who after years of claiming to be born again are perfectly comfortable drinking, or smoking, or “clubbing”, or swearing, or dancing, or watching promiscuity-filled soaps, or laughing at dirty jokes, or reading horoscopes, or practicing yoga, or practicing contemplative prayer, or striving for material wealth, etc. etc.? Far too often, I’m afraid.

Sorry if I sound judgmental here. But what about those Christians around us who are doing these things? Should they not be corrected, warned that, for one thing, their witness to unbelievers is being destroyed by their own behavior?

Bottom line: all who claim to be born again Christians should be “no compromise Christians”. Following is an excellent list of links discussing this, by By Martha Mac of SO4J.com. Click here for the original source of this article.

Note – a number of these 50 signs are reflected in my own “old fashioned” separatist Wesleyan Holiness beliefs, as well as in The Fundamentals of 1910-1915 which I hold so dear. I’m not saying I never trip up and sin/compromise – I am saying these 50 signs are what I strive for, with God’s help.

50 SIGNS OF A NO COMPROMISE CHRISTIAN

Signs, Fruit, & Evidences of a No Compromise Christian

50 Signs of a No Compromise Christian - SO4J.com

By Martha Mac / SO4J.com ® / SO4J-TV

INTRO: 50 Signs of a No Compromise Christian – Looks at the Signs, Fruit, & Evidences of a No Compromise Christian or True Believer from the Scriptures in God’s Word. The Purpose is to: Provoke, Exhort, and Stir the Hearts of all those who call themselves a Believer in Jesus Christ— Provoking Believers to Biblically become More & More Conformed into the Image of Jesus Christ in all we: Say, Think, or Do (1 Cor 10:31, 2 Cor 3:16-17,18). This is an SO4J Bible Study about Sanctification & Holiness for the Believer(1 Pet 1:14-17)— it is NOT a set of Rules or a List to Follow in order to be Saved.

PLEASE NOTE: SO4J-TV believes that we are Not Saved by Works – Eph 2:8-9 (Legalism), but our Faith is Proven by our Works (James 2:14-20, Matt 3:8). This is NOT a Bible Study on Obedience to Rules in order to be Saved, or about Legalism. If there is No Obedience to Gods Word (1 John 2:3-6, John 14:15) & one Continues In Sin (1 John 3:8-10) then we’ll have to Face the Terrifying Consequences of Heb 10:26-31 which Jesus Warns us about in Matt 7:21-23 where MANY who Thought they were Saved will spend Eternity in Hell. This is about how a True Believer should Reflect the GLORIOUS IMAGE OF CHRIST in our Lives (2 Cor 3:18, 2 Cor 5:17, Matt 5:16), by living HOLY & CLEAN lives (1 Pet 1:14-15,16-17) for GOD’S GLORY (1 Cor 10:31)— and Obey God’s Word out of a LOVE FOR JESUS (John 14:15,21,23-24, John 15:10,14, John 3:36, John 8:31, Luke 6:46).

SO4J-TV also understands that Christians are not perfect— they still Sin once in a while (so to speak – 1 John 2:1, 1 Cor 3:1-15). We want to reach out to those people who call themselves Christians— yet use the Grace of God as a License to Sin (Rom 6:1-23, Rom 6:15-16). We are concerned that there are MANY “Christians” (Matt 7:21-22, 23) who are NOT ready to face Jesus on Judgment Day (Heb 9:27). Our Aim is to provoke all of us to Examine our Faith with the God’s Word (2 Cor 13:5), and make sure that we are Biblically Saved, and Ready to Face Jesus on Judgment Day (2 Cor 5:10).

"If What You SAY, THINK, or DO is Contrary to God's Word, Then You Are Being DECEIVED!" Martha Mac SO4J.com

ON THIS PAGE:

50 Signs of a No Compromise Christian

50 Signs of a No Compromise Christian - SO4J.com

PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD – Eph 6:10-20

By Martha Mac  / SO4J.com ® / SO4J-TV

LINKS

  1 – They Do NOT CONFORM To The Things Of This World—Their #1 Goal Is To Be Like Jesus
2 – They LOVE THE LORD their God with all their Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength
3 – They Are SEPARATING Themselves From ALL Ungodliness And The Things Of This WORLD
4 – They Are Walking Down The Narrow Road Of God’s HOLINESS—They Are God’s Holy Remnant
5 – They Do NOT WATCH WORLDLY (Lustful, Evil..): TV & Movies, Internet Pornography, Computer Games
6 – They Do NOT LOOK UPON Worldly Magazines & Books From Celebrity Magazines To Pornography…
7 – They Do NOT COMPROMISE With The World By Listening To WORLDLY MUSIC— TRUE WORSHIPPERS
8 – They Do NOT LOOK UP TO WORLDLY IDOLS Such As: Singers, Movie Stars, Sports Figures…
9 – They Do NOT PARTNER UP WITH UNBELIEVERS And Those Who Compromise Their Walk With Jesus
10 – They PURSUE PURE AND GODLY FRIENDSHIPS That Inspire Them To Be More Like Jesus
11 – They Display Christ-likeness In Their THOUGHT-LIFE & ATTITUDES – A Beattitude Attitude
12 – They Are HUMBLE and Have Child-like Faith
13 – They REFUSE LUKEWARMNESS—Having “One Foot In GOD’S WORD, And One Foot In The WORLD”
14 – They Seek To Please The Lord through GOOD DEEDS & HAVING A SERVANT’S HEART
15 – They Know That FINANCIAL GAIN DOES NOT MEAN GODLINESS
16 – They SEEK FIRST God’s Kingdom, NOT Worldly Wealth & Possessions
17 – They’d Rather SUFFER & BE POOR & NOT Compromise With The World Than Be Rich & Famous—Content
18 – They Are GENEROUS & are GIVERS Whether They Are Poor Or Have Much
19 – They Are SURRENDERING ALL To Follow Jesus—They Are “Taking Up Their Cross Daily”
20 – They’ve STOPPED PRACTICING SINAnd When They Do Sin There Is Deep Sorrow
21 – They SPEAK OUT & WARN PEOPLE Of God’s Coming Judgments, And PREACH THE GOSPEL
22 – They SUFFER PERSECUTION & BEATINGS For Standing Up For JESUS
23 – They LOVE and DO GOOD To Fellow Christians
24 – They OBEY GOD’S COMMANDMENTS, HIS WORD, and the LORD JESUS CHRIST
25 – They Are DOERS Of The Word, Not Merely HEARERS— Faith Without WORKS is Dead
26 – They FEAR THE LORD And Turn Away From Evil
27 – They Do NOT Seek The Approval Of Man, But Seek Only To PLEASE THE LORD
28 – They Are NOT HYPOCRITES—Giving God Mere Lip Service
29 – Their WORDS & SPEECH Are ENCOURAGING, EDIFYING, AND WISE—NOT Corrupt
30 – They PRAY FERVENT PRAYERS, And Pray Often With Fellow Believers
31 – They STUDY & TEACH GOD’S WORD & HIS WAYS To Sinners & Believers—Making Disciples
32 – They Are WINNING THEIR BATTLE AGAINST SIN & Keeping the FULL ARMOR OF GOD ON!
33 – They Are READY, WAITING, AND EAGERLY ANTICIPATING The Soon Return Of Jesus Christ
34 – They LOVE GOD’S COMMANDMENTS & HIS WORD, Reading It Daily And Memorizing It
35 – They Make Use Of Every OPPORTUNITY To Do Good & Preach The Gospel— They’re “Fire Snatchers”
36 – They PRODUCE MUCH FRUIT For Jesus— They’re PRODUCTIVE with the GOSPEL & Are GODLY
37 – They Are Co-Heirs With Christ: And Share The SUFFERINGS OF JESUS By “Crucifying Their Flesh”
38 – They Understand GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSES For His HOLY PEOPLE Vs. This Temporal Evil World
39 – They Know They Are Merely Passing Through This World, And Their REAL HOME Is With The Lord
40 – They Do Everything For The GLORY OF GOD
41 – They Do NOT BELIEVE FALSE TEACHINGS & Anything That Is CONTRARY TO GOD’S WORD
42 – They CLEARLY Understand The Gospel & CLEARLY PREACH God’s Word With BOLDNESS
43 – They Let Their LIGHT SHINE—Their FACE & LIFE EXUDES CHRIST
44 – They Put NO CONFIDENCE IN THEIR FLESH – They Are Decreasing & Christ is Increasing
45 – They Have INTEGRITY, HARD WORK, & PURSUE RIGHTEOUSNESS— They do Not Lie, Steal, Cheat
46 – They Are Always VERY THANKFUL TO GOD For His— Kindness, Provisions, Protection, etc
47 – They Are NOT Full of: SELFISH AMBITION, STRIFE, QUARRELING, JEALOUSY— But Are PEACEMAKERS
48 – They Acknowledge & Obey GOD’S WILL For Their Lives
49 – They Are NOT PREJUDICE— They Show NO PARTIALITY TO THE: RICH, POOR, SKIN COLOR, RACE,etc
50 – They do NOT allow the CARES & WORRIES Of This Life to DOMINATE their MIND & CONVERSATIONS

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(revised 04/20/14)

For quite awhile now, I have been reading the literature (and visiting the churches) of Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB). I would point out that they span an increasingly wide variety of doctrinal positions, some more biblical than others. I am especially impressed by IFB David Cloud and churches that take his positions. Some of the most obvious of these views are: holding to the King James Bible (and the Textus Receptus NT and Masoretic OT), opposing Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), etc.

However, coming from a Wesleyan Holiness background, there are some beliefs of mine which do not quite match those of IFB churches, including those in Bro. Cloud’s circle. One of these which I hold is the Arminian position of conditional eternal security. So I was fascinated when I recently came across an association/denomination called the Free Will Baptists. This is how Wikipedia begins its article on the Free Will Baptists:

Free Will Baptist is a denomination of churches that share a common history, name, and an acceptance of the Arminian theology of free grace, free salvation, and free will.

Wow! From what I’ve researched so far, this sounds like the kind of association/denomination I’d love to attend and/or join.

Some background: I left the Evangelical Friends Church International aka EFCI years ago, and have vowed I will never become an EFCI member again. Today the EFCI is continuing to back Spiritual Formation’s heretical contemplative Richard Foster, who got his start in the EFCI. Also, the EFCI continues to be heavily involved in heretical Emerging/Emergent teachings – in spite of repeated warnings.

Note – just as I am beginning to research the Free Will Baptists, I am discovering that various Free Will Baptist churches, schools and individuals (including many in high leadership positions) are drifting away from separatist fundamentalism, the KJB, etc. They, like the EFCI and many other evangelical denominations, are having more and more “itching ears” for the heresies of Spiritual Formation and the Emerging/Emergent church movements. Thus, I can only recommend Free Will Baptist churches and schools which are continuing to hold strongly to separatist fundamentalist teachings and practices. The most obvious trait I’ve found in the separatist fundamentalist churches and schools, is that they continue to hold exclusively to the KJB. Thus, in this and future blogs I write about separatist fundamentalist Free Will Baptist churches and schools, I plan to simply refer to them as KJB Free Will Baptists.

I should mention a few distinctives of the Free Will Baptists. I am very impressed with some of these distinctives; I have mixed feelings regarding others. I hope to explore Free Will Baptist doctrines in other blogs.  Following is a good summary of Free Will Baptist distinctives/differences from other denominations, found here:

Distinctive

 There are a few doctrinal positions on which Free Will Baptists hold a distinctive position, even from other groups with whom we may enjoy close fellowship and cooperation. So the question often arises, “What’s the difference between Free Will Baptists and..

Southern Baptists, Missionary Baptists, or Independent Baptists? –

 We believe the Scriptures give consistent emphasis to the responsibility every Christian has to continue to trust Christ throughout his life (Hebrews 3:6, 14, 10:23). Contrary to what some say Free Will Baptists do affirm salvation by grace through faith only, and further insist that the faith that saves is an on-going and active faith. (John 10:1-21). Further, Free Will Baptists believe that there are sufficient warnings in scripture that suggest the possibility that one may forfeit the faith (Galatians 5:4, Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:29), though such a forfeiture is not probable. We do not believe that the forfeiture of the faith is easy, nor sudden, but do affirm the truth that if such state is reached, there remains no more sacrifice (Hebrews 6:6). Consequently, that person who forfeits his faith is irreversibly lost.

Nazarene, Methodist, Holiness Groups? These groups are generally called Wesleyan , the founder of which was the 19th century Methodist Evangelist, John Wesley. A key distinctive of their  theology is the teaching that a person may experience a second, definite work of grace, at which time the believer reaches a point of entire sanctification, and from that moment forward, the believer is capable of living a sinless life. We believe, on the other hand, that the Holy spirit is at work in the believer’s life to progressively mold him into the image of Christ, and that this process will not be completed until we reach eternity.

Assembly of God, Charismatic/Pentecostal Churches? We believe that the sign gifts mentioned in the historical record if the early church (the book of Acts) were used by God for the unique purpose of validating the authority of the Apostles, through whom He transmitted the Holy scriptures (I Corinthians 12-14). Do we believe that these gifts have ceased altogether? No, we do however assert that with the completion of the New Testament canon, the need for, and exercise of these sign gifts faded. We do not seek a Baptism of the Spirit sub-sequent to salvation, nor support the use of tongues or other sign gifts as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Christian life.

Presbyterian, Reformed Churches? Rather than affirming the predestination of specific individuals for grace, as the Reformed Churches do, we believe that when acted upon by the Holy Spirit, and individual as the freedom of will to accept or rejects God’s offer of salvation. We do not believe, as we are often accused, in a works oriented salvation, affirming with Paul that faith is not a work (Ephesians 2:8-9). Further, we agree that sinful man is dead in sin, that is, he is unresponsive and insensitive to the work and presence of God unless and until he is acted upon from the outside by the Holy Ghost. Once the individual has experienced this work of grace by the Holy Ghost, it is given that he should persevere in that faith until the end. We hold that whosoever will may exercise his God given freedom of the will to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and in believing, receive everlasting life. (John 3:16)

I have reposted the current (as of 02/18/13) Wikipedia article on the Free Will Baptists below. Click here for the original source of this article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding in orange, and inserted comments in [bolded orange in brackets].

Free Will Baptist

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Free Will Baptist is a denomination of churches that share a common history, name, and an acceptance of the Arminian theology of free grace, free salvation, and free will. Free Will Baptists share similar soteriological views with General Baptists, Separate Baptists and some United Baptists. Evangelism and the self government of the local church are highly valued. The denomination remains relatively small-town demographically and is especially strong in the southern United States and Midwest, although it was once also strong in New England. The National Association of Free Will Baptists reports just over 250,000 members. The National Association’s offices are located in the Nashville, Tennessee neighborhood of Antioch. The denomination operates a regionally accredited college, Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College), in Nashville; North American and International Missions agencies; and a publishing house, Randall House Publications. Smaller groups unaffiliated with the National Association are the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, the United American Free Will Baptists (African American), and well as several local associations in the South.

Theology and practice

Free Will Baptist congregations believe the Bible is the very word of God and without error in all that it affirms. Free Will Baptist Doctrine holds to the traditional Arminian position, based on the belief in a General Atonement, that it is possible to commit apostasy, or willfully reject one’s faith. Faith is the condition for salvation, hence Free Will Baptists hold to “conditional eternal security.” An individual is “saved by faith and kept by faith.” In support of this concept, some Free Will Baptists refer to the Greek word translated “believeth” found in John 3:16 KJV. This is a continuous action verb, and can thus be read, “..that whosoever believes and continues to believe shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” The concept is not of someone sinning occasionally and thus accidentally ending up “not saved,” but instead of someone “repudiating” his or her faith in Christ. [1] Thus “once saved always saved” is rejected by the denomination. Many Free Will Baptists believe that once a person has truly turned from his or her faith, it is impossible for that individual to return to Christ(Hebrews 6:4-6) and the person will have reached a point in which God will have ceased to deal with his or her heart, disabling the individual from even desiring to repent (John 6:44, Genesis 6:3,Romans 1:21,28). Thus Free Will Baptist do not believe that an individual can oscillate between being lost and saved. There exists some Christian denominations which believe that salvation can be lost and found repeatedly; Free Will Baptists do not fall into this grouping. Free Will Baptists believe that once a believer has abandoned his faith and has lost his or her salvation, there is no more hope for that person. The book of Hebrews offers many supporting verses to this concept, particularly chapters 2:1; 3:6,12-14; 4:1,11; 6:4-8,11,12 & 10:23-39 where the Apostle Paul consistently warns that one must “hold fast” till the end.

On Perseverance of the Saints from the official Treatise:

“There are strong grounds to hope that the truly regenerate will persevere unto the end, and be saved, through the power of divine grace which is pledged for their support; but their future obedience and final salvation are neither determined nor certain, since through infirmity and manifold temptations they are in danger of falling; and they ought, therefore, to watch and pray lest they make shipwreck of their faith and be lost.”

Free Will Baptists observe at least three ordinances: baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the Washing of the Saints’ Feet, a rite occurring among some other evangelical groups but not practiced by the majority of Baptist denominations.

Free Will Baptist congregations hold differing views on eschatology, with some holding premillennial and others amillennial views. Churches advocate (voluntary) tithing, totally abstaining from alcoholic beverages, and not working on Sunday, the “Christian Sabbath.”

Historical sketch

Free Will Baptists can be traced to General Baptists from England who settled in the American colonies in the late seventeenth century. The first Baptists, who originated with the ministry of Thomas Helwys near London in 1611, were General Baptists. That is, they believed that the atonement of Jesus Christ was “general” (for all) rather than “particular” (only for the elect). They were Arminian in doctrine.

Benjamin Laker was an English Baptist who arrived in colonial Carolina as early as 1685. Laker had been associated with Thomas Grantham, an illustrious General Baptist theologian and writer, and had signed the 1663 edition of the General Baptists’ Standard Confession of Faith. The earliest Free Will Baptists in America developed from English General Baptists in Carolina, who were dubbed “Freewillers” by their enemies and later assumed the name.

Two distinct branches of Free Will Baptists developed in America. The first and earliest was the General Baptist movement described above, known as the Palmer movement in North Carolina, from which the majority of modern-day Free Will Baptists have their origin. The later movement was the Randall movement, which arose in the late eighteenth century in New Hampshire. These two groups developed independently of each other.

The “Palmer” Line

In 1702, a disorganized group of General Baptists in Carolina wrote a request for help to the General Baptist Association in England. Though no help was forthcoming, Paul Palmer, whose wife Johanna was the stepdaughter of Benjamin Laker, would labor among these people 25 years later, founding the first “Free Will” Baptist church in Chowan, North Carolina in 1727. Palmer organized at least three churches in North Carolina.

His labors, though important, were short. Leadership would descend to Joseph Parker, William Parker, Josiah Hart, William Sojourner and others. Joseph Parker was part of the organization of the Chowan church and ministered among the Carolina churches for over 60 years. From one church in 1727, they grew to over 20 churches by 1755. After 1755, missionary labors conducted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association converted most of these churches to the Particular Baptist positions of unconditional election and limited atonement. By 1770, only 4 churches and 4 ministers remained of the General Baptist persuasion. By the end of 18th century, these churches were commonly referred to as “Free Will Baptist”, and this would later be referred to as the “Palmer” line of Free Will Baptists. The churches in the “Palmer” line organized various associations and conferences, and finally organized a General Conference in 1921. Many Baptists from Calvinistic Baptist backgrounds, primarily Separate Baptists, became Free Will Baptists in the nineteenth century.

The “Randall” Line

While the movement in the South was struggling, a new movement rose in the North through the work of Benjamin Randall (1749–1808).

Randall initially united with the Particular or Regular Baptists in 1776, but broke with them in 1779 due to their strict views on predestination. In 1780, Randall formed a “Free” or “Freewill” (Randall would combine the words “free” and “will” into a single word) Baptist church in New Durham, New Hampshire. By 1782 twelve churches had been founded, and they organized a Quarterly Meeting. In 1792 a Yearly Meeting was organized.

The “Randall” line of Freewill Baptists grew quickly. However, in 1911, the majority of the Randall Line churches (and all the denominational property) merged with the Northern Baptist Convention. Those churches that did not merge and remained Freewill Baptist joined with other Free Will Baptists in the Southwest and Midwest to organize the Cooperative General Association of Free Will Baptists in 1916.

The Union of the Lines

Fraternal relations had existed between the northern and southern Free Will Baptists, but the question of slavery, and later the Civil War, prevented any formal union until the 20th century. On November 5, 1935, representatives of the General Conference (Palmer) and the Cooperative General Association (a mixture of Randall and Palmer elements west of the Mississippi) met in Nashville, Tennessee to unite and organize the National Association of Free Will Baptists. The majority of Free Will Baptist churches organized under this umbrella, which remains the largest of the Free Will Baptist groups to this day.

Free Will Baptist Bodies

Other major Free Will Baptist groups include:

  • Original Free Will Baptist Convention – a North Carolina based body of Free Will Baptists that was organized in 1913 and initially joined the National Association of Free Will Baptists, but split from the National Association in 1961 due to some inner differences. The Convention comprised the majority of North Carolina-based Free Will Baptist churches, though a minority would split from the North Carolina state convention and maintain affiliation with the National Association. The Convention also maintains mission activity in eight countries – Philippines, Mexico, Bulgaria, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Liberia, and Guinea.
  • United American Free Will Baptist Church – the largest body of African-American Free Will Baptist churches, organized in 1901 and headquartered in Kinston, North Carolina.
  • United American Free Will Baptist Conference – a body of African-American Free Will Baptist churches that withdrew from the United American Free Will Baptist Church in 1968; headquartered in Lakeland, Florida.
  • Unaffiliated Free Will Baptist local associations – a number of local Free Will Baptist associations remain independent of the National Association, Original FWB Convention, and the two United American bodies. Researchers have identified 10 such associations, though there may be more. The unaffiliated associations of Free Will Baptists include over 300 churches with an estimated 22,000 members. They have no organization beyond the “local” level.
    • Eastern Stone (TN)
    • French Broad (NC)
    • Jack’s Creek (NC,TN) Has member churches in these states according to the 2008 Minutes of the Jack’s Creek Free Will Baptist Association
    • John-Thomas (NC,KY,WVA,VA)
    • Mt. Mitchell (NC)
    • Original Grand River (OK)
    • River Valley Association (AR)
    • Stone Association of Central Indiana (IN)
    • Toe River (NC,TN, & SC)
    • Western (NC)
    • Western Stone (TN)

Notes

  1. ^ [1].

Sources

  • A Free Will Baptist Handbook: Heritage, Beliefs, and Ministries, by J. Matthew Pinson
  • A History of Original Free Will Baptists, by Michael Pelt
  • Baptists Around the World, by Albert W. Wardin, Jr.
  • Dictionary of Baptists in America, Bill J. Leonard, editor
  • Encyclopedia of Religion in the South, Samuel S. Hill, editor
  • Sub-Groups Within the Baptist Denomination (in the United States), by R. L. Vaughn
  • The Free Will Baptists in History, by William F. Davidson

External links

Wikisource has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article [[s:The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Baptists, Freewill|]].

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As I’ve tried to stress in other blogs, it is critical to emphasize the “bloody” message of our Saviour on Calvary, the message of “the Blood and the Cross”, in every service. This is the core of the gospel – to ignore or downplay the doctrine of the Atonement is an abomination.

Two passages come to mind. Paul said:

“22) Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23) but we preach Christ crucified… (I Cor. 1:22-23a).

And: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8)

I Googled the search string [“Jesus Christ, and Him crucified”] and found many great articles and sermons on the topic. Also, for me many old gospel hymns convey this message in a powerful way. Churches need to sing these hymns again, regularly: “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, etc. I found this YouTube video about these old hymns that seemed appropriate:

I came across an excellent blog from Stand Up for the Truth!, which emphasizes this same theme. Click here for the original site of this blog. I’ve emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Gospel-less sermons regenerate no one

How important is it to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached each and every Sunday?  That we would even need to ask this question nearly 2,000 years after the Church was first established is heartbreaking to me.

I’ve been told by Christians and even pastors that it is not realistic to expect to hear the Gospel preached in every sermon message. “Sometimes we’re talking about a different subject,” they tell me, or “it doesn’t fit in with section five of our 10-part sermon series.” Or this one: “If you think you need to hear the blood sacrifice being preached in every message, you’re  not going to be happy in any church.”

Really? Am I that demanding that I’ve placed an unfair, unrealistic expectation on our poor pastors who are just trying to reach the lost?

Imagine Paul, or Peter, or John, or even Jesus Himself sitting in a typical seeker-driven service on any given Sunday morning and not hearing the message that martyrs still die for: That we are born sinners into sin-filled world at odds with God and that while we still hated Him, He came to earth as a sinless sacrifice, whose blood on the cross atoned for our sins and the punishment we deserve. He rose from the grave and appeared to hundreds of witnesses, who saw Him ascend to heaven, and those witnesses have been sharing that Good News ever since, that those who believe in Him can repent of their sins and be reconciled to God forever. It is through Christ alone that we are offered Mercy and Grace. Only In His perfect sacrifice, He exchanges His righteousness for our Sin.

In the time I took to read that, 30 seconds have passed. Surely 30 seconds of these life-giving words of the Gospel is the message that we all must hear over and over again. Not just so that we can be saved, but so that we can have real life to the full. A Sunday service without the Gospel regenerates no one.

It is good to talk about making good choices, or treating each other in love. It’s good to sing worship songs and teach about putting God and money in proper perspective. But not at the expense of  The Gospel.  Because if I am still steeped in my sins, unrepentant without knowing who Jesus is, and I’ve just sat through your sermon series on how to have a good marriage or how to feed the hungry, I am still going to Hell when I die.

English: Titian's Ancona Crucifiction, 1558. Unfortunately, many Christians today don’t know what the Gospel is. If you were to ask, they might say that the Gospel is about loving our neighbor, or loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. And while important, these are not the Gospel, but are the essence of the Law. And yes, we need to walk the narrow path and live out what God commands.  But His truth also tells us that as hard as we strive, we can’t love God as perfectly as He commands. And by the way, how did you do at loving your neighbor last week? I fell extremely short.

That’s why we need the Gospel, even as we grow into mature Christians. We hear the Gospel so that we can be reminded of how good He is, and how wretched we are apart from Him. And when we do break the Law – any of them –we can repent of our sins and be forgiven.

As writer Mike Ratliff put it so powerfully, God will not tolerate a perversion of the Gospel because it is the only truth:

However, in our time the Gospel has been retold in all sorts of unbiblical ways. Some are outright lies while others are more subtle, for instance, there is the lie that is mostly true in which the Gospel is given, but that part about repentance and the lordship of Jesus Christ being necessary is left out. People want to make the narrow gate wide and easy, but that has never been God’s way. They want to remove the offense of the Cross, but it has to be there. Preaching against sin “puts people off, offends their sensibilities, puts them on the defensive, and makes them uncomfortable” is being cut from most churches in our time to make them more “seeker friendly.”

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins  2 in which you once walked according to the world system of this age, according to ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among whom also we all conducted ourselves once in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and we were by nature children of wrath, as also the rest. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Paul, speaking to Christians, told them and us that they were once just the rest of the world, which was dead in their own trespasses and sin in which they once walked according to the world system. There are no exceptions t this. A “Gospel message” or “theology” that does not address this is not biblical. In fact, it is false teaching. Those who teach these false teachings are teaching a different Gospel, and God will judge them for it.

The only Gospel is, “Trust in Jesus’ blood as the only redemption from sin.”       (Source: Possessing The Treasure)

In those last four seconds is packed an eternity of truth.  No, I don’t think I’m being demanding by asking to hear the Gospel each and every time. How can we expect anything less for our families, our friends and for a world that does not know Him?  Churches, pastors, Christians: It’s time to step up. Let’s not just squeeze these in around our three main principles or five action points. No, let’s make the Gospel the center of every message, and the rest can flow from Christ’s amazing, perfect love.

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I have been searching for articles on the doctrine of the Atonement. I came across the following article, which lists a number of Bible scholars favoring “unlimited atonement.”

I am reposting the article here – not to start an argument with hyper-Calvinists (i.e. five point Calvinists, followers of “TULIP”) – but merely to provide leads to authors for Christians favoring unlimited atonement.

Note – I do not believe that because Christ died for all mankind, every person will go to Heaven. This would be Christian universalism. I do believe that salvation is made available to every person, so that whosoever believes on Him will receive eternal life (John 3:16).

Click here for the original source of the article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE? A Defense of Unlimited Atonement

Proponents And Defenders Of The Fact That Christ Died For All

 In establishing any doctrine, it is what God says that counts. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4). Having already established from the Scriptures that upon Christ were laid the iniquities of all of us, it is of interest to consider what great and godly men of the past have said about this issue of the universal extent of the atonement.

Norman F. Douty, in his excellent book The Death of Christ, lists over 70 of the Church’s leading teachers, from the early centuries to the modern era, who stood firmly for the doctrine that Christ died on behalf of all men, not the elect only (pages 136-163). Here are some of the names on the list: Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Augustine, Martin Luther, Hugh Latimer, Myles Coverdale, Thomas Cranmer, Philip Melanchton, Archbishop Ussher, Richard Baxter, John Newton, John Bunyan, Thomas Scott, Henry Alford, Philip Schaff, Alfred Edersheim, H.C.G. Moule, W.H. Griffith Thomas, and A.T. Robertson.

The following quotes are of interest:

“Although the blood of Christ be the ransom of the whole world, yet they are excluded from its benefit, who, being delighted with their captivity, are unwilling to be redeemed by it” (Prosper, who died 463 AD).

“For Christ only, and no man else, merited remission, justification, and eternal felicity, for as many as will believe the same; they that will not believe it, shall not have it, for it is no more but believe and have.  For Christ shed as much blood for Judas as He did for Peter; Peter believed it, and therefore he was saved; Judas would not believe and therefore he was condemned – the fault being in him only, and in nobody else” (Hugh Latimer, devoted bishop and martyr, 1485-1555). [Cited in James Morison, The Extent of the Atonement, p. 130.]

“Christ died for all, yet, notwithstanding, all do not embrace the benefit of His death…they despise the offered grace” (Benedict Aretius, 1505-1575).

“We may safely conclude that the Lamb of God offering himself a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, intended, by giving sufficient satisfaction to God’s justice, to make the nature of man, which he assumed, a fit subject for mercy, and to prepare a medicine for the sins of the whole world, which should be denied to none that intended to take the benefit of it” (Archbishop Usher, 1581-1656).   [Cited in James Morison, The Extent of the Atonement, p. 136.]

James Morison argues that the doctrine of a limited atonement was never taught in the early centuries of church history:

The doctrine of a propitiation for the elect alone is not yet above fourteen hundred years old. Such a doctrine was unheard of during the glorious first three centuries of the Christian era. Nay, it was not known for about two hundred years after that. This surely is a striking fact, and should make some men pause and ponder before they condemn. “I think,” says the illustrious Bishop Davenant, a divine most intimately versed in ecclesiastical history and the writings of the Fathers, “that it may be truly affirmed, that before the dispute between Augustine and Pelagius, there was no question concerning the death of Christ, whether it was to be extended to all mankind, or to be confined only to the elect. For the Fathers, when speaking of the death of Christ, describe it to us as undertaken and endured for the redemption of the human race; and not a word (that I know of) occurs among them of the exclusion of any person by the decree of God. They agree that it is actually beneficial to those only who believe, yet they everywhere confess that Christ died in behalf of all mankind. [He then quotes from Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Primasius, Athanasius and Prosper].

Bishop Davenport goes on to give some further details respecting the opinions of Augustine: “We assert, therefore, that Augustine never attempted to impugn that proposition of the Semi-pelagians, that Christ died for the whole human race . . . For neither did Augustine ever oppose as erroneous the proposition ‘that Christ died for the redemption of the whole human race;’ nor did he ever acknowledge or defend as his own, ‘that Christ died, not for all men, but for the pre-destinate alone.’”

Augustine died A.D. 429, and up to his time, at least, there is not the slightest evidence that any Christian ever dreamed of a propitiation for the elect alone. Even after him, the doctrine of a limited propitiation was but slowly propagated, and for long but partially received. [James Morison, The Extent of the Atonement, pages 114-117.]

More recent advocates of unlimited atonement are as follows: D.L.Moody, Albert Barnes, L.S.Chafer, John Walvoord, Robert Lightner, William Newell, R.C.H. Lenski, D.Edmond Hiebert, Robert Gromacki, E.Schuyler English, R.A. Torrey, Charles Ryrie and all the members of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America who have made unlimited atonement part and parcel of their doctrinal statement. Unlimited atonement seems also to be the position of the GARBC (Regular Baptists) because the Regular Baptist Press published the original edition of Robert Lightner’s book, The Death Christ Died, which presents a strong case for unlimited atonement and also David Nettleton’s book Chosen to Salvation. Nettleton refers to “the erroneous doctrine of limited atonement” and says that “limited atonement is not a necessary corollary of the sovereign election of God” (page 79).

Note: One of the men mentioned in the above paragraph was the noted commentator, Albert Barnes (1798-1870), was an American Presbyterian preacher and Bible expositor. In 1835 he was brought to trial by the Second Presbytery of Philadelphia for his belief in unlimited atonement, but was acquitted. The case continued to stir the denomination and was one of the causes of the split in the Presbyterian church in the United States in 1837. See The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church, p.29. It’s interesting to read Barnes’ comments under such passages as John 3:16; John 1:29; Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; 1 John 2:2.

Those who are defenders of a Limited Atonement would include Berkhof, Crawford, Cunningham, Eldersveld, Haldane, Hodge, Lloyd-Jones, John Murray, Owen, Packer, Pink, Smeaton, Spurgeon, Stonehouse and Warfield (see Douty, page 163). To this list can be added John Gerstner, Gary Long, David N. Steele, Custis C. Thomas, W.E. Best, John MacArthur and many others. Though we strongly disagree with such men on this issue, we do not vilify them as Charles Spurgeon seemed to do with respect to those holding to unlimited atonement:

“There may be men with minds so distorted that they can conceive it possible that Christ should die for a man who afterwards is lost: I say, there may be such. I am sorry to say that there are still to be found such persons whose brains have been so addled in their childhood, that they cannot see that what they hold is both preposterous falsehood and a blasphemous libel….I feel quite shocked in only mentioning such an awful error, and were it not so current as it is, I should certainly pass it by with the contempt that it deserves” (cited by Norman Duty,  in The Death of Christ, p. 163).

FOR FURTHER READING

Ron Rhodes, The Extent of the Atonement: Limited Atonement Versus Unlimited Atonement (presents the case for Unlimited Atonement)

Wikipedia article on Unlimited Atonement (makes points for and against)

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(revised 05/13/14)

I have been looking for resources on how to evangelize unsaved Emerging/Emergents. I came across an excellent presentation of the plan of salvation, by Pastor Max Solbrekken. Although his message does not specifically address Emerging/Emergents, the principles are the same.

Click here for the original source of this article. Note – there are various articles on Pastor Solbrekken’s website I don’t agree with doctrinally (specifically, regarding Pentecostalism – he is a continuationist, while I am a soft cessationist). However, I believe this plan of salvation is excellent.

ARE YOU READY TO
MEET GOD

by: Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.

SALVATION – ARE YOU READY TO MEET GOD?

The most important question I could ask you and the most important decision of your entire lifetime revolves around the spiritual welfare of your soul and its eternal destiny. 

There are preachers today who have soft-soaped the Gospel and watered down God’s word [sic] to please their listeners in order to keep their parishioners coming to church. 

They are afraid that if they preach the truth, as it is written, people will not like it and their offering plates will not bring in too much money. 

The Bible warns that this would be the case in the end time, of which we are now living. (2 Timothy 3:13) (2 Timothy 4:3-4). The Apostle Paul calls such preachers Food Preachers or Belly Preachers. (Romans 16:18) (Philippians 3:19) These men only preach to earn a living and not to win men and women to Jesus Christ.

I’m going to be absolutely honest with you and tell you the complete truth as found in God’s Word concerning your soul, death, judgment, heaven, hell and eternity and the gift of salvation. Then I will also show you how you can be saved and forgiven by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.


#1 – YOUR SOUL WILL NEVER DIE

Your soul is eternal and will live on even after your body dies. (Genesis 2:7)

#2 – ONE APPOINTMENT YOU CAN’T CANCEL OR POSTPONE

“It is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

#3 – YOU CAN’T FOOL GOD

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) “Be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)

#4 – YOU’LL PAY FOR YOUR SINS IF YOU DON’T REPENT OF THEM

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalms 9:17) “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divided his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46)

#5 – ALL HAVE SINNED

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “And we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) “There is none righteous, no, no one.” (Romans 3:10)

#6 – JESUS DIED TO SAVE SINNERS

Jesus said, “For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”, (Matthew 9:13) and “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11)

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

#7 – YOU MUST REPENT OF YOUR SINS

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7) “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

#8 – YOU MUST BELIEVE THE GOSPEL

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

#9 – ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOUR BY FAITH

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) “Come now, and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)

#10 – HE WILL GIVE YOU THE POWER YOU NEED

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:11-12) “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

HOW CAN I BE SAVED?

Many are asking this question today. They are wanting to know how to “make things right with Almighty God.” They realize somewhere along the way, they have lost sight of God – they have lost contact with the Eternal One – the Great Creator, God, who loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die for lost humanity. Multitudes today are groping in darkness – looking for a ray of light to point them to the Heavenly way – but alas, they search in vain, they stumble and fall in the shadows of sin, worry, fear, anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak, sickness and confusion. Many people have tried to live a better life, turn over a new leaf, rehabilitate themselves, only to find that their strength in the time of testing and temptation has failed and they are back where they started. So now, not only are they defeated, but they are also bewildered, perplexed and tormented, not knowing which way to turn.

Dear Reader, perhaps you are one of these poor unfortunate souls. THEN LISTEN CAREFULLY, for I have good news for you. There is still balm in Gilead for your sin sick soul. There is still deliverance for the bound, victory for the defeated and peace for the troubled. There is still healing for the sick and salvation for the lost.

THERE IS STILL HOPE – LOOK TO JESUS

THERE IS STILL HOPE FOR YOU. There is life for you. There is still forgiveness and happiness for you. LOOK TO JESUS, the author and finisher of your faith, (Hebrews 12:3). LOOK TO JESUS, the mighty conqueror (Revelation 1:17-18). LOOK TO JESUS, the Saviour of the World (Luke 2:11). Don’t look at your sinful condition, LOOK TO JESUS; don’t look at your hopelessness, frustration and bewilderment, LOOK TO JESUS. Don’t look at your sickness, grief and loneliness, LOOK TO JESUS. Don’t look at your friends of other Christians who have failed, but LOOK TO JESUS who never fails.

The Bible says in Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is NONE else.”

There is only one way to be saved and that is through Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus said in (John 14:6), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Jesus said in (John 10:9), “I am the Door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be SAVED, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO GO – that way is JESUS. There is only one door to God, and that door is Jesus. There is no other.

Mohammed, Buddha and the Roman Pope, a church organization – none of these will open the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven, but Jesus Christ, the one who came from heaven, who died on the Cross, rose again from the dead – He is able to forgive you, save you and bring you into the Kingdom of God. GLORY TO HIS NAME FOREVER.

The Apostle Peter said in (Acts 4:12) concerning Jesus Christ, “Neither is there Salvation in any other, for there is none other name under Heaven, given among men whereby we must be SAVED.” There you have it. the only name that can bring salvation, blessing and deliverance is the Mighty Name of Jesus. The Angel said unto Joseph (Matthew 1:21), “Ye shall call His Name Jesus, for He shall SAVE His people from their sins.” In (Romans 10:13) we read, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be SAVED.”

The Philippian jailer asked the same question many today are asking and he got an answer he was converted, his life was changed. He met the master, Jesus. You can do the same. There in the prison house he cried out (Acts 16:30), “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be Saved.” He believed on Jesus Christ and was Saved. you can do the same.

But you ask – how can I believe? What must I do to believe in Jesus Christ? Where do I start? I am glad you asked these questions, because I have the answer for you from God’s word – Here is what you must do to be saved.

#1 – REPENT OF YOUR SINS – To be saved you must repent of your sins and see yourself as you really are – You must realize you are lost and undone, without hope. You must see God’s Holiness and realize that you have sinned against the Almighty. You must be sorry for your sins, you must hate your sins and be willing to forsake them (Matthew 4:17) your sins have condemned you (John 3:18) your sins have separated you from God (Isaiah 59:2). The Bible says (Romans 3:23), “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” Also in (Isaiah 53:6) the word of God says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

GOD HATES YOUR SINS – but God loves you. God wants to rescue you out of your sins. You must be willing to give yourself completely over to God and turn your back on all unrighteousness.

#2 – YOU MUST CONFESS YOU SINS TO GOD – (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins (to God), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You must tell God you are a sinner and that you cannot save yourself. You must confess to God that no one else can save you except Jesus Christ. You must ask God to have mercy on you (Luke 18:13) and to forgive you. Then you must confess to God that you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary for your sins, that He rose again from the dead and that He is able to save you (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) (Hebrews 7:25).

#3 – YOU MUST ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOUR – Tell God that you accept His pardon and that you now, through faith in God’s word accept Jesus Christ into your heart and life. (Ephesians 2:8-9) “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Salvation is absolutely free – you cannot work for it – you cannot pay for it – It is free – you just receive it from God.

After you have prayed to God asking Him to forgive you – then you must believe He has heard your prayer and forgiven your sins. That is faith. You say that is hard to do. No – it isn’t. If you believe that God told the truth and the Bible is God’s word – God will do what He said He would do. If you have prayed the sinner’s prayer asking God to forgive you, (then he has forgiven you; His word tells you that and His word is the truth) and if you are forgiven, then you are saved. You must then continue to live in God’s way – you must live for God. Believe that you are saved, begin to praise and worship God and thank him for saving your soul.

But you have doubts and say, “I don’t feel any different.” You say you still feel the way you did before, you don’t feel like you are saved. Always remember, you are NOT SAVED by your feelings, you are saved by FAITH IN GOD’S WORD. If God said it – it is the truth, whether you feel like it or not. However, when you stand of God’s word and by faith accept the Salvation that God offers, you WILL FEEL DIFFERENT. 

You will believe before you feel – you will feel the cleansing, you will feel the forgiveness of God, you will feel the assurance when you believe God’s word and have confessed Jesus Christ as your Saviour (Romans 10:9-10). 

You will begin to feel peace, the peace that comes from knowing you are saved, that your sins have been forgiven and you will feel hope and optimism. 

The Word of God states (John 6:37), Jesus said, “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.” You have come to Jesus by faith; He has not cast you out – Jesus has taken you in – you are SAVED. Praise God. 

Raise your hands to God (in complete obedience and surrender). Say “thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul.” Praise Him and Worship Him for what He has done for you. 

You are now saved, you have passed from death unto life (John 5:24). Your name has now been written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Revelation 20:15) The Angels are rejoicing in Heaven over this great victory over the devil. God has snatched your soul from Satan’s grasp and the angels are rejoicing over this. (Luke 15:7)

RISE from you knees full of peace (John 14:27). Now go and tell someone about Jesus Christ and his love. Tell people what God has done for you. (Romans 10:9-10) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be SAVED. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto Salvation.”

Seek the Lord (James 4:8) and ask Him to fill you with the holy Ghost and Fire.

Ask God to give you power for service (Luke 3:16) (Acts 1:4) (Acts 1:8) (Acts 2:4) (Acts 2:38-39). Read your Bible every day and pray to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

As you go about your life, witness to people about Jesus Christ. Find a good church where the pastor and the congregation believe the whole Bible, where they believe in holiness of life and separation from the world. 

Find a church where they believe in prayer for the sick and where the pastor and congregation have a burden to see the lost saved and brought to Jesus Christ.

May the Lord bless you and give you peace. Write me a letter if you have accepted the lord Jesus Christ as a result of reading this message.

Solbrekken Evangelistic Association
Max Solbrekken
Box 5000
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5P 4C1

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(revised 10/18/19)

I would label myself theologically as:

1) Saved – a converted, born again Christian (John Chapter 3). I strongly believe that becoming born again must involve repentance of sin. I would define “repentance” as a sincere change of heart and a turning from sin (a willingness to give up sin).
2) Sanctified – separated from worldly sins, totally committed to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2)
3) Spirit filled – I prefer this to the term Spirit baptized. I do not believe tongues is a necessary initial sign of being Spirit filled (the Second Blessing).
4) Soul winning – passionately witnessing to people, carrying out the Great Commission. This does not include the Great Commandment, which postmoderns have twisted into a social gospel combined with the Great Commission. Yes, we should love our neighbor, but compassion/social justice/being missional will not get people saved – they have to hear the gospel message of what I call “the Blood and the Cross”.
5) Separatist – practicing primary and secondary ecclesiastical separation from those who teach heresies/false teachings/serious errors
6) Textus Receptus only – holding to translations of the Textus Receptus New Testament and Masoretic Old Testament in various languages. I believe that in the English speaking world, the best such translation by far is the KJV.
7) Premillenial, leaning towards Post-Trib
8) Wesleyan Holiness – I most closely identify with the Conservative Holiness movement
7) Fundamentalist

Note – in point #7 above, I am using the term “fundamentalist” as an adherent of most of the articles in The Fundamentals of 1910-1915. Some writers of The Fundamentals fell short of being biblically sound (see Footnote #1).

There were many “born again separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness” churches prior to the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in 1942. Unfortunately, in the years that followed, many Wesleyan Holiness churches abandoned the practices of primary separation and secondary separation.

I must admit, I love many of today’s Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches, particularly those recommended by Bro. David Cloud. I do not necessarily agree with all IFB doctrinal positions. But IFB churches historically hold to many of the same standards Wesleyan Holiness fundamentalists held prior to 1942 – including ecclesiastical separation and “militant fundamentalism”  i.e. speaking out strongly against modernism, etc. (Unfortunately, ecclesiastical separation and militant fundamentalism are two traits Dr. Reasoner opposes – see his comments at the end of the repost below.)

I do not necessarily agree with all the theological views of Dr. Reasoner. The following article by Dr. Reasoner does nonetheless represent most of my views. Another caveat – I do not agree with everything on the website which provided this article, but I found this specific article to be “right on” for the most part. Click on the article titles for the original sources of the articles (Parts I and II). I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

WHAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL WESLEYAN? [Part I]
Dr. Vic Reasoner

Every generation must apply the timeless truths of Scripture to their contemporary questions. While it is enough under ordinary circumstances to profess faith in Jesus Christ, throughout the history of the Christian Church there have been major disagreements as to the proper explanation of our faith. We do not desire to be divisive, but we believe we are to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

1. We are earnest Christians

God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. We endeavor to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

We have no desire to break fellowship with any brother or sister whom God has accepted into the spiritual family. We seek to maintain the “Catholic Spirit” exemplified by John Wesley’s famous sermon by that title. The word “ecumenical” refers to worldwide Christian unity and cooperation. In the early days of the Christian Church there were four major ecumenical councils which reaffirmed the teachings of Scripture and kept the Church on track. These councils did not convene because the Scriptures were not sufficient, but in the face of contemporary questions the councils convened to state a scriptural response.

In more recent times, though, ecumenical gatherings have even included those who have denied the faith. In order to reach a consensus these councils have sought unity at the lowest common denominator. Unlike the early councils which promoted orthodoxy, the modern ecumenical movement has been too willing to compromise orthodoxy for the sake of union. truth is not determined by a denomination board and we dare not surrender our conscience to any ecclesiastical hierarchy.

2. We are Protestants

Although some evangelicals are now expressing a willingness to cooperate with Rome, the greatest unresolved issue is the issue of authority. We maintain, along with Luther, that the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. What Luther means by sola scriptura is essentially what Wesley meant by homo unius libri (a man of one book). When challenged that he misunderstood the scriptural teaching on the new birth, Wesley wrote in his Journal, that he turned to his Greek New Testament “resolving to abide by ‘the law and the testimony,’ and being confident that God would hereby show me ‘whether this doctrine was of God.'”

We reject the apocryphal books declared four hundred years ago to be Scripture by the Roman Church at the Council of Trent. In opposition to the Roman Catholic coupling of Scripture and church tradition as joint rules of faith we stand for the sufficiency of Scripture. There is no dual authority. John Wesley explained

The faith of the Protestants, in general, embraces only those truths, as necessary to salvation, which are clearly revealed in the oracles of God. Whatever is plainly declared in the Old and New Testament is the object of their faith. They believed neither more nor less than what is manifestly contained in, and provable by, the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God is a “lantern to their feet, and a light in all their paths.” They dare not, on any pretence, go from it, to the right hand or to the left. The written Word is the whole and sole rules of their faith, as well as practice. They believe whatsoever God has declared, and profess to do whatsoever He hath commanded. This is the proper faith of Protestants: by this they will abide and no other (“On Faith,” sermon #106).

In his statement on “The Character of a Methodist,” Wesley affirmed “the written word of God to be the only and sufficient rule both of Christian faith and practice; and herein we are fundamentally distinguished from those of the Romish Church.”

We watch with concern the developments surrounding the manifesto “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.” The Roman Catholic Church pronounced at the Council of Trent over four hundred years ago that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is anathema.

John Wesley affirmed with Martin Luther that justification by faith alone was “the article by which the Church stands or falls” (see “The Lord Our Righteousness, sermon #20). We stand with Martin Luther and raise our voices in protest against all who deny that salvation is by grace through faith. Until this position is officially accepted by the Roman Catholic Church, we remain Protestants.

WHAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL WESLEYAN? [Part II]
Dr. Vic Reasoner

3. We are Wesleyan-Arminians

Although the name of James Arminius is still maligned, few have matched him in scholarship and sainthood. In contrast to the rigid dogmatism that so often accompanies those who contend for the faith, Wesley cautioned, “It is the duty of every Arminian preacher, first, never in public or in private, to use the word Calvinist as a term of reproach.”

When Arminianism loses the balance of the Holy Spirit it becomes humanistic, teaching we are saved by an act of our free will. Likewise, Calvinism tends toward fatalism. Wesley argued for a balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. He said Methodism came within a hair’s breadth of Calvinism by ascribing all good to the free grace of God, by denying all natural free will, and in excluding all human merit. Therefore, as fundamental Wesleyans we have as much in common with conservative Calvinism as with liberal Arminianism.

In agreement with Calvinism we affirm man’s natural inability to do good apart from divine grace. In contrast to Calvinism, we believe the Scriptures teach a conditional election, a universal atonement, prevenient grace, and conditional perseverance.

Wesley affirmed the position of Arminius while giving a new emphasis to the witness of the Spirit and sanctification. Wesley also observed, “Who has wrote more ably than Martin Luther on justification by faith alone? And who was more ignorant of the doctrine of sanctification, or more confused in his conceptions of it?”

As Wesleyans we believe in an infallible Book, the fall and sinfulness of mankind, a universal atonement, and prevenient grace. The work of the Holy Spirit in awakening, conviction, repentance, and faith produces all these gifts from God. We believe in justification by faith, regeneration through the baptism with the Spirit, and adoption into the family of God. We believe in the necessity of the new birth, which gives victory over outward sin and is always attested to by the direct witness of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the indwelling Spirit begins the process of sanctification and brings assurance witnessing with our own spirit. We believe the Spirit will lead us to Christian maturity as individuals and through the outpouring of the Spirit in revival, the kingdom of God will cover the earth.

4. We are fundamentalists

By the turn of the twentieth century historic Christianity was under attack. Fundamentalism at its best was a modern attempt to defend historic Christianity. With the validity of the Bible under attack, fundamentalism was originally a battle for the Bible.

Since the modern fundamentalist movement came a hundred years after Wesley we would not expect him to use their precise language. If you read secondary sources about Wesley by liberal authors, you will find he always seems to agree with them. However, if you read Wesley himself you find him saying, “My ground is the Bible. Yea, I am a Bible-bigot. I follow it in all things, both great and small.” “Believe nothing they say, unless it is clearly confirmed by plain passages of holy writ.” “If there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there is one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.”

We recognize Adam Clarke as a pioneer in the comparison of biblical texts, known as lower or textual criticism. Yet Clarke concluded, “Men may err, but the Scriptures cannot; for it is theWord of God himself, who can neither mistake, deceive, nor be deceived” (Works, 12:132, see also Commentary, 5:11). However, we deny the value of and reject the conclusions of destructive higher criticism which starts with naturalistic presuppositions. Modern Wesleyan scholars have all too often capitulated to the higher critic in an attempt to gain acceptability for our message. But once our doctrinal source is impugned our message is stripped of its authority.

William Abraham wrote The Coming Great Revival in 1984, declaring that modern evangelicalism is at an impasse. The dilemma of evangelicalism is whether it will revert back to fundamentalism or blend in with liberalism? Abraham feels that the Wesleyan tradition has a solution to this impasse, but only if we purify ourselves of our fundamentalist corruption, repudiate the inerrancy of Scripture, and make a “bold and unqualified commitment to critical work in biblical studies.” But revival has come when the integrity of the Word of God was upheld and preached it with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. If we replace the living bread of God’s infallible Word with the barren stone of higher criticism, we have nothing to contribute to the impasse and we will move towards apostasy, not revival.

While Wesley argued for liberty concerning nonessentials, he also believed there are essential Christian doctrines which must be maintained in order to be Christian. In his preface to theNotes Upon the Old Testament, Wesley spoke of “those grand, fundamental doctrines, original sin, justification by faith, the new birth, inward and outward holiness.”

However, we must defend Christian doctrine with a Christlike spirit. Fundamentalism has too often been associated with harsh, bitter attitude, a separatist mentality, and a bizarre form of prophecy known as “dispensationalism.” [I would disagree with Dr. Reasoner regarding this  previous sentence – I believe we should have a “separatist mentality” i.e. practice ecclesiastical separation. And although I am not completely comfortable with dispensationalism, I am premillenial (unlike dispensationalists, I am leaning towards a post-Trib view). Dr. Reasoner, on the other hand, is not even in the same eschatological ballpark – he is a postmillenial preterist; see the latter part of this article.]

We are fundamentalists only so long as we define what constitutes the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. And unlike militant fundamentalism , we endeavor the practice the “catholic spirit” of love towards our Christian neighbor with whom we may disagree. Our use of the word fundamental primarily refers to the Scripture as our sole authority. [Here too I would differ with Dr. Reasoner; I admire the “militant fundamentalism” of Independent Fundamentalist Baptists today who speak out loudly against ecumenism, modernism, etc. And this militant fundamentalism was common among Wesleyan Holiness denominations before the National Association of Evangelicals was formed in 1942.]

As early as 1916 J. B. Chapman, editor of the Herald of Holiness, wrestled with this terminology. He stated that Nazarenes believed in the fundamentals and then proceeded to give his list of fundamental doctrines. However, if the question is raised whether Nazarenes are Fundamentalists, using the term as a proper noun, Chapman answered, “Yes, with reservations.” While Chapman had reservations about certain Calvinistic tendencies among Fundamentalists, there was no reservation, however, concerning the inerrancy of Scripture. We are in agreement with Chapman at this point.

Our commission is to preach the whole Book to the whole world. We are to preach a free gospel for all men and a full gospel from all sin. Anything short of this is neither apostolic nor Wesleyan.

FOOTNOTES

#1) See the quote from Bro. David Cloud, found here. I have emphasized certain points by bolding:

The authors of The Fundamentals represented the broader approach to fundamentalism. They held a wide variety of doctrine, some holding very serious doctrinal errors. For example, James Orr of Scotland denied the verbal inspiration of Scripture and allowed for theistic evolution.  J. Campbell Morgan denied the literal fire of hell and believed that men could be saved even if they do not hear of nor believe in Christ.

Some men who started out with the fundamentalist movement turned back and renounced their former position. For example, A.C. Dixon was the executive secretary of the committee that produced The Fundamentals. Historian George Dollar observes that though Dixon was a fundamentalist for many years, he “deserted because of the stigmas and battles of separatism.” Dixon helped found the Baptist Bible Union in opposition to the liberal Northern Baptist Convention, but “right in the middle of the fiercest battles against the liberals within the convention, Dixon abruptly and without warning turned in his resignation.” He went back into the very denomination that he had left and publicly called upon others to do the same. There were many sad cases like this that discouraged and confused the hearts of those who were in the battle for the truth.

FOR FURTHER READING

Harriet A. Harris, Fundamentalism and Evangelicals – many pages viewable online here. Although Ms. Harris takes a generally critical view of Fundamentalism, she nonetheless provides many helpful historical details.

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Update 11/07/12: Malone University still publicizes itself as a born again Christian school. Yet today I noticed Malone’s library has a display of 13 books by Emergent heretic Tony Campolo. Why? Read on.
————————————————————————————————
On 10/28/12 The Repository ran an article by Denise Sautters entitled “King era begins at Malone.” Towards the end of the article, I was struck by a comment from Dr. David King, being inaugurated 10/28/12 as Malone’s 13th president (1). (The latter part of this press release explains the presidential search process by Malone’s Board of Trustees; the press release does not mention how many of the Trustees were on the search committee.) Dr. King states:

“… [having time at a university before one’s inauguration] gives the president time to … develop a vision for the university.”

With all due respect, how biblically sound is Dr. King’s vision for Malone University? (2) Does it match the original vision of J. Walter Malone, the university’s founder? Based on his first year at Malone (prior to his inauguration), my impression is that Dr. King (along with a number of other presidents, faculty and staff) is taking Malone down a theological path far different from that envisioned by J. Walter Malone. I truly believe that J. Walter Malone’s dream for a born again, separatist Fundamentalist, Wesleyan Holiness, Evangelical Friends theological legacy is very close to being lost. (In addition, various heresies are entering the EFC-ER through routes other than Malone University.) How tragic!

Question: Emergent heretic Tony Campolo spoke at Malone University 09/28/12. Does this provide clues to new president Dr. King’s “vision for the university”? Read on…
——————————————-
Tony Campolo Like many discerning Christians (especially “fundies”/fundamentalists), I was shocked and angered by Charita Goshay’s prominent article favoring Emergent heretic Tony Campolo in The Repository Saturday 09/29/12. Her article summarized Campolo’s speech to Malone University students 09/28/12. (Malone University is an Evangelical Friends/EFCI school; Tony Campolo taught at new Malone president David King’s former school – Eastern University.)

“Church articles” are usually hidden away on the inside pages of The Repository‘s Section B each Saturday, on the so called “Faith and Values” pages. Yet Ms. Goshay’s article was prominently displayed on the front page of Section B (along with a blurb on the newspaper’s front page pointing readers to the article about Campolo). Apparently Ms. Goshay (and/or The Repository) knows that Campolo is a popular speaker. I am very disappointed – and angry – that Goshay did not write a more objective article, pointing out Campolo’s heresies and including statements from opponents.

Another problem – for me Goshay’s article raises more questions than it answers. For starters:

1) Was this event publicized beforehand, or was it an “inside event” only publicized to Malone students and parents? If  Campolo’s speech was not publicized on a wider scale, why wasn’t it?

I did find this description of the event here, in the Schedule for Parents’ Weekend:

2-3 p.m. [Fri. 09/28/12] –  Tony Campolo Speaking, Johnson Center Sanctuary. Dr. Campolo is a speaker, author, sociologist, and pastor. Over his many years of Christian service, Tony has boldly challenged millions of people all over the world to respond to God’s boundless love by combining personal discipleship, evangelism, and social justice. He will speak and then take time for questions from our students.

Note Malone’s positive description of Campolo. They could have said something like “this controversial Emergent leader is coming to Malone to debate his liberal views with Malone’s Professor so-and-so” (ala Brian McLaren’s debate at Malone). Yet Malone did not say this with Campolo.

2) Goshay’s article consists almost entirely of “born again Christianese” quotes from Campolo. Yet Campolo is an extremely heretical Emergent, on par with Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. Did Goshay leave out Campolo’s mainline/liberal/Emergent statements, or was Campolo’s entire speech “born again Christianese”?

4) Is Campolo’s entire speech (or a transcript of it) available online?

5) Did any Malone students protest Campolo’s coming to speak? (If so I’d like to meet them – we have a kindred spirit.)

6) In Campolo’s Q&A session, were opponents allowed to voice their  concerns about his heresies?

7) What individual(s) invited Campolo to come speak at Malone? Did the individual(s) not know that Campolo had a theological stance (heretical Emergent teachings) incompatible with what Malone has claimed to believe at least in the past? (For example, Campolo’s favoring the LGBT movement – an issue Malone has claimed it opposes.) Malone does seem to be changing in various ways – I’m not sure what specific individuals are pushing this change. (Check out their current Mission and Foundational Principles, for example.)

8) David King was recently hired as Malone University President. King was previously an employee of Eastern University, where the heretical Campolo taught for ten years. (In fact, the graduate department at Eastern University is named after Campolo.) Did King’s coming to Malone have anything to do with Campolo coming to speak?  Or was that just a coincidence? (And how about Betsy Morgan, professor emerita of English at EU, coming to speak at Dr. King’s Inaugural Symposium – was that also just a coincidence?)

Campolo Emergent and heretical

Just how Emergent/heretical is Tony Campolo? Here’s a clue: Campolo is an ordained minister in the mainline/liberal American Baptist Churches USA denomination. Note this description of the denomination, found here:

Generally considered more liberal than the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. is a member of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and of the World Council of Churches. It has taken an active part in ecumenical affairs and has worked for closer union among the various Baptist groups.

In 1998 the denomination adopted an “American Baptist Identity Statement” that sought to summarize the Christian faith representative of American Baptists. This was amended in 2005 to include a statement about homosexuality…

“Fundies” have a right to be critical of Campolo. In his book Letters to a Young Evangelical (2006), Campolo devotes Chapter 9 to describing and criticizing Fundamentalists. The chapter is entitled “Being Rescued from Fundamentalism”; the entire chapter is viewable online. Malone University was strongly separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness between approx. 1892-1942. Any Malone alumnus who loves Evangelical Friends of this time period should be offended by Campolo’s criticisms of fundamentalism.

For those who are still not convinced that Campolo is extremely heretical, consider these quotes from Campolo (click here for another blog of mine dealing with Campolo and other Emergents):

“Going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia… There are many ways…It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up in the same place.” 1a

“On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.” 1b

“But the overwhelming population of the gay community that love Jesus, that go to church, that are deeply committed in spiritual things, try to change and can’t change…” 1c

“…we want to see God at work converting society, converting the systems, so that there aren’t the racist overtones, the economic injustices, the polluting of the atmosphere.” 1d

“I learn about Jesus from other religions. They speak to me about Christ, as well.”1e

“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.” 1f

1a CarpeDiem: Seize the Day, 1994 page 85;
1b “20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch” page 117;
1c Beliefnet.com/faith/Christianity 08/2004;
1d MSNBC 2008 interview;
1e MSNBC 2008 interview;
1f Charlie Rose show 1/24/97

(Tony Campolo is an author, professor of Sociology at Eastern College, former spiritual counselor to President Bill Clinton, and a leader of the movement called “Red Letter Christians”.)

Campolo’s lack of adherence to Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement

(Click here for the Doctrinal Statement and ending Sections; to me the Doctrinal Statement sounds biblically sound for the most part – even if many Eastern University employees do not truly follow it)

Note the following two sections below. David King and Tony Campolo had to sign Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement annually. I don’t know much about King, but it is obvious from Campolo’s writings that Campolo (like many employees of the liberal Eastern University I’m sure) does not hold the born again Christian beliefs stated in the Doctrinal Statement. Yet Campolo taught at Eastern University for ten years; they even honored him by naming their graduate college after him.

Apparently signing the Doctrinal Statement is like taking an oath in court (“I promise to tell the truth… so help me God”), or like making a wedding vow (“I promise to love you… till death do us part”). Signing Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement annually seems to mean nothing to many employees there. I believe signing a Doctrinal Statement such as this, when you do not truly believe it, is a very serious offense against the Lord.

[In the excerpts below, I have emphasized certain points by bolding.]

SECTION II

Every member of the Board of Trustees, every administrative officer of the Institution, professor, teacher, and instructor shall annually subscribe over his or her signature to the Doctrinal Statement, excepting only that a non-Baptist individual occupying any of the foregoing positions shall not be required to subscribe to that part of the Doctrinal Statement regarding the mode of water baptism.

SECTION III

Whenever a member of the Board of Trustees, administrative officer, professor, teacher or instructor is not in complete accord with the foregoing Doctrinal Statement, he or she shall forthwith withdraw from all connections with the University, and his or her failure to do so shall constitute grounds for immediate removal from such positions by the Trustees.

ENDNOTES

(1) Malone’s 13 presidents are:
1) J. Walter Malone (1892-1918)
2) Edgar Wollam (1918-1921)
3) C.W. Butler (1921-1936)
4) Worthy A. Spring (1936-1948)
5) G. Arnold Hodgin (1948-1951)
6) Byron L. Osborne (1951-1960)
7) Everett L. Cattell (1960-1972)
8) Lon Randall (1972-1981)
9) Gordon R. Werkema (1981-1988)
10) Arthur Self (1988-____)
11) Ron Johnson (____-____)
12)  Gary W. Streit (_____-2010)
12a) Provost Will Friesen, Ph.D., Interim (2010-2012)
13) Dr. David King, (2012-     )

Sources: #1-7: Ohio Yearly Meeting Quaker Sesqui-centennial Commemorative publication, 1962, p.  43
#8,9: EFC-ER 175th Anniversary Commemorative publication, 1987, p. 32
#9:  Founded by Friends: The Quaker Heritage of Fifteen American Colleges and Universities, by John William Oliver, Charles L. Cherry, Caroline L. Cherry, 1970. p. 215 (viewable online)
#10,11: personal conversations with Malone associates
#12,12a: Malone University Welcomes 13th President: David King

(2) Another clue concerning Dr. King’s vision for Malone – and Malone’s vision for itself – is given here:

According to Board Chair Steven Steer, “Dr. King’s depth and breadth of experience seem to have converged with Malone’s vision for the future in a divine appointment.” King says it was Malone’s foundational principals that speak to the integration of faith, learning, and experiential activism that ultimately drew him to the University. Those words resonated within him, and it has not taken him long to embrace the University’s mission as his own.

Frankly, this sounds rather ambiguous to me. To get more specific, it seems to me Malone and Dr. King are pushing the envelope of contemplative spirituality (ala Richard Foster) and the Emerging/Emergent movement.

FOR FURTHER READING

I will be compiling a list of discernment articles about Tony Campolo’s heresies and providing the links here. For starters:

Apprising Ministries – various discernment blogs about Campolo

Let Us Reason Ministries – various articles about Campolo

Lighthouse Trails – article about Campolo

Manny Silva – various  discernment blogs about Campolo

A list of Google hits – articles about Campolo’s endorsement of occultish, contemplative centering prayer (click here for a discernment article exposing centering prayer)

Eastern University’s ringing endorsement of their Emergent darling Tony Campolo

2007: Mennonite Emergent Conversation (with representatives mostly from the liberal Mennonite Church USA denomination) held at Eastern University

2008: Campolo’s stint as featured speaker at 2008 Yearly Meeting of NWYM (the most liberal/Emergent Region of the Evangelical Friends denomination)

2012: Eastern University receives a grant to study occultish contemplative labyrinth prayer

The Repository‘s article mentions that Campolo has written 39 books. I am looking for a complete list of his writings (hopefully with content viewable online). (Admittedly, Campolo is a very readable writer; his books explain heretical Emergent teachings in laymen’s terms.)

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(revised 12/19/12)

Attending Evangelical Friends (EFCI) churches back in the 1960s (before they left their first love), I remember salvation messages about “the Blood and the Cross”, as well as hymns of Calvary such as “Power in the Blood“, “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood“, etc.

Today “The Blood and The Cross” message – the blunt, straightforward, bloody gospel message of repentance-of-sin and salvation that offends and convicts sinners – is seldom heard in the EFCI (particularly the ultra-liberal Northwest Yearly Meeting aka NWYM) and other evangelical denominations.  Sermons, hymns and tracts about Calvary used to be common, but no longer.

Today most evangelical pastors have become deeply entrenched in the Emerging/Emergent church movements. These pastors seldom use these terms in their sermons: sin, judgment, perish, eternal damnation, Hell, Lake of Fire, repentance of sin, the Blood, the Cross, etc. It seems these pastors are hesitant to offend or turn off unsaved seekers in their congregations/audiences, for fear they’ll scurry off to churches which are “less offensive.”

I know of a large Evangelical Friends church which – praise the Lord – was offering a series of classes in “evangelism training.” Yet when this church obtained a new pastor, the pastor discontinued the evangelism training classes. Now the church has many “fun” activities (Life Groups for devotees of amateur radio, classic cars,  scrapbooking, etc.) Apparently the pastor wants unsaved seekers to become involved in “fun” secular activities alongside born again church members, become comfortable attending seeker sensitive church services, then eventually be presented with the “full” salvation message. But when is this “full” salvation message presented by the church? I have never heard “hellfire and brimstone” preaching from the pastor, nor the “bloody” message of Christ on Calvary (picture the movie “The Passion of the Christ.”)

Frankly, Pastor, you (like so many other Emerging/Emergents today) are way off track. For sinners to repent of their sins and accept Christ as their Saviour, to truly become born again, you must preach an “offensive” gospel of  “the Blood and the Cross” that will be hated by  unsaved church attenders who insist on remaining in their sin. And unsaved seekers don’t need to be “eased in” to a church setting – they need confronted head on, as soon as possible, with the so-called “negative” message of the Blood and the Cross.

This pertinent excerpt is from a post by my Facebook Friend John Henderson, posted  here   09/24/12:

“That old Baptist preacher didn’t pull any punches when he dangled my feet over the flames of Hell. I am glad that he did. It was what I needed. I had already been hearing soothing and nice things from other “preachers” and remained lost. I needed to know and feel that I was lost and, when I did, it was a simple matter to run to the Cross.

Believe me, if the church has failed to reach the world it is right here. We do not need to come up with something more appealing to the world; we need to revive and sharpen the only things that will pierce their hearts with holy conviction so they know the choices are clear.”

Following are some more excerpts along this line, from A.W. Tozer. (Tozer had his flaws. He was not perfect, but I don’t know of any godly preacher or writer who ever has been.) These excerpts are from “The Old Cross and the New”, by A. W. Tozer. Click here (Berit Kjos’ website) for the original source of these excerpts. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Excerpts from …

The Old Cross and The New

                     By A. W. Tozer

This wise saint went to be with the Lord in 1963. His messages were written more than forty years ago, yet they are as relevant now as they were then!


Unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique — a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.” To the egotist it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill-seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him. What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ….

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we… alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.  


“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

Info on the above article, found here:

NOTE: This article first appeared in The Alliance Witness in 1946.  It has been printed in virtually every English-speaking country in the world and has been put into tract form by various publishers, including Christian Publications, Inc.  It still appears now and then in the religious press.

FOR FURTHER READING

Some comments on “The Old Cross and the New”

A.W. Tozer, The Radical Cross: Living the Passion of Christ  – This book contains, under one cover, many essays by Tozer about the Atonement and related doctrines.

These are just a few of the many essays included:

“The Cross Does Interfere”
“The Cross is a Radical Thing”
“Each His Own Cross”

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I have come across some excellent articles by Bro. David Cloud critiquing the heretical New Evangelical movement (aka the Neo-Evangelical movement). So I was pleasantly surprised to find even more historical details in an article by Biblical Discernment Ministries (BDM).

Click here for the original text of this article, which I have reposted  below. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in brackets.

Neo-Evangelicalism

Characteristics and Positions

In general, a neo-evangelical would be defined as one who has taken a “lower view” of Scripture, has developed a more open, inclusivistic spirit toward liberalism, and has become ecumenical in evangelism efforts. The movement was one born of compromise, nurtured on pride of intellect, growing on appeasement of evil, and doomed by the judgment of God’s Word (Lightner, p. 109). In general, the neo-evangelicals “are radical — theologically, politically, and socially” (Pickering, p. 131). One of the chief spokesmen of neo-evangelicalism would be Billy Graham; chief neo-evangelical scholars would be Edward Carnell, Carl Henry, and Bernard Ramm; major neo-evangelical organizations would be the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), The World Evangelical Fellowship, the Lausanne Committee, Campus Crusade for Christ, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; and major neo-evangelical periodicals would be Christianity Today and Moody Monthly. Following are some of the characteristics and positions of the leading neo-evangelicals (see Overview below) (Where indicated, quotes and excerpts are taken from Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, by Ernest Pickering, pp. 131-138; Neoevangelicalism Today, by Robert P. Lightner, 208 pages; or from a Grace Seminary course syllabus on “Biblical Fundamentalism” by John C. Whitcomb, 1979, pp 1-2.):

Leading Characteristics of Neo-Evangelicals:

(1)  Espousal of, or toleration toward, questionable views of Scripture; e.g., most neo-evangelicals, to one degree or another, have scuttled the doctrine of total, complete inerrancy of the Bible (regardless of the lip-service given to it); there is evidence of the acceptance of a conceptual theory of inspiration, but the neo-evangelical hesitates to accept the total verbal inspiration of the Bible. The issue becomes: “Is the Bible inerrant in all its pronouncements [the conservative fundamental view], or is it merely an inerrant record of some inspired truth [the neo-evangelical view]?” A “popular view of the Bible now promoted” among neo-evangelicals is that “the Bible is inerrant when it is teaching us about God and His redemptive works (that is, when instructing in important doctrinal matters [revelational]), but it may contain errors in other areas about which it speaks [non-revelational matters]” (Lightner, pp. 80-81, 84; Pickering, pp. 132-133).

(2)  The sufficiency of Scripture is effectively denied as evidenced by neo-evangelical attempts to “Christianize” pagan ideas and systems founded upon unbelief (i.e., psychology/psychiatry, numerology, astrology, personality theory, etc.) In effect, the Bible is deemed NOT sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and godliness (cf. 2 Pe. 1:3,4). Emphasis has been shifted from the authority of Bible doctrine to the realm of human experience, thereby causing churches to move toward a seminar type of ministry rather than an authoritative and dogmatic preaching ministry.

(3)  The neo-evangelical’s weak view of the inerrancy of Scripture has inevitability led to the toleration of a wide diversity of theological viewpoints (Pickering, p. 131).

(4)  Expresses a dangerous subservience to science; the desire to gain intellectual acceptability has led to a friendly attitude toward science, almost to the point of placing scholarship and science in the seat of authority. This is evidenced in a friendliness toward, or acceptance of, evolutionary theories (e.g., progressive creation and/or theistic evolution), with particularly broad concessions to organic evolutionism and uniformitarianism at the expense of a consistent and normal interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. (Lightner, p. 76; Pickering, p. 132; Whitcomb, p. 1)

(5)  Emphasis upon the implications of the social gospel; neo-evangelicals view the gospel as being two-pronged in nature — individual and social, thereby neglecting New Testament priorities. As a result, rather than making the gospel applicable to the world, the gospel tends to get watered down to make it acceptable to the world. “The societal impact which [the neo-evangelical] proposes to make fosters the connotation of a ‘Christianization’ of society …” which frequently speaks of a “‘Christian culture,’ a ‘new society,’ and a ‘new social order,’ … [the neo-evangelical aligns] himself and his church with existing social reform movements.” (Pickering, p. 134; Whitcomb, p. 1; Lightner, pp. 67-68, 91-92)

(6)  Enthusiasm over cooperative evangelism, even to the extent of aligning with groups that have been traditionally subversive of Bible truth (e.g., Roman Catholicism). (Pickering, p. 134) Billy Graham, more than any other, has epitomized this inclusivistic approach to evangelism (as opposed to the Biblical separatistic approach). Official neo-evangelical evangelism projects following this approach would be “AD 2000 Evangelism” and “Discipleship 2000,” both claiming the goal of reaching all the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the year 2000.

(7)  Strong criticism of traditional fundamentalism, particularly criticism of its doctrinal emphasis, which is said to have caused neglect of the social application of Christianity to the world (Pickering, p. 135; Lightner, pp. 133-134); this criticism usually includes the call for preaching only a “positive message,” as often expressed by the statement, “God called me to win souls, not to criticize others.”

(8)  The ways of the world are readily accepted by the neo-evangelical; there is a tendency toward finding justifiable reasons condoning and using that which evolves from a carnality, sensuality, secularism, and worldliness (especially in regards to music, theatrics, emotionalistic and psychological manipulations, promotionalism, and general appearance).

(9)  Pleas for more political involvement and “Christian” Activism (Pickering, p. 135).

(10) Unbiblical views regarding God’s role for women (Pickering, p. 135).

(11) Based upon a generally weak view of Scripture, there has been a natural shift from objective Biblical doctrine to subjective experience — allowance for the possible validity of apostolic sign-gifts for our own day (prophecy, tongues, miracles of healing through special persons, etc.) (Whitcomb, p. 2).

(12) Shift away from dispensational premillennialism to some form of “historic premillennialism” (even postmillennialism views are becoming widespread), together with a minimizing of the importance of Biblical eschatology in general, not from doctrinal conviction, but for ecumenical opportunity (Whitcomb, p. 2; Lightner, p. 101).

(13) Emphasis upon the unity of the church in preference to its purity. “Neo-evangelicals either tone down or completely neglect ecclesiastical separation from apostasy and personal separation from the world until these are virtually denied.” (Pickering, p. 135; Lightner, p. 16) (See later in report for more specific comments on this neglect of the Biblical doctrine of separation.)

Further Descriptions of Neo-Evangelicalism:

William Ashbrook — “A movement born of compromise, nurtured on the pride of intellect, growing on the appeasement of evil, and doomed by the judgment of the Word of God.”

Charles Woodbridge — “A movement with a new mood (toleration of false teachers, ridicule of fundamentalists), with a new method (‘the end justifies the means’), a new theology (questioning the canon of the Bible, its inerrant authority, and the nature of its content), and a new ethic (repudiation of personal separation for interaction with the culture). … following the downward path of toleration of error, accommodation to error, cooperation with error, contamination by error, and capitulation to error.”

Ernest Pickering — “It lacks moral courage in the face of the great conflict with apostasy. It lacks doctrinal clarity in important areas of theology. It makes unwarranted concessions to the enemies of the cross of Christ.”

Francis Stiles — “Neo-evangelicalism is a religious philosophy. It attempts to reach and minister to man through his felt needs. It seeks to commend man for his achievements and realign his energies for good. It emphasizes unity at the expense of truth and reduces the Biblical requirements of purity and separation unto God until they are obscure. Man and his present circumstances, rather than God and His eternal precepts, are the core of its concern.


Position of Neo-Evangelicals with Regard to Separation
:

[Separation from modernism, neo-orthodoxy, and all other errant philosophies and doctrines.]

(1) Willingness to remain within old-line denominations, even those that are clearly apostate, under the guise of favorably influencing them with the gospel. The neo-evangelical hopes to emphasize points of agreement with the liberal and the neo-orthodox rather than points of disagreement, in order to “recapture” denominations. (Pickering, p. 136; Lightner, p. 57)

(2) Ecclesiastical separation is considered to be merely a matter of conscience rather than a command of Scripture; the neo-evangelical ignores Rom. 16:17,18. (Lightner, pp. 94, 152-153)

(3) Maintains broad ecumenical fellowship, even to the extent of being involved in the apostate National and World Council of Churches; evangelicals are even urged “to obtain all or part of their training at liberal universities and seminaries” in order to “give evangelism more clout.” The conservative is called upon to welcome the neo-orthodox as friends and brethren since “truth is welcomed wherever it is preached.” This ecumenism generally involves the elevation of “love” above doctrine. (Pickering, pp. 136-137; Whitcomb, p. 1; Lightner, p. 56)

(4) Participates in ecumenical missionary efforts, clearly placing a higher priority on “opportunity” than on “purity of testimony.” (The neo-evangelical also tends to justify questionable methods in missions or evangelism by pointing to successes, e.g., the popularity of the enterprise, numbers, “conversions,” etc.) Leaders in this effort would be Billy Graham, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and the Latin American Mission. (Pickering, pp. 137-138; Lightner, p. 155)

Contemporary Fundamentalism is defined by the doctrine and practice of Biblical separation. To a large degree the difference between Conservative Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism is a matter of separation. Contemporary Fundamentalism maintains stricter views of moral and ecclesiastical (or doctrinal) separation than Evangelicalism. While many spiritual leaders in conservative evangelical circles would practice separation from apostates and Roman Catholics, virtually none would practice separation from [professing] believers who persist in sinful doctrine or sinful practice. In many cases, while certain conservative evangelical leaders would oppose false doctrine by actively teaching against it, few would actively separate from [professing] believers who persist in false doctrine. History has vindicated the Fundamentalist view of separation; that is, no doctrinal position can be maintained over time apart from the practice of separation. (Source: Rocco Piserchia)

Part of the immediate problem is that many so-called evangelical churches and leaders spent much of the mid-twentieth century separating themselves from those who preached separation from unbelief. The neo-evangelicals had such a horror of separation that they had to separate from the separationists. Carl Henry was one of the leaders of the neo-evangelicals. He and others wanted to lead a movement that would distance itself from fundamentalism, and neo-evangelicalism was born. This in turn led quickly to Billy Graham’s acceptance of liberal churches as sponsors of his crusades in the 1950s, and in the 1960s to acceptance of Romanist churches as sponsors of the crusades. What the Bible teaches on theological and ecclesiastical separation was ignored; and compromise, though under different labels, became the modus operandi of the neo-evangelicals. It was called “cooperation” — and who is anti-social enough to oppose cooperation? It was called “engagement,” and who is isolationist enough to reject engagement? It was called “co-belligerence,” a metaphor borrowed from war in which two parties fighting a third party do not fight each other. But the idea of co-belligerence — let alone the notions of cooperation and theological alliance — is itself a betrayal of Christ; it is abandoning theological warfare for cultural warfare. Co-belligerence involves deciding that Christians will neither criticize Romanism nor evangelize Roman Catholics, nor criticize Arminianism nor evangelize Arminians, nor criticize Judaism nor evangelize Jews — because they are our allies in the Culture Wars against the secularists. But fighting Culture Wars is not the Great Commission; Scripture knows only Theology Wars, and in those Wars, all unbiblical thoughts and institutions are the enemies of Christ. Making a separate peace with any one of them, as co-belligerency requires, is treason to Christ.


Overview: The following overview of Neo-Evangelicalism is excerpted from Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, by Dr. Ernest D. Pickering (copyright 1979, Regular Baptist Press), pp. 127-130:

Some errors are openly evident to true believers. Others are far more difficult to discern. The old modernism was transparently erroneous. God’s people saw immediately that men who denied great truths taught in Scripture, such as the virgin birth of Christ and His substitutionary death, were obviously heretics. They were branded as such and duly rejected.

In more recent years, however, systems of thought have been espoused by men thought of as evangelical, teaching in evangelical schools, or ministering to multitudes in evangelism. These are more subtle in their compromises and are much more difficult for the average believer to detect. The more truth contained in a specific system of thought the more difficult it is to isolate the errors. So it has been with the system which has been named the “new evangelicalism.”

Someone has said that the new evangelicalism had its beginnings with a mood. Perhaps this is true, and it makes it the more pernicious because a mood is extremely difficult to describe. You may feel it, but you cannot verbally diagnose it.

After the great struggles between modernism and fundamentalism, a group of younger men arose who had been reared, for the most part, in the homes and churches of fundamentalism. They were intellectually bright and aspiring scholars, many of them trained in either completely secular or liberally oriented religious schools. They were embarrassed by what they viewed as the “backwoodsy” provincialism of fundamentalism. Somehow they wanted to make evangelical truth more “relevant” and acceptable to a larger segment of society. No doubt many of them were sincere in their desire to do so. This mood which characterized them, however, was to lead them into strange paths.

Among these young scholars a more open spirit developed toward liberalism. Not that they openly embraced it, for they did not. But they desired to have more interaction with liberal scholars and leaders, with the hope of learning from them and hopefully imparting some Biblical truth to them as well. It was also their fervent desire that evangelical scholarship have wider recognition. They noted that evangelicalism (fundamentalism) was viewed as unscholarly by society as a whole. Why could not evangelicals win recognition through the writing of books and by securing faculty appointments at prestigious institutions? Of course, to win such recognition before unbelieving scholars, who, for the most part, were bitter enemies of Biblical truth, it would be necessary to show that evangelicals were sufficiently broad-minded and flexible to be able to accept new ideas and work them into their system of thought. Two areas were particularly troublesome to humanistic, unregenerate scholars: the doctrine of Biblical infallibility and the doctrine of creationism. But rising young evangelical thinkers were prepared to make concessions in these areas. Some began to adopt compromising positions regarding creationism. They accepted certain evolutionary premises, using such terms as “theistic evolution” or “threshold creationism.” It was an attempt to incorporate at least parts of the theory of evolution into a Biblical framework.

As they moved along in their efforts, the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture became more and more of a stumbling block. If the Bible were without error when speaking in areas of biology, cosmology, geology and the like, then evangelicals would have no latitude to formulate views that would accommodate to contemporary scientific theories. So, many evangelicals began to equivocate on the doctrine of infallibility.

There were also the pressures of ecumenicity. Ecumenism is a hot commodity these days. Everyone who is anyone is in favor of getting together. For one to be against all [professing] Christians working together is like being opposed to the most sacred things in human life. The ecumenical fever struck many evangelicals. They disdained the isolationism of fundamentalism and longed for wider fellowship and broader horizons. They felt that the evangelical viewpoint should be represented in ecumenical circles. Definite moves were made to see that it was.

With these attitudes prevailing, several historical incidents took place, which were important stepping-stones to the public, visible ascendancy of the new evangelicalism. One of the earliest was the organization of Fuller Theological Seminary (1947). Named after Charles Fuller, famous radio preacher, one of its main purposes, according to its first president, Harold Ockenga, was to train young men to go back into the old-line denominations and win a place for evangelicalism. Because millions of people were acquainted with Charles Fuller through the “Old-Fashioned Revival Hour,” and because he was a strong Bible believer and preacher, the public naturally assumed that the school which bore his name would also occupy his theological position. In this they were sadly misled. Fuller became one of the major fountainheads for the new evangelical philosophy, and it has drifted farther and farther from the position of the man whose name it bears.

In 1956, articles appeared in Christian Life magazine entitled “Is Evangelical Theology Changing?” The conclusion of most of those interviewed was that it was changing. Among those responding to the question were Vernon Grounds, Bernard Ramm, and Edward Carnell. They felt that fundamentalism was changing for the better by having a more open attitude toward the gift of tongues, by being less dispensational, and by evidencing a more accepting attitude toward science.

In 1956, the magazine Christianity Today was begun. It was intended as an evangelical counterpart to the prestigious liberal journal Christian Century. In early issues, two editorials appeared which showed the direction of the magazine. These were entitled “Beyond the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy” and “Dare We Renew the Controversy?” The thought was expressed that too much time has been wasted on fighting the battles with modernism; evangelicals should now progress to more productive efforts. Another editorial, “The Perils of Independency,” supported the mediating view of the NAE [National Association of Evangelicals] as over against the views of independency (fundamental separatism) or church unionism (ecumenism). The editors of the periodical expressed the opinion that “the apostasy condemned by Independency is not as clearly discernible as it is assumed” (Editorial, “The Perils of Independency,” Christianity Today, Nov.12, 1956, pp. 20-23).

Interestingly, in the early days of Christianity Today‘s existence, the Conservative Baptist Fellowship submitted a display ad for the famous Casebooks written by Chester Tulga. These books exposed various forms of modernism and unbelief. The magazine refused to run the ad, explaining the reaction of their editorial committee thus:

“There was a strong feeling, however, that in view of our circulation among many different groups, and of our announced intention to win the liberal, we would be, by running this ad in an early issue, standing the risk of alienating the very persons whom we are trying to win” (Quoted by R.T. Ketcham, “Christianity Today–An Analysis,” Baptist Bulletin, XXII, March 1957, pp.8,9).

The ministry of evangelist Billy Graham also aided the rise of the new evangelicalism, since he was one of its chief spokesmen. His crusades, mixed in nature as they were, gave popular expression to the whole philosophy behind new evangelicalism.

Many of the new evangelicals were authors, some of them prolific. Books and articles began to appear from their pens. Edward Carnell, Carl Henry, Bernard Ramm and others produced works which had widespread influence and promoted aspects of the new evangelical position.

The National Association of Evangelicals became an organizational haven for leaders of this movement. The NAE made no official statements about it, but its own approach to the question of the apostasy made it a natural gathering place for the new evangelicals.

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Biblical Discernment Ministries – Revised 8/01

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