Wednesday, 4 February 2015
The Spirit of Fear has Crept into the Church
Many of the modern church think they are not legalistic and very gracious. They think that they are very kind and caring. Such an attitude is reflected in their dogmatic, and sometimes vehement insistence of being “culturally sensitive” in evangelism. The Gospel is never culturally appropriate as the unsaved are all haters of God. Thus, true proper and Biblical evangelism, in no matter what form, will never be culturally appropriate. Never! However, the Christian should not be discouraged by this. Rather, he or she should be encouraged by this.
Many modern evangelicals like to separate “methods” of evangelism and the Gospel as two discrete things, thinking that the “method” is important and plays a role in the salvation of the person. They like to tell people who preach the Law and Gospel, especially those who use the Way of the Master “method”, that the Way of the Master “method” is “offensive” to people and culturally inappropriate, as if “method” matters and contributes to the salvation of people. What blasphemy!
The power of salvation comes from God alone, not your “friendship” or “cultural sensitivity”. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16). Salvation is of the Lord, not your method, acts of kindness or to use the annoying term “cultural sensitivity”. Therefore, “methods” of evangelism are totally irrelevant.
It is a tragic waste of time to lecture someone about “methods” as what one modern evangelical has tried to do to me, and has the audacity to say to me that it would be sad if I thought I was trying to pastor people, just merely by speaking out about such issues. It is because of people like him that pastors like Tony Miano who speaks out against the tragedies of American (or modern) evangelicalism are needed.
The modern evangelical who kept on lecturing me and accusing me of being ‘ungentle’ because I have spoken out against the spirit of fear, as manifested in modern evangelism. He implicitly accuses me sinning by failing to pander of the evil human sensitivities that are experienced when one is convicted of sin – guilt, and if one is not humble, anger and offence. Offending the wicked haters of God must occur in Biblical evangelism since “every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:2). That, is, the Law of God must be used in evangelism. This is what was done in the Bible. However, the modern evangelical retorts that it was only a ‘cultural’ thing when preaching to the Jews. What error! No where in the Bible is the Law not preached, whether directly and explicitly, or indirectly and implicitly along with the Gospel.
The typical modern evangelical, not satisfied with such as response, but rather angered at such a response, knowing in his heart that he has a fear of people, uses 1 Corinthians 9:22 which states that “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” as an excuse. This means that one does not seek to simply seek to dismantle the worldview, philosophy or religion of the person in witnessing, but instead seeks to help the person being witnessed to overcome stumbling blocks that prevent him or her from accepting the Christian faith as true.
For example, when witnessing to a person who believes in reincarnation, it means that one should not seek to get involved in an argument over whether reincarnation is true. Instead, one uses that as springboard to get to the Gospel by asking the person whether what he or she will turn into in the next life if he or she is not a good person according to the Law of God, then warning the person about Hell, and sharing the Gospel. Similarly, when witnessing to an evolutionist or atheist, one should ask ‘if God judges you, and if Heaven and Hell exists, where will you be going?” 1 Corinthians 9:22 is NOT call to neglect or do away with using the Law of God in evangelism.
The modern evangelical who rebuked me for using the Law of God in evangelism, out of his fear for people, and I suspect, offence at people who use Way of the Master, who convict him of his sinful fear of people, cites the example of Apostle Paul using Greek poets. He was just unsatisfied with that response. He whinges whenever I report on what he has said and the spirit he is under.
He, like many in the modern church, is under the spirit of fear. It is no wonder that he could not understand intellectually my response to his arguments about omitting the Law in evangelism which he vehemently pushes, yet with a hypocritical, false sense of graciousness. A person under the spirit which he or she yields to, whether Christian or not, cannot see it. He thinks that what the spirit he is yielding him to do is legitimate because, in that particular regard, he is following his flesh which is hostile against God (Romans 8:7).
Fear of people is hostility against God, and thus, it is no wonder that a person under the spirit of fear thinks that using the Law of God to confront people of their sins is ‘hurtful’, ‘offensive’, ‘ungentle’ and ‘judgmental’.
A Christian should never be discouraged by the mockery, ridicule, hatred and persecution by the world. Jesus said that men hate the light. That one is being mocked and hated for righteousness should all the more be encouraged. Jesus said to His disciples:
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause (John 15:18-25). Likewise, the true Christian will be hated without a cause. How foolish is it for a Christian to seek the approval of a God-hating world!
Persecution, hatred, and mockery of the godly is a promise, which the Christian should be rejoicing at (Matthew 5:10-12). The godly should be elated and celebrating its persecution because it shows oneself approved. It shows that one is seeking to please God, not man. Seeking to please God will anger people, even without them knowing of your faith because your actions and words should shine a light in their wickedness. However, the modern church fails to understand it by chooses to fret at evildoers and fear the unsaved.
It is because of this lack of understanding that most vehement, hostile and aggressive attacks using the use of the Law in evangelism and its offensive power come not from God-hating atheists, Buddhists, Muslims or Jews. They come from the modern church is has been postmodernised, humanised and liberalised. It is all too easy for a Christian to scoff “I can’t be postmodernised, humanised or liberalised”. However, that is exactly what has happened in the modern church as manifested in its approach towards dealing with anti-Christian world views, attacking the spirits behind such world views, and of course, evangelism.
The modern church has lost its fear for God. Yes, the church. It wonders why it has lacks wisdom. One only need to read Proverbs 9:10:The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
The famous preacher Charles Finney once said: “Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
Indeed, judgment starts with the House of the Lord (1 Peter 4:17).
If the church fears man more than God, how will the world even seek to fear God?
The modern church, by fearing man more than God, has failed to be salt and light of the world.