June 23, 2008

Viva La Revolution

How has American Christianity grown so rapidly without the assistance of the Holy Spirit? Yes, you read me correctly, without the help of the Holy Spirit! Steve Gaines wrote "When God shows Up" and acknowledged the necessity of having God in our worship services. But isn't that exactly the case for American Christianity? Is God involved at all? You may say, "Charles, the ideal that a large Christian movement can be built without God and at the same time call itself Biblical inerrantist and Christ exalting is absolutely ludicrous." Well my friend it is not!

Liberal Christianity has done it successfully. Ernest Sutherland Bates in the early thirties arranged and edited the KJV The Bible, maintaining the beauty and balance without changing a word of the KJV. He presented the Epistles in the order of their composition and insured the authenticity and lasting importance by eliminating the fourteenth chapter of I Corinthians. This made it a best seller. It was one of the book-of-the-month club selections. It underwent ten printings in the first year alone. It was almost instantly a New York Times best seller. It remained in print for over twenty years and underwent another printing in 1957. I have a 1993 printing. However he eliminated the verse: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. I Corinthians 14:25 Of coarse that renders the Bible readable and believable. We sure don't want God to show up in our midst!

Another Liberal book came out a little earlier than Bates. It was the Scofield Reference Bible printed in 1909. As with Bates Bible, Scofield endeavored to print a Bible easy and believable to read. He believed that previous editions of the Bible notes were not based on the latest scientific information (higher criticism). They were fragmentary and disconnected and so he presents a readable and believable reference for serious Bible students. As a liberal edition it follows the same pattern of eliminating the difficult Corinthian passages not by outright elimination but evasive dispensational trivializing. The supernatural working of the Holy Spirit is set aside for the clear exposition of scripture. The New Testament preacher was an "inspired" teacher only while there was no written new testament and is now "merely" a preacher. A mere man with a clear understanding of the text is no less inspired than a New Testament Holy Spirit inspired prophet. (Scofield notes on I Cor 14:1; 1917 ed.) In the words of A. W. Tozer: "If he has a word for a thing he has the thing itself." This liberal book has left American fundamentalism high and dry, spiritually.

In the words of Steve Gaines, the church has placed a "do-not-disturb-sign on the door" and said to the Holy spirit, "leave us alone". "No thanks, we do not need you." This has left the door wide open for an Arminian gospel with it's wide assortments of free offers to whosoever will.
It is a bankrupt message with no power for service. It has the form of godliness: the inerrancy of the Bible, Sola Scriptura, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the imminent personal return of Jesus Christ. It does not have the power for service vitally needed for true Christian evangelism. It is merely a Church no more spiritually alive than Enron.

The typical large mega-Church has become a spiritual stronghold that needs a radical revolution, not unlike a ghetto up-rising! Strangely Jesus referenced this revolution in Matthew 12:29 when He call for a binding of the strong man and then spoil his goods. In the ghetto riots, regardless if the strong man is bound or not there are store windows broken and expensive items are carted away. The goods that they normally pay inflated prices for the sake of the merchants profit are now looted in mass and carried out into the street.

Peter Wagner writes, "It is my view that sound missiological strategy will take responsible, but aggressive, action to bind demonic strong ones, principalities, powers, territorial spirits, or whatever they might be called, who are serving Satan by keeping large populations in spiritual darkness." Peter Wagner, Blazing the Way (Ventura, CA: Regal Books), 67.

I believe that this spiritual darkness is embedded in American Christianity. An evil entity more sinister than imaginable rules many of these mega-Churches and whether blindly or not these pastors and leaders are doing the devils bidding. Few of these pastors are watching for the Lord's judgment (Luke 12:39) Like the baptized Simon he was still bewitched with his own greatness (Acts 8:9) and the great acclamation of the masses; he thought that the power of God could be purchased. Luke gives us Jesus' own words concerning this bewitching process in 12:48
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. As certain as Jesus spoke to the crowds including the massed bystanders and the elite spiritual leaders, He was speaking to the stronghold of Satan himself. Until we, the masses of common men, understand that our problems in America Fundamentalism is rooted in the hold Satan has on our Churches' pastoral staff we will remain in spiritual darkness without the favor of God on us.

To be continued.

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