Previously, on part three of these mini-series on altar calls and the sinner’s prayer we looked at some very sobering statistics that clearly expose the farse of decisionism and it’s mortal effects on the church and the world’s reception of Christianity.
Today, I would like to dissect the standard service procedure and expose the theological errors and it’s complete separation from what the Word of God actually teaches.
In the first part of these series I narrated the typical Sunday service that ocurs in most churches in the United States today. Now, I wish to look closely at what pastors and christians say, believe, and apply, and how it is in complete disagreement with true Biblical teaching and church history.
Take a look at these two videos so you can see how severely ignorant many Christians are made today by their pastors, parents, and themselves, which makes them gullible to anything and nothing.
Notice that she claimed to be “strong with the Word and the Lord” and immediately rejected what the man was trying to share with her: the very Word she claimed to be strong in. She was unable to quote a single verse and even believed that the sinner’s prayer was in the Bible, which is a doctrine that has only been around for some years and it is very recent; it is not at all something that has formed part of the historical confession of the church. Why? 1) it’s not Biblical, 2) it strips the Word from its power, and 3) it denies true saving faith (a true Christian will by his/her fruits show that they are Christian (Matthew 7:16, 20)). She recoiled and became uncomfortable at the mention of hell and judgment, which this post-modern society condemns (and ironically judges as well) as “unloving” and “impolite.”
Pay close attention to this excerpt from John MacArthur’s book Truth War, “Martyn Lloyd-Jones called the modern distrust of polemics “very loose and very false and very flabby thinking….The attitude of many seems to be, ‘We do not want these arguments. Give us the simple message, the simple gospel. Give it to us positively, and do not bother about other views.” This is most certainly the case with this young lady. She could not present the true gospel (which either converts or offends the unbeliever), much less bear it when he shared it with her.
John MacArthur goes on, “the more aggressively something is marketed to Christians as the latest, greatest novelty, the less likely most evangelicals are to examine it critically. After all, who wants to be constantly derided as a gatekeeper for orthodoxy in a postmodern culture? Defending the faith is a role very few seem to want anymore.” I cannot agree more. We have traded truth and offense for lies and softness. And the reason is not just because people ignore what the Bible says (which is the main reason), but a very important factor is also that the church willingly ignores Church history.
Why is Church history important? Well, one reason is because those that have preceded us have fought tirelessly for the faith and worked sleeplessly to destroy heresies coming into the mainstream of the Church.
One example of this is the Arian controversy that started at the start of the fourth century. In a nut-shell, Arius was a monk who said that Christ was not God, that He was created by God, and is therefore a creature, not God. He said, “before the Son was begotten, he was not.” His views were scrutinized and refuted by Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) at the Council of Nicea. He was excommunicated and his false doctrine was condemned. However, the war for truth is relentless, and there is no rest for the Church, no end to the Scriptural command to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Arius would not yield. Even after being excommunicated, he re-wrote his doctrines in such a way that he could disguise his views in a seemingly orthodox language, which served for the destruction and deception of countless Christians.
Time passed, and the Roman emperor Constantine sought to reinstate Arius (and eventually did, at the great dislike of true Christians), and at the same time said he was tired of the church fighting over doctrine and “peripheral” issues (“[Constantine] considered the whole argument a case of useless theological hairsplitting” (Truth War, John MacArthur), that the time was come when the church must unite with the reigning peace that prevailed in the Empire at the time (“[Constantine] regarded discord in the church as more painful and more fearful than any war” (Truth War, John MacArthur). Not surprisingly, the pagan Constantine (who many people falsely believe was “Christian”), was baptized by an Arian priest. Athanasius of Alexandria was, in the end, the only true soldier standing against Arius and his teachings. His faithfulness to the truth can be summarized with his famous quote, “Athanasius contra mundum (Athanasius against the world)”. The heresy died down, and truth reigned once more. But heresy is like a virus, it infiltrates even the places we think it has not affected. The modern version of Arianism is the infamous cult of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claim that the Father has more authority over the Son, and that the Son, as a created being, is subject to the Father. To deny the deity of Christ is to forfeit your soul.
This apathy for Christians who expose and question unbiblical and unorthodox methods in this post-modern era has forced those faithful Christians to sacrifice peace for truth sometimes. In the words of Martin Luther, “peace if possible, truth at all costs.” I have received some criticism for even speaking against decisionism. These brothers and sisters have told me I am wasting my time in writing against this heresy and that I should be focusing on preaching the gospel to the lost because “there’s no time left, Christ can come any minute now.” Pay close attention to this quote by John MacArhur in his book Truth War, “the few outspoken opponents of Arianism were often accused by less-discerning Christians of being harsh, overly meticulous, unduly critical, and maliciously divisive. Sound familiar?”
Let me respond to that by directing you to the two videos I put at the beginning of this post. Do you see a pattern here? Christians are being dumbed down by the Church, and this en-masse. How can you disagree with my position without having studied the history of decisionism or the argument I present? As I said in part 1 of these mini-series, hold your stones til after you’ve heard me out.
The Message continued in Part 5.