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Dr. Frances Schaeffer correctly summed things up years ago when he said, "Here is the great evangelical disaster -- the failure of the evangelical church to stand for truth. The evangelical church has accommodated the spirit of this age. First there has been the accommodation of Scripture, so that many who call themselves evangelicals hold a weakened view of the Bible and no longer affirm the truth of all that it teaches."
How did we get here?
Paul Smith -- brother of Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith -- brilliantly documents the decline and fall of evangelicalism in his new book, New Evangelicalism:
The New World Order. He confirms that the church today is in a state of crisis and confusion. Terms like fundamentalism, evangelicalism, new evangelicalism, and Emergent Church, have clearly created conflict in the church's beliefs, perceived self-identity, and approach to fulfilling Jesus Christ's Great Commission.
The huge paradigm shift has its roots in a 1905 meeting in a Manhattan, New York restaurant. The players were a group of intellectuals committed to Karl Marx. They established a goal of a "fundamental transformation" of America's culture away from its Christian roots to Marxist/Socialist ideology. They would infiltrate everything from learning centers to the media to churches.
They succeeded. E-mails into this ministry document the carnage that has happened and that continues to unfold in our churches today. People write to this ministry stating that they have visited every single option for a church in their town and that all have such serious problems that now they just stay home. They have given up. Church is no longer recognizable. People are heartbroken and disconnected. The Bible warns of the great end-time falling away and yet no one was prepared for this. We all thought we would be exempt.
While Smith hits the target on many issues from Purpose-Driven to Emergent to postmodernism, he takes careful and extended aim at Fuller Seminary. In 1971, C. Peter Wagner became a professor of church growth at Fuller. The emphasis upon social sciences, not the Bible, was the focus of Wagner and others influenced by the "science" of church growth. This has resulted in four decades of church dilemma and carnage around the world.
While Fuller Seminary cannot be blamed for all the wreckage, young men were being trained there -- including Rick Warren -- to learn how to do church in unconventional ways. Some of those ways were productive but other gimmicks produced the "new evangelicalism" which would not be recognized by our grandparents. Smith documents the alarming degenerative process which has confused many evangelicals. His documentation is sobering. The subtle progression of unbiblical details is shocking.
Smith records the fact that Fuller Seminary no longer says that the Bible 'is the infallible Word of God.' They simply state that the Bible is the word (lower-cased) of God, and then adds that infallibility is limited to matters of faith and practice.
Contrast the rapid growth of the "Jesus people movement" of the 60s and 70s that had absolutely no marketing gimmicks implemented in it to today's marketing-saturated approach.
As one book reviewer states, if he had to run into his burning home to save certain items, Paul Smith's book, New Evangelicalism, would be one of the items!
While no one wants to give up on the church -- including its Shepherd, Jesus Christ -- the conclusion is that the compromise in the church of the last 100 years is setting the stage for the one-world religion that will reign triumphant in the future Tribulation. You can read how all of this is harmonizing with the new world order in these prophetic last days.
We also carry Eric Barger's new 45-page booklet, Where Are Evangelicals Heading? It contains similar information in a shorter form, but is still heralding a warning that if we are not careful, evangelicals will go the route the Mainline Protestants did between 1880 and 1920. They caved to liberalism and today they are a social gospel-based band of denominations that are quickly losing relevance. Eric takes a close look at all evangelicals including the National Association of Evangelicals. They're not your grandma's brand either!
Is there hope? We must always cling to the fact that disasters can be turned around. But people have to see the need for this to happen. Since deterioration began over 100 years ago, the process has been slow and many have adjusted to "new ways of doing church." Leaders now are comfortable with what doesn't work! Steering them back to the truth found in the Scriptures is no easy task.
For a recent radio program I did on this topic, go here.
While this topic is a downer, it is a further reminder as to why Christians are called to be salt and light not just to the world but to the church as well! Those who know the truth are asked to speak it. Contending for the faith is not an option in Jude 3. It is a commandment and a full-time assignment. Plan on working 24/7/365.
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