Crying over Old Wallpaper

There is a lot of different discussion on the radio and internet these days concerning the poor condition of the modern church.  You will often see articles describing statistics (with great alarm) such as, “80% of Christian Youth leave the Faith upon entering College” and, “Over 50% of American Christian believe Jesus Isn’t the Only Way”.  There are other articles pertaining to our need to study creation science so that we can refute evolutionists and keep our children from being led astray.  And let’s not forget the thousands of seminars on marriage because the divorce rate in the church is now the same or worse than the divorce rate in our secular society.  Let me sum up my response to all the articles, warning bells and alarming statistics.  No.

You heard right, my answer is simply “No”.  I will now attempt to explain my “No”:

Do I believe that most young Christians who go off to college leave the faith?  No. 

Do I believe most young church-goers stop attending church?  Yes. 

Do I believe that most American Christians embrace some form of universalism?  No.

Do I believe that the majority of American church-goers embrace some form of universalism?  Yes.

Do I think it necessary to study creation science to facilitate evangelism & keep children faithful?  No.

Do I think it wise for a Christian to study creation science to be well-rounded intellectually?  Yes.

Do I believe the Christian divorce rate to be the same as our pagan society?  No.

Do I believe the divorce rate to be the same in church-goers and non church-goers?  Yes.

In order to believe the reports coming out of our modern evangelical mouthpieces, I must choose to disbelieve Scripture.  This I cannot do.  For example, when Josh McDowell states that Christian youth are abandoning the faith upon entering college, I must take a pair of scissors and remove 1 John 2:19 from my Bible, for it states,  “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”   In other words, they weren’t Christians in the first place!  They were unsaved church-goers.  The real alarming issue should be this:  How are so many college-bound youths falsely claiming Christianity without anyone at the local church noticing?  I am very alarmed regarding that problem! And when a Pew Forum Religious Landscape study announces that most Christians do not believe that Jesus is the only way, then I must use my scissors again to remove John 14:6

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Or instead of grabbing my scissors, should I instead accept that those who have repented of their sins, believe in Christ’s deity and atonement, and follow after Him with their whole heart also hold the same beliefs in Buddha?  Should I simply bury my reasoning and align myself with the evangelical leaders who are stating that those who have been made into new creatures by the Lord Jesus Christ also feel comfortable calling Him a liar?

And when studying creation science (which I find to be very interesting and exciting) should I ignore the Biblical teaching that men choose to disbelieve so as to embrace rebellion?  This is found in Romans 1:18-23

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

So while creation science is good and useful, is it really what will convince men to accept Christ?  No, they are already convinced to some degree, but are walking in wicked rebellion.  Cold facts will not change their hardened hearts.  And will creation science keep our children in the faith?  Again….no.  The Bible makes it clear who keeps the redeemed on the true path:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.   (Hebrews 7:25)

Creation science is interesting and helpful.  But it is not the Gospel message nor can it ever take the place of Christ’s work!

So what about divorce?  Am I to believe the Christian Post when they tell me that Christians divorce at the same rate as the lost?  Seriously?  No, they don’t!  The Bible states that God hates divorce!  It also states the following in 1 John 2:3-6:  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.  Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.  By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”  Perhaps I should I believe the Christian Post and instead call the Apostle John a liar since we are taught in 1st John 5:18:  “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, & the evil one does not touch him.”  

Folks, what we are seeing is nothing more than reports that the old wallpaper falling down.  The shiny veneer of a christianity that is Christian in name only is peeling off and exposing the rotten wood beneath.  It is a pretty wallpaper, a good-looking moral decor that so many who profess Christ put on their lives, but when the inner details of their lives and beliefs are compared to Biblical teachings, they are found to have very little in common.  Those truly redeemed by Jesus Christ don’t continue to walk in sin and disbelief; they walk carefully after the Lord because He has re-made their heart to be tender and responsive to Him!

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.   Ezekiel 36:25-27

Attending Church and living a relatively clean life does not make you a Christian any more than walking into a McDonald’s restaurant makes you a hamburger.  In fact, I would contend that to change you into a hamburger would take considerably less miraculous power than making sinful rebels such as you and I right in the sight of the Holy and Just God!  Somehow, it seems modern evangelical leaders, spokespeople and publications have forgotten the teachings of Christ, that you will know people by their fruit.

You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.  (Matthew 7:16-20)

Instead of taking the teachings of our Lord to heart, their reports insist that the alarming statistics are being generated by those who are truly redeemed.  They tell us that bad fruit is growing on good trees, and then they begin to propose solutions as to how to make the fruit shiny again. Putting a shine on a bad apple won’t make it a good apple inside!!  Putting up pretty wallpaper over rotten wood does not fix the problem!  These statistics (which will only increase) are simply the signs of how many tares we have among the wheat, or how impure the visible Church really is.  There is only one solution to a problem such as this.  The preaching of the Gospel.

Churches must once again begin to preach the true Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Enough of this Purpose Driven, live-the-dream, God is your co-pilot nonsense!  We have broken God’s laws, we are filled with iniquity and rebellion, and the only hope we have is in Jesus Christ.  He died in our place, taking the punishment for our sins on the Cross.  “Repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name” must be the primary and urgent message of our Churches once again.  We must abandon the “vision and purpose” of so many churches who are simply trying to shine the fruit and put up new wallpaper.  We must stop claiming that the good deeds and clean lifestyle that follow salvation are actually salvation itself.   We must stop telling people that repeating words after the pastor with no genuine repentance and belief will result in salvation.  We must not spread the myth that to become a Christian all you have to do is invite Jesus into your heart, when absolutely nowhere in Scripture does it say He is willing to do that for everyone who asks it of Him!  Repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name.  That is the message our Lord commanded us to deliver (Luke 24:47), and we do not have the authority to change it.  Good deeds will follow, a cleaner life will follow, the Spirit of Christ abiding in the believer will follow, but these incredible consequences are not the Gospel themselves.

Please, reader, I beg of you.  Stop listening to these alarmist reports that insinuate that the Bible is lying in regards to method and effects of true conversion.  When you hear them, lean on Scripture and instead of sending money to the latest crusader in the cultural war, find a good Gospel preaching Church or organization and send them your money.  Or better yet, use your money to buy some Gospel tracts (www.OneMillionTracts.com has some good ones) or evangelism tools and go out in your town and began spreading the Gospel message yourself.  Find some good books to buy and share with your friends and your small group (“All of Grace” by Spurgeon or “Real Christianity” by Wilberforce would be fine choices).  Let the wallpaper fall down and go preach the Gospel in your town, in your family, and yes, even in your Church!

To read or download this article in PDF format, click HERE.

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