It can only be said that the trends in preaching and Christianity have gone to the other extreme from what they were in by-gone years.
Through the sixteenth, seventeenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, the “Hellfire and brimstone” preacher prevailed in the Bible believing, evangelical churches to varying degrees.
There is no doubt that the reality of eternal damnation and the torments of hell were vivid realities to the preachers and believers in those days and because of this they confronted the unsaved and the lapsing Christian with the eternal and solemn punishment awaiting the unrepentant.
Many hammered this subject to such an extent that the good news of salvation and promises of mercy upon repentance by sinners was almost lost sight of.
We are now at the other extreme in that hell is effectively ignored and salvation is reduced to nothing more than accepting that God has a purpose for your life and cares about little more than your living a good and happy life with Heaven hereafter throw in.
Most Biblical Christians believed up till now, that God’s purpose in Christ’s dying on the Cross was to save and turn you from your sin and call you to holiness and obedience.
If many of today’s “Christians” were confronted more often with the sinfulness of sin and God’s abhorrence of it and the fact that those dying without Christ are lost eternally and without hope, they would no doubt complain heartily that they were deceived about the nature of the Gospel as it is most often preached and depart from the church in droves.
If the true gospel, with its tendency to humble man before God, were faithfully and truly preached everywhere today, no doubt many “mega “churches would be reduced to mere shadows.
In order to attract people to the Church, we see many reducing the Bible to a merely human and fallible book. Others use Biblical words in ways that the original writers and indeed the Holy Spirit never intended and no unbiased reader would so interpret it: all in order to widen the way of Salvation and take away the offense which has always attended the sound preaching of the Gospel of Christ , all to grow church attendances.
People who daily read their Bibles devotionally and claim to be sincere followers of Christ, read His words and yet persist in pursuit of worldly pleasures and excuse their indulging in sin, in light of Christ’s mercy and God’s saving love for the sinner.
If this is not to make Christ a minister of sin I know not what does.
Today’s Christian may not be as great a sinner as they once were before their profession of faith, in that they turn away from the more heinous and obvious sins: yet it still persists that the attitude taken to sin today is to minimize it and regard it as of little account in God’s sight since after all, Christ paid the price for it so why do we need to concern ourselves with it.
Also as we are seen by God clothed in Christ’s righteousness surely our remaining sin and sinfulness is not of any real consequence.
Sadly there are those who go a step further and by a superficial reading and twisting of scripture and even a denial of its authority, say that those things, which in the past were regarded by the Church’s understanding of the Bible as abominable in God’s sight are now allowable and acceptable to Him.
The people enslaved to these particular sins instead of repenting of them and seeking deliverance are demanding acceptance for their practices and there are all too many ministers , and churches willing to do so.
No doubt the people, who read my blog (few though they may be) grow weary of my decrying and denouncing these modern trends. To them I say that no one who seeks to understand scripture and knows anything of the gospel as it has always been proclaimed by its truest preachers and witnesses can but be appalled by the fundamental difference between the message of so-called Christianity as it is in many places being proclaimed and the true scriptural gospel “once delivered to the saint’s.
Nor is it merely a matter of interpreting obscure points of Scripture and coming to different conclusions. Rather it is a wholesale dispensing and denial of Scriptural teaching and a re-asking of Satan’s question to Eve “Hath God indeed said”?
God deliver us from a Christ-less Christianity and hold us to the good old paths.
Harry Einstein (May 6, 1904 – November 23, 1958), known professionally by a multitude of pseudonyms, most commonly Parkyakarkus, was an American comedian, writer, and character actor. A specialist in Greek dialect comedy, he became famous as the Greek chef Nick Parkyakarkus on the Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson radio programs, and later on a program of his own. He appeared in eleven films (as Parkyakarkas, or a close variant) from 1936 to 1945. He was very popular during the thirties and forties.
He had a heart attack during a celebrity roast for Dezi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in 1958.
When he been taken backstage, Ball came to the microphone and managed only, “I can say nothing”, through tears. Arnaz , the closing speaker, said, “This is one of those moments (the celebrity occasion ) that Lucy and I have waited a lifetime for, but it’s meaningless now. They say the show must go on, but why must it? Let’s close the show now by praying for this wonderful man backstage who has made a world laugh.”
The fact is that all the world’s joys and pleasures are fading and passing away. If we make them the only pursuit of our lives we will be left devastated and eternally bankrupt when they leave us.
It is only with Christ that there are pleasures forever more, and only in and through him that we will find the joy and peace the endures to eternity.
We are confronted today by those who by fair means and foul seek to pry into the day to day habits, spending practices and opinions of the public at large.
Whether it is by means of survey, monitoring online usage or purchases or the periodic Census, we are ,whether we like it or not, feeding grist into the numbers crunchers and poll-sters mill.
The results stemming from all this commercial and political effort may be innocent and innocuous enough.
By it ,they may gain insight into what products are popular or saleable. They may dictate what government policies and measures are called for and therefore likely to attract votes and they may in some small way help our daily lives by providing services where they are most needed.
In a more sinister way the intelligence which is in many and varied ways being accumulated may show that a wary eye is being kept on us and is watching our every move.
In our consumption driven society, marketing is the primary concern of businesses and organizations, large and small. This naturally leads to the desire to find out the spending habits, incomes, lifestyle aspirations and desires of the population at large.
As I am continually pointing out this trend is making its way into the church in varying degrees.
Whether it was Robert Schuller, surveying Orange county California to see what sort of Church they would want to come to, if he built it or the “Churches” current obsession with relevance that prompts it to imitate youth and pop culture to attract the “un-churched.
It has all come down to the desire to give the people what they want to get them to come to church.
God did not consult with anyone but Himself when He formulated the plan of man’s salvation. Even the angels who are far above all the rest of creation were not consulted by the Almighty and even with all their super human wisdom, they are still desire to look into and understand the wondrous way in which God wrought salvation through the death of His Son.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 1Peter 1:12
Surely this should deter anyone endeavoring to adapt the Gospel of Christ to the fads and whims of sinful men and encouraging all of us to gratefully accept the wondrous word of Salvation as declared to us by God in his holy Word and to His name alone be the glory.