Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Who's Sitting in the Pews?

By Vince and Lori Williams

"My fellow pastors, could it be that many of our hearers each week aren't saved, even many of our members?" This was one of the questions that Pastor Mark Dever asked to about 8000 ministers at 2012's Together For the Gospel conference, according to The Christian Post. He went on to say that the problem isn't just the "occasional hypocrite lost in unrepentant sin," but, "systems that seem to produce false converts – not just one man, but whole congregations." 

Pastor Dever is dead on. So many churches today are experiencing a seismic pandemic – and yes, we mean a pandemic, and one that's only beginning. The goats are a majority and favored, while the sheep are the minority and are being flogged.

It's because of "pastors" who think that their silly antics, self-help series sets, and "funny" stories/jokes about themselves will win people for Christ that people are being falsely confirmed into the Kingdom of God. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels adopted their purpose driven and seeker-driven strategies that started a tsunami of a movement years ago that has escalated to a point of no return. While he and other "leaders" are busy teaching masses of pastors in America and around the world how to train their churches to be purpose/seeker-driven, masses of regular church-goers are being lied to. They are being told that they need to find their purpose in life through Jesus plus everything else they tell you to do. False conversions are the result.

On the other side of America, Steven Furtick has just begun his seventh year of seeker-friendly madness, and now a mix of word-of-faith gospel, in the Carolinas, teaching his followers that they must pray "audacious" prayers in order to please God. All this and more, with Scripture being twisted every which way. (see the video of Steven on our blog posted at the end of this article for further details) The result once again? False conversions.

Then right in between Dallas and Ft. Worth, TX, at Fellowship Self-Help Center, we have Ed Young Jr. who is rapidly gaining popularity with his creative self-help baggage of "sermons" focusing on marriage, sex, sharks, Twilight, Rev Run, and more, along with Scriptures being taken out of context, and inappropriate jokes. Therefore, false conversions are the norm.

It's no wonder this is pandemic.  People aren't hearing the gospel or any part of the Word in context, and even if they are hearing the Gospel, it's maybe once a year at Christmas or Resurrection Sunday when pastors decide they should mention it for the sake of that time of year.

The sheep are starving. They are being left behind by a stampede of people running for their spiritual poison given to them by men who only want fame and fortune and care nothing about anyone but themselves. A great many men, calling themselves pastors/teachers, are claiming they are called of God to preach/teach, but are not proclaiming the Word of God (Titus 1:10, 2 John 1:7). Instead, they ramble on about themselves and their great accomplishments so they can be popular, have big churches, and make lots of money. SHAME ON THEM! True teachers of the Word preach the Word when it's popular AND when it's not popular (2 Tim 4:1-2). They rebuke sin and false teaching. They reprove when needed. They exhort. They do this with patience and instruction.

Vince talks about some of these things in Chapter 10 of their book FALSIFIED: The Danger of False Conversion. Also, in 2 Tim. 4:1, Paul says to Timothy "I solemnly charge you....." (emphasis ours).Paul is serious. The word "solemnly" expresses a dead seriousness, like when one vows, or makes an oath. This is not to be taken lightly. This is not a game. This is not about popularity. This is not about jokes, entertainment, or money (Titus 1:7, 11; I Peter 5:2). This is about the Word of God. This is about Truth. This is about shepherding the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2). This is about eternity. Lives are at stake.

"He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God." (1 Cor 5:21)
"Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." (Rom 3:24)
This is the Christian good news. Jesus died for sinners. We are all sinners. God requires perfection (Matt 5:48), and we cannot be perfect. All our good works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) apart from faith in Jesus Christ. Those who do not flee to Him will spend a conscious eternity in Hell. You must throw yourself at the mercy of Jesus and ask Him to save you, and because of His grace He will grant you repentance, faith to believe, and eternal life in His presence.

For you pastors out there, whether in a very small church, or in a larger church, who are faithfully proclaiming God's Word to us, His flock, His sheep.......thank you. We realize that you are under attack from all sides with pressure to go WITH the flow, instead of against the flow. Stay faithful. We encourage you with our brother Paul to "Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is NOT in vain." (emphasis ours, I Cor 15:58).

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