Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hocus Pocus Religion

From Time 2 Change Churches......Pastor Brian has nailed a concern of mine and I had to post it here. Thank you Sir!



American Churchianity

In making an attempt to describe the american church to someone it is necessary to set the original groundwork down so the person can understand some major differences between the original ACTS church and the American Church.

ACTS Church

41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. 42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and held everything in common, 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. 46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, 47 praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.

American Church

So an advertisement went up at the local Wal-Mart promoting the Elvis impersonator and the gospel according to him. There was no teaching that would take place, it was all about the fellowship and the breaking of the bondage that we are in. Exceeding gladness came over everyone as they listened to the songs (especially Love Me Tender). All who believed that Elvis was truly saved (because of his fruits of debauchery, drunkenness, adultery) came forward at the end of the service. Afterall, he MUST be saved if he sang gospel songs! Once a week the people would gather to look down their noses at the other people, often complaining about what clothes they were wearing and gossipping about what so and so did yesterday. Hot dogs were sold immediately after the service and everyone was praising the hot dog maker. And the Lord did not see fit to add to their numbers. But Satan did. Their numbers continued to grow each week as new programs were added to the service. Motorcycle jumps were added, free gas was given away, talks on sex were sold out immediately. Girls were seen wearing dresses that were a full 10 inches above their knees and the men were seen looking at the girls. This church "must" be blessed because the pastor is a best selling author and since millions of people buy his books, he must be right. As the people came to church, no mention of sin was found. No mention of repentance was found either. The sinners prayer was said and people were magically saved. Hocus Pocus -- You are saved!

In the Acts church, the people that were saved were knowledgeable of the Law. They knew the Law, they did not know about the grace of God. Once they learned that, they gave themselves to Him and were saved. For people who do not know the Law, it is important that we use the Law to convict people of their sins. The law acts as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. We are not saved by the Law, it just acts as a mirror to show us how God sees us. Sinners in need of a Savior. Imagine what it must be like to try to live by the law. There is no human possible way that any person could keep the whole law of God. A person would feel as though he had no chance at all of going to heaven. Then the Savior came! Victory in Jesus! These people who knew they were destined for hell, found out about a Savior that loves them so much that He died on the cross and took their punishment upon Himself. It was the grace of God that saved them!

How many times do we see people get saved only to never set foot in a church again? Do we see people who are really hungry for God's Word? No. The hunger is gone from the American church. People are more interested in being entertained than they are in hearing God's Word. In fact, you can see people start looking at their watches after about 20 minutes of preaching. Some people will actually leave a service because it is infringing on their lunch date at the local Sirloin Stockade. The American Church is so void of reverance for God, so void of true honor and glory to Him. The American church has been relegated to nothing more than a meeting place for the world to pretend they care about God. It has become filled with lazy, boring, entertainment oriented pastors, who have not got a clue as to how much danger they are in. They have perverted the Word of God. They have shaken hands with the Devil in order to be seen acceptable to the world. They have become money hungry estates where the pastor is the beneficiary.

The pastor, in all his glory, has decided to stop preaching the whole gospel and has taken the easy way out. Instead of training people to get out into the streets and actually start reaching the lost, he is making his church (not God's church, but "his" church) a place where it is filled with unbelievers. The church was never meant to be for unbelievers. It is for believers so they can worship God, praise Him and be edified by His Word. It is a time of like-minded believers to share in fellowship with one another. What we have today is a church filled with the world and there is absolutely no growth taking place. When we make church services to be geared towards the lowest common denominator (the unbeliever), then there will never be any growth. That is why Willow Creek will never have true spiritual growth within their walls. When Church becomes a marketing scheme, it will come across exactly as that, a scheme!

Everyone is being trained to get people to say the sinners prayer."If you will just repeat after me, you can know for sure you are going to heaven...Dear God, I am sorry. Please forgive me of my sins. I want to ask you into my heart and I want to live for you. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me. I accept you. in Jesus Name, Amen."

First off, it is not US that needs to accept Jesus. We need to pray that HE accepts us! We are the lowly sinners who are headed for hell. There is nothing we can do to earn our way into heaven. Jesus is not a beggar hoping someone will accept Him. He is the creator of all things. He is LORD! Just because someone says the sinners prayer does not mean they are saved.

Secondly, the sinners prayer is not biblical. It is not found anywhere in the Bible. There is not even anything close to it. It is a lazy man-made scheme to bring people to Christ. Why not take time to do the real work of a Christian. Learn God's Word, take it to the streets and tell people what they need to know. If you do it the right way, they will fall to their knees on their own and on their own they will cry out to God to save them! That person is much more likely to come to church because they will hunger for God's Word.

We can't keep using the sinners prayer as a Hocus Pocus, you are saved, method of bringing people to Christ. Let's keep it biblical. I have heard pastors say that their way is the best way. Never are we to do it OUR way. We are the sinners who have not got a clue. We should always do it the way Jesus did it! The way He taught His disciples to do it. Why in the world would we want to deviate away from biblical teachings? Why? Because it is offensive to the world and the American Church would never want to offend anyone!



Here is the biblical way to witness and share your faith....c'mon, you can do this!



Now get out there and share your faith. People are dying and going to Hell. You have the words of life!!

18 comments:

Craig said...

You are absolutely right. The entertainment based social institutions that call themself a church and only focus on numbers is terribly misleading people.

The church is for believers to worship God. It does have a responsibility to evangelize, but they should never put the unbelievers first.

As for the part about the sinner's prayer. I agree. I think a lot of pastors (even from my own denomination of baptist) play on emotions and pressure people. I like an invitation, but not play on emotion so the decision is not genuine. Also I think of Billy Graham. He use to have stadiums filled with people saying the sinner's prayer and then he leaves. What happens to them next? Do they think they are saved? Do they find a Bible believing church? Who knows?

Good post!

WayneDawg said...

Craig -

I was saved at a Billy Graham crusade in 1994. Something happened to me at that crusade that I don't think happens too often.

When I responded to the 'alter' call and went down to the 50 yard line of the Georgia Dome, I was met by a little old man named Arthur Steele. Mr Steele asked me something that still stirs me today. He said to me, "Son, why are you down here?"

Why was I down here......did he not just here Billy Graham lead thousands of people to a sinners prayer?

I told him that I needed to be saved. He told me to get down on my knees with him. He told me that I needed to repent of my sins and pray for Christ to save me.

That's exactly what I did. I don't know how long I Mr. Steele and I prayed, but when I stood up in the middle of that Dome, I was born-again. I knew it. I saw the world differently. The Holy Spirit was already convicting me.

The next day when I went to work I was telling everyone I knew what happened the night before. A dear friend took me under his wing and discipled me. We went through the book of John and straight into Acts and them into Romans.

Here's my point: When a person is genuinely saved, he wants to get into the Word....nothing can stop him. He wants to know all he can and then go tell others.

That night Mr. Steele said the right things where Billy Graham did not. Mr. Steele told me about repentance and trusting as opposed to just saying a prayer.

Craig said...

Waynedog,

I totally agree that a true believer will desire to know the Word of God.

Just to clarify, I was not necessarily criticizing Billy Graham. It was a question and I am glad you had the experience to answer the question I had.

When I look at the early churches in Acts I noticed that on Paul's missionary journeys he set planted early churches. Billy Graham's crusades are something that I wondered about because I had never had the chance to attend one and was curious if he left all these people without any information or guidance.

I guess my concern is that a false hope of salvation can occur or some in their desire to know more are deceived into false doctrine.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Waynedawg:
Craig:

On Billy Graham, when he came to a town and city, they recruited - open recruitment to all churches. The churches then had representatives there (down front) to lead them and "lug" them into the local church.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Waynedawg:

Can you show mw in the scripture where this is the biblical way ?

WayneDawg said...

Jeff - I'm not sure what your question is??

Where 'what' is the biblical way?

Craig - I am the one probably criticizing Billy Graham. Graham never talked about repenting that night. Graham lead a mass group of folks in the sinners prayer but never mentioned repenting and trusting. Thank God Mr. Steele met me that night and told me what I needed to do to get right with God.

I thank the Lord that He had someone already lined up to disciple me too. My hunger for the Bible was incredible in those first few months after being saved.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Waynedawg:

Above the video clip, you stated:

Here is the biblical way to witness and share your faith....c'mon, you can do this!

So, I asked if you could show we where in the bible that it was done this way ?

WayneDawg said...

Gotcha Jeff -

I am at work right now so I can't get detailed as I would like, but please read these passages in the Scripture:

Mark 10:17-22
John 4:7-26

Also - for a more detailed explanation please vistit...

http://letlight.org/resources/Way+of+The+Master+Notes.pdf

and...

http://www.wikihow.com/Share-the-Gospel-like-Jesus

I can do a complete post on all this later.....

Thanks!

WayneDawg said...

I might have left some of the first link off......

http://letlight.org/resources/Way+of+The+Master+Notes.pdf

Jeff Greathouse said...

Thanks Wayne.

Have you seen anyone that has done a book on all the NT conversions and compared and contrasted them ?

Chris Kratzer said...

Wayne,

Nice post bro, my next message on the Church of Sardis in the series "What does Jesus think of our Church?" deals with false conversion and all its shrapnel. This Church was spiritually dead Jesus said. Why? The root was false conversion. That's why in our country, you see churches begging, pulling, tricking, gimmicking, and entertaining people to be interested in God and the things of God and the same is especially true for keeping them interested. Yet, a person who is truly converted will not be a "high maintenance" person who you have to try and keep interested in God at every pass. Because they have a truly changed heart, they will have a hunger and thirst for righteousness that may plateau from time to time, but will not be able to be chocked out or weeded over. And most of all it won't be like "pulling teeth" to keep them interested.

Check out the message this coming week...

http://chris-kratzer.blogspot.com

Jeff Greathouse said...

Chris:

I may have to listen because I need that comment of yours flushed out a bit.

Chris Kratzer said...

I will post it hopefully by monday or tuesday, I really look forward to your comments jeff.

Doorman-Priest said...

"This church "must" be blessed because the pastor is a best selling author and since millions of people buy his books, he must be right."

This one always bothers me too. I have a real worry about the cult of personality.

WayneDawg said...

Whom are you speaking of DP?

Doorman-Priest said...

No one in particular, but Benny Hinn springs to mind now you mention it.

(I may have misspelt his name.)

But there are others: you get enough money together to get on T.V. (or even buy a network), you call yourself Pastor, you begin to write books, you have a website which you use to promote your religious worldview and, of course, there's a seeker born every minute.

Who regulates such folk? Who checks their academic and spiritual credentials? Who, outside of a select group of followers confirms the calling?

"I am called" isn't generally enough, is it? But once that bandwaggon gets rolling......

I do have an innate suspicion of such folk.

"But so-and-so says in his book....."

So what? Who is so-and-so and why should I take any notice of him? Where did he do his theological training? Oh yes, the little known back-of-Beyond Baptist College, noted only for the ultra-conservative nature of its theology and not supported by any mainstram denomination. Oh, he dropped out before graduation? Too liberal for him?

That sort of person, really.

There, got that off my chest!

Well, you did ask.

WayneDawg said...

I completely agree with you DP!

Benny Hinn
Kennth Copeland
Robert Schuller
Jessie Duplantis
T.D. Jakes
Todd Bentley

The list goes on and on.......these folks are false teachers, false prophets, false faith healers, etc.

Doorman-Priest said...

Never heard of most of them, but I'll take your word for it. If they are like Benny Hinn, then they are wicked people and exploit the vulnerable