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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Evangelical Pragmatism: Selling Out the Truth

Almost without exception when I ask an unbeliever why they do not believe in Jesus Christ or attend a local Christian church, the answer is unequivocably the issue of money. Most of the comments have to do with the fact that the local churches use high pressure tactics to get people to give a significant amount of their incomes to the ministry. Some even go so far as to say that tithing to a local church is giving to God. While this is somewhat true, it is not the whole truth.

First off, God does not need our money to further the Gospel or His kingdom here on earth. God is completely sovereign and he is perfectly capable of electing, regenerating, and calling those whom He has foreordained to be justified by the gift of faith. He gave us His one and only Son so that we might freely receive salvation through the faith once delivered to the saints and through the gift of faith which enables us to believe in the first place (Ephesians 2:8-9).

With the advent of revivalism in the Second Great Awakening and the pragmatic approach of the pelagian theology of Charles Finney, Evangelicalism was influenced away from Reformational theology and the objective truth of the cross and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Finney and John Wesley's doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit eventually gave rise to the Pentecostal revival at Azusa Street, Los Angeles, California around the turn of the century.

Thus, the marriage between Finney's pelagian/pragmatism with Pentecostalism and the subsequent Charismatic movement in the mainline churches gave rise to the church growth movement. The Pentecostal emphasis on the book Acts as the modus operandi for fulfilling the Great Comission of Mark 16:16-18 and Matthew 28:18-20 combined with Finney's emphasis on extended altar calls and other psychologically manipulative techniques led to the formation of the church growth movement. The father of this movement, Donald McGavran, was a missionary to India and also a Pentecostal.

Evangelicals need to recommit themselves to Scripture as the final authority instead of a pragmatism that places success and what works ahead of what is true. When we sell out to pragtism, we have compromised the Gospel and instead made our own happiness and success an idol. We need to remember Jesus' command to the rich young ruler to go and sell all that we have and give to the poor. We also need to remember that we should have no other gods before the one and only true God.

Peace....

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