Selfishness as Sin 4

While I am not dealing directly with the quote by Emmons as I have been, for the next few posts under this heading I will be dealing with an article published in Baptist Press and other SBC magazines. It is a very clear example of what happens when you push evangelism without dealing with the sinfulness of souls and without taking the character of God into account. It was written by Ronnie Floyd who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a pastor in northwest Arkansas. http://www.bpnews.net/45850/firstperson—what-happened-to-evangelism-in-the-sbc

What happened to evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention? It was our commitment to evangelism in the past that set us apart from all other denominations. The events and experiences churches offered to their community were done with the specific intent of winning others to faith in Christ. What happened? Where did this go?

I can remember when….
I can remember when some of my seminary classes were filled with exciting challenges about reaching people for Christ.
I can remember when my seminary evangelism classes equipped me in how to lead an evangelistic church that had a strategy to reach your town or city for Christ.
I can remember some of my seminary classes built within me a deep belief of how God wanted to work in our day, just as He did in and through the revivals and awakenings of past generations.

Evangelism has simply become an idol in our day and many worship at the altar of it. In our day the practice of evangelism has become a legalistic form of how a church, a pastor, or individuals are doing in their spiritual life. In our day evangelism has been virtually separated from theology or sound doctrine and as such it is a false practice because it is not rooted in Scripture or the character of God. It would have been much better for the writer of the article on evangelism (Ronnie Floyd) would have studied solid theology at seminary rather than being filled with all of these exciting challenges. It would have benefited Mr. Floyd if he would have given himself to prayer and study of theology so that his ideas of reaching people for Christ might actually be driven by sound theology rather than exciting challenges. Evangelism is to be rooted in the doctrines of truth and in a love for God and His glory rather than all the exciting things we can do to attract sinners who love themselves and deceive them with false theology so that they will pray a prayer.

Floyd can remember when he had classes on evangelism that equipped him to lead an evangelistic church that had a strategy for outreach. But again, where do we see those things in Scripture? When we see how Paul addressed the churches who were having problems, was it ever for their poor number of baptisms? When the churches were spoken to with strong words by Jesus in Revelation, did He address their failure in evangelism or baptisms? A biblical church has been given many things to do in Scripture, but do we see an evangelistic church (as such) having strategies and plans in Scripture? Without going too far into the issue, what we see once again is a complete failure to address men as to the real nature of their sin. A biblical church would teach men and women about their sin and try to get to the very heart of their sin. A biblical church would preach the glories and wonders of God and the need for people to be turned from being selfish and proud to a humble and Christ-centered heart. The evangelism that Floyd espouses in his article leaves people in their sin. In other words, it is a type of evangelism that will add numbers to the rolls and dollars in the plates, but it is not a biblical evangelism in the slightest. Biblical evangelism takes time to deal honestly with people and to set out the truth of God.

How does Floyd know that God wants to work in our day with revivals and awakenings? God is at work in our day without doubt, but it appears that His work in our day is a work of judgment. He is hardening hearts and turning people over to sin. He is blinding eyes and turning men over to error. Is it true, then, that despite God wanting to work these things that human beings are more powerful than God and are keeping Him from doing what He wants to do? It may be the case that the evangelism that Floyd wants people to practice is just another means that God is using to harden hearts and blind people to their eternal destruction. Yes, God does work but not all of His work is in saving sinners. Part of His work is sending spiritual judgments upon a people. What Floyd sets out in this article is a sign of God’s desire to harden, but not a sign that He wants to send revival and awakening.

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