Selfishness as Sin 7

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?

What our Southern Baptist Convention can do
The 42 state conventions and 12 national entities of our Southern Baptist Convention can hold up high the banner for evangelizing lost people and baptizing new believers. Within their assigned roles, they have the influence to help our churches by elevating evangelism to unprecedented levels. We need them to elevate evangelism before our churches through conferences, conversations and strategies they implement. We need to begin to celebrate, again, pastors and churches who are reaching and baptizing great numbers of people in proportion to their opportunity afforded to them. We need to celebrate them in relationship to the size of their community and what has been entrusted to them by the Lord.

What can the Southern Baptist Convention do? Floyd wants evangelism lifted to unprecedented levels by having conferences and strategies on it. Floyd wants to celebrate pastors and churches who are reaching and baptizing great numbers of people. Where do we see that in the New Testament? We are to boast in Christ and His cross alone, not in pastors and churches. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who saves sinners and no man has anything to do with saving sinners. What is seen again, is the elevation of evangelism to the virtually the throne of God. It is to be elevated to unprecedented levels and those who have success at it are to be celebrated. But again, nothing even remotely close to that is found in the New Testament. It takes crucified men to preach a crucified Christ, not celebrated men who are more like salesman getting people down an aisle and under the water. Thinking of James White’s book on preaching, the men that Floyd wants to raise up would have become pulpit criminals to fulfill what he wants.

We must always keep in mind the very nature of sinful men. The heart of sin is selfishness and man will always do what he thinks is good for him. If a man thinks that what is presented as God is best for him, then he will follow the God that is presented. The method that Floyd is trying to get people to practice is based on getting men to act within their self-love and selfish hearts. One can get false conversions galore as long as the “evangelist” does not start getting to the heart of the selfish sinner. Once that happens, the sinner will see that the true God is opposed to him and his pride and demands that the sinner die to self and give up all things for His sake. The sinner will not and cannot do that. The sinner has no higher motive than self-love and as such hates the true God who commands him to love Him with all of the sinner’s being. Oh how the sinner hates this and hates the God who demands these things from him.

When God is merciful and opens the eyes of sinners to see themselves as being at enmity to God and in bondage to sin, they will then begin to cry out for mercy as they will see that they can do nothing to save themselves. They will see that their very prayers are nothing but acts of wickedness and idolatry to God. They will see that their very desires to be saved are not out of love for God, but in fact they still hate Him. It is only when the sinner has arrived at this point can the sinner understand the nature of free-grace. God in His sovereignty shows grace to whom He is pleased and there is nothing that a man can do to move God in any way to show the slightest mercy. Grace comes to sinners quite apart from their prayers, their crying, and their good efforts. It is completely and totally the sovereign hand of God. Grace does not come to sinners who make a prayer or a commitment, but it comes by grace alone. Floyd does not seem to understand that in the slightest and as such his methods do not take into account the necessity of teaching sinners about their sinful hearts and of the sovereignty of God. His methods will deceive many if followed. The SBC has followed that method in one way or another for a long time in various forms and it done nothing but deceive and harm. If the devil himself wanted to devise a false evangelism, he would get men to ignore who God really is and also to ignore who men really are. The application should be plain enough.

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