Selfishness as Sin 10

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.—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 pastors and churches can do
The real issues of evangelism lie with our pastors and churches. It is on us, not our Southern Baptist structure, regardless of how they could be or should be assisting and helping our churches. Therefore, pastors and churches, please consider these things to see more people reached for Christ and baptized by your church:

4. Highlight baptisms in your worship services weekly.
5. Creatively offer ways for people to begin to follow Christ; we did this recently and 74 people came to Christ and are being baptized as a result of a unique Sunday morning emphasis.
6. Add outreach events or experiences to your church calendar that are solely committed to reaching people with the Gospel.

Why should baptisms be highlighted in the weekly services? Do we see anything like that in Scripture? Where do we see baptism highlighted at all? It is Christ who is to be exalted and highlighted, not baptism. While Paul thanked God that he had baptized none but a few, the counsel here is to highlight baptisms. What is the stated purpose again? It is to reach people for Christ and increase the number of baptisms. When a person is baptized simply because that person confesses faith in Christ, it is often nothing more than a means to deceive the person. Jesus commanded that disciples be baptized, not those who have prayed a prayer. The focus on baptism takes the focus off of the glory and grace of God in Christ. We must also remember that sinners are always selfish and will do what appears best for them at that moment. Sinners are not Christians because they have decided at one moment to pray a prayer, but instead by self-centered evangelistic messages and a focus on baptism the selfish sinner does not need a changed heart to make a profession and start on a religious road to hell.

Once again, we are to creatively offer ways for people to begin to follow Christ. Does the Bible tell us how sinners begin to follow Christ or does it tell us to find creative ways to do so? Could it be that people who “come to Christ” because of creative ways are not coming to the true Christ but one created by those who are looking for creative ways? Oh how selfish sinners who are driven by self and the love of self may make religious professions and be dunked in water simply because things are presented to them in a way that is pleasing to their selfish hearts. How does Floyd know that 74 people came to Christ? John wrote the book of I John so that people could know, yet Floyd seems to know that all of the people who came as a result of a creative event truly came to Christ. Jesus Himself tells us that a person must deny self and take up his cross before he can follow Christ. The very self must be denied before one can follow Christ. Was this mentioned during the creative events?

We are also told that outreach events or experiences should be added with the sole intent of reaching people with the Gospel. What should be clear at this point, however, is that people need to know their own hearts and their poison of their selfish hearts before they will understand what repentance is and their true need for the true Gospel. As long as selfish sinners do not understand the true nature of their sin, they will not hear the true Gospel even if it is proclaimed to them. Instead, sinners are in bondage to selfish hearts and the so-called gospel of the day does not conflict with those selfish hearts at all. A so-called gospel that does not bring out the enmity that is in the selfish hearts of men is not the Gospel of the Bible.

Beware of easy gospels, easy baptisms, and easy repentances. While selfish hearts love those things, that is part of the deception of them. The professing churches (regardless of theological commitment) seem to have been taken over with a so-called gospel that is fit for sinners who are in the bondage of their selfish hearts and do not require them to have a new heart. They can just continue on in their selfishness and simply exchange one set of ideas for another and one morality for another. But they continue on in their unregenerate hearts and in the ways of natural men. What good does it do to pray a prayer and be dunked under water when the heart is unchanged and at enmity with the living God? Oh beware, beware!

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