Modern Version of Christianity 5

The whole evangelical world is to a large extent unfavorable to healthy Christianity. And I am not thinking of Modernism either. I mean rather the Bible-believing crowd that bears the name of orthodoxy. We may as well face it; the whole level of spirituality is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone. Large and influential sections of the world of fundamental Christianity have gone overboard for practices wholly unscriptural, altogether unjustifiable in the light of historic Christian truth and deeply damaging to the inner life of the individual Christian. They have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost. (A.W. Tozer)

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!… 32 “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

The world is getting worldlier and the professing Church is as well. There is little difference between the professing Church and the world in many ways. As Tozer saw it, those many years ago, the level of spirituality was low. But again, he was speaking of the orthodox camps and not just those who were in the grips of Modernism. Have things changed since then? Yes, they have, but they have changed for the worse. It is true that things change rather slowly from one day to the next, but in terms of what has happened since the days of Tozer there has been an enormous change. Christianity is moralistic on the one hand and heavily rationalistic on the other. Spirituality, however, is a different story. The things of the Spirit, and that has to do with spiritual insight and spiritual knowledge leading to holiness, is something that is hardly ever mentioned in a positive light.

We are satisfied with an intellectual knowledge of the Bible, an intellectual knowledge of Christ, and an external morality rather than to live by grace alone by the power of the Spirit. The Scriptures teach us very clearly that we are to die to self and our life is to be Christ Himself. We are not to live by our own reason even if it is knowledge of the information of the Bible and of a moral life. The Pharisees had vast amounts of knowledge about the Bible and lived a very moral life if judged by the externals. It does not appear that many people are seeking the face of God in our day. It does not appear that many people are living coram deo, that is, in the presence of God. Instead, professing Christianity has become nothing more (in many ways) than another way of self-help.

Self-help (professing) Christianity is much in vogue. Instead of being centered upon God and seeking His face to know Him and glorify Him by grace alone, man is now the center of his own attention and affections. Man wants to hear of a “gospel” (so-called) that enables him to be fulfilled and to make his life easier and better. God is really nothing more (in man’s conception) than a little help when you need and perhaps a cheerleader in the sky. Instead of man seeking God for higher levels of spiritual growth, man now seeks God to give man higher levels of worldliness. The so-called leaders in the professing Church seem to have bought into this and instead of denouncing it; they seem to be going along with it to some degree.

What used to be thought of as ridiculous is now accepted as orthodoxy. Now men seek self-esteem rather than Christ-esteem. As one Puritan writer put it, “the only self-esteem you have is that which you have stolen from Christ.” The self must be denied in order to truly seek Christ. There can be no seeking of self while one is seeking Christ with the whole heart. One cannot love self in the worldly sense if one is to love God with all of the being. One cannot love the world and God at the same time, but now it seems as if God not only gives people permission to seek and love the world, but it appears that all of the Christian practices are to be done in order to get God to give people worldly things. When the level of spirituality is low, the whole of Christianity is changed from seeking God to seeking the world. Orthodoxy is no longer used for godliness and spiritual growth; it is used for personal fulfillment. We have fallen to great lows in our day. Only God can deliver us from it and yet we will not seek Him for Himself, we only want Him to obtain worldly things and to keep us from hard things which deny us the world we love.

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