Not So Random Thoughts 15

Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 “But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB ‘? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.

If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. (Augustine)

Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

When we think of the nature of evangelism, it may be that we don’t think of the truth of who God is and the truth of who man is. We simply think of going out, and at times taking a great degree of trouble to do so, and getting people to say a prayer. However, the scribes and the Pharisees went to a lot of trouble and effort in their evangelism as well. The results were striking: “when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” The evangelism of the scribes and the Pharisees might have been quite effective and certainly they had positive results at times. If we look behind the scenes with the lenses that Jesus gave us, we will see things differently. The evangelism of the scribes and the Pharisees ended with them making the proselytes twice as much a son of hell as themselves.

Could it be that the same thing is true in our day, though I am not thinking of the scribes and the Pharisees at the moment? Could it be true that the great efforts at evangelism and missions in our day are quite successful in making people twice the sons of hell as those putting forth that great effort? Could it be that many people who are involved in preaching, evangelizing, and in missions have the same intents and motives as the scribes and the Pharisees? We know that Jesus taught us that the Pharisees did their works of righteousness for themselves. Could it be that our efforts at evangelism and missions are really efforts after self-righteousness?

Could it be that much of our church starting efforts are really ways and forms of self-righteousness as well? Could it be that our efforts at gaining converts and filling the buildings we rent and build are nothing more then filling the buildings with the children of the devil who are more so because of our false evangelistic practices? Could it be that our so-called personal successes, church successes, and denominational successes are really nothing more than making others twice the children of hell as ourselves?

Of course these things are not popular thoughts in the modern professing Church, but that is not the same thing as these things being false. Charles Finney was not a converted man and yet he had much success in his methods of evangelism and preaching. Most of what people think of as evangelism in our day has his methodology in the background, so is it really a far stretch to think that most of the evangelism in our day is simply false? In the days after Finney there was what was called a “burned over district” which was the area where he practiced his false evangelism. People were hardened by what he did even if they make professions while he was there.

A false evangelism leads to false conversions and the results of that are manifold. Some are locked into their false conversion and are deceived the rest of their lives and go to hell deceived when they die. Others are simply hardened by the false evangelism and are harder to reach with the truth. Could it be that in our day the vast number of conversions that happen are really false conversions and lead people to a great deception or harden them to the truth of the Gospel? Is that so hard to believe when the orthodox religion in the days of Jesus did that? Could it be that the United States of America is really a large burned over district because of the false evangelism that has gone on for so long? Could it be that the greatest number of missionaries we are sending out actually are carrying a false gospel and after a while they will have (if not already) burned over districts of their own?

Yes, the thoughts listed above sound like something a crazy person would write. But again, that is not an argument against the truth of them. A person with zeal is no evidence that a person is telling the truth. A person with a lot of religion is no evidence that the person is telling others the truth. A person with great religious activity is also no evidence that the person is telling the truth to others. Having degrees from religious institutions is no evidence that a person is proclaiming the true Gospel. So, if history can be repeated, why is it not possible that history is being repeated in our day? Is it worth examining your own heart? Is it worth falling on our faces to plead with God to show us the truth? Could it be that the root of the whole issue is that men continue to suppress the truth of God in the things of religion in our day?

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