Christianity Today 15

When the long-standing pillars of orthodox theology and sound doctrine are abandoned, the overwhelming floods of error rush in to destroy what is left. I have attempted to detail those errors in this book, however, not everything covered in each sermon can be summarized here.

Although error has always been present in the church, the false theology which is so prevalent today gained a foothold under the Pelagian teachings of Nathaniel Taylor at Yale University who altered many basic Christian doctrines including man’s depravity, God’s sovereignty, Christ’s atonement, and regeneration, Taylor’s erroneous teachings were put into practice by Charles Finney who applied them to evangelism and introduced his New Measures into numerous churches through his revival meetings. Few pastors were willing to question Finney’s methods at the same time due to what seemed to be the apparent success he was having. Jonathan Edwards and 21st Century Evangelicalism, William C. Nichols

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…24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 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. Amen.

As God turns absolute pagans over to sinful hearts when they suppress the truth in unrighteousness, so He will turn the hearts of professing churches and very religious men over to sinful hearts when they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. There is no way to suppress the truth in righteousness, so all suppression of the truth is in unrighteousness. Both the religious and the irreligious exchange the truth of God for a lie and so end up worshipping and serving the creature (usually self) rather than God. But this can happen in the name of God as well. This can happen when the professing churches have orthodox creeds and pastors who speak well.

The first sentence in the quote at the top of the page is devastating and should strike terror to hearts that are not hardened. “When the long-standing pillars of orthodox theology and sound doctrine are abandoned, the overwhelming floods of error rush in to destroy what is left.” How much deviation from sound doctrine does it take to abandon sound doctrine? We may not know just how much it takes, but what we can know is that a slight deviation may lead to God hardening our hearts and that will lead to more deviation. The first step may be slight, but it is a step away from sound doctrine and God may turn us over to our sinful hearts and the first step may be onto a slippery slope down. But we should also note with increasing nervousness that deviation from sound doctrine is not just a deviation and nothing else happens. That is also opening the door to the floods of error which will come in and destroy what is left. There is no middle ground where we can have less truth without more error coming in to fill up what was left.

When a professing church takes a step away from sound doctrine, the error begins to flow in and it appears that unless God decides to soften hearts rather than harden them the error will eventually consume that professing church. The true and living God is sovereign and whether man bows to that or not God is still sovereign. In fact, He is sovereign over whether men will bow to Him or not. It is part of the sound doctrine that men step away from that when they teach that they are not that depraved and God is not that sovereign. True repentance is not within the power of man to carry out, but instead it must be granted by God. But it may be that some still hold that teaching in their own creeds and perhaps to some degree they have that in their hearts, but they still do not see these as essential doctrines.

Over and over in the Old Testament God gave His people over to their enemies because they did not have hearts to seek Him. They had the outward ceremonies and they had the rites that they followed, but they did not love God. When they went after other gods, they demonstrated that they did not have knowledge of the true God. In America and across the world we still have people who will do the externals and the rites, but their hearts do not love God. They love a false god, but they do not love the true God. When that happens, we can see that God still hands people over to sinful hearts. In other words, they step back from the truth and error rushes in.

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