The GREAT APOSTASY: What Believers Need to Know to Keep Them Safe

This article was originally written a few years ago. I am bringing it out again, with some modifications, because I am noticing brothers and sisters in Christ who are still beguiled by False Teachings and cults masquerading as Christianity.

Original Article:

In these last days, Jesus warned of false teachers and to beware of them.We are seeing this unfolding before our eyes. But sometimes (as the devil does so well) it sounds believable and before long, many of us are pulled into heretical teaching.  Our Lord wants to keep us safe from False Teachers. His Word is there for us for this purpose.

I was reading Acts 17 and of course came upon this passage of Scripture:

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so”  (Acts 17:11).

Acts 17:11 is preached to this day to impart to God’s people a most important Truth. The Bereans had heard Paul and Silas preach to them. The Word says that these Berean Jews received the word with all readiness; but what did they do after hearing that which was preached to them?

They searched the Scriptures to verify what they had heard.

Many people today do not rely on the Word of God for Truth.  Unfortunately, they rely on the teachings of men, some of which are Biblically sound, but others have twisted the Word of God to accommodate the “Itching Ear” crowd who want to be made comfortable in church.

 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

“that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting”  (Ephesians 4:14).

Did you know that those who are trained to spot counterfeit money spend the majority of their time studying authentic bills?  It’s true.  They can immediately spot the counterfeit because the authentic is ingrained in their brains.

And so are believers in Christ told  to study the Word of God in order to reject apostasy:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”  (2 Timothy 2:15).

It’s a Spiritual Minefield Out There

What is Apostasy?

Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.”  This clearly shows that there is “Truth” from the Word of God; but there is also a rebellion or defiance against God’s Word.

I have seen Bible teachers of late telling their flocks that “Aspostasia” means the Rapture of the church in 2 Thessalonians 2. This is clearly errant teaching, although I do not say that these teachers are doing this in a malicious manner.

This is why we should be like the Bereans -receiving teaching with gladness BUT searching the Scriptures to see if what we were told is true.

In the Greek, Apostasia always refers to a departure from a belief system; in other words a falling away from faith in the Word of God. It has never meant a “spacial departure” which many are teaching in saying this is the Rapture of the Church.

Excerpt from gotquestions.org:

“Question: “Will there be a great apostasy / falling away during the end times?”

Answer:
The Bible indicates that there will be a great apostasy during the end times. The “great apostasy” is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The KJV calls it the “falling away,” while the NIV and ESV call it “the rebellion.” And that’s what an apostasy is: a rebellion, an abandonment of the truth. The end times will include a wholesale rejection of God’s revelation, a further “falling away” of an already fallen world.” source

Brethren, the definition of Apostasy (Apostasia) could not be more clear!  

Deception of the Brethren

I receive many emails each week from the readers of my articles. It shocks and saddens me that so many are caught up in false teaching, cults and even in a “New Age” version of Christianity.

This is not true of  the majority of those who write to me. Most are very grounded in the Word and are ‘Born Again’ believers.  But the readers who do communicate with me who have become ensnared in false doctrine is very troubling.

I see this on Facebook when I publish a new article. There will always be those who find fault with my words because what I say exposes the false doctrine which they believe.

I want the reader to understand that I am very open to being corrected by the brethren – but the Word of God must reign supreme over “opinions” of men and women.

So, let’s get right into the snares and traps of False teaching.

Hebrew Roots  (HRM)

Being an ethnic Jew who came to faith in Christ so many years ago, I am very familiar with this cult.  And yes – I did say CULT.

Satan’s traps, lies and snares are everywhere, but Hebrew Roots is especially egregious to the Lord.  We know that we are saved by Grace through faith. It is the New Covenant of Grace – the better Covenant which brings life to those who believe in the finished work of Christ on the Cross; and His resurrection from the dead. When we truly believe “on” the Lord Jesus Christ (placing our faith in Him alone for the forgiveness of our sins by His shed blood), and understand that this is what saves us; we are able to discern false teaching.

Through the years, I have met many Christians who are taken with the knowledge that I am an ethnic Jew. I have spoken with many who actually research their lineage to find out if they have any amount of Jewish blood.

I have often told them that being grafted into the vine is simply the way that the Lord has made it possible for them to enter the Kingdom of God. But somewhere along the line, they have been confronted by those of the Hebrew Roots Cult.

To simplify the errant teaching of this cult, I have chosen to  take the main beliefs and format them in a bulleted list. I do hope that many of the brethren will print out this article and keep it for reference.

HRM believes:

  • The Church has veered far from the true teaching and Hebrew concepts of the Bible
  • That Christianity has been indoctrinated with cultures and beliefs of paganism
  • Christ’s death did not end the Mosaic Law, but renewed it
  • Understanding of the NT can only come from a Hebrew perspective
  • The teachings of Paul are not understood or taught correctly
  • The believers should walk in Torah-observance to please God
  • The dietary laws and all celebrations of the feasts of Israel should be observed by all believers

I must insert something very important for the reader. I am in no way saying that Christians who feel led to study the history and customs of the Jewish people, and even take part in many of these, should not do this. But they must understand that observing these traditions of Judaism is not part of Salvation.  This is a lie from the pit of hell. The teachings of HRM are no different from those of the Judaizers of Jesus’ day, with one exception:

Most all of the HRM leadership and followers and NOT Jews.

I have noticed that most so-called Hebrew Roots churches are not only filled with non-Jews, but the “Rabbi” over the people is not even ethnically Jewish himself! (Most of the congregations are not aware of this).

From gotquestions.org   (On HRM)

The influence of this movement is working its way into our churches and seminaries. It’s dangerous in its implication that keeping the Old Covenant law is walking a “higher path” and is the only way to please God and receive His blessings. Nowhere in the Bible do we find Gentile believers being instructed to follow Levitical laws or Jewish customs; in fact, the opposite is taught. Romans 7:6 says, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” Christ, in keeping perfectly every ordinance of the Mosaic Law, completely fulfilled it. Just as making the final payment on a home fulfills that contract and ends one’s obligation to it, so also Christ has made the final payment and has fulfilled the law, bringing it to an end for us all. source

The NAR Movement (New Apostolic Reformation and Dominion Theology)

We are warned by Jesus not to add or take away from His Holy Word. Perhaps the NAR Movement and Dominionists misread the Words of our Lord.  These movements thrive on extra-Biblical revelation.  The dangers of these teachings are beyond what we can even imagine.

This movement is spanning the globe at an alarming rate.

As I did with HRM, I will format this as bullet points to simplify:

  • They will not refer to themselves as NAR or Dominionists
  • The have restored the offices of Apostles and Prophets from the OT
  • The leadership is comprised of the “New” Apostles and Prophets chosen by men
  • They teach that Christians MUST be involved in politics
  • They teach that God has restored the offices of Apostle and Prophets over the last 30-40 years
  • Members of this movement must obey the words of the so-called Apostles and Prophets
  • As more and more members unify behind the leaders – these leaders will be given supernatural powers of mass healings and suspend the laws of physics.
  • Great wealth will come to the new Apostles and this will enable the church to establish God’s Kingdom on earth (Dominionism)
  • Belief in Grave Soaking (lying on top of a grave of a well-known Christian in hopes that knowledge will be imparted to them.
  • Gold dust coming down on the congregation during worship (people believing this came from heaven.

Discerning Christians will see clearly that this is a cult. It does not even resemble Christianity from the Bible.  Nevertheless, the followers of this cult are in the millions and growing every day.

Many Personal Stories of leaving the NAR Cult    <click to read

Jan Markell did a two part series on her radio program which exposed an even more nefarious side of NAR.

Wolves Not Sparing the Flock Part 1

Wolves Not sparing the Flock Part 2

A question for the reader:  Does any of this about NAR, Dominion Theology and HRM line up with the Word of God?    (rhetorical question!)

This is the first of a series of articles which I hope to write concerning cults and false teaching.

I will cover the “Social Justice Gospel”  in my next article along with other Apostasy movements.

Brethren, I hope that this article will help someone to make the decision to leave if they are involved with these false movements.  I also hope that this might help a family who has a member caught up in HRM, NAR or Dominion Theology.

Remember:  Times change but the Word of God NEVER changes.

Beware of extra-Biblical teaching and so-called revelations.

God is God and we are NOT!

How Can I Be Saved?

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA!

 

The Great Apostasy: What Believers Need to Know to Keep Them Safe- Part 1

In these last days, Jesus warned of false teachers and to beware of them.We are seeing this unfolding before our eyes. But sometimes (as the devil does so well) it sounds believable and before long, many of us are pulled into heretical teaching.  Our Lord wants to keep us safe from False Teachers. His Word is there for us for this purpose.

I was reading Acts 17 and of course came upon this passage of Scripture:

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so”  (Acts 17:11).

Acts 17:11 is preached to this day to impart to God’s people a most important Truth. The Bereans had heard Paul and Silas preach to them. The Word says that these Berean Jews received the word with all readiness; but what did they do after hearing that which was preached to them?

They searched the Scriptures to verify what they had heard.

Many people today do not rely on the Word of God for Truth.  Unfortunately, they rely on the teachings of men – some of which are Biblically sound. But others have twisted the Word of God to accommodate the “Itching Ear” crowd who want to be made comfortable in church.

 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

“that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting”  (Ephesians 4:14).

Did you know that those who are trained to spot counterfeit money spend the majority of their time studying authentic bills?  It’s true.  They can immediately spot the counterfeit because the authentic is engrained in their brains.

And so are believers in Christ told  to study the Word of God in order to reject apostasy:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”  (2 Timothy 2:15).

It’s a Spiritual Minefield Out There

What is Apostasy?

Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.”  This clearly shows that there is “Truth” from the Word of God; but there is also a rebellion or defiance against God’s Word.

I receive many emails each week from the readers of my articles. It shocks and saddens me that so many are caught up in false teaching, cults and even in a “New Age” version of Christianity.

This is not true of  the majority of those who write to me. Most are very grounded in the Word and are ‘Born Again’ believers.  But the readers who do communicate with me who have become ensnared in false doctrine is very troubling.

I see this on Facebook when I publish a new article. There will always be those who find fault with my words because what I say exposes the false doctrine which they believe.

I want the reader to understand that I am very open to being corrected by the brethren – but the Word of God must reign supreme over “opinions” of men and women.

So, let’s get right into the snares and traps of False teaching.

Hebrew Roots  (HRM)

Being an ethnic Jew who came to faith in Christ so many years ago, I am very familiar with this cult.  And yes – I did say CULT.

Satan’s traps, lies and snares are everywhere, but Hebrew Roots is especially egregious to the Lord.  We know that we are saved by Grace through faith. It is the New Covenant of Grace – the better Covenant which brings life to those who believe in the finished work of Christ on the Cross; and His resurrection from the dead. When we truly believe “on” the Lord Jesus Christ (placing our faith in Him alone for the forgiveness of our sins by His shed blood), and understand that this is what saves us; we are able to discern false teaching.

Through the years, I have met many Christians who are taken with the knowledge that I am an ethnic Jew. I have spoken with many who actually research their lineage to find out if they have any amount of Jewish blood.

I have often told them that being grafted into the vine is simply the way that the Lord has made it possible for them to enter the Kingdom of God. But somewhere along the line, they have been confronted by those of the Hebrew Roots Cult.

To simplify the errant teaching of this cult, I have chosen to  take the main beliefs and format them in a bulleted list. I do hope that many of the brethren will print out this article and keep it for reference.

HRM believes:

  • The Church has veered far from the true teaching and Hebrew concepts of the Bible
  • That Christianity has been indoctrinated with cultures and beliefs of paganism
  • Christ’s death did not end the Mosaic Law, but renewed it
  • Understanding of the NT can only come from a Hebrew perspective
  • The teachings of Paul are not understood or taught correctly
  • The believers should walk in Torah-observance to please God
  • The dietary laws and all celebrations of the feasts of Israel should be observed by all believers

I must insert something very important for the reader. I am in no way saying that Christians who feel led to study the history and customs of the Jewish people, and even take part in many of these, should not do this. But they must understand that observing these traditions of Judaism is not part of Salvation.  This is a lie from the pit of hell. The teachings of HRM are no different from those of the Judaizers of Jesus’ day, with one exception:

Most all of the HRM leadership and followers and NOT Jews.

I have noticed that most so-called Hebrew Roots churches are not only filled with non-Jews, but the “Rabbi” over the people is not even ethnically Jewish himself! (Most of the congregations are not aware of this).

From gotquestions.org   (On HRM)

The influence of this movement is working its way into our churches and seminaries. It’s dangerous in its implication that keeping the Old Covenant law is walking a “higher path” and is the only way to please God and receive His blessings. Nowhere in the Bible do we find Gentile believers being instructed to follow Levitical laws or Jewish customs; in fact, the opposite is taught. Romans 7:6 says, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” Christ, in keeping perfectly every ordinance of the Mosaic Law, completely fulfilled it. Just as making the final payment on a home fulfills that contract and ends one’s obligation to it, so also Christ has made the final payment and has fulfilled the law, bringing it to an end for us all. source

The NAR Movement (New Apostolic Reformation and Dominion Theology)

We are warned by Jesus not to add or take away from His Holy Word. Perhaps the NAR Movement and Dominionists misread the Words of our Lord.  These movements thrive on extra-Biblical revelation.  The dangers of these teachings are beyond what we can even imagine.

This movement is spanning the globe at an alarming rate.

As I did with HRM, I will format this as bullet points to simplify:

  • They will not refer to themselves as NAR or Dominionists
  • The have restored the offices of Apostles and Prophets from the OT
  • The leadership is comprised of the “New” Apostles and Prophets chosen by men
  • They teach that Christians MUST be involved in politics
  • They teach that God has restored the offices of Apostle and Prophets over the last 30-40 years
  • Members of this movement must obey the words of the so-called Apostles and Prophets
  • As more and more members unify behind the leaders – these leaders will be given supernatural powers of mass healings and suspend the laws of physics.
  • Great wealth will come to the new Apostles and this will enable the church to establish God’s Kingdom on earth (Dominionism)
  • Belief in Grave Soaking (lying on top of a grave of a well-known Christian in hopes that knowledge will be imparted to them.
  • Gold dust coming down on the congregation during worship (people believing this came from heaven.

Discerning Christians will see clearly that this is a cult. It does not even resemble Christianity from the Bible.  Nevertheless, the followers of this cult are in the millions and growing every day.

Many Personal Stories of leaving the NAR Cult    <click to read

Jan Markell did a two part series on her radio program which exposed an even more nefarious side of NAR.

Wolves Not Sparing the Flock Part 1

Wolves Not sparing the Flock Part 2

A question for the reader:  Does any of this about NAR, Dominion Theology and HRM line up with the Word of God?    (rhetorical question!)

This is the first of a serious of articles which I hope to write concerning cults and false teaching.

I will cover the “Social Justice Gospel”  in my next article along with other Apostasy movements.

Brethren, I hope that this article will help someone to make the decision to leave if they are involved with these false movements.  I also hope that this might help a family who has a member caught up in HRM, NAR or Dominion Theology.

Remember:  Times change but the Word of God NEVER changes.

Beware of extra-Biblical teaching and so-called revelations.

God is God and we are NOT!

How Can I Be Saved?

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA!

 

Jesus is No Longer the Only Way to Heaven For Many American Christians (CINO’S)

I love it when God confirms to me that I should write on a particular subject. 

Earlier today on Facebook, a brother in Christ posted an article about MA and how most of the so-called “Intellectuals” are ultra Liberal in their politics.  This came as no surprise.  I wrote  a comment under the posted article and said “The more education – the less common sense.”

Then I went to my email and found that a reader of my articles had sent me something that he thought I might want to write about.  The article was about American Christians, and how most of them no longer believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father.  <Thank you Brian!>

Embedded in the article is a graph which shows a correlation between level of education and doctrinal beliefs.

I do not believe that these people are Christians.  And I do not believe that they were ever Christians.  They are CINO’s – Christians in name only.

From Christianpost.com

Why Jesus Is No Longer the Only Way for Many American Christians

Just over two months ago, as winter landed its final blows of snow in New York City, Michael A. Walrond Jr. of Harlem’s 10,000-member First Corinthian Baptist Church landed an ideological blow of his own in traditional Christendom.

Walrond, who was named “One of the Lord’s Foot Soldiers” by Newsweek magazine, told his congregants that the belief that anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to hell is “insanity.”

“There was a time when you would see people in the pulpit say, ‘well, if you don’t believe in Jesus you going to Hell. That’s insanity in many ways because that is not what Jesus even believes,” he said in a viral clip posted to Facebook.

People take many paths to God, he argued, noting that he personally celebrates the paths others take in finding Him — even if that path does not involve faith in Jesus.

“And so the key is you believe in God. And whatever your path is to God I celebrate that. Personally, I celebrate that,” Walrond said.

The New York City preacher’s message drew criticism in traditional Christian circles.

Michael A. Walrond Jr., leads the more than 10,000-member First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.

“The preacher on this video is both right and wrong: he’s right in that all roads do lead to God; but this God is both love and a consuming fire. If you meet Him on the Christ road of His love you live, but any other road, be it religion, philosophy, or a miscalculation of the Person of Christ, the lake of fire is waiting!” Bishop Robert E. Smith, Sr., founder of Total Outreach for Christ Ministries, Inc. and Word of Outreach Christian Center and Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, said

While Walrond’s openness as a Christian to the idea that there are many paths to God beyond Christianity may have been shocking to some, new research shows a widespread departure among Christians from traditional Bible teaching such as Jesus being the only way to God. And some scholars have blamed this ideological shift in part on influential divinity schools and charismatic church leaders.

Rejecting God of the Bible

In 2008, a Pew Research Center Study found that more than half of all American Christians believe that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to salvation. Nearly a decade later, a new study has shown that even among the most traditional Christian groups, significant minorities are also rejecting God as described in the Bible.

While 80 percent of all Americans surveyed in the new study, also conducted by the Pew Research Center, said they believe in God, only 56 percent say the God they believe in is the one “as described in the Bible.”

The strongest supporters of God as described in the Bible were Christians who self-identified as members of historically black Protestant churches at 92 percent, followed closely by evangelicals at 91 percent.

Significant minorities of Christians who identified as Catholics, 28 percent, and mainline Protestants, 26 percent, indicated that they believe in a higher power or spiritual force which is not God as described in the Bible.

Ken Stone, academic dean at Chicago Theological Seminary where Walrond serves as a trustee and adjunct faculty member, told The Christian Post that Walrond’s celebration of “multiple paths to God” and the wisdom and truth found in various religious traditions is in line with the school’s approach to faith. It is, said Stone, the “future of theological education.”

Shannon Johnson Kershner, who leads the 5,500-member Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Illinois, also caused a stir when she said in an interview last fall  that she too didn’t believe Jesus is the only way to God because “God’s not a Christian.”

“God’s not a Christian. I mean, we are … For me, the Christian tradition is the way to understand God and my relationship with the world and other humans and it’s for the way for me to move into that relationship but I’m not about to say what God can and cannot do in other ways and with other spiritual experiences,” she explained.

J. Lanier Burns, research professor of theological studies and senior professor of systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, explained in an interview with CP that this shift away from traditional Bible-based teaching among Christians to a more pluralistic approach to faith in God is an agenda item of higher education institutions.

“This is the agenda of the universities at the present time because it is felt that maybe it is religion that has generated all the wars and so maybe if we can get rid of exclusive religion we might have greater peace in the world,” Burns said.

“We have got to get back to truth but I think it’s a very long way back now because I think the force is against us. I would include all the divinity schools here — like Harvard, Yale, and so forth. These are all pluralistic schools … I think they (elite universities) are the most powerful institutions in the world today. I think they train everybody indirectly,” he said. “I’ve had a fellowship at Harvard, I’ve been to Oxford several times and they have tangible power. And they are using that for pluralism … When you add up the university influence around the world it’s vast.”

Several scholars from both Harvard and Yale divinity schools were invited to discuss the role of their institutions in the growing acceptance of multiple paths to God in American Christian culture and only one, Harvey Cox, Hollis research professor of divinity at Harvard, briefly responded.

“I do not have much to add on this, except that I do not believe Harvard is the blame!” Cox said in an email.

Progressive Bias in Higher Ed

Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor of business management at Brooklyn College found strong evidence of a progressive bias among professors, especially among those that teach religion at leading American colleges.

In a recent study of 8,688 tenure track, Ph.D.-holding professors from 51 of the 66 top ranked liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News 2017 report, Langbert found that there are more than ten Democrats for every one Republican among elite professors. And in religion departments, Democrats outnumber Republicans by 70 to 1. A similar trend toward the left among academia was also observed in Britain. These political biases could be indicative of a theological bias as well.

“Political homogeneity is problematic because it biases research and teaching and reduces academic credibility,” Langbert wrote in his findings published by the National Association of Scholars. “… Even though more Americans are conservative than liberal, academic psychologists’ biases cause them to believe that conservatism is deviant.”

Data from the latest Pew Research Center study on what Americans mean when they say they believe in God, also points to a strong correlation between higher education and fidelity to traditional Christian beliefs.

The study found that more educated Americans are less likely to say they believe in the God of the Bible. The reader may have to enlarge the chart below to see it clearly:

Just over 66 percent of American adults with a high school education or less say they believe in the biblical God. Among those with some college education that number drops to 53 percent, and among college graduates it drops even further to 45 percent.

Burns, who worked as a missionary to India for 46 years and has done post-doctoral research at Harvard and Oxford universities, also pointed to the failure of churches and lazy Christians. The increasing departure of Christians from traditional beliefs is directly linked to a departure from the authority of Scripture, he said.

“We are going wrong because we have moved the authority from Scripture to consensus. That’s where we are going wrong. When you say a certain percentage of people don’t believe in hell, well I go to hell conferences rethinking hell and they simply say this is not something that Christians can believe in because it’s inconsistent with the character of God,” he said.

He also blames the evangelical church for not discipling all church members to be ministers according to Scripture.

“I fault the evangelical church on so many things. My doctrine of the church says every member is a minister. So I believe the problem is the American people have paid charismatic leaders, even people like Billy Graham and people like this, to do the work of ministry for them. But every Christian needs to be out talking about these things. And I think what we do is we’re lazy. So we pay other people to do our work for us,” he said.

The Dallas professor further noted that he is worried that Christians who hold traditional Christian beliefs will be persecuted.

“I think it’s going to result in the persecution of people who believe in traditional Christianity because I think the universities are already against what I’ve told you already that I believe. I know that I am a minority on these things, OK? I’m not expressing a majority viewpoint I know that. But I believe it and here I stand,” he said.

Mark R. Teasdale, E. Stanley Jones associate professor of evangelism at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, agrees that institutions dedicated to the formation of healthy Christian disciples such as the local church and seminaries “stopped being effective gatekeepers” who contend earnestly for the faith.

“I do think the local church, the seminaries, I’ll own that, that we stopped being effective gatekeepers within the Christian community. In 1904, we (Methodists) passed a resolution that professors in theological schools would no longer check their doctrine. So it didn’t matter what you believed; you could come and teach in a theology school in Methodism. And so as a result of that our theological schools have moved more in the direction of focusing on more traditional higher education studies in religion and theology, less in terms of Christian formation and character formation. There is a move to try and recapture that now but this is over a century after we have gone the other way,” he said.

“The internal effect that that has had on the local church is I think coming out in these much broader streams and changes you’re recognizing in the Pew research,” Teasdale explained.

“Seminaries are a big part of that. We’ve moved in the direction of wanting to be professionalized graduate schools and not so much schools that were forming people in character and it creates a cycle. So as pastors go out that have been developed in that kind of seminary, they don’t have the skills to catechize their own members very effectively. And so when people come to the seminaries they often come with a really not very well developed faith. They are not quite sure what they believe,” he said.

Searching for Deeper Meaning

While the slide away from biblical authority does not reflect among evangelicals as significantly as other Christian denominations, Teasdale explained that a search for meaning in a postmodern culture also appears to have challenged some to abandon deeply held beliefs about God.

“Before the time when evangelicalism arose, the focus was in making certain that we had absolutes. So the belief of modernity was the belief that there are absolutes. Everyone could have access to those absolutes if they simply use their reason appropriately and that those absolutes would hold no matter what the situation you’re in,” Teasdale said.

“What happens in postmodernity is that the idea of absolutes become far less important. Instead, we’re looking at a time when narrative story becomes much more important. And so people are looking for something meaningful, a meaningful story to make sense of their lives.

“And it doesn’t really matter much whether it’s ‘true’ in the sense that it fits with an absolute truth that’s out there somewhere. What matters is that it’s meaningful for you and that’s really what’s important,” he explained.

“I think that evangelicals kind of got caught with that shift because evangelicalism had gotten very good at dealing with modernity. It had gotten good with dealing with questions of people saying I’m skeptical of proof that there was a physical resurrection of Christ or I’m skeptical there’s proof that miracles could occur.

“Evangelicals got very good at responding to those sorts of things but then all of a sudden the whole nature of the culture shifted and people stopped worrying so much about whether something actually happened … instead, they just got focused on whether or not something was meaningful for them and that was a different set of questions,” Teasdale added.

And because some evangelicals are not sure what is the most effective response to questions directed at deeper meaning, this has led to a dialing back of traditional beliefs such as Jesus being the only way to God, the Illinois professor pointed out.

“Oftentimes, the other piece to this I think, is when they’re asking, ‘is it meaningful?’ it’s not the answer that many times evangelicals would give which is, ‘well, this is deeply meaningful because it has an eternal aspect to it,'” said Teasdale.

“The response more and more that people in a postmodern culture have given is ‘we really don’t care about the eternal aspect, we care about now. We don’t know what comes next and we’re not too concerned about what comes next. We’re concerned about the fact that right now we feel like there are problems in our own lives, that are upsetting the lives of people around the world, how is it going to give me a sense of meaning or improve my quality of life in the here and now?'” he continued.

“I think that’s been a big part of what’s affected evangelicals — trying to recast their telling of the salvation narrative in a way that is something that people will grab a hold of in a culture that’s more concerned about meaning and more concerned about affecting quality of life in the here and now than are concerned about dealing with eternal salvation or asking questions about how do we know the Bible is true.”

Finding a Fuller Gospel

While this grappling with postmodernism will remain a negative for evangelicals because it’s “uncomfortable” and “does disrupt the way that evangelicals have traditionally understood how they express their faith,” Teasdale believes it can result in a positive outcome.

“The reason for that is what it’s doing is that it’s stripping away a lot of the old debate that I think had in some ways come to the place of defining how people thought broadly about the Christian faith. It’s science or it’s faith, for example. You can either believe this way or that way. Everything is said in very stark contrasting terms and that’s the logic of modernity where things are said in those dichotomies,” Teasdale argued. “This allows for, I think, more nuance.”

Instead of, for example, using old style propositional evangelism — “God loves you and has a very wonderful plan for your life; we’ve all sinned; Jesus was given to us as a way to move passed that sin; if we receive Him then we’re able to enter into that plan” — evangelicals can go back to the Bible and develop a more “robust” and “fully biblical” type of evangelism, Teasdale explained.

“Jesus teaches yes, that we need to be forgiven for sins, no question about that. But Jesus also calls us to love our neighbor. Jesus also calls us to live in community with one another. And so I think that what the shift to postmodernity and finding meaning has done is open the door for evangelicals to find new and more robust and more fully biblical [evangelism], to be honest. To go back to the Bible and rediscover how much fuller the Gospel is that they’re supposed to be living out and inviting others to share,” he said.

Especially among more highly-educated Christians, the professor explained, there has been a lot of re-examination on the state of the American church, particularly in the era of President Donald Trump, who was largely supported by white evangelicals.

“I think the more educated folks that are in the evangelical camp are doing a lot of soul searching,” he said.

Teasdale, who is also a fellow at the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College, said he gets together with scholars at the institution about twice annually to share research. The discussions that have emerged about the meaning of the term “evangelical” since Trump’s election, he said, have been “fascinating.”

“Most of us are scholars who teach evangelism. We’re all evangelical of some stripe or another. We discussed an awful lot. Can the term evangelical be used effectively anymore because it got so tainted? … and it’s not a matter of saying whether we agree with the core Gospel,” he said.

A Minority Lens

Looking at ways Bible-believing Christians can better frame their narrative in a postmodern society, Teasdale suggested they would be better served by acknowledging themselves as minorities in American culture.

“I think the church in the United States needs to learn from the churches in the rest of the world and understand what it’s like to be a minority religion. I think that one of the things that continues to afflict the church in the United States is the belief that we still hold the cultural authority that we did in the 19th century. And we don’t and we haven’t for quite a while,” Teasdale said.

“We still have all these big buildings and we still have lots of people working within the institutional churches and I think that we don’t realize the extent to which we’ve lost the cultural authority that we used to have.

“I think we would do well to learn from churches that have always been minorities in their cultures so that we understand the way that we would be more effective in approaching the rest of our culture in a way that promotes dialogue, in a way that promotes hospitality in a way that demonstrates our love but recognizes we are coming at it from a position that is a minority position.”

When it comes to home-grown examples of ministry, Teasdale pointed to the black church and immigrant churches as good examples of Christians who have managed to remain faithful to Scripture despite the cultural shift.

“I think we can learn a lot from immigrant churches, from black churches and others that have had to be in a minority status already in the United States, have had to figure out how to operate within the larger cultural setting. I think the larger white mainline and white evangelical churches just are kind of clueless about the fact that we aren’t in this cultural authority position anymore and we need to back off and learn how to be gracious in a minority position. I think we would be more effective that way,” he said.

In addition to learning how to operate like a minority, Teasdale suggested that high-profile internal disagreements among Christian denominations also need to be handled more discreetly.

“We need to find a way to deal with our stuff and get passed that because we’re hurting the larger witness of Christ not only by being in disagreement with each other but by vocally and visibly being in disagreement with each other. We won’t always agree, I understand that. But we’re doing it in such a bitter and petty way that people don’t actually believe that we teach that God is love because we don’t demonstrate it,” Teasdale said. source

I disagree with the statement made in the article about black churches having been able to remain faithful to Scripture despite the cultural shift.  My husband and I have first hand experience with a very large mostly black church in our area. We were duped in the beginning – we loved the preaching and the music. But I came to find out that the pastor was pro-choice. He didn’t preach this from the pulpit. I found out about this by speaking with him personally.  We left that church.

I have since found that many black churches are pro-choice.  Brethren – this is NOT adhering to the Scriptures!

If blood-washed, born again believers knew the how small the remnant of true believers actually is, I believe that they would be shocked.

Ask a person who professes to be a Christian (but you have your doubts)  this question:

“If you were to die tonight and God asked you why He should let you into His heaven, what would you say?”

You will be surprised how few people will say that it is only because of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection, and that He is their Savior;  that they should be allowed into heaven.

The typical response from a person who is “Playing church” is  “Well, I did more good things than bad…….I always tried to keep the Commandments….., I did this and I did that.”

How Can I Be Saved?

Keep praying for those who think they are children of God but are not.

Send them this article!

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA!