Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals"--A Warning from 1983

The following lengthy post is an address delivered by Samuel H. Tow of Singapore at the 11th World Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches, which took place in Cape May, New Jersey from June 16-30, 1983 (the address was reprinted in its entirety in the Australian Beacon, January 1990, pp. 1, 4, 9, 11). The title--Today’s Evangelicals, Tomorrow’s Liberals--has not only proven to be accurate, but could be reversed--"Today's Liberals, Tomorrow's Evangelicals"--and be equally true. Not only has evangelicalism become more liberal, but people and ideas considered liberal in 1983 are now considered "evangelical." For example, I’ve always regarded Jim Wallis as a Communist masquerading as a Christian (not to mention Ron Sider). Mr. Wallis has been around for decades and hasn’t changed a bit, but evangelicalism has moved so far leftward in the meantime that he’s now often referred to in the media as an "evangelical." As an aside, it was at that Congress in 1983 that the largest association of black churches in Africa, led by Bishop Isaac Mokoena, joined the ICCC. The delegation led by Bishop Mokoena represented 4½ million Bible-believing Christians. The South African Council of Churches, led by universalist Desmond Tutu, represented no more than 300,000 people (Christian Beacon, June 30, 1983, p. 1).

Unprecedented happenings are taking place in the evangelical world. On Saturday, June 25, 1983 Mother Teresa, Malcolm Muggeridge, Francis Schaeffer and John Stott are scheduled to speak at an anti-abortion rally in Hyde Park, London, labelled "Call to Humanity." This anti-abortion platform will be a cage of ecumenical birds--a Roman Catholic nun, a liberal Christian and two evangelicals.

The April 8, 1983 issue of the leading Neo-evangelical journal Christianity Today (with Gandhi’s portrait on its front cover) exhorts Christians to learn from Gandhi. In A Christian Manifesto, Francis Schaeffer draws up Christian guidelines for socio-political action, civil disobedience, and the use of force. In March last year, Billy Graham welcomed the Pope’s visit to England. Two months later the famed evangelist joined a multi-religious gathering and communists in Moscow in a conference on world peace. John Stott, the British socialist theologian now publicly declares that the Marxist "liberation theology" is fully Biblical and pleasing to God the Creator.

What do you make of all this?

A generation ago these happenings would have precipitated an uprising of evangelicals and strong revulsion everywhere. Today, no longer. They are viewed as normal expressions of the Christian gospel. The Neo-evangelical baby conceived by Ockenga in 1948 has achieved full manhood. Neo-evangelicalism has become the front runner of Protestant Christianity.

We ask ourselves: What new gospel is this? How did it come about?

The Emergence of Neo-Evangelicalism

The decade of the forties saw a growing discontent among evangelicals over the apparent inability of the Gospel to change society, and with the strict fundamentalist position of anti-modernism, anti-intellectualism, separatism, and a general isolation from the mainstream of society. The world of the forties was passing them by, and evangelicals were no longer convinced that the world with its social and political challenges was that bad after all.

In 1947 Carl Henry chided the evangelicals for their social unconcern in his book, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. With prophetic impact he declared: "The battle against evil in all its forms must be pressed unsparingly; we must pursue the enemy, in politics, in economics, in science, in ethics--everywhere, in every field, we must pursue relentlessly."

The next year Harold Ockenga, with kindred spirit, called for a break with traditional Fundamentalism, and a commitment to social involvement. This call was to prove historic and disastrous. Let us call it "Ockenga’s Manifesto" and let us note the direction of its thrust. We quote Ockenga’s own words:

Neo-evangelicalism was born in 1948 in a convocation address which I gave in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. While reaffirming the theological view of fundamentalism, this address repudiated its ecclesiology and its social theory. The ringing call for a repudiation of separatism and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many evangelicals. Neo-evangelicalism differed from...fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day. It had a new emphasis upon the application of the gospel to the sociological, political, and economic areas of life. Neo-evangelicals emphasized the restatement of Christian theology in accordance with the need of the times, the re-engagement in the theological debate, the recapture of denominational leadership, and the re-examination of theological problems such as the antiquity of man, the universality of the Flood, God’s method of creation, and others.
(From the Foreword to The Battle for the Bible by [Harold] Lindsell).
With this call, the father of Neo-evangelicalism sowed the seed of a new Social Gospel which was to take root and blossom in the decade of the seventies. The new direction was exciting and challenging. It captured the imagination of those who were disgruntled with the Fundamentalist position. These Neo-evangelicals were determined to change the world with the Gospel. They confidently affirmed: Christ must transform culture, Christians must gain the attention and acceptance of society. With this radical about-turn they parted company with Fundamentalism and embarked on a voyage which was to lead many evangelicals into the quicksands of apostasy and the Social Gospel.

Without serious intention, Ockenga had started a new movement which within three decades was to change the face of evangelicalism and make it a major force which society cannot afford to ignore. The founder’s avowed aim of recapturing "denominational leadership" has been more than attained.

In an article released by the World Council of Churches (1983) entitled "The Neo-evangelical Alternative: Rediscovering a Social Gospel," Walter Pipkin, a liberal, says this of the Neo-evangelical trend:

The decade of the 1970’s was a head-turning time for evangelicals. Suddenly, this group of conservative religious practitioners became news. Reconciled to existing somewhat on the margins of society and mainstream life in North America, this gaggle of true believers were thrust into the spotlight. The White House was occupied by a confessed evangelical. All but without warning, evangelicals were news as Newsweek proclaimed 1976 ‘The year of the Evangelical’ and Time concluded 1977 with a cover story on ‘New Empire of Faith: the Evangelicals.’ Clearly evangelicals were making good newscopy.

Richard Quebedeaux, another liberal, in the preface to his book The Worldly Evangelicals (1978) writes:

In the course of just the last few years, born again--the once laugh-provoking term describing evangelical Christians--has become a respectable, if not glamorous designation, no less fashionable and chic than the growing number of celbrities who unabashedly declare that they have been born again. Evangelical Christianity has finally emerged from its anticultural ghetto into the mainstream of American life. It is now a force to be reckoned with.

Recapturing the Denominational Leadership: At What Cost?

As Ockenga had desired, the evangelicals emerged from their Fundamentalist shell, invaded the world, and in brilliant fashion recaptured the denominational leadership.

The crucial question is: at what cost? And, with what consequences to the faith? The consequences which followed Ockenga’s Manifesto are four, and they are fatal:

1. The evangelicals fell into the snare of worldliness.
2. They fell into the snare of the social gospel, and inevitably the socialist-Marxist liberation theology.
3. They fell into the snare of ecumenism.
4. Finally they fell into the errancy trap.
It was a "falling away" indeed!
Let us now consider each of these four, in turn.

a) The snare of worldliness

Once the evangelicals had decided that the world was their territory, they forsook the old Fundamentalist constraints, and identified themselves with the world, becoming respectable by the world’s standards.

In the process, evangelicals made compromises with the wider culture wherever necessary and expedient. In the course of a few years, "born again" had become a popular designation as a growing number of national celebrities and prominent citizens unabashedly declared that they too had the "born-again" experience.

Neo-evangelicals became harder and harder to distinguish from other people. They became more and more like the world, discarding old Fundamentalist taboos such as smoking and drinking, cocktail parties and social dancing, enjoying pop and rock music with their worldly and immoral themes. Evangelical magazines and publications began to review plays and movies, and to speak gently of homosexuals.

As Andrew Bonar had said many years ago, "I looked for the church and found it in the world. I looked for the world and found it in the church."

Modern evangelicals had gained acceptability in society, even within the liberal religious and secular academic communities. Flaunting their ever increasing social status, evangelicals made their presence felt in big business, sports, politics and the mass media. Within the decade of the seventies Ockenga’s ambition had been more than achieved. Evangelicals had assumed the leadership as the new mainline expression of Christianity.

b) The Snare of the Social Gospel
1. The Chicago Declaration

The Neo-evangelical commitment to social involvement took a great leap forward in 1973 with the Chicago Declaration issued by the Thanksgiving Workshop on Evangelicals and Social Concern. The Declaration contains a confession of the failure of evangelicals to be involved in remedying social problems, and a denunciation of "social abuse," "an unjust American society," "racism," "exploitation," "social and political injustice of our nation," "the maldistribution of the nation’s wealth and services," "a national pathology of war and violence." It voiced support for the "social and economic rights of the poor and the oppressed," and a "more just acquisition and distribution of the world’s resources."

The socialist-Marxist vocabulary and tone of the document are unmistakable. The most significant fact is that evangelical leaders should subscribe to such a document and circulate it far and wide to get other evangelicals to agree with the commitments expressed. Among those who signed were prominent names: Carl Henry, Bernard Ramm, Leighton Ford, Frank Gabelein, Mark Hatfield, and Ronald Sider, an outspoken pro-Marxist theologian.

Out of the 1973 Workshop grew Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) and the International Consultation on Simple Life Style, which included people like John Stott and Harvie Conn of Westminster Theological Seminary.

Since then, Sider has published four books (Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, 1977; Christ and Violence, 1979; Living More Simply, 1980; and Cry Justice, 1980). Sider’s ideas are likely to have a far reaching and profound effect on the evangelical world, particularly among the young.

Are the views expressed by Sider and his movement Christian? A review of his writing reveals these findings:

a) Sider quotes liberally from leftist sources, and approvingly from both Karl Barth (neo-orthodox) and from leftists and socialists like Heilbroner and Schumacher. he recommends apostate, non-Christian organizations to his readers.
b) Sider advocates the use of force to take away the property of the rich, and attacks personal charity and generosity.
c) Sider’s thinking and programme are modelled not on Christ but on Marx. His books are full of Marxist vocabulary.
d) Sider’s message is not the message of the Bible. His economics and ethics are not Christian. He misuses Scripture to support his un-Scriptural ideology.

Christians should be warned of theses new heretical movements: Evangelicals for Social Action and International Consultation on Simple Lifestyle.

The Chicago Declaration and the publications following in its wake signal to the world that evangelicals are now firmly set on the road to social involvement. They are turning to the social gospel which their forefathers had fought a half century ago. History has repeated itself.

2. The Lausanne Covenant

At the International Congress on World Evangelization held in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1974, Rev. John Stott introduced "The Lausanne Covenant" to the delegates for their "very solemn personal commitment...to concrete and sacrificial action."

Taking a lead in the signing of the Covenant were Billy Graham, Honorary Chairman of the Congress, and John Stott himself. Below are excerpts from paragraph 5 of the Covenant.

Christian Social Responsibility
We affirm that God is both the Creator and Judge of all men. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men from every kind of oppression...we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with man is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty...

In section 5 of the Covenant we see the subtle inclusion of the social gospel as part of "Christian Social Responsibility." It declares that political liberation and socio-political involvement are now part of Christian duty. This is a contradiction of our Lord’s commission to His disciples as given in Matthew 28: 19, 20. This Great Commission has always been and will remain the only corporate mandate for the Church, till Jesus comes.

Our Lord rejected socio-political action (John 6:15) and violence of any kind. "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight" (John 18:36). "For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17). The Kingdom of God is not in socio-political action, civil disobedience, mass demonstrations, creating a new order, or violent revolution.

3. "Christian Mission in the Modern World" (a pro-Marxist revelation)

In his book by the above title, John Stott admits that his concept of the Great Commission has changed between 1966 and 1975 when his book was first published. In 1966, Stott held the old view:

The mission of the church, according to the specification of the risen Lord, is exclusively a preaching, converting and teaching mission. Indeed, I confess that I myself argued this at the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin in 1966, when attempting to expound the three major versions of the Great Commission.
Today, however, I would express myself differently. It is not just that the commission includes a duty to teach converts everything Jesus had previously commanded (Matthew 28:20), and that social responsibility is among the things which Jesus commanded. I now see more clearly that not only the consequences of the commission but the actual commission itself must be understood to include social as well as evangelistic responsibility, unless we are to be guilty of distorting the words of Jesus.

(Christian Mission...by Stott, IVP 1975, p. 23)
How Stott’s thinking (and theology) has changed in a few short years! And not only Stott, but many other eminent evangelicals, too. That is why the Apostle Paul warned: "Stand fast! Hold fast!" In Chapter Four, Stott discusses the current ecumenical emphasis on the struggle for liberation and social justice and ends with this comment (pages 91, 92):

This brief historical sketch of ecumenical thinking during the 10 years from Mexico 1963 to Bangkok 1973 has shown that the emphasis has been on key words like ‘humanization,’ ‘development,’ ‘wholeness,’ ‘liberation,’ and ‘justice.’ Let me say at once that these things, and the liberation of men from every form of oppression, are not only a desirable goal, pleasing to God the Creator, but that Christians should be actively pursuing it alongside other men of compassion and goodwill...We evangelicals have often been guilty of opting out of our social and political responsibilities. We are to blame for this neglect. We should repent of it and not be afraid to challenge ourselves and each other that God may be calling many more Christians than hear his call to immerse themselves in the secular world of politics, economics, sociology, race relations, community health, development and a host of other such spheres for Christ.

John Stott has earned great respect as an evangelical theologian. By his own confession, his theological stand has shifted. As he wrote, "Today, however, I would express myself differently." Our Lord’s Great Commission has not changed, but Stott has shifted to the left. His close association with leftists, Marxists and liberal theologians in the World Council of Churches (to which he has acted as "adviser") has coloured his thinking. That is why he is able to endorse the socialist-Marxist dialectic as "pleasing to God the Creator," and "that Christians should be actively involved in pursuing it alongside other men of compassion and goodwill."

"Men of compassion and goodwill" include Marxist revolutionaries and Communists. Can this most respected "evangelical" be a Marxist sympathizer? To answer this question, we reproduce his comments on the Marxist "Theology of Liberation" from pages 92 and 93 of his book:

The Theology of Liberation
Not long before Bangkok the original Spanish version of Gustavo Gutierrez’s book, ‘A Theology of Liberation’ was published in Peru. This is the fullest and most thorough attempt which has yet been made to interpret biblical salvation in terms of the liberation of the oppressed. I admire the deep compassion of Gustavo Gutierrez for the exploited, his insistence on solidarity with the poor, his emphasis on social ‘praxis’ instead of unpractical theorizing, and his call to the church for ‘a more evangelical, more authentic, more concrete and more efficacious commitment to liberation’ (p. 145). Several times he quotes with approval Marx’s most famous dictum that ‘the philosophers have only interpreted the world...; the point, however, is to change it.’ We should have no quarrel with the goal he defines, namely ‘liberation from all that limits or keeps man from self-fulfillment, liberation from all impediments to the exercise of his freedom’ (p. 27). This is fully biblical...‘the goal is not only better living conditions, a radical change of structures, a social revolution; it is much more: the continuous creation, never ending, of a new way to be a man, a permanent culture revolution’ (p. 32).

In the above passage, Stott gives unqualified approval to the Marxist liberation theology calling it "fully biblical." Need we say more? Stott is endorsing not merely socio-political action, agitation, violent protest but armed uprising and bloody revolution. In his converted thinking, these things are "pleasing to God the Creator."

4. Evangelicals and Dialogue
The Devil’s substitute for the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "dialogue." Dialogue is to sit down and exchange views on equal terms, each learning from the other. Here is what Stott has to say of dialogue:

Christ speaks in this dialogue, revealing himself to those who do not know him and correcting the limited and distorted knowledge of those who do. I do not think we should object to this formulation.

So, according to Stott, Christ speaks through non-Christians to correct the "distorted knowledge" of Christians!

Then Stott cites the example of E. Stanley Jones, the modernist missionary to India, how Jones used dialogue with Hindus to great profit.

Reading through the pages of Stott’s book, one is struck by the subtlety of his perverted logic and frequent double talk. Are we to believe what this evangelical says? Does Christ speak in dialogue? Does God honour dialogue with other religions?

Where is the "Thus saith the Lord" of Holy Scripture? or "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins?" (Acts 2:38).

5. "A Christian Manifesto"
A socio-political treatise

In his recent book A Christian Manifesto (1982), Francis Schaeffer, senior Neo-evangelical statesman and author, reveals the latest in Neo-evangelical concern. In 120 pages of text, Schaeffer quotes 11 verses of Scripture to support his views on "The Limits of Civil Disobedience."

Schaeffer writes of the crumbling of morality and freedom, the degeneration of law and government and the humanistic educational system. He calls on Christians to change society, and under certain circumstances to resist the state by political action, civil disobedience and if necessary even by force. The issue of abortion figures rather prominently in his thinking.

It seems incredible that an avowed evangelical writing a "Christian Manifesto" sees merely socio-political issues and the need for social change and possibly violence. Surely an honest reading of God’s Word must inform us that the end time society is an evil and corrupt one, incorrigible and ripe for judgment (Matt. 24:37-39). Nowhere in Scripture is there a shred of evidence to suggest that Christians can change society and systems. Only Christ our Lord can, and that when He comes.

What "Christian Manifesto" do we have for this day and age? It is firstly to call men and women to repentance, ere the Lord returns, and secondly to warn believers against the great apostasy. "Repent! for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand." This was the message of John in the Judaean wilderness, the message of our Lord by the Galilean sea, and Peter’s at Pentecost. To the end time Laodicean Church comes the same message from our Lord: Be zealous therefore, and repent" (Rev. 3:19). So we must! The Saviour has spoken. He has given us no other mandate, no other commission. Not civil disobedience! Not political action! Not violent revolution! Schaeffer has missed the real issue.

6. Vital issues--according to Carl Henry

Carl Henry’s recent thinking on vital issues which he thinks might be biblical is summed up as follows:

Among biblical concerns specially relevant today are the primacy of the family as a lifelong monogamous union, the dignity and worth of fetal life, the plight of the poor and oppressed, the right and need to work, the pursuit of world peace and order, the just use of power to contain the expansionist policies of aggressor nations, and the preservation of natural resources.

It is remarkable that both Carl Henry and Francis Schaeffer are burdened with socio-political issues. The problems of abortion, the poor and oppressed, world peace and order cannot be solved by mobilizing the Church as these Neo-evangelicals think. They are falling into the same error of the liberals and socialists.

Society will never change through the socio-political action of Christians. Believers are nowhere called to change or reform society. God’s Word makes it quite clear. Christians are to witness, to proclaim the Gospel of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. Any social or political action is doomed to failure. Our only hope is in the return of Jesus Christ. Nothing else can solve the problems that now belabour the Neo-evangelicals.

c) The Snare of Ecumenism

The historic repudiation of Biblical separation by Ockenga in 1948 started the Neo-evangelicals on the road to apostasy. When one chooses to disobey a clear command of God’s Word to be separate and to have no fellowship with unbelievers, then the logical and ultimate end result is unbelief and apostasy.

When a believer knowingly remains in association with apostates the likely course is one of "falling away" in six fatal steps: consorting, contamination, compromise, cooperation, commendation, and capitulation. The end stage may not materialize for some years, but it is only a matter of time, because the Satanic forces of the end time apostasy will be irresistible.

1. Dr. Billy Graham Aids Ecumenism

The most famous and respected Protestant in the world, without a doubt, is Dr. Billy Graham. No one has done more to popularize the gospel than he. Also no one has done more to mislead and confuse Christians than Dr. Graham. By his association with Roman Catholics, the pope, ecumenists and charismatics, Billy Graham has done more than any other individual to promote the cause of the Ecumenical Movement among evangelicals.

"Whatever Graham says or does must be right." This is the general consensus today. So millions of Christians are led to believe that there is nothing wrong with the liberal churches, the Ecumenical Movement, the Roman Catholic Church, the charismatic movement. They have been led to think that the only thing wrong is with those unloving and critical Fundamentalists in daring to point out the error of Billy Graham and the Neo-Evangelicals. The ecumenical mood of the moment may be summed up in two words. LOVE and TOLERANCE.

2. Christianity Today Turns Ecumenical and Liberal

Christianity Today (CT), the major mouthpiece of Neo-evangelical conviction, has over the years shifted far from its original Fundamentalist and orthodox position. Although it still carries articles of sound theological content, the mixture of truth and error gives the heretical contents a cloak of respectability, thereby making the journal a most deceptive and dangerous vehicle for the propagation of falsehood.

A major departure from the Reformed Faith has been the appearance of articles taking an increasingly conciliatory attitude towards the Roman Catholic Church. For example, its October 23, 1981 issue carries two major articles:

"What separates Evangelicals and Catholics?"
"The Pope as Antichrist: An Anachronism?"

These articles would have us believe that Roman Catholicism is no different from Evangelicalism, and that the Pope is in fact a very amiable, benign and acceptable Christian leader. Did not Billy Graham call him "Moral leader of the world?" This sort of public persuasion will do more to undo the Reformation than any Inquisition. Christianity Today has said it: Protestants and Catholics are really no different. To remain apart is scandalous.

In other recent articles, Christianity Today has undermined basic Christian doctrines, e.g. Substitutionary Atonement, Biblical Inerrancy and the Genesis Creation record. Its April 8, 1983 issue carries the portrait of Gandhi on its cover, and presents its message to Christians: "Learning from Gandhi." This is the latest theological acrobatics by the Neo-evangelicals and certainly not the last. We may expect more somersaults and about turns by Christianity Today in the coming months.

3. Neo-evangelicals Returning to Rome

In a remarkable and subtle shift, evangelicals everywhere are adopting an increasingly conciliatory stance towards Roman Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). The cordial ties between the Pope and Billy Graham, and the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have no doubt played a major role in breaking down old animosities and traditional barriers.

More startling even is to discover that leading evangelical and Fundamentalist theologians around the world are softening in their attitude toward the RCC. An eminent professor of theology from a highly respectable Fundamentalist seminary has commented: "The Catholics are not too bad these days." A little remark but with profound significance.

Well known OMF Honorary Director J.O. Sanders wrote a book, "Cults and Isms". The 1973 edition placed Roman Catholicism "at the head of the list of heresies, since it is the largest and most influential of them all." In the latest edition (1981) the chapter on Roman Catholicism has been dropped. Does this mean that Dr. Sanders no longer considers Roman Catholicism a heresy?

4. Charismatic Movement Aids Ecumenism

The world-wide movement of "Holy Spirit or Charismatic Renewal" has swept through Christendom like wild fire in the last two decades. Mainline liberals, evangelicals, traditional Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, fellow travellers, unbelievers and nominal Christians have all been included in this modern tongues movement.

The spectacular effusion of tongues, "miracles," "healings" and "prophecies," and generally the experience of spiritual uplift have won millions of converts to the movement. While remaining within their own grouping or denomination, nevertheless they have found a strong kinship and common identity across denominational lines.

This charismatic movement has become a most potent unifying force drawing together evangelicals and liberals, Protestants and Roman Catholics. It is a major factor promoting ecumenical union of the churches today.

5. The Errancy Trap: Liberal Road to Apostasy

It is nothing new but the old trick of Satan: Yea, hath God said? When Ockenga declared the Neo-evangelical intention to re-examine God’s Word and restate Christian theology "in accordance with the need of the times" he had in fact laid the Bible on the chopping board of modern thought and critical scholarship. What need is there in these last days to re-examine the Creation and the Flood? Surely these matters had been settled by godly scholars long ago.

Hear the words of Spurgeon: "Rest assured that there is nothing new in theology except that which is false; and that the facts of theology are today what they were nineteen hundred years ago." Did not the Bible say: "Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven"?

Whatever Ockenga’s original intention may have been, the fact is, many evangelicals have shifted from their former belief in an inerrant Bible. Is this important? Absolutely! The great battle of our generation is over the subject of Biblical inerrancy. On this issue many a believer’s faith will be put to the test.

Harold Lindsell in the Preface to his book, The Battle for the Bible, says this:

I regard the subject of this book, biblical inerrancy, to be the most important topic of this age. A great battle rages about it among people called evangelicals. I did not start the battle and wish it were not essential to discuss it. The only way to avoid it would be to remain silent. And silence on this matter would be a grave sin.

The traditional evangelical belief is in the inspiration, infallibility and inerrancy of the Word of God. Increasing numbes of evangelicals are abandoning this position. This is almost inevitable when Christians attempt to harmonize Scripture with "modern scientific thought" and "intellectual respectability."

"But what’s all the fuss over inerrancy? Surely a little deletion here or a small reservation there can do no harm?" So some evangelicals may think. But, not so, says Lindsell. We quote:

I will contend that embracing a doctrine of an errant Scripture will lead to disaster down the road. It will result in the loss of missionary passion; it will lull congregations to sleep and undermine their belief in the full-orbed truth of the Bible; it will produce spiritual sloth and decay; and it will finally lead to apostasy.
(p. 25)
How true! Lindsell then goes on to relate how men and institutions which once stood on inerrancy have fallen into the errancy trap: great churches such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church, and the famous Fuller Theological Seminary. And the list grows each year. The time has come when men will not endure sound doctrine but have turned away their ears from the truth.

Conclusion

We have witnessed a great "falling away" spoken of by the Apostle Paul (2 Thess. 2:3) which must come to pass before our Lord’s return. Men and institutions claiming to be evangelical in persuasion are now behaving like liberals in practice. Some have openly expressed their socialist-Marxist sympathies. These unprecedented happenings are of the gravest prophetic significance, for in them we see the unmistakable drawing together of the three major forces of Christendom: RCC, WCC, and Evangelicals, toward the formation of the end time one-world-church (Rev. 17).

In the light of these "signs of the times" what should the believers do? There are four things which every true believer must apply himself diligently, and with utmost urgency:

1. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2). "Rescue the perishing, care for the dying! Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave...Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save!" There is no greater commission, than this. Let us burn out for the Gospel’s sake, like John Sung, God’s flame of the Far East.
2. "Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:1), "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15). Let us cease not to warn every one, evangelicals and others, "night and day with tears" (Acts 20:31). Let us feed and defend our flocks over which the Holy Ghost has made us overseers.
3. "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." "Behold, I come quickly" (Rev. 3:11). We believe and are sure that we are living in the last few days of the perilous end times. Our Lord’s coming will suddenly descend on us at any time now. Be zealous, therefore and repent!
4. Live godly, holy lives, daily "looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God" (2 Pet. 3:11, 12). May we be ever diligent, that we "may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Pet. 3:14).

Behold, He cometh with clouds; the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty to come. The question is, are you ready?

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