Some compromise in order to grow
Because of the difficulties of reaching the lost, too many churches are becoming “progressive.” They do so because they can attract more people. If you attract people to your church with the methods of the world, you can expect to get worldly people. Here are some areas of compromise used to draw people into churches;
All positive messages
They say we need to preach an all positive message so we don’t offend anyone. One of the leaders on the subject of keeping everything positive was Dr. Lee Roberson, the founder of Tennessee Temple. I do not want to take away from the greatness of this man, but he was one of the leaders in the all positive preaching movement. Here is what he had to say on the issue:
“I kept my mind and ministry settled — winning people to Christ, getting people to grow in grace,.. Stay out of controversy in the pulpit–stay out of it and stay on the main line. I think that helped me a lot. I tried to avoid personalities and stay on the main line: preaching the gospel, emphasis on winning people to Christ, emphasis on developing the spiritual life, dying to self, the fullness of the Spirit, the second coming–kept on the positive side, kept negatives away from the people.”
This may sound good on the surface, but it is not the scriptural pattern preachers are to follow. If you study God’s preachers in the Bible, you will find they most always started by being negative. The warning came first, then the positive solution.
If you want to see the long term result of the positive only message, just look at what has happened to Highland Park Baptist Church since Dr. Roberson’s death. It has gone totally new evangelical and progressive. It is but a shell of the great church it once was.
Attracting people with CCM
Music is an important part of our worship, but it is the foolishness of preaching that is the power of God unto salvation.
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)
There are three purposes for music in our worship. The most important is to glorify God and sing praises to Him. Music also encourages the hearts of the children of God. Thirdly, it prepares the hearts for the preaching of God’s Word.
Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is designed to work on the emotions and fleshly instincts of the listener. It is also designed to glorify the performer. I said performer, and not singer, because it is a performance designed to lift up the performer.
The stated goal of many CCM artists is to break down the separation between various denominations. They don’t understand the differences are doctrinal, and these barriers should never be broken down. The problem is that many Baptist churches today are allowing the barriers of separation to be broken down.
Compromising on church ordinances
As Baptists, we believe there are two ordinances given by the Lord to each of His churches. They are baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Table. Neither one of them adds anything to our spirituality or to our salvation. There are completely symbolic.
Baptism is symbolic of our salvation. It pictures our identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It tells the world that we now belong to Him. There was a time when no true Baptist would accept anything but Baptist baptism. The reason for this was that in addition to identifying us with our Lord, it also identifies us with the doctrine of that baptizing authority. Anything else was called alien baptism, and was rejected.
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance that was given as a memorial of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. It is to be a time of self-examination. In Scripture, it is only partaken of in the context of, and under the authority of, a local church. There is no example of any outsider being asked to partake with that church. The fact that it requires self-examination implies that another purpose for this ordinance is for the purity of the church. Paul’s instruction to the church at Corinth seem to indicate that the church must have authority over those who partake, and no church has authority over anyone but its own members.
The meager results of our evangelistic efforts
To be continued…