Title:  THE METHODS DRIVEN CHURCH

Subtitle: The Disaster That Happens When Sound Doctrine Is Set Aside

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THE CUTTING EDGE

As we have seen in the two previous articles, a doctrinal defection occurred in the middle 1800’s that has profoundly affected evangelical Christianity. Charles Finney’s announcement of “new measures for a new theology” was a radical departure from the status quo in that it embraced the Roman Catholic dogma of free will (see Decrees of the Council of Trent) and claimed that by using his methods “revival upon demand” could be achieved. The very concept of “revival upon demand” is rank heresy because it does not take God’s Holy Spirit into account and should have been soundly condemned by Finney’s contemporaries (and was), but obviously not enough to avert the negative impact his theology and methods have had on the Church of our day.

The Bible teaches that only elect individuals—those specifically chosen and justified by God Himself—will be called to repentance and belief. The calling itself is also of God, along with everything else associated with His purpose (Romans 8:28), or plan of salvation, so that no man will ever be able to legitimately boast of saving himself. But Finney emphasized a “whosoever will” salvation that introduced the radical concept that everyone, everywhere was a prime candidate for salvation and only needed to be convinced of it. His methods of presenting the Gospel message were designed to put maximum psychological pressure on the prospective penitent in an effort to “get him saved.” His sermons were calculated to convey a sense of overpowering guilt and the “mourner’s bench”, “altar rail”, “inquiry room”, etc., were all instituted over time to aid in keeping the heat on sinners. Results? Absolutely! The “results” were so phenomenal that even skeptical preachers—each naturally desiring fruit from their own ministries—were forced to admit that Finney’s methods seemed to get the job done. And the pragmatists that were among their number quickly adopted the position that results were more important than dogma and changed their evangelical views and practices to that espoused by Finney. When they did so, their ministries too began to thrive with “converts” and all doubts concerning the legitimacy of the methods were quickly forgotten. The old time-tested and honored doctrines of God’s Sovereign grace known as “Calvinism” were largely shelved and discounted in favor of numbers.

But the big fly in the ointment Finney was forced to recognize before he died, was that the majority of the “converts” did not stick. Most of them quickly evaporated away never to darken the door a Church again. They were “professors” and not “possessors,” goats instead of sheep—persuaded to “accept” Christ, when Christ had never accepted them. You see the fundamental error of Finney’s system was in turning a blind eye to the Biblical fact that spiritually dead men cannot possibly be talked into salvation. All of the good intentions in the world cannot overcome this reality! Yet, this same totally flawed system is still flourishing and men are going to ridiculous extremes to “build Churches” when the Lord said that He would build His Church (Matt.16:18). The mania over numbers is playing a significant part in the spiritual decline so obvious in the Church today.

When Adam and Eve fell from grace one of the immediate results was that they lost their glorified spiritual nature and wound up with a totally depraved nature—one that was warped by sin and could not please God. And that same sinful nature has been passed on through their children to every human from that day until this. So one absolutely vital fact needs to be understood by every child of grace: we did not get rid of that old nature when we believed. We gained a new spiritual nature in the process, but retained the old and the battle between the two rages on a daily basis! As a result, our thinking is seriously flawed. We must rely upon the Word of God and the God of the Word to keep us on the right spiritual track and even under the best of circumstances, we often fail. To emphasize the depths of our fall into depravity, God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 the following things:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).

Therefore we need to constantly remind ourselves of the spiritual vulnerability of that with which we are thinking! This marvelous computer we call a brain has been genetically zapped by sin and is therefore unreliable in matters of spiritual logic. Our sense of right and wrong and especially our sense of fairness and propriety are always highly suspect and prone to error. And even with our very best intentions, we are likely to get it wrong! This is why we must “pray without ceasing” and depend upon what God’s Word actually says rather than what we want it to say. May God protect us from preachers with good intentions!!!!! Taking doctrinal positions based upon creative exegesis has become a curse among us. Otherwise good men are straining out gnats and swallowing camels by allowing themselves the freedom to stand upon principles derived through human logic. They then break their arms patting themselves on the back for the godly and patriotic stand they are taking, when in actual fact they are blatantly violating other Scripture! A case in point involves those preachers who take the position that Churches must resist the Federal government demands that they operate as do businesses in the matter of reporting and collecting taxes (Income, FICA, etc.). Of course their first line of defense is the Constitutional guarantees supposedly granted Churches and, upon these grounds, they are correct in so far as the Constitutional interpretation by the courts has gone in the past. But unfortunately, this interpretation has now changed and the courts no longer see any reason for non-compliance. No actual taxation of the Churches is involved (at this point, anyway)—only the reporting and collecting of taxes from those individuals drawing salaries or other remuneration as a means of discouraging cheating. But many preachers—to try to avoid this eventuality—decreed all wage earners under their particular Church umbrella to be “ministers” and thus exempt. The courts subsequently rendered the whole point impotent by ruling that preachers were employees like the rest of the wage earners. We believe as do many others that this is a violation of the Constitution and that preachers in particular are not employees of the Churches, but the courts have decided that all of us are wrong. Under this ruling, are preachers and Churches then walking according to the Scriptures when they actively resist their government? It all depends upon which preacher you follow.

The belligerent “you can’t do that to us” crowd adopted a position derived (more or less) from the following logic: “The tithe belongs to the Lord” and therefore it is wrong for a Church to pay taxes. This is an oversimplification, but basically covers it. While we certainly agree the Old Testament teaches that the tithes belong to the Lord, where does the Bible (Old or New Testament) clearly state that Churches are not to pay taxes and to resist those trying to impose them? You see, the problem is that this position is a derived one based upon human logic applied to the Scriptures. It is a classic example of “creative exegesis” and thus becomes eisegesis—bringing a doctrine to Scripture and finding proof texts to back it up. It makes perfect sense to the flesh and has little or no trouble finding willing supporters, but it just is not Scriptural! For it to be so it would have to “fit” in all 66 books of the Bible and not contradict itself. But strong contradictions are found in the New Testament. Notice what the apostle Paul says in Romans 13:1-2:

“Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God—by His permission, His sanction; and those that exist do so by God’s appointment. Therefore he who resists and set himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged—in divine order. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves—receiving the penalty due them” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).

Then we should pay particular attention to verses 6 and 7:

“For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending this very service. Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).

“Oh, but this is talking about individuals and not Churches!” Need we remind you that Churches are but a collection of individuals—an ekklesia, or group, in the Greek? And is it really necessary to point out that, as of this date and as far as we know, the US government has not yet actually taxed a Church—just insisted that Churches report and collect the taxes from all of their “ministers” as is the case with business employees? We do not like this intrusion and feel that it is wrong, but are we justified in rebellion? The apostle Peter also says no! Look at 1 Peter 2:13-15:

Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to bring vengeance (punishment, justice) to those who do wrong, and to encourage those who do good service. For it is God’s will and intention that by doing right [your] good and honest lives should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).

Titus 3:1 reiterates this sentiment:

“Remind people to be submissive to [their] magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work” (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).

Remember that God tells us “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” in 1 Samuel 15:23 (KJV) and those in this dispensation of grace who violate God’s clear statement of Sovereignty in Romans 13:1-2 will pay for it! Therefore, be extremely careful of any preacher who yells “charge” and exhibits a combative spirit toward human government, because he is out of order. God is in control of every government on the face of the planet and if He should allow them to oppress us (and He may well do so in the near future), we must passively refuse to do evil if ordered to do so and take the unjust punishment if caught. There is a historical precedent that occurred in the late 1600’s called “The Great Ejection.” The King of England decreed that all ministers were to come under the auspices of the Anglican state Church and the Puritans, of course, would not do that. These good men wound up dividing into three “camps”—or ways of meeting the crisis. Some resigned their Churches and left the country. Others resigned and went underground. While the third group tried to stand and fight and met with disastrous results. Even though the third group was comprised of godly men, it is our belief that they violated Romans 13:1-2 and were judged accordingly. Beware!

The desire for a degree of success that is, unfortunately, measured by the number of members a Church has, continues to contribute greatly to the use of unscriptural methods. To attract, “convert,” and then keep members—many if not the vast majority of whom are actually unconverted “tares”—is a tall order and demands a great deal of attention by pastors. We humans are fickle souls and come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of psychological need. To deal with such a hodge-podge of humanity, and keep them all happy and contributing to the cause, something in addition to the Bible must be used! The Bible is a supernatural Book and unpalatable to the natural mind, so a strict diet of Bible teaching and application to daily life is a proven way to drive away the masses. And everybody knows that Churches must attract and keep the masses in order to get them saved. Right? NO!!!! Once again bad doctrine begets bad practice and this widely held belief is totally without Scriptural basis. The membership of a New Testament Church is supposed to be comprised of regenerated believers and every reasonable effort is supposed to be made in an effort to prevent tares among the wheat, but such is the exception rather than the rule today. Numbers is the driving force behind evangelism, as it is currently being practiced by most, and keeping the numbers is a status symbol for pastors. Depraved human nature is finally, after nearly two thousand years of Church history, coming to full flower and the result is sickening to say the least. Every device, or method, known to man is being utilized to pump the numbers and keep them coming back. Psychology is being peddled from the pulpit and through innumerable books, pamphlets, self-help courses, etc., etc., to help people “feel good about themselves.” Low self-esteem is held to be the problem causing everything from marital problems to kids needing braces. Sermons on the environment satisfy the New Age tree-hugging crowd, and special study groups formed to meet the needs of every member of the family. And plenty of good musical entertainment is a must—not to mention a steady stream of the latest sports stars claiming to be Christians, but who often live like the devil when not on stage. Holiness and righteousness are quaint puritanical terms and not relevant to the “in” crowd, because they do not mesh well with the tested and well-worn methods pastors and Churches use to get the crowds and build bigger ministries “for the glory of God.” Multiplied millions are routinely spent on building programs yet most independent missionaries will tell you that if it were not for the tiny Churches out in the boonies they would be hurting for adequate support! “Family Life Centers” are sprouting like mushrooms across the land, but true godliness is becoming scarce as hen’s teeth. While many pastors are sporting large homes in the ‘burbs and driving Town Cars—living the American dream—their own children are dying of drugs and rebelling against the hypocrisy they see around them. Voyeurism is rampant among the “clergy” with many being disgraced by pornography and sexual relationships with women other than their wives. Virtually every TV preacher around today has experienced at least one scandal or been accused of something, but they still appear to have the ability to solicit money from those who can least afford to send it.

From the amount of email we receive from those unhappy with their Churches and asking us for advice about where to look for a proper place to worship, we are convinced that the problem is epidemic. And it just breaks our heart not to be able to guide them to an uninfected Church in their area, but truly separated Churches/pastors who preach the old doctrines of Sovereign grace are few and far between. Then those who make much of separation (and they should) more often than not are Arminian in their doctrine and utilize basically the same methods as was popularized by Finney and honed to perfection by such notables as Billy Graham and his New Evangelical cohorts around the world. And speaking of separation—back in 1957 when the New Evangelical “manifesto” was publicly declared by Harold Ockenga of Princeton (?), it was made clear up front—and honestly so—that they felt the Bible doctrine of separation was outdated and no longer worked! So they adopted a method they termed “infiltration”—which is antithetical to separation. In practice it dictates that Christians must “look like ‘em, talk like ‘em, and smell like ‘em in order to win them to Christ! Beloved, can you not see the astounding heresy of believing and teaching that God’s doctrine of separation is outdated?  And furthermore, can you not see that the numbers game is at the very root of the defection? And in closing, can you not see that New Evangelicalism is ecumenical in nature and has infected preachers by the thousands? Stay tuned—Lord willing more to follow.

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Are you spiritually ready? Is your family? Are you adequately protecting your loved ones? This is the reason for this ministry, to enable you to first understand the peril facing you, and then help you develop strategies to warn and protect your loved ones. Once you have been thoroughly trained, you can also use your knowledge as a means to open the door of discussion with an unsaved person. I have been able to use it many times, and have seen people come to Jesus Christ as a result. These perilous times are also a time when we can reach many souls for Jesus Christ, making an eternal difference.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually.

If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.

We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order -- Kingdom of Antichrist -- in their daily news.

Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:

Cutting Edge Ministries

11 Robert Toner Blvd., Ste 5-393

North Attleboro, MA  02763-1156 

You can also E-Mail us.

God bless you.

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