The Truthinator is beginning a series of interviews that will run throughout 2012. Every so often, we will post another interview with a person of depth & tenure. The goal is not to promote the person but to gain insight from the information they provide. The identities of the interviewees will remain secret so as not to distract from the information being shared.
If you are interested in being interviewed, please let us know via comment or email. All decisions made by the Truthinator’s Blog are final unless we change our minds… But seriously, please enjoy and learn from these. The truth is what we are interested in here.
So let’s begin. The opinions of the interviewees are not necessarily those of the Truthinator’s Blog or employees or volunteers of the same. Statements made are not to be considered as endorsements by Truthinator’s Blog. Thank you for your understanding.
First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to answer some questions. I hope the information you share will be valuable in helping others grow. I attract many believers with different perspectives and others who may not be believers but who respond because I have touched on a sensitive topic for them.
Truthinator: Please begin by giving us a few lines of biographical information.
Guest: I have a technical and business background and live in a major metropolitan city in the US. I have been a Christian for close to 30 years and have been doing discernment work on the internet for 5. I run a blog site and visit other sites regularly where I try to leave edifying comments from time to time.
T: What do you think has changed most in evangelical Christianity since you became a Christian? Why do you think this has happened?
G: I think the change of greatest magnitude is the concern for peace & unity among church attenders and the general public to the detriment of truth and the willingness of people to compromise the truth in order to get there. I have seen and been told of situations where even traditionally strong churches have caved in to the notion that the most important thing to do is to achieve unity. Where does the Bible teach this? Nowhere. The most important thing is to honor God, submit to His truth, spread the Gospel, care for the truly needy, and be conformed to the image of Christ. When you subvert everything to the idol of “unity at any cost” you are no longer Biblical. I use the entire Bible as my proof text.
Why has this happened? Because people are no longer living in fear of God nor studying His word. America is a pagan nation. When God’s people are faithful to God, there will be unity of believers. That is the only time there will be unity.
T: Is the evangelical church in America on track according to the Bible? If so, what must it do to stay there. If not, what is its greatest failure and what will it take to get back on track?
G: Not on track. Christians must humble themselves and cry out to God in repentance. We need God’s mercy. I think there are signs that God is abandoning America. We have long since abandoned Him so we are suffering the just punishment for our actions.
Please bear with me for a minute. I have heard preachers stand before their congregations and tell them that America’s best days are still ahead of us. Are you kidding me? Read the survey results. Confessing Christians in America live lives that are statistically identical to folks who do not claim to know Christ as Savior. How could America’s best days be ahead of us? This is nonsense. Unless we repent, our nation could be only a few years away from bondage to another country or, worse yet, we could become like Europe and be spiritually dead with only a form of religious activity with no power or presence of God found.
T: What is “relevance” in light of the Bible’s teaching about the relationship of God’s people (the body of Christ) to the world. Is the modern day church getting it right by seeking to be like the world in order to reach it? How relevant to the world must one be to be effective in ministry? How relevant to God must one be to be effective in ministry?
G: I see relevance as being anything and everything that honors God and has His approval. I do not think the concept of relevance has anything to do with the preferences of man. Whether or not we are successful in ministry depends upon what God decides to do through your ministry. It has nothing to do with how appealing you are to worldly people. If you want nothing more than to be appealing to people, all you have to do is affirm them in their current state. This is not rocket science…
T: What do you think about the Emergent Church and its impact on American youth? Where will the EC lead America? What does the impact of the EC do to those involved in missions? What impact will it likely have on the unreached people of the world?
G: I have not seen every EC type of church and/or service but I have seen many. Some are totally off the wall and in outer space while others are loud & proud but still preach from the Bible albeit from a man-centered perspective. A common element however is rebellion in my opinion. I see some rebellion in all of what I have studied. “We are more righteous because we are not traditional” is a common theme. This is nothing but neo-self righteousness. It is man rebelling against God repackaged.
There may be some groups who do not do this but I am afraid that most do. I am not trying to defend any type or sense of traditionalism. Much of it had its own problems. But, you cannot correct problems with the proper worship and honoring of God by detouring farther into man-centered philosophy. Puffing man up will never get you into God’s presence. It happened nowhere in scripture and it is forbidden in scripture.
The EC will lead America astray. No doubt about it. So will New Calvinism if it follows the same rut as the EC. If they adopt most of the world’s philosophy, it won’t matter if they mouth the words of Calvin, Luther, Henry, et al. Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking so much about style of worship. Style is a symptom of an inward condition. No regard for God’s holiness will manifest itself in a certain style of behavior just like having a high regard for God’s holiness will manifest itself in a certain style of behavior.
Missions will be led astray as well by the EC’s influence if missionaries adopt its philosophy. Encouraging stuff, no? Unfortunately, I fear that everything I am saying is the absolute truth or I wouldn’t be saying it.
The impact upon the lost is the most horrifying reality of all. Much of the EC is not even sure if there is a concept called “lost”. With this mindset, missions become nothing more than life enhancement programs. Feeding the hungry is a great and noble work but the eternal ramifications of giving folks the gospel cannot be ignored.
T: Do you think the church in America is in danger of reuniting with Roman Catholicism? Why or why not?
G: I think the church in America has already reunited with RC. Not officially but we have adopted many troublesome characteristics similar to the RC church. We pronounce who is and is not in the faith based upon our denominational or non-denominational preferences for one thing. This is not done in scripture. The only outward indication given in scripture that a person is saved is the evidence of their changed life.
We also are adept at adding to and modifying the Bible as desired by the current culture. We “legislate from the bench” so to speak. This is found nowhere is scripture. Bear with me for a moment and I will try to give an example.
It is popular today to reach out to those who are of different faiths in an ecumenical way in order to accomplish feel-good works. The idea of “finding something we CAN agree on and ignoring what we do not agree on” is big. It is almost as if we view ourselves as deal brokers instead of as representing God. We were never asked to do this in scripture. I’m not saying we are to be unkind or even isolationist in our attitude toward other faiths but what we believe (Christianity) is not only different from other faiths, it is exclusive. There is no wiggle room in the Bible for making unbelief equal to belief on any level.
Continue to follow me. I am not saying that to work on joint projects with other faiths means that we believe they are also valid in God’s sight for eternity but I am saying that when we do decide to “agree to disagree” about vital elements of Christianity, we are dishonoring God. We cannot win the lost by patting them on the back and giving them an implied endorsement. The truth must be told to them if we are to impact them for God’s kingdom. The truth divides. Division is looked upon as the worst cardinal sin of our day by post-modern people. Division is avoided at any or all cost. In order to remove the possibility of division, we must also remove the transmission of the truth. Making inroads in ecumenical ways removes elements of the truth. When you try to become ecumenical with people who are farther and farther away from the core truth of scripture, you have to remove more and more truth to get there! Stop the madness. God is sovereign, we are not. Let’s do what He told us to do and stop trying to slide people into the kingdom through a side door that does not really exist.
T: Is it beneficial for people like James McDonald to host gatherings such as the Elephant Room where people of very different perspectives laugh, chum it up, and simply ‘agree to disagree’? Does this have the danger of giving a stamp of approval to some people with really bad theological beliefs? Why or why not?
G: I fear that James McDonald, as well-meaning as I am sure he is, has done some harm to America with the Elephant Room stuff. The reason I say this is that the people around the table represented some major-league divergent perspectives. Some of what was discussed was questionable at best. To “agree to disagree” and leave it at that is the same thing as proclaiming to the nation that everything discussed is perfectly fine even though we do not share the same points of view. I do not believe McDonald intended to do this but I am afraid this was the result.
T: Many people in America claim to be Christian yet reports from Barna and others reveal there is statistically no difference between the way “Christians” behave as compared to nonChristians. What does this reveal about America?
G: I obviously do not make many “friends” by telling the truth. The current way to operate effectively in the church is the same as the way people operate in the world. Schmoozing has taken the place of sincerity. Deal-making and heavy-handed manipulation has replaced respectful discourse and collaboration. Bringing up this subject gets one ridiculed and abandoned. In far too many ways, the church in America is no different than the world. The Barna and FOTF study results prove it! Folks, this is not about music preferences. People in the church act no differently than anyone else in the world in far too many cases. This is not a good sign. America’s best days are ahead? I think not.
The only hope for America is the same as the only hope Israel had in scripture. We must repent and trust God. We have to be extricated from the throne. God is sovereign, we are not.
Truthinator: Let me take the time to thank you for answering these questions.