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Till Death? Pt.1
Till Death?  Pt.2
Deliver Us!
Women At Work
Poster- If My People

Liberty Advocate

http://www.libertyadvocate.com

 

 

August 2014

 

 

 

My dear friend, 

 

Last month, I discussed the first part of the 1950s magazine article “…is our religious revival real?” 

 

Today, like the 1950s, there is a revival of interest in religion. But that’s all it is…an interest.  This interest in religion has no moral impact on the individual or society.  And our churches are flooded with religious pretenders – hypocrites.

 

In the 1950s, church leaders also shared their concerns about whether the revived interest in religion was real.  The answer was a resounding “No.”

 

Continuing with the rest of the article consisting of questions addressed to religious leaders...

 

“Is it possible that people are seeking escape from fear through a shallow adoption of faith?”

 

Archbishop O’Boyle of Washington, D.C., feels that in this atomic age of unforeseeable calamity: “Many people are turning to religion as they would to a benign sedative to soothe their nerves and to settle their minds…I do not want to be cynical about any man’s struggle for religious faith, but for me and for the many like me, religion is not a thing of mere sentiment or personal escape from fears and dissatisfactions.”

 

Consider O’Boyle’s statements: “Many people are turning to religion as they would to a benign sedative to soothe their nerves and to settle their minds…religion is not a thing of mere sentiment or personal escape from fears and dissatisfactions.” 

 

Dear friend...

 

Are we guilty of using Christianity merely as a sedative to soothe our nerves and settle our minds? 

 

Are we using Christianity merely to escape from fears and dissatisfactions?

 

The article continues…

 

“The question is,” writes Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, “whether this generation is not expressing its desire to believe in something, to be committed somehow, even though it is not willing to be committed to a God who can be known only through repentance.”

 

Did you hear Dr. Neibhur use the now almost obsolete word “repentance”? He complains that his generation expresses a desire to believe in something, to be committed to something, but is not willing to be committed to a God who can be known only through repentance.

 

Now doesn’t this sound like today?  False Christians express their desire to believe in and be committed to some human cause:  human trafficking, feeding freeloaders, and other humanitarian causes. They are willing to be social activists, but they are not willing to be evangelists.  And they are not willing to be committed to a God who can be known only through repentance. In other words, they are passionate about committing to a social cause, but they are not passionate about the true cause of Christ – repentance and salvation and sanctification. They want a man-made religion on their own terms. And these terms are serving humanity instead of serving God.  In other words, secular humanitarianism (good works) replaces repentance and sanctification. 

 

The next question…

 

Can the present rise in church affiliation be largely explained in terms of population trends?

 

Certainly the overflowing Sunday schools are attributable to the huge increase in the American birth rate during and since World War II.  The duty to educate these children in religious matters has frequently led the parents to join churches.  Large movements of families from the city to the suburbs have once again made churches centers of civic activities.

 

Maybe in the 1950s other denominations were centers of civic activities, but during the 60s and 70s I don’t recall the Assemblies of God churches I grew up in being centers of civic activities. 

 

However,  in the 1970s, Karl Strader, pastor of First Assembly of God in Lakeland, Florida, replaced the Sunday night worship service with Christian movies, concerts, and other entertainment in the sanctuary.  Even though I was only a teenager, I left the church because of this sacrilege in the sanctuary.

 

And over the years, the Assemblies of God has progressively become an apostate entertainment-driven and social activism church.  The Assemblies of God embraced Rick Warren's communist religion and has driven the Holy Spirit out of their churches.

 

The next question asks religious leaders…

 

If there is a spiritual failure, are the individual church members to blame or the church itself?

 

The church leaders and congregations both share the blame, according to Dr. George F. MacLeod, a Scottish Presbyterian minister who has spent a year in this country on a visiting fellowship.

 

“Why do so many still pass by?” he asks.  “Are they afraid we haven’t got the answers to the pressing questions?  When real issues arise in the world, what happens to pastor and congregation alike?

 

“The church is often reluctant to dirty its hands.  It expounds piety, instructs us in methods of worship, consoles after crisis, but can offer little as it now operates in a confused and damaged world, at least in terms immediately translatable into flesh-and-blood living.  We must cease our abstention from the sordid facts of life and offer a realistic haven to the spiritually starved.  We must work toward a heaven on earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

 

Friend, this sounds like today’s cry of making the church “relevant.” 

 

Isn’t the mission of the church for the instruction and edification of the saints?  The instruction and edification of the saints does translate into flesh-and-blood living.  In other words, the Holy Spirit comforts, guides and instructs us daily through the Word. 

 

Dr. MacLeod doesn’t explain what he means by a “realistic haven to the spiritually starved.”  But a true church that preaches and teaches the true Word of God will be a realistic haven to the spiritually starved. 

 

And the final question asks…

 

What does religious conversion in the true sense mean?

 

“It means,” says Archbishop O’Boyle, “ the voluntary subjection of one’s self to God.  It is the complete acceptance of the will of God as our way of life, loyalty to Him in His suffering as in His hour of glory…For grace and salvation there is most likely (also) a pathway of trial and tribulation.

 

“When these things are understood, then I can say religion fares very well in our land today.”

 

Archbishop O’Boyle gives a false doctrine of true religious conversion.  He merely states that conversion is a conscious human decision to accept the will of God as our way of life.  But he leaves out the convicting and purifying power of the Holy Spirit that calls us to repentance and  righteousness.

 

True conversion means the Spirit of God convicts us of our unholy rebellion, leads us to repentance, and empowers us to live a life of holiness and righteousness.  Simply put, we are born again: this is the only true conversion. 

 

Specifically, the convicting power of the Holy Spirit moves us when we hear the preaching of the Word of God. 

 

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

 

Matthew Henry comments:

 

None of the famous men for wisdom or eloquence were employed to plant the church or propagate the gospel.  A few fishermen were called out, and sent upon this errand...God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, nor statesmen, nor men of wealth and power and interest in the world, to publish the gospel of grace and peace. Not the wise men after the flesh, though men would be apt to think that a reputation for wisdom and learning might have contributed much to the success of the gospel.  

 

Some modern-day Christians believe we must use human reason and logic and persuasive arguments and eloquent sermons to win souls to Christ.  But Paul soundly refutes this:

 

And my speech and my preaching was

not with enticing words of man’s wisdom,

but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

 

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,

but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:4,5

 

Paul did not use human reason to persuade people to believe the Gospel.  Paul reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.  In other words, Paul preached the Word and allowed the power of God to enlighten sinners to the Truth.

 

And Paul, as his manner was,

went in unto them,

and three sabbath days

reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Acts 17:2

 

Christians must use Scriptures to evangelize to lost souls.  And it is wholly up to the convicted to either repent or harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit.

 

Logic will not make us true Christians.

   

Human wisdom will not make us true Christians.

 

Human reason will not make us true Christians.

 

Persuasive arguments will not make us true Christians.

 

Eloquent sermons will not make us true Christians.

 

It is the Word spoken in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God that will convict and convert hearts.  And true conversion will bring forth the fruits of repentance: holiness and righteousness. 

 

Let us cleanse ourselves from all 

filthiness of the flesh and spirit,

perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

 

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

And that ye put on the new man,

which after God is created in

righteousness and true holiness.

Ephesians 4:23, 24

 

Do you understand that the fruit of true conversion is righteousness and true holiness?

 

Just believing in God does not make us Christians.  For even the devils believe.

 

Thou believest that there is one God;

thou doest well:

the devils also believe,

and tremble.

James 2:19

 

Remember what Archbishop O’Boyle said at the conclusion of the article?

 

What does religious conversion in the true sense mean?

 

“It means,” says Archbishop O’Boyle, “ the voluntary subjection of one’s self to God.  It is the complete acceptance of the will of God as our way of life, loyalty to Him in His suffering as in His hour of glory…For grace and salvation there is most likely (also) a pathway of trial and tribulation.

 

“When these things are understood, then I can say religion fares very well in our land today.”

 

Well, here’s the true answer to the question…

 

What does religious conversion in the true sense mean?

 

In Jesus’ words, true Christians are only those who have been born again.

 

Marvel not that I said unto thee,

Ye must be born again.

John 3:7

 

Notice Jesus says "must." It is an absolute requirement. There must be a new heart, and a new spirit, and old things must pass away. The corrupt soul must be purified and sanctified. We must be born again by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. And the fruits of true repentance will be holiness and righteousness. 

 

Without holiness we are an unholy people.  And unholy people will not enter in through the gates into that holy city.

 

Blessed are they that do his commandments,

that they may have right to the tree of life,

and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:14

 

Heaven is a holy city for a holy people.  

 

Only those who are born again may enter in through the gates into the holy city.

 

Ye must be born again.

   

Grace and peace,

 

Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.

Liberty Advocate

http://www.libertyadvocate.com