Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…
False Teaching

Market-Driven Christianity

by Dan Fortner, from Grace Gems.org

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men–or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men–I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

Religion in America is big business. Scads of money, powerful personalities, huge egos, and positions of prominence, influence, and recognition are at stake in the business of religion, just as they are in any other business. There was a time when the concern of churches and preachers in this country was the glory of God and the truth of God. Today, like any business, the concern is for success.

Christianity today is market-driven. The goal of all marketing is to make both the buyer and the seller satisfied. Consequently, market-driven churches, in utter abandonment of God’s glory and God’s truth, in their insatiable quest for success and recognition–do whatever it takes to win customers and keep them.

Be warned! False doctrine and worldliness always go hand in hand. Worldliness usually leads the way. The early modernists did not aim at destroying biblical Christianity. They simply tried to make Christianity palatable to an unbelieving world. It cannot be done. When Christianity becomes acceptable to unregenerate people–it has ceased to be Christianity!

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing!" 1 Corinthians 1:18

Be discerning of counterfeit gospels

I recently read this post by Tullian Tchividjian regarding the danger of counterfeit gospels. We are living in a dangerous time within evangelical church history. The truth of the gospel is being skewed and compromised. You may ask how does or how can that happen? I encourage you to read this article.

In his book How People Change (co-authored with Tim Lane), Paul Tripp identifies seven counterfeit gospels– ways we try and “justify” or “save” ourselves apart from the gospel of grace. I found these unbelievably helpful. Which one (or two, or three) of these do you tend to gravitate towards?

Formalism. “I participate in the regular meetings and ministries of the church, so I feel like my life is under control. I’m always in church, but it really has little impact on my heart or on how I live. I may become judgmental and impatient with those who do not have the same commitment as I do.”

Legalism. “I live by the rules—rules I create for myself and rules I create for others. I feel good if I can keep my own rules, and I become arrogant and full of contempt when others don’t meet the standards I set for them. There is no joy in my life because there is no grace to be celebrated.”

Mysticism. “I am engaged in the incessant pursuit of an emotional experience with God. I live for the moments when I feel close to him, and I often struggle with discouragement when I don’t feel that way. I may change churches often, too, looking for one that will give me what I’m looking for.”

Activism. “I recognize the missional nature of Christianity and am passionately involved in fixing this broken world. But at the end of the day, my life is more of a defense of what’s right than a joyful pursuit of Christ.”

Biblicism. “I know my Bible inside and out, but I do not let it master me. I have reduced the gospel to a mastery of biblical content and theology, so I am intolerant and critical of those with lesser knowledge.” Read More...

The problem with positive thinking and self help pyschology

This article is from TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman 09-17-2010

..."Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord
Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

God's people should be the most positive, joyful people on earth. This
joy should be a by-product of a healthy, intimate relationship with
Jesus. In today's business climate, we are barraged with every
possible means of becoming more productive workplace believers.
Positive thinking and self-help philosophy are promoted as tools for
workplace believers to fulfill their potential and overcome the
mountains in their lives. God calls each of us to be visionary
leaders, but we must be careful that vision is born out of His Spirit,
not the latest self-help program.
These ideas lead us away from
dependence on God to a self-based psychology designed to give us more
power, prosperity, and significance.

The result is heresy. Our faith in God becomes faith in faith. It is
born out of hard work and diligence rather than obedience to God's
Spirit. The problem lies in that these philosophies sound good, and
can even be supported by Bible verses. Beware of anything that puts
the burden of performance on you rather than God. There are times in
our lives when God doesn't want us to climb every mountain. Sometimes
He wants us to go around. Knowing the difference is the key to being a
man or woman led by the Spirit.

God has called us to affect the workplace through His Spirit, not by
our might. Have you tapped into the real power source of the soul? Ask
the Lord to reveal and empower you through His Spirit today. Then you
will know what real positive thinking is.

Christians Beware!

“The heart of most religions is good advice, good techniques, good programs, good ideas, and good support systems. These drive us deeper into ourselves, to find our inner light, inner goodness, inner voice, or inner resources.

Nothing new can be found inside of us. There is no inner rescuer deep in my soul; I just hear echoes of my own voice telling me all sorts of crazy things to numb my sense of fear, anxiety, and boredom, the origins of which I cannot truly identify.

But the heart of Christianity is Good News. It comes not as a task for us to fulfill, a mission for us to accomplish, a game plan for us to follow with the help of life coaches, but as a report that someone else has already fulfilled, accomplished, followed, and achieved everything for us.”
—Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life, p. 20

The "prosperity" gospel

This article is from Dr. Michael Horton, professor at Westminster Seminary, who is the host of the popular national radio show The WhiteHorse Inn.

"Name it, claim it"; the "health-and-wealth" or "prosperity gospel" : these are nicknames for a heresy that in many respects is only an extreme version of perhaps the most typical focus of American Christianity today more generally. Basically, God is there for you and your happiness. He has some rules and principles for getting what you want out of life and if you follow them, you can have what you want. Just "declare it" and prosperity will come to you. God as Personal Shopper.

Although explicit proponents of the so-called "prosperity gospel" may be fewer than their influence suggests, its big names and best-selling authors (T. D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, and Joyce Meyer) are purveyors of a pagan worldview with a peculiarly American flavor. It's basically what the sixteenth century German monk turned church reformer Martin Luther called the "theology of glory": How can I climb the ladder and attain the glory here and now that God has actually promised for us after a life of suffering? The contrast is the "theology of the cross": the story of God's merciful descent to us, at great personal cost, a message that the Apostle Paul acknowledged was offensive and "foolish to Greeks."

So what is the Emergent church anyway?

Here are some of my study notes from a D.A. Carson lecture on the subject of the Emergent Church.

The Emergent Church is a movement that is only about a decade old.

This particular movement was sparked by frustration and protest but this is more in a personal sort of way. Many of those involved write about themselves, they typically come out of conservative churches and are pushing back against those sorts of messages and methodologies.



The frustration the emergent church deals with in regard to traditional churches
- a lack of genuine relationships
- a rigid approach to life
- a strong adherence to truth and rules
- a legalistic environment


And the break out of the movement has taken the pendulum far to the other side of the scale.

In particular they are protesting against two things:
1. A reaction or push back against modernist churches or churches with a strong emphasis on certain values or creeds
2. It is a protest against the mega-church, the first being traditional and modernist. And the second being those who are just pragmatic.


They want to offer a third option.


The profile for a typical traditional according to emergents would include:
organs
pews
pulpit
religious symbols
lots of theology


The pragmatic evangelicals which they would consider to be
Willow Creek - Bill Hybels
Saddleback Church - Rick Warren

And would be characterized by the following items
  • highly polished
  • theatre atmosphere
  • very seeker sensitive
Read More...

Beware of 7 countefeit gospels

From Tullian Tchividjian:

In one of his [Paul Tripp] books (co-authored with Tim Lane), How People Change, he identifies seven counterfeit gospels—-”religious” ways we try and “justify” or “save” ourselves apart from the gospel of grace. I found these unbelievably helpful. Which one (or two, or three) of these do you tend to gravitate towards?
Formalism. “I participate in the regular meetings and ministries of the church, so I feel like my life is under control. I’m always in church, but it really has little impact on my heart or on how I live. I may become judgmental and impatient with those who do not have the same commitment as I do.”

Legalism. “I live by the rules—rules I create for myself and rules I create for others. I feel good if I can keep my own rules, and I become arrogant and full of contempt when others don’t meet the standards I set for them. There is no joy in my life because there is no grace to be celebrated.”

Mysticism. “I am engaged in the incessant pursuit of an emotional experience with God. I live for the moments when I feel close to him, and I often struggle with discouragement when I don’t feel that way. I may change churches often, too, looking for one that will give me what I’m looking for.”

Activism. “I recognize the missional nature of Christianity and am passionately involved in fixing this broken world. But at the end of the day, my life is more of a defense of what’s right than a joyful pursuit of Christ.”

Biblicism. “I know my Bible inside and out, but I do not let it master me. I have reduced the gospel to a mastery of biblical content and theology, so I am intolerant and critical of those with lesser knowledge.”

Therapism. “I talk a lot about the hurting people in our congregation, and how Christ is the only answer for their hurt. Yet even without realizing it, I have made Christ more Therapist than Savior. I view hurt as a greater problem than sin—and I subtly shift my greatest need from my moral failure to my unmet needs.”

Social-ism. “The deep fellowship and friendships I find at church have become their own idol. The body of Christ has replaced Christ himself, and the gospel is reduced to a network of fulfilling Christian relationships.”