The scary thing about living in Denmark and becoming well acquainted with a typical "danish evangelical" is that we must be close to the bottom feeders in the false teaching food chain. The foul emergent postmodernism and church growth philosophy that filters out from mega church suburbia seems to be manifold worse by the time it reaches our shores.
It is scary to listen to Paul Washer's caricature of the state of modern evangelicalism in America as he lays out in his "Shocking Youth Message". What is even more scary is that Paul Washer's caricature would be a vast improvement on the state of the supposed gospel preaching that goes on over here.
Places like Willow Creek (Bill Hybels) and Saddleback (Rick Warren) have created a monster of sorts with no seeming way of domesticating it. Here is the lay of the land as I see it and I welcome your feedback as to whether you think I'm onto something or not.
With people like Robert Schuller pioneering the consumer driven church (where we survey pagans to see what they want in the church) we saw the trend of dumbing down of biblical teaching. A culture of biblically illiterate consumer minded church goers emerged. Smaller churches with little entertainment became the catchment areas for seeker sensitive mega churches. The continual influx of these people concealed the high number of people going out the back door who were bored with the same shallow entertainment week in week out. Making the narrow gate into a wide gate by focussing more on self esteem, success, and sensuality, and less on sin, self denial, and sanctification was certainly one way to draw large crowds.
These large crowds drew attention from leaders in places like Denmark where they sat in the ruins of the reformation pondering how to "revive" their non-existant congregations. Biblical theology had been abandoned on both sides of the Atlantic leading to liberal heresies in Europe and pragmatic methodology in the US. Enamored with the perceived success of the seeker sensitive gurus in the America, people outside the USA have gravitated towards this methodology at the expense of sound theology.
Biblical discernment has become unbelievably low paving the way for people like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell to step out of the church growth trojan horse and say "hey, we've got some new ideas about what the Gospel really means but don't worry, trust us we're orthodox!" William P Young can write a blasphemous book about the Trinity (The Shack) and get rave reviews.
There are still many good and faithful preachers in the USA who are continually proclaiming the truth and turning on the light. But I want to put forward my contention amidst the woeful biblical discernment I'm experiencing here in Europe. I beleive it may be time to preach with greater and greater focus on exposing darkness. The civility Rick Warren longs for is actually becoming the problem over here. Civility coupled with a complete lack of biblical discernment is producing a sub culture of people who say amen to John Macarthur and Joel Osteen. Who download Paul Washer and read the Shack. Who can't tell the difference between the teaching of Rob Bell and Ray Comfort.
I come from Australia, and when I take my five year old daughter there I don't spend time discussing with her the best way to handle snakes - I tell her to stay a million miles away. When we talk about Hitler we don't try and balance the death of 6 million Jews with all those great roads that he built. We call evil what it is. If someone is preaching a false gospel, don't spend time trying to write an even handed review pointing out the virtues as well as the short comings - even a broken clock gets it right twice a day! The Apostle Paul said:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).
If a shepherd loves the sheep he will protect them from wolves. A key responsibility for pastors in a time of severe biblical illiteracy is to provide clear lines of demarkation between truth and error, as well as remove the fog of seeming semi-approval that rests between each end of the spectrum. How dare any other gospel come along and try to replace the precious blood of our wonderful Savior. Be like Paul and totally slam any other gospel that tries to pass itself off as the real one; all the while persevering in the true biblical Gospel that God is good, man is evil, God must judge, heaven and hell, Christ the penal substitutionary atonement, and the need for all men everywhere to repent from sin and trust in Jesus!
The False Teachers: Benny Hinn
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