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How Evangelicals Lost the Gospel

 
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Post How Evangelicals Lost the Gospel Link
How Tradition Can Substitute for the Gospel:

How the Gospel Was Replaced by Extrabiblical Sayings and Rituals in the Evangelical Movement

In the 20th century evangelicals try to preach and witness to people who intellectually acknowledge certain creedal statements about Christ, but who do not demonstrate a transformed life and who do not seem to show any evidence that they think these ideas they acknowledge has to do with them. These ideas are the types of things we read in these verses:

I Corinthians 15
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Christ is seen as 'the Savior', but not someone who saves me personally. Evangelicals are concerned over cultural Christians who are not born again.

So evangelicals preach Christ's death and resurrection, that He died on the cross for your sins. You need to repent as an individual and respond to the Gospel in faith. A number of arguments and approaches are developed to explain this.

One argument is that the audience needs to accept Christ as 'your personal Savior.' This is a cryptic statement without explanation, so preachers explain that you, as an individual must repent. Christ is not just the Savior of the world in some generic sense. You must repent and believe Christ to be saved. But, over time, the explanation is dropped off, and evangelicals ask people they witness to 'Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior'... without explanation, and have them repeat prayers 'accepting Jesus as your personal Savior.' The member of the audience has personal property. His personal computer is his own. No one else can use it. This phrase means little sense to him.

Then comes, "It is not a religion, it is a relationship." The word 'religion' was an okay word for Christians. It shows up in the Bible in James 1, where James contrasts pure religion versus vain religion. But, somewhere around 1990, it becomes the norm to tell people that religion is bad. The evangelicals who do this redefine religion to mean man's effort to reach God, empty religious efforts that are insincere or that do not have God's grace behind them. But they don't explain that. Meanwhile, any unbeliever who has not encountered the evangelical cultural bubble thinks 'religion' means the same thing it does in the dictionary, the same thing it did to evangelicals before the '80's and '90's-- that which has to do with God or gods. Many evangelicals are telling unchurched people that 'religion' is bad without explaining it. Eventually, those who convert through the evangelicals efforts pick up what the new definition of 'religion' means by osmosis.

In the 1950's, Billy Graham had large numbers of people coming to his crusades. Those interested in converting would be sent to a room to talk to a counselor who walked the seeker through some materials. Previous evangelists had used other methods-- having people pray for peace about salvation by themselves or with others, shaking a famous preacher's hand to signify they had believed the message, or filling out a decision card. Billy Graham's counselors had a book that allowed people to make a confession based on Romans 10:9-10 based in the form of a prayer. As the crowds grew, Billy Graham had seekers who came forward to the front during the 'altar call' repeat the prayer.

Billy Graham was very popular, showing up on celebrity roasts and talk shows on TV. His crusades drew huge crowds around the world. Many churches imitated his methods, having seekers at altar calls repeat a prayer confessing 'I am a sinner", the fact that Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead.

Other preachers also had seekers pray to 'ask Jesus into your heart' along with the other parts of the prayer, using a verse where Jesus told the Laodiciean church he stood at the door and knocked, and if any man would open the door, He would come in and sup with that man and he with Him.

Somehow, in many churches, the Biblical parts of the Gospel got to be omitted from many evangelistic efforts. The preacher does not tell the audience that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, or that He rose from the dead. Then He has the audience repeat a prayer to accept the Jesus He has not preached into their hearts. Not all churches do this of course.

And in the minds of many evangelicals who grew up in this culture, THE way to get saved is to repeat the prayer, whether the Gospel is preached or not. In their minds, the Gospel is 'ask Jesus into your heart.'
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10/1/20 3:46 pm


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I see there are no comments on the thread. I'm wondering if those who read agree or disagree? Maybe it was too long and people clicked but did not read. Acts-perienced Poster
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10/3/20 1:29 am


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Post Da Sheik
I think there are a myriad of people that have prayed some kind of rote prayer and think they're saved but they're lost. Acts Enthusiast
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10/4/20 9:37 am


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Post FLRon
I am of the opinion that never before in the history of the Church have so many been so deluded as to what Biblical salvation entails. The Gospel has been replaced with something the early Church leaders would have categorized as “another gospel”, one falling under the heading of “accursed” to use the words of Paul.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it”. Matthew 7:14
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“No man is greater than his prayer life”.
Leonard Ravenhill
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10/4/20 2:33 pm


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Post I talked with a minister over 30 years ago that knew Frank C Thompson caseyleejones
that created the Thompson Chain bible.(not the Dake Wink ) The minister was almost 90 back around 1980's.

Anyway, this minister and Thompson were buddies and they would have long talks with each other. One thing Thompson told this minister and that he relayed to me was if the bible is exactly as it says and I am interpreting it correctly, not many will make it to heaven.

Not saying he is correct but it has stuck with me all these years.
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10/4/20 2:50 pm


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Post Preacher777
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Last edited by Preacher777 on 10/8/20 5:53 am; edited 2 times in total
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10/5/20 7:10 am


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I posted this in an A/G forum on Facebook, got some likes, but I also got a lot of negative responses. Someone called me an idiot and said I was splitting hairs. Some other posters seemed to think what I was criticizing was the gospel, though they weren't specific enough about it to know for sure.

But my guess is A/G's are more inclined to have absorbed the evangelical practice of having people repeat some kind of prayer and declare them saved without preaching the Gospel first. I've seen this in the A/G, but it is hard to know how widespread it is.

Swaggart used to use a 'sinner's prayer' approach, but it was basically a confession of Romans 10:9-10 and other Biblical truths in the form of a prayer. I don't know if he still does that. I haven't watched enough Swaggart to know, but I wonder if his comments that 'They have forgotten the cross' has something to do with the habit of leaving out important preaching like about Jesus being Lord, Christ, dying for our sins, and rising from the dead, before declaring people saved for repeating a prayer.
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10/5/20 10:26 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
Couldn't agree more with this. Great article. Well written and persuasive. It's unfortunate you got such negative feedback on FB.

At our church (which is reformed baptist) we do at times have invitations, and we do talk in terms of accepting Christ into your heart, accepting him as your savior, etc. But only after an explanation of what He is saving from, and the means thorough which He has saved.

We rejoice with all who accept this invitation and profess faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, but our pastors and members do continue to walk and work with that person, so that their salvation might be "confirmed". Not that we demand or expect works, but of course we do and should expect fruit if their conversion was sincere, not as a work, but as a natural outflowing of the regenerative work God has done.

This is really scary stuff that you're talking about. People go to big evangelical churches, say a prayer, get into a growth group, start serving, and may do so without ever having heard an actual proclamation of the gospel, and without ever having understood what it means to be saved or how Christ saved them. As Romans 10 continues: "And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?"
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10/5/20 10:39 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
Saw this quote this morning from Rachel Darnell, which also seems germane:

"When you come across a teacher who talks about obedience more than they talk about what Christ has done for us, move on and look for something better. They may mean well but they don't understand that obedience is powered by looking at Christ's finished work, not our obligation."

We tell people to pray a prayer and then we start telling them how to live right (either through old-time legalism or by giving them 6 steps to a perfect marriage). Instead, we should -- before their conversation and after -- be telling them what Christ has done for them and how he has enabled, and continues to enable, them to walk in godliness as he leads.
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10/5/20 12:20 pm


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