To start, I want to apologize to everyone for whom I have not been clear enough in the past about what I will write here today. For many reasons, some legitimate and some not, I have not expressed how much I hate and how dangerous and defiled I think it is. Some of you are going to read the title and get it immediately, some will sort of get it, and others will be clueless. I want to help.
It is difficult to know where to start, mainly because it is difficult to know the primary source of the problem I'm addressing. The worst of it is a false gospel, but I don't know if it starts with that. That's the most foundational, unless I included a fundamental distortion of the identity of Jesus Christ as a part of the false gospel. However, a false gospel is in part what comes out of it and then one notices is a necessity for the distorted sanctification and methods. The gospel, sanctification, and then methods always interrelate.
Everyone needs to change, including me, and to do that, people need patience. Sometimes patience becomes an excuse. We just don't want to take the hard step of confrontation, exposure, and separation. I still don't want to do that. I want to be liked too. We don't want to be alone. It seems horrible and stupid that we enable bad stuff by accommodating. I have done that though. Stick with me here. I'm not going to give my history, but I did put up with some associations that were wrong, because I thought it was appropriate. I don't think so any more.
I want to give as succinct a summary of what I'm talking about first. As I summarize, I am not fully certain on the order of how the elements of this appear, but I'm going to give my opinion in as positive manner as possible. That is the only aspect that is opinion, the order. The elements are actual -- they are occurring. Here goes.
Churches use gimmicks to lure lost attenders in order to have more people. The attenders come for the attraction and when they get there, a message is preached, called a gospel. This is not a crowd coming mainly because it wants the gospel, but because of a gimmick. A service and a message is geared to that kind of person. Over time, people make professions and don't stay, what is sometimes called a turn-over. A low percentage stay.
The professions are still explained as salvations. The message may have been believe, pray this prayer, or even repent, with repent being solely a "change of mind" or a "mere willingness to change." When the attendees stop coming to church, they are still considered to be saved people, but they're "backslidden," because they never were "dedicated." The people who come back are those who were "saved," but now are dedicated. Some (very few) do, if they "get right." This dedication is the view of sanctification. The idea is people who are saved need some experience after salvation that will cause the salvation to flourish and be fruitful. Some have it and others don't, but even those who don't have it -- they're still saved.
The last two paragraphs are the essence of what I'm talking about -- a lot more could be said. The false gospel is the corrupt response to the message they proclaim. The message must be wrong too, because you can't have an actual saving Jesus in the heart of the one with something less than a right response to Him. So, yes, Jesus is distorted too. Was this caused by the method? Maybe. I think the method was led by the desire for success, which is church growth and it will authenticate the church as being powerful or having revival. It's a man-centered method. The later dedication that brings someone back to church is the second blessing. That experience is the keswick one. I also believe many have convinced themselves that this is a true version of Christianity, like other false views have.
I don't want to have anything to do with what I'm describing above. I want to stay as far away from it as I can. I don't even see it, as a whole, as Christianity. I think you have some Christians in these churches and organizations, but overall it isn't Christian. I don't want anyone to think I support the above with my association and my proximity to it. Some might think I believe it is permissible, with some justification. I don't at all.
What I have described above also comes with a lot of other distortions. It isn't unusual that these churches have revivalistic music that is part of their church growth philosophy, that isn't worship. The music is merely a method. These associate a certain type of music with the Holy Spirit because of the feeling it produces. They think the feeling is the Holy Spirit working or moving. This fits with its false view of spirituality that is the distortion in its sanctification.
Often these churches also have to have a certain style of "preaching." They think of it as "alive." The preaching isn't dead, but "alive." What they consider "living" is actually just emotional. They often can't handle biblical teaching or at least much of it, because they don't think that it is endued with the Holy Spirit. The preaching and the music go hand in hand. The feeling all tends toward emotional decisions that might also produce "dedication." All of it amounts to manipulation and it fools people, and yet the advocates say "God is blessing" or "God worked." It mostly isn't God. I say mostly only because there is some Bible there, and if and when there is, God does bless that, but only when it occurs.
I want to park a moment on the false gospel. The worst reduce the "gospel" to repeating words or "praying a prayer." Others, not the ones doing it, have called this "1-2-3 pray-with-me." Some say that repentance is not a prerequisite to justification and salvation, but a post-justification work. Some say that repentance is repenting of unbelief. Some say that repentance is a mere change of mind that accompanies faith. Some say that repentance is a willingness to change, but will not necessarily result in changing. They say you've got to want to change, but you may not for awhile. None of what I've described is a biblical response to gospel truth, but these are the versions of the gospel that fall short, that accompany the wrong methodology and the distorted sanctification.
Also what I am explaining fits with a certain view of church government. The church needs an operator, who can keep it all going, to keep it all in alignment. I've often called him the circus-meister. He must hold tight reigns on everything, since the grace of God will not. There must be a means to produce the look of true sanctification. Some of the behavior is right, but it is caused by a system that isn't.
The evil junction of all these things has turned into a kind of religion and it is how false religion starts and builds. The people involved now think it is the truth. If they see something different, they think they are seeing an impostor, which they reject. In so doing, they think they've shown good judgment. They've actually walked away from the light. It creates a people who lack in discernment. And the lack of discernment is sometimes what is necessary to keep the show going.
When these churches perform these acts, they call it love. They see themselves as being loving, since they also see their goals as good. This "love" isn't love, but sentimentalism. Love is according to the truth, and this is not the truth. So love is twisted as well.
What is very sad is that a lot of what I have described is called Baptist and independent. It is not Bible, however. It is not obedient to the Lord. It is its own way.
If you represent what I'm writing about, do not go into a defense mode. Be willing to change. Consider what I am writing and whether it is you. Examine yourself. Evaluate what you are doing. Believe the Bible. Do just what it says. Trust in God. Wait on Him. Find your satisfaction in Who He is and what He said. Rely on God's Word to convince others of the same.
Learn a true gospel. Preach only a true gospel. Expect those who make professions to live for Christ. When they don't, don't consider them to be saved. Stop relying on extrascriptural and unscriptural means. Stop manipulating people. Plant and water. Let God give the increase. Worship God. Enjoy the results God gives. Live by faith.
If you are supporting what I've warned about. Stop doing that. Help those people to change. Don't accommodate them any longer.