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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Dr. Bruce D. Cummons
From Voice in the Wilderness, 9/96
"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister." (Colossians 1:23)
A man and his wife were driving through the pleasant countryside on a beautiful Sunday
afternoon. The husband at the wheel, and his wife of many years, were both lost in
their own thoughts. Suddenly, the wife spoke:
"Honey, when we were first married and went for a Sunday afternoon drive, we didn't
sit so far apart!"
The husband quickly replied, "Well, Sweetheart, I haven't moved!"
A very old illustration to be sure, but may well state a truth to be applied spiritually!
Fundamentalism Seems to Be "Moving"!
When God called me to preach some forty plus years ago, and I first became acquainted with "Fundamentalism," the lines were clearly drawn. When a preacher, a fellowship, a Church, or a school was called "Fundamentalist" you knew exactly where they stood!
If a man was a modernist, there was no mincing of words about it, and no question as to what was meant. A "modernist" was one who questioned the authority of the Word of God, and the accuracy of the Book. A "Modernist" was a preacher, usually in a denomination or group that often questioned the Virgin Birth and Deity of Christ, the necessity of blood atonement, the reality of Hell, and had no idea about the meaning of the Second Coming of Christ!
They were "all working together to bring in the kingdom, to better the world, and to usher in the Millennium." There was no question where a man stood. He was a "Fundamentalist," or a "Modernist"! Certainly there were other marks as to separation, cooperation, and the Fundamentalist "...earnestly contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints!"
Then came on the scene the movement known as "New Evangelicalism," with its watering down of cardinal doctrines, its emphasis on "love" over doctrine, cooperation with anyone or any group that calls itself "Christian," and the cooperation and fellowship in meetings, programs, and purposes that even embraced the Modernists and those of extreme false doctrine, concerning the Word of God.
The term, "New Evangelicalism" was first coined by Dr. Harold J. Ockenga in 1947, but became a popular and growing movement in the early to mid fifties.
It is sad, but true, that many preachers, Churches and schools that began in staunch, bedrock Fundamentalism, (or at least SEEMED to be true Fundamentalists) are drifting into New Evangelicalism, and some have jumped into New Evangelicalism in one big leap! There is very definitely a "drift" of Fundamentalism into New Evangelicalism, and some have ceased to drift but have taken the plunge over the falls into the mainstream of New Evangelicalism!
What Is New Evangelicalism?
The New Evangelical is one who places "love" over Bible Doctrine and Biblical Truth. He declares boldly that he believes in an Inspired and Inerrant Bible ... BUT ONLY IN THE ORIGINALS! He may preach a beautiful and sound message on the gospel, and how to be saved, and then encourage them to "go to the Church of their choice," where they may well either freeze or fry!
They may never in the "church of their choice" ever again hear the gospel, or a sermon on Hell and the Judgment of God, nor see another person publicly profess their faith in Christ! They may use one of dozens of different "translations" of the Bible, and drift into all kinds of false doctrine. This matters little to the New Evangelical, who is more interested in being accepted by certain groups and friends, and building his following, than he is interested in SOUND DOCTRINE, and being faithful to the Book!
He has little interest in the command of our Lord given in the "Great Commission." The command of Christ is very clear. We are to go into all the world, preaching the gospel to every creature, winning them to Christ (or making disciples).
We are to baptize those who have received Christ, or believed on Him as their Personal Saviour: THEN WE ARE COMMANDED TO "TEACH THEM ALL THINGS, WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU..."! Teaching, instructing, and indoctrinating believers in the Word of God is just as much a part of the "Great Commission" as going, winning souls, and Baptizing them!
They cannot be properly taught in places of modernism, apostasy, unbelief, or false religion! Nor will they be grounded and settled in the faith in a Church or school—College or University, that has become New Evangelical!
(Read carefully Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:41-42 and Colossians 1:23).
Will you note that the early Bible Christians were saved, then baptized, then they CONTINUED in doctrine, fellowship, and faithfulness to Christ and His Church. Love was evidenced, but DOCTRINE, and TRUTH, and FAITHFULNESS was all important as to governing their FELLOWSHIP!
What Is New Evangelism? Dr. Charles Woodbridge well sums it up, and Dr. George Dollar agrees, as set forth in the following.
First, New Evangelicalism is SEEKING AFFLUENCE. Pride of intellect. A yearning to look good in the eyes of the unbeliever.
Secondly, A LONGING TO IMPRESS THE WORLD. A concern for social issues and rapport with apostates. Prestige. Bible Colleges wanting to become liberal arts Colleges. Seeking accreditation and recognition from the world.
In the third place, A SHIFT IN SEPARATION! A shift to enjoy the world and be a part of it, instead of separation from it. Changing values. Contemporary sound in music and the falsely called, "Gospel Rock."
Fourthly, A SHIFT IN THEOLOGY! A doctrinal shift. They state that we must "rethink" our doctrine of Inspiration and Inerrancy concerning the Scriptures. They would instruct us to "rethink" the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ; of Pre, Post, or Mid Tribulation Rapture; of Creationism to accommodate some of the teachings of evolution.
One of the most dangerous changes is calling for "A COMMITMENT TO CHRIST," RATHER THAN A CONVERSION! Many have made "commitments to Christ," but have not been converted ... saved ... Born Again!
In the fifth place. A CORRESPONDING PRAGMATIC ETHIC, or a making of society and the world better! The "social gospel," to make a better world, instead of the Gospel of Christ that redeems us, and calls us to come out of the world.
Surely we all agree that the power of the Gospel will change an individual. He is a "new creature" in Christ Jesus! He will be a better parent, and
have a good influence on his family, friends, neighbors, and fellow workmen.
Surely we are to be the "salt of the earth," and it is our Christian duty to vote and to have our part in the cause of right, BUT WE ARE NOT HERE TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD TO USHER IN THE KINGDOM! WE ARE HERE TO WIN THE LOST AND PREPARE THEM FOR THE COMING OF CHRIST, WHO WILL ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM, AND RULE OVER ALL THE EARTH!