Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Present day evangelism

This should be read by every professing Christian...

Arthur W. Pink

Most of the so-called evangelism of our day is a grief to genuine Christians, for they feel that it lacks any scriptural warrant, that it is dishonoring unto God, and that it is filling the churches with empty professors. They are shocked that so much frothy superficiality, fleshly excitement and worldly allurement should be associated with the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They deplore the cheapening of the Gospel, the beguiling of unwary souls, and the carnalizing and commercializing of what is to them ineffably sacred. It requires little spiritual discernment to perceive that the evangelistic activities of Christendom during the last century have steadily deteriorated from bad to worse, yet few appear to realize the root from which this evil has sprung. It will now be our endeavor to expose the same. Its aim was wrong, and therefore its fruit faulty.
The grand design of God, from which He never has and never will swerve, is to glorify Himself: to make manifest before His creatures what an infinitely glorious Being He is. That is the great aim and end He has in all that He does and says. For that He suffered sin to enter the world. For that He willed His beloved Son to become incarnate, render perfect obedience to the divine law, suffer and die. For that He is now taking out of the world a people for Himself, a people which shall eternally show forth His praises. For that everything is ordered by His providential dealings, unto that everything on earth is now being directed, and shall actually affect the same. Nothing other than that is what regulates God in all His actings: “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36)
That grand and basic truth is written rat across the Scriptures with the plainness of a sunbeam, and he who sees it not is blind. All things are appointed by God to that one end. His saving of sinners is not an end in itself, for God would have been no loser had every one of them eternally perished. No, His saving of sinners is but a means unto an end: “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” (Eph. 1:6) Now from that fundamental fact it necessarily follows that we should make the same our aim and end: that God may be magnified by us — “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) In like manner it also follows that such must be the preacher’s aim, and that everything must be subordinated thereto, for everything else is of secondary importance and value. But is it so? Take the latest slogan of the religions world, “Youth for Christ.” Well, what is wrong with that? Its emphasis! Why not “Christ for Youth”?
If the evangelist fails to make the glory of God his paramount and constant aim, he is certain to go wrong, and all his efforts will be more or less a beating of the air. When he makes an end of anything less than that, he is sure to fall into error, for he no longer gives God His proper place. Once we fix on ends of our own, we are ready to adopt means of our own. It was at this very point evangelism failed two or three generations ago, and from that point it has farther and farther departed. Evangelism made “the winning of souls” its goal, its summum bonum, and everything else was made to serve and pay tribute to the same. Though the glory of God was not actually denied, yet it was lost sight of, crowded out, made secondary. Further, let it be remembered that God is honored in exact proportion as the preacher cleaves to His Word, and faithfully proclaims “all His counsel,” and not merely those portions which appeal to him.
To say nothing here about those cheap-jack evangelists who aim no higher than rushing people into making a formal profession of faith in order that the membership of the churches may be swelled, take those who are inspired by a genuine compassion and deep concern for the perishing, who earnestly long and zealously endeavor to deliver souls from the wrath to come, yet unless they be much on their guard, they too will inevitably err. Unless they steadily view conversion in the way God does — as the way in which He is to be glorified — they will quickly begin to compromise in the means they employ. The feverish urge of modern evangelism is not how to promote the glory of the triune Jehovah, but how to multiply conversions. The whole current of evangelical activity during the past fifty years has taken that direction. Losing sight of God’s end, the churches have devised means of their own.

Bent on attaining a certain desired object, the energy of the flesh has been given free rein; and supposing that the object was right, evangelists have concluded that nothing could be wrong which contributed unto the securing of that end; and since their efforts appear to be eminently successful, only too many churches silently acquiesced, telling themselves “the end justified the means.” Instead of examining the plans proposed and the methods adopted by the light of Scripture, they were tacitly accepted on the ground of expediency. The evangelist was esteemed not for the soundness of his message, but by the visible “results” he secured. He was valued not ac-cording to how far his preaching honored God, but by how many souls were supposedly converted under it.
Once a man makes the conversion of sinners his prime design and all-consuming end, he is exceedingly apt to adopt a wrong course. Instead of striving to preach the Truth in all its purity, he will tone it down so as to make it more palatable to the unregenerate. Impelled by a single force, moving in one fixed direction, his object is to make conversion easy, and therefore favorite passages (like John 3:16) are dwelt upon incessantly, while others are ignored or pared away. It inevitably reacts upon his own theology, and various verses in the Word are shunned, if not repudiated. What place will he give in his thought to such declarations as “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” (Jer. 13:23), “No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him” (John 6:44), “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:14)?
He will be sorely tempted to modify the truth of God’s sovereign election, of Christ’s particular redemption, of the imperative necessity for the supernatural operations of the Holy Spirit.
In twentieth-century evangelism there has been a woeful ignoring of the solemn truth of the total depravity of man. There has been a complete underrating of’ the desperate case and condition of the sinner. Very few indeed have faced the unpalatable fact that every man is thoroughly corrupt by nature, that he is completely unaware of his own wretchedness, blind and helpless, dead in trespasses and sins. Because such in his case, because his heart is filled with enmity against God, it follows that no man can be saved without the special and immediate intervention of God. According to our view here, so will it be else-where: to qualify and modify the truth of man’s total depravity will inevitably lead to the diluting of collateral truths. The teaching of Holy Writ on this point is unmistakable: mans plight is such that his salvation is impossible unless God puts forth His mighty power. No stirring of the emotions by anecdotes, no regaling of the senses by music, no oratory of the preacher, no persuasive appeals, are of the slightest avail.

Continue reading here...

7 comments:

Darrel said...

A frightful but accurate account of what passes for evangelism in our day. Were it not for the intervention of my gracious Savior, I would be one to complain that I had accepted Jesus as my Savior at an early age and did not deserve the eternal punishment that awaited me. But God saved me in spite of the lies I had believed.

Early in this article Pink briefly touched on another of the 'strong meat' doctrines that has all but vanished from today's pulpits. "The grand design of God...is to glorify Himself..." Today's version of what salvation is and means is so laced with narcissism that it has become disgusting. The salvation we have been granted is not primarily that we may escape hell and the wrath of God-though we do. Salvation is given that we may, as God's new creation, glorify Him, praise Him, and honor Him. Ezek. 36:21&22; 36:31&32 1John 2:12 tells us that the salvation we now experience was given to us for His Name's sake, that for all eternity all of creation may see the results of His handiwork in the forgiveness and regeneration of sinners. Oh, that this would gripe our heart and cause us to fall freshly broken before Him. May we understand that in the end nothing else matters but the eternal glorification of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

lyn said...

I am so glad you pointed that vanishing doctrine out Darrel, you are correct. Is it any wonder Christianity is in dire straits? May God raise up men who will stand up and boldly proclaim the meaty doctrines of the faith that are sorely lacking in our day.

Linda said...

Very good article you've found Lyn. The very first line says it all.

I'm so grieved that man thinks there's something "good" in himself to even "choose" God.

ALL is of God's GRACE!

ali said...

Things don't seem to have changed much since Pink penned these words.

The depravity of man continues unabated without the truth of The Word of God which is lacking in far too many congregations.

Thank you for posting these thought-provoking comments.

lyn said...

Linda, I am convinced most do not even understand grace or the extent of it in saving sinners. It isn't sinners doing their part and God doing His, for if it were, the glory would be shared, and God will NOT share His glory with another! This is why it's so important to speak of God's glory, and speak of it often. Darrel nailed it {as he usually does!} when pointing out the absence of this meaty doctrine.

Those of us who understand grace must give God all glory !

lyn said...

Ali,

You said it sister, there are far too many weak willed men preaching weak sermons and fearing man more than God. Ears are being tickled while souls are still in their bondage to sin and under condemnation.

It is always a blessing to hear from you sister, I pray all is well with you and your family.

Linda said...

Exactly lyn. Darrel nailed it.