Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why People Say No to the Gospel and Yes to Evangelicalism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 3, 2015

ppt-jpeg4What I have come to learn is the lost world understands more about the gospel than professing Christians. The longer a professing Christian goes to church, the less they know about the things of God. I am not saying they don’t know things and learn a bunch of stuff, it’s just that none of it is biblical.

As a born again Christian in 1983, I was totally full of joy and on fire for God, and then church happened. And worse yet, I added to the calamity by going to seminary. What followed was a long dark path of doubting my salvation, being unnecessarily enslaved to sin, and total confusion in regard to what the Bible clearly stated as set against what happens in church. I went through periods where I just threw in the towel and said, “Just keep your mouth shut and serve the church; obviously, I am the problem, all of these people couldn’t be wrong.” Then the stupidity would once again become more than I could bear, and I would start asking questions again.

Finally, I got too good at asking questions in 2007 and the church folks put a full court press on me. After being cast outside of the camp, I sat alone save a few, but there was only one thing that I could see: the promise that “If you seek me you will find me.” And so the journey began at the place where I came from, the joy of my original salvation, but this time with the addition of real knowledge. I believed the promise, and I would find the truth in this life or run out of time and find it in the next—either way was fine with me at that point.

This post is about one of the things I have learned in the journey. People don’t say no to the gospel because they are “totally depraved and have not been shown the kingdom by God’s divine providence,” they say no to the Evangelical gospel because they know it’s not the gospel. Actually, they say no to the Evangelical gospel for the same reason evangelicals say yes to their own false gospel; neither want to lose their own lives to find it.

That’s right, unbelievers don’t want to lose their present life, and they know being saved means exactly that. For the most part, they know this intuitively because the “works of God’s law” have been written on their hearts as with everyone born into the world. As an unbeliever, I said no to many evangelicals who told me that I only needed to believe, and it had nothing to do with anything regarding behavior as that would be “works salvation.” As an unbeliever, I agreed with the basic framework of the wording, but knew that wasn’t the gospel. A demand to cease from the present things that I enjoyed was not the issue, I knew that those things would no longer be part of my being. I would indeed lose my present life, and would be launched into a life that would be something totally new apart from what I had lived with all of my life.

What is it that I didn’t like about the Evangelical gospel? Basically, no new birth. You remain the same, and maybe God will change you and maybe he won’t—it’s totally by faith alone. I knew do’s and don’ts wasn’t the issue, I knew it was a faith alone gospel without the new birth. They plainly told me that any change that would occur in my life was totally up to God because it’s faith alone apart from works, but I intuitively interpreted that as no new birth. Granted, I wasn’t ready to change, but if I ever was, I wanted real change/salvation. They plainly stated, and we hear this today, all of the time, that CHANGE isn’t the issue, but rather “seeing more Jesus.” I interpreted that as no new birth, though I wouldn’t have used that terminology. They were selling a no loss of present life gospel. It sounded tempting; you can keep your present life while merely seeing more Jesus, but I knew it was a pipe dream. I knew what the true result of believing is: new birth; the loss of present life and a future completely entrusted to Christ.

This is why evangelicals say no to the true gospel of new birth and embrace the idea that justification is nothing more than a “legal declaration.” If justification is a legal declaration, new creaturehood doesn’t justify us, a mere declaration does. Skeptical? Let me prove my point with “waist deep theology” rather than Jesus seeing. Evangelicals further state that the declaration alone would be “legal fiction.” Why so? Well, because we are in essence unchanged, but yet God is calling us “justified.” What to do? Their solution is a double denial of the new birth known as double imputation. Supposedly, Christ came to not only die for us, but to keep the law perfectly in our stead. If we continue to live by faith alone, Christ’s BEHAVIOR is also imputed to our account totally apart from any behavior we have. We hear it all the time: “It’s not about anything we do—it’s about what Jesus has done.” Obviously, this makes a real and literal new birth completely unnecessary. OUR behavior is completely irrelevant… “We proclaim the gospel, we don’t try to be the gospel.” If you’re an evangelical, you can have your cake and eat it to. And look at the church accordingly; any questions?

As a new believer, I assumed the church did not deny the new birth as a whole, and that I would find bliss on earth frolicking about with God’s new creatures. Chuckle. Oh the naivety of youth. I took the new birth so seriously, that as I began to live out my Christian life, the fact that I still sinned dismayed me. I searched for answers within the church in regard to reconciling present sin with the new birth. Of course, I wasn’t able to find satisfactory answers because the evangelical definition of new birth is not the biblical definition. Hence, I wallowed in weakness and confusion for years. And sadly, in every church I was ever in, I was one of the leaders! It would be hilarious if not so utterly pathetic.

The home fellowship movement is the freedom and hope believers need. It holds forth the true gospel of new birth. It is the literal family of God, and that’s why we worship where we live. A false gospel has no authority. Come out from among them and be free.

paul

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One Response

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  1. Lydia said, on November 4, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    “What is it that I didn’t like about the Evangelical gospel? Basically, no new birth. You remain the same, and maybe God will change you and maybe he won’t—it’s totally by faith alone.”

    I heard a speaker last summer liken Evangelism to a sort of Ponzie scheme meme.

    Like


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