We are continuing our series of studies entitled the making of watered down churches part 2. On this post we want to look at our conservative Evangelical churches and see what is the root cause of our shallowness? If we were to ask this question from some Christian friends we usually get comments like these, we lack discipleship or we have too many distractions…etc. There is certainly an element of truth in all of these, but in my judgement one of the main causes of shallowness in our churches is due in part to our misunderstanding of the nature of man. Today most of professing conservative Evangelicals believe that human beings are basically good and they can either choose God or reject him. This view has more in common with secular humanist view of human beings than historical Christianity. Biblical view of humanity is one of fallenness, virtually every Christian denomination has had some form of doctrine of original sin. Today our culture has had a profound impact on our understanding of human beings. Once again we have adjusted the biblical view for a cultural view. Please consider a biblical portray of human beings.
Rom. 5:12 “…sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
Eph. 2:3 “…by nature children of wrath…” We are in our (very) nature children of wrath. The question is how did we became this way? Did God made us this way or something went wrong?
Rom. 5:10 “…for if while we were enemies…” Who were we enemies of? How did we become enemies?
These are a few sample of verses that describe the condition of human beings in the New Testament. Let’s consider how the wrong view of mankind impacts our evangelism endeavors. We try to see what people are lacking or desiring and we tell them to come to God and get those things. Here are a few examples:
People in our country want success, we tell them, come to Christ and he’ll give you health and wealth. People lack direction in life, we tell them come to God and He has a plan for their lives. People lack a sense of purpose, we tell them come to Christ and he’ll give them a sense of purpose. The problem with these approaches are God becomes a means to an end. We come to God to get what we are ultimately after. What kind of impact would this have on our churches?
Our churches would be made up of half saved and half unsaved people. We would try to avoid anything that may upset some of our people, could it be that these people might not even be saved? Another common approach is to try to entertain them, this way they would enjoy their time at church and would want to come back. When we go down this road we ultimately become lukewarm, because we cannot make natural people spiritual. In my judgement, our departure from a biblical view of man has contributed to our man centered evangelism, which in turn has made our churches weak. Once again we do all of this to win people, rather than trusting the power of Almighty God to draw his people to himself.