Thursday, October 6, 2011
The Elephant Room
If you don't know about them, take this link: Elephant Room
This thing is hyped as two different waves of evangelicalism coming together to discuss and hash out their differences. The goal is that each side can better understand, respect, and learn from each other. On the one side you have the neo-Calvinists, or the Young, Restless, Reformed crowd, represented by Chandler, Driscoll, and I suppose David Platt and James MacDonald. On the other side, the seeker-sensitive, bring numbers in at all cost crowd, you have Perry Noble, Steve Furtick, and perhaps Greg Laurie.
Basically, in the first elephant room, they talked about differences in how they engage culture, how they handle money, how much of the world they bring into the church to attract "seekers" (um, what seekers are there again???), how important going deep into doctrinal issues are, how important it is to love the gospel versus sharing the gospel (whatever that means) and things like that.
I'll keep this brief. Apart from the fact that T.D. Jakes is being invited to the second Elephant Room Conference, as if he were a solid, orthodox believer who is just having a cup of coffee with others who basically believe the same as him, the real issue is the gospel. Calvinism, the reformed faith, opened my eyes to the Truth of the gospel. The true gospel, in its purity. Now these reformed people want to muddy the clear and plain teaching of the gospel with men who don't boldly proclaim the true gospel. That's right, I am saying that Perry Noble, Steve Furtick, and even Greg Laurie, aren't clear and upfront with the gospel. It's at best a confused, diluted, murky gospel. At worst, it's not the gospel at all. I've posted on this much before, but once you start worrying about the numbers, you start creating systems that will allow for "decisional regeneration." Meaning, you will start preaching a gospel that has God promising to save sinners who not only desire to be saved, but also promise to make some life changing, heart altering commitment to Him, all by their own power.
That of course is a denial of salvation by faith alone. None of those pastors would say that salvation is by works, yet that is what they will likely preach. This isn't so much an Arminian vs. Calvinism issue as it is the true gospel vs. Charles Finneyism. The whole say a prayer for salvation, give your life to Christ, walk to the altar to show you are committed to no longer sinning and to living for God, in order to receive salvation/forgiveness of sins, means that you have just made the basis of your salvation contingent upon what you have done, not what Christ has done on the cross for you. How that can be ignored, is beyond me. But I suppose for the sake of popularity, and some sort of broader vision, this is happening.
It's just gone way too far for me. I've seen the effects of an "almost true gospel" false gospel on young people, shoot on any person, far too often. It just leads to hypocrisy, deception, and sin. In the end, it produces many false converts who only produce bad fruit. If these reformed guys continue to link arms with those who aren't proclaiming the true gospel, their ministries will do more harm than good.