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Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Death of Discernment

By Justin Edwards

The following article from my friend Chris Quintina of Calvary Chapel Cypress gives us a provoking reminder that the times we are living in are indeed perilous, and the greatest evidence can be found within the church. The Bible is clear that the time will come when men will no longer follow sound doctrine and fall away from the faith. We are the Church of Laodicea - the last church of the Age. Be alert to the trappings of the lukewarm church, and cling to your first love Jesus Christ.

The Death of Discernment
-By Chris Quintina

The Christian church is in a time of deep peril. A steady and gradual movement away from Biblical truth has been underway, in the modern churches, for decades. Churches are becoming a place where people can identify with a brand (Christianity) and not a Savior (Jesus Christ). Church has all too often become a place to be dazzled by visually stunning, program oriented and highly entertainmening productions, all designed to appeal to the senses and emotion.

While all of this is going on shouldn't we ask, where has the message of Salvation through a risen Jesus Christ gone? Where is the weighty message of the innocent Son of God paying the price for our guilt caused by our sin? People are made to feel comfortable, rather than being told the truth. People are entertained and moved along their way without ever having been confronted with their most desperate need, forgiveness of their sin. Should any of this come as a surprise? Not really, we have been warned. 

Paul told us (1 Corinthians 1:18) "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" and so we see churches avoid the foolishness they see in The Cross, as Paul put it. But there is more to this story and it is the second part of Paul's message to the Corinthians "but to us who are being saved it is the power of God".

A Friend recently brought something to my attention recently and it was chilling to read. What I read was written in the late 60's and the copy I had in my hand was from 1971. It was prophetic in ways that were profound to me. It so thoroughly predicted our current state of affairs in the church that it could have been written yesterday, but it was written 40 years ago. 

Here is a portion of what I read. 
With increasing frequency the leadership of the denominations will be captured by those who completely reject the historical truths of the Bible and deny doctrines which according to Christ Himself are crucial to believe in order to be a Christian. In some of the largest Protestant denominations this has already taken place. The few remaining institutions which are not yet dominated by the disbelievers will go downhill in the same manner.

There will be unprecedented mergers of denominations into "religious conglomerates." This will occur for two reasons: first, most denominations were formed because of deep convictions about certain spiritual truths. As more of the truths are discarded as irrelevant because of unbelief in Biblical authority, there will be no reason to be divided. Unity is certainly important to have, but never, according to the teachings of Christ, at the expense of the crucial truths of Christianity.

Secondly, as ministers depart from the truths of the Bible they lose the authority and power that it has to meet real human needs, and as many ministers who are not truly born spiritually themselves and are consequently without the illumination of God's Spirit, they no longer will be able to hold their present congregations, much less attract others. So they resort to "social action gimmicks," super-organization, and elaborate programs as a substitute.

As Paul predicted concerning these ministers in the last days: holding to a form of godliness [literally religion] although they have denied it's power..... And again he says "they are always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth (II Timothy 3:5,7)
The Late Great Planet Earth Pg. 182 

Hal has had his share of ridicule by his sceptics since this book was published. However, regardless of one's view of the entire book, he seemed to have a firm grasp on the direction and inevitable destination of the modern seeker friendly and emrging/emergent church movements. 

We should all stay on guard,

Pastor Chris

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