Yesterday (Aug 1) I received a call from a Mr. D. S*****, representing a local Pentecostal Church, and inviting me to an inter-church musical event in a local park. He informed me that he had 21 or 22 local churches already signed up to participate in this event. My response was to refuse because I knew that to have so many churches from Penticton involved required many compromised organisations to be involved. A few sentences later in the conversation it became clear that top of the list of those involved were local Roman Catholic churches as well as the Anglican church.
I was asked if I wanted to state a reason for refusal to participate in such an event. I attempted to explain that it was wrong to engage in an act of worship or evangelistic activity while including those who denied the gospel. As the conversation proceeded it became clear that Mr. S***** had little idea of the issues involved in this matter. The conversation ended with him recommending me to the mercy of God and he hung up. It is because his tragic, hackneyed responses and the points he made to justify his inter-church event are commonly used today that I felt prompted to write this post.
Jesus’ example. It is common to hear it stated that since the Lord Jesus went about dealing with sinners, it is proper to include those who do not accept the gospel in evangelistic efforts like this inter-church event. It is very clear that the Saviour did NOT include among His disciples those who openly and deliberately opposed His doctrine! He preached the truth to sinners but did NOT allow such to join with Him to lead others in worship, or to present His message with Him as an equal particpant. The distinction was always maintained between Himself/His true followers and all who rejected His word. If Mr. S*****’s logic were Scriptural would we not find joint services between Christ and the Pharisees, for example?? This did not happen! Rather the Saviour denounced those who opposed His teaching in the strongest terms.
The reality is that the Jesus cited by ecumenists is in fact a false Christ (2Cor 11:4) – one of their own imagination whom they can use to justify blatant disobedience of Scripture and avoid separating from sin and error.
No perfect Church or pastor. I was pointedly told that I must be without sin to denounce sin in others! This is a pet objection used by ecumenists. IF this was true then it would never have been possible for a prophet/preacher since the dawn of time to say anything!! Every Christian must certainly do their utmost to practice what they preach or else their witness has no credibility, but a lack of perfection is not to silence God’s people as they witness against sin. Rather, they deal with it first in their own lives and witness by word and practice to others. It is to be noted that this consideration of a lack of perfection never seems to stop the likes of Mr. S***** telling me that I am wrong! Perhaps he has found what has eluded me.
No judging!!! How wearying it is to hear the words of Matthew 7:1 used in this context – Judge not, that ye be not judged. The Saviour is not forbidding judgement but insisting that we will be judged by the same standard we judge others by. Clearly, in the context of this passage the Saviour requires us to make a judgement between what is righteous and what is wicked. As I told Mr. S*****, when I proclaim the condemnation of God on sin, I have the authority of God behind the words. My private judgement on any matter is no better or worse than any other private individual, but when any Christian states for example: “adultery is wrong and all who engage in it are sinning against God” they are in agreement with the teaching of Scripture, and they have authority to do so. This in not because of any personal merit but because of the authority of God’s book and His Law. Sadly, the reality is that it is because Mr. S***** and multitudes like him do NOT exercise judgement according to Scripture that they involve themselves with that which God has forbidden.
There is a sobering commentary on this matter of ‘not judging’ found in the words of Paul: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:28 AV) The word reprobate is literally ‘void of judgement’. A lack of Biblical discernment/judgement is in fact the mark of the unregenerate! How strange that modern ‘christians’ have made what is an evidence of a sinner into an evidence of what they call a ‘christian’!!
A sinner might be saved.This statement was used to me to justify the event. ‘It will all be worthwhile if God uses it to save just one sinner’. This is very wrong! To justify activity that Scripture condemns on the grounds that a sinner may be converted is perverse disobedience. Salvation is of the Lord and it is true that He has saved sinners in extraordinary circumstances. However, Mr. S*****’s logic justifies the murder of the Lord Jesus by Jewish and Roman authorities, since He saved the dying thief as He was on the cross. Since Peter very clearly speaks of the wicked hands that crucified Christ, the fact that a sinner was saved does not justify doing what was wrong. The logic employed here is perilously close to that which Paul denounces: “And not [rather], (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (Romans 3:8 AV) To reason that potential good justfies behaviour that disobeys the commands of Scripture is – to use Paul’s terms – an evil, a slander upon the truth, and in fact is ‘damnable’ thinking. These are strong terms, but they indicate the mind of God in response to the reasoning employed by Mr. S*****!
In this context it is appropriate to ask, What will that potential convert be converted to? Mr. S***** cited the hymn Amazing grace and John 3:16, impressing me that it was entirely possible that a sinner could partake of the saving grace of God whether that hymn was sung by a Roman Catholic or not. He seemed oblivious the fact that the ‘Amazing grace’ a representative of the Church of Rome might sing gustily about is NOT the saving grace of God. Roman Catholicism defines grace as the favour of God as it is mediated and dispensed by the Church of Rome. In Rome’s eyes, the ‘grace’ of baptismal regeneration; the ‘grace’ of consuming Christ in the blasphemy of the Mass; or the ‘grace’ of having sin forgiven through confession to a priest and performing penance; is all amazing! A sinner may be converted to Rome’s view of Amazing grace and be more firmly on the road to Hell than ever before. Sadly, in such an event, Mr. S***** would be congratulating himself on the success of his inter-church venture.
It is not the message of a hymn that saves but the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is revealed in Scripture. It is wrong to promote a false gospel in the hope that it might be used to convert a sinner.
The Bible is clear.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2Jo 1:10-11 AV)
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1Ti 6:3-5 AV)
The word of God is very clear on how God’s people are to withdraw/separate from everything that is a compromise of the gospel of Christ. The apostate Church of Rome and its Protestant counterpart in the Church of England, are touchstones of unbiblical error. Any event which involves them may be dismissed by the Bible believer as involving a disobedient association. These churches – and many like them – are not churches of Christ but as the Scripture puts it, synagogues of Satan. The doctrine taught in these churches is foreign to the Bible and while it may be a form of religion is decidedly not the doctrine and practice of the Bible.
By incorporating the false teachings of the Church of Rome and the modern Anglican church, as well as other unbiblical errors, into this inter-church event Mr. S***** and others like him are found by God to be partakers in their evil deeds and doctrine. As such, he brings the censure of God upon his own head.