This is my first blogging experience. Why blog? Well, I see this as an opportunity to express my values, hopefully all based on God's Word, the Holy Bible, to a lost and dying world. Whether someone will actually find something useful here remains to be seen. Whether I offer a unique perspective or not really is not the issue. I intend to borrow from other bloggers and websites to offer biblical truth relevant to the Christian and the non-Christian.
Why call this blog "The Rescue Shop?" It is my conviction that, in addition to the fact that 9 out of every 10 people are not considered Evangelicals and thus are most likely not saved from the coming wrath of God due to their sin, up to 50% of any given local congregation is also probably not saved. This is what the Southern Baptists discovered in a study done in 2005.
Now, if the evangelistically-oriented Southern Baptists feel that up to one out of every two church members is a false convert, a tare among the wheat, a goat among the sheep, what does this say about other less evangelistically-oriented denominations?
A.W. Tozer has said, "It is my opinion that tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ, and they have not been saved." Tozer had even gone on record as saying that he believed 9 out of 10 members of Evangelical churches were false converts!
Dr. D. James Kennedy stated, "The vast majority of people who are members of churches in America today are not Christians. I say that without the slightest contradiction. I base it on empirical evidence of twenty-four years of examining thousands of people."
Could it be that we are guilty of proclaiming a false gospel? Have we avoided the clear call to repentance and faith (Acts 20:21) in favor of a more politically-correct, less-offensive gospel? Have we promised salvation to people if they would just pray "the sinner's prayer?" Are we guilty of giving assurance of salvation to people who have "asked Jesus into their hearts" without any call to repentance?
EVALUATING OUR MESSAGE
We all must seriously evaluate our message, the content of our gospel. Does it measure up to the Bible's? I know I used to promise people salvation if they would ask Jesus into their hearts to change their lives. There was no talk of the need to repent from sin and, to top it off, I would try to convince them they were saved because they had "opened the door of their heart" to Jesus, because they now have Jesus in their life (1 John 5:11-13).
It's somewhat understandable, however. Most of us "Evangelicals" have been brought up with this "modern/heretical" gospel, without even realizing it. The biblical gospel has always been preached, but not by the mainstream Evangelical Church. Fundamentalists have preached it all along, but were seen by mainstream Evangelicals as so out of touch that the biblical gospel message they preached was even questioned. Many Reformed brothers and sisters, as far as I can tell, preached a more biblical gospel, but again many joined the ranks of the mainstream Evangelicals in their gospel content.
The result is plain to see: The so-called "Salt & Light" is not performing its God-given role. Instead of "keeping the main thing the main thing," Christians have emphasized meeting felt needs with their "gospel" vs. the real need of salvation from the wrath of God, from God himself! We must, therefore, reevaluate our message. We also need to reevaluate our methods.
EVALUATING OUR METHODS
We often see, coupled with a watered-down message, a non-confrontational method of getting that gospel to others. I'll grant you that one could, like Bill Hybels did in his book Becoming a Contagious Christian, build a case for differing styles of evangelism. However, most Christians denounce the legitimate, biblical confrontational style (that even seeker-friendly Hybels endorses) as irrelevant and even unbiblical! I find this simply amazing! I mean, let's open our eyes, folks! It may not be your style, but don't try to convince me it's, of all things, unbiblical! On the contrary, you see a greater emphasis on this style, especially the public proclamation of the gospel, throughout the Gospels and the book of Acts, the only New Testament narrative books. Let's wake up and rescue a more proactive approach to our evangelistic method.
After all, we've received our marching orders from Jesus. People are dying by the boatload and going into a Christ-less eternity - Hell. We have the tool - the Bible. What are we waiting for? Why do we cower in the corner while sinners boldly proclaim their points of view. Could it be that we ourselves aren't saved? Could it be that we are living double lives, living the Christian life on Sunday while we waste the rest of our time on our own pleasures. Do we hunger and thirst after righteousness? If not, we may need to seriously evaluate whether we've ever had a genuine conversion experience. Paul writes to the Corinthian church the following: "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5 - NASB)
And how about your natural prejudice towards a more confrontational approach to evangelism? Could it be that you do not really believe that it is the gospel that is powerful unto salvation, and not your less-confrontational methods, your slick illustrations, your ability to build relational bridges to the lost, etc.? This is something to think about, at least. Please do, and offer any feedback below.