Neo-Evangelicals and Ecumenism
and undiscerning Christians
by David Cox
[Ort04] v1r ©2009 www.coxtracts.com
You may freely reproduce this tract
2Thess 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
To understand who are the new-evangelicals and how they affect us, we should understand something of church history in our times. Before the 1900s, there were strong currents within good churches in that they strongly believed in the Inspiration and authority of the Bible. But others refused to love and accept all that the Bible said as having the full authority of God. In place of denying this divine authority directly, they used a work-around where they attacked the trustworthiness of the Scriptures as not being complete, saying that it is possible that there are errors in some parts of the Bible. Their attack was because they didn’t want to submit themselves to the authority of God over their lives, but they instead placed doubt on God’s Word, saying that the Bible didn’t faithfully represent God’s Will.
In that time, there were many arguments over the Bible, and at last, they caused all the doubt that they could by creating an atmosphere that allowed them to remove those parts of the Bible that they disliked from being considered as “authoritive” (at least by them).
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
All of this caused a great disturbance between churches (which continues today), and still the faithful people of God affirm and fight against those that attack the authority of God. In those times, the faithful used the name “Orthodox”, which the unfaithful copied without holding faithfully to the Word of God. With time the faithful, sought another “handle” to identify themselves, and there have been several through the years. The main idea is that these unfaithful, rebellious people compromise God’s doctrine, commands, and practices, and the faithful “separate” from them (refuse fellowship).
The Compromise of Principles.
But with time, the faithful realized that even though these identified themselves with the same name, they didn’t walk the walk. While the faithful cut fellowship with these that didn’t believe the Bible, some of their group liked to maintain fellowship with them, and another issue broke out. So the faithful denounced the unbelievers saying they were Christians, and they also separated in fellowship from these heretics and also from those brethren who kept fellowshipping with them and cooperating with them. In time, whole denominations fell as well as fellowships and groups, and then well-known ministries and personalities all because they didn’t profess the fundamental doctrines of the faith or they worked with those who didn’t hold to them faithfully. So the key issue became not just WHAT YOU PROFESS to believe and practice, but ALSO WITH WHOM YOU ASSOCIATE WITH AND ENDORSE. Slowly the issue began to crystallize and focus on what are the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, or the fundamentals of the faith. God’s true people fought to be faithful to God, believing completely in the Word of God, in its declarations, doctrines, and integrity as believing the fundamentals of the faith. At one point there were three groups, the fundamentalists, the modernists (that rejected out of hand the clear doctrines of God’s Word), and those who wanted to be associated and accepted by the Fundamentalists but fellowship with the modernists.
The Fundamentals of the Faith
Matt 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
The Bible explains that there are foundational beliefs of the Christian faith. In other words, these beliefs distinguish one from the rest because on these fundamentals rests salvation and the inspiration of the Bible, from which all else flows. These fundamentals define salvation and the Christian life (holiness). Jesus rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees because they lost “the more important parts of the law” to irritate the people with unimportant things.
Matt 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Of course, the heart of the fundamentals was about the Bible’s authority, being inspired by God, its faithfulness which extends to the very words, to say that it is sufficient, it is inerrant, and that it has the authority to order and direct our lives.
The key for these neo-evangelicals is their affirmation of believing in the Bible (to be accepted) but while they say that, they also want to say that its authority is partial, and only they can discern what is in error and what is not. This is so that they don’t have to repent and obey what offends them.
2Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Another area of battle is the person and work of Jesus Christ, who is totally and completely God. His very life is a rebuke to these compromisers. This corruption also involves the fall into sin and sinful nature of all men, and the very need of salvation for every man. When other religions are accepted as valid, then evangelism and missions are now without any real purpose. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is also attacked, as well as his imminent return in judgment. Separation from false doctrine is not joined with the need for separate from people who fellowship and support working with false prophets and heretics.
The Historical Principle.
Matthew 7:24-27 speaks of the rocks or fundamental foundation of the faith as something on which one “builds a spiritual house”, but the actual term “fundamentalism” was really used until 1920, when Harry Emerson Fosdick preached in a Presbyterian church against the doctrine of the Bible, and that denomination demanded that he preach “the infallible doctrine of the Bible, the birth of Jesus by a virgin, the atonement for our sins by the substitution in the cross, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and Jesus’ actual miracles that were all the basis of our faith.” These essentially became recognized as “the fundamentals”. Fundamentalism has been defined by fundamentalist John Ashbrook as three elements, (1) militant beliefs (that we fight for because they are highly held convictions), (2) the proclamation of these beliefs and convictions, (3) the separation from those who are not fundamentalists when necessary (Axioms of Separation p11).
Neo-evangelical Harold John Ockenga of Fuller Seminary defined New-Evangelicalism with “while we affirm the theological view of fundamentalism, we repudiate its ecclesiology and social theory. We demand a repudiation of separation and exhort a social participation…” The social participation is with people who do not believe and practice the fundamentals of the faith. Ashbrook’s analysis of neo-evangelicals and ecumenists is this: (1) they repudiate separation. (2) they demand social (ministerial) participation with liberals or fence straddlers, (3) They are dedicated to a theological dialog, making compromises between the two opposing positions (liberalism and fundamentalism). Imagine God dialoging with Satan. At what point would God give in to the Devil? Over what issues would God concede a change of doctrine to Satan? God calls us to fight and repudiate the Devil and never give in not even an inch. God demands that we retain and defend, even fight for the truth and not give up anything.
Names, Labels and Identification.
From this time, the faithful to God have sought another name to use to represent themselves, but with time, every term they use for themselves is corrupted by these spies that enter and then compromise. These names have ranged from “orthodox”, to “evangelical”, to “fundamentalist” and even that name now has it’s compromisers. But at least many are seeing issue of the walls of orthodoxy being broken down by these people. Also money is an issue today. Denominations who believed and confessed the truth in their old doctrinal statements have been infiltrated by new-evangelicals and ecumenicals that moved these organizations into perdition, and ultimately they even deny God in the same form as we have seen with the movement in general. True Christianity believes in and practices aggressive evangelism with the Gospel, but these people denounce that, using proselytism to their own cause rather than the gospel of the Bible. Their movement is marked by spiritual apathy towards evangelism, strong preaching that causes repentance and spiritual change into the image of Christ, missions (winning the world to Christ), or even just simple prayer to change things.
Matt 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
So these organizations and churches have gone the way ecumenicism and distrust Scripture, and reject the will of God, choosing only what appeals to them personally, but they have many a problem of their own. These problems have discouraged the church causing low attendance and participation (also low incomes and few people surrendering to the ministry). Their evangelism does not confront false doctrine in general but rather embraces it. When they members die off, there are few to replace them, and their churches close their doors. Rather than win people to the Lord and start new churches to hold them, these people must infiltrate and corrupt good churches to get new members to their group. When good Christians recognize their danger, they leave even good churches when there is no resolve in that church’s leadership, and they cave in, and join the ecumenical spirit. This is the only way to fight them, denounce them, and separate from them. But the casualty of this war is that years of faithful people’s tithing has gone into buildings and bank accounts, to be surrendered to the ecumenicals instead of being used to do God’s work. (It is better to go light on property, and heavy on salaries of people that actually do evangelism). But they become rich, but without any reproductive way to continue (except corrupting good people).
Another element of these people is their substitution of social work for the true gospel. They cannot preach against sin because they have become soft-spoken on that, not wanting to convict themselves. So they “do good works” hoping that that will bring people to them, and it will, as long as the freebies continue. But these people who seek gifts will never sacrifice themselves for the work. From there it will continue until a philosophy of universalism, everybody will go to heaven will be what they seek.
Eccl 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
In this tract I outline what is wrong with the neo-evangelicals and ecumenism in general.
The Compromise of Principles
The Fundamentals of the Faith
The Principle from a Historical Perspective
Names, Labels, and Identification
|Date:||March 17, 2016|