Saturday, October 01, 2011

Do Evangelists and Christian Apologists Have the Wrong Target Audience?

Over the course of time a number of cases of the following have been mentioned at this blog: what could only be described as false cases of the regeneration of sinners (thus false conversions to the Faith) or else extremely contra-Christianity behavior on the part of nominal Christians. We can now add the following story, which happens to be similar to a situation that affected a congregation of mine years ago:

Trial starts for pastor in murder-for-hire case - Houston Chronicle

Remember first and foremost that false conversions or questionable conversions are things that hide in plain sight. In the biblical record we have data such as the following: Matthew 7.21-23, Matthew 25.1-13, John 6.66, John 17.12, 2 Corinthians 11.26, Galatians 2.4; Jude 1.4,19, 2 Peter 2.20-22, 1 John 2.19. In the modern record we have things such as MLK’s theological writings and the story of the atheist pastors in Holland; there is also the matter of what we personally see and hear of those co-workers, relatives and acquaintances of ours who claim to be Christians.

Make up your mind now that if there so many false converts in the time of the apostles, then the number of false conversions that we see today is to be expected. In fact, the number should be even higher given anecdotal observations and contemporary methodical surveys of the content of beliefs of American “Christians” today: you know, the ones that indicate all sorts of heterodoxy in the hearts and minds of “Christians.”

So false beliefs, false teachings, and false conversions are wide-spread among rank-and-file Christians today. All of this leads to the following question: What business does the church have in evangelizing and doing apologetics work among recognized unbelievers when the church is meanwhile in desperate need to clean its own house?

Should the actions of a murderous Anders Behring Breivik be allowed to falsely represent the fruits of the gospel of Christ and word of God because no one bothered to muzzle this liar by explaining that claims of being a Christian can flow as easily as someone’s claiming to visit “St. Louis” when they’re just going to Town & Country, St. Louis County or someone’s claiming to be “from Baltimore” when they’re from Towson, Baltimore County?

Should the actions of “ex-Christians” be allowed to false represent the fruits of the gospel of Christ and word of God because some particular person believed the preaching that if you trust Christ for a care-free life your problems are solved--even where this preaching stands in the place of the gospel of Christ which tells us how and why Jesus *is able to save people from divine wrath and to grant forgiveness of sins*?

If the reader answers these questions in the negative, then hopefully he or she will consider immediately getting back to basics: the basics of everything really. It is important for Christians to re-discover what exactly the Gospel--or the propositions asserted by it or contained in it--really is. It is also necessary to re-discover the essentials of Faith: e.g., what biblical/trinitarian theology is in contrast to competing heretical ideas of the nature of God. After that, it is time to make sure other “Christians” recognize the same truths.

To continue to allow the status quo is the alternative. But Christians are not going to like the results of the alternative. Fifty years from now the term “Christian,” which is already increasingly less informative as a denotation, will be so meaningless that you will need a new choice of words to denote yourselves. In the meantime, heretical groups will have co-opted the term “Christian,” right along with the history and institutions that go with it: you now become the new Mormons or JWs in the sort of marginalized existence in which you now find yourself as group.

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