The Bible answers the question II Timothy 4:1-5
“The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The Old Time Gospel and Old Time Religion are closely entwined
1. The Old Time Gospel is what we believe; it is the gospel Jesus preached…the death burial and resurrection
2. It is the gospel the disciples preached and God fearing churches down through the ages preached.
3. It is the gospel that Paul defended when he said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8
4. The Old Time Gospel is what we believe—-The Old time religion is standing on the truth of the old time gospel.
James the brother of Jesus defines the old time religion, which he calls the “pure religion”, James 1:26-27 26. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
27. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
1. First, this passage warns about being deceived in our heart concerning religion and also warns us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, or separate from the world.
2. Second, it gives the four identifying marks of the old time religion;
How we speak; How we believe; How we serve: How we live:
In his book “Playing marbles with Diamonds” Vance Havner says: “The Devil is not fighting religion. He’s too smart for that. He’s producing a counterfeit Christianity, like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against.
People somehow think they have to change or enhance that which God has ordained to be the truth of the gospel.
W. A. Criswell was one of my favorite preachers; he never wavered from the faith. He pastored what became the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, First Baptist Dallas Texas. Dr. Criswell started preaching when he was 17 and also began to pastor a little country church.
He told of a time when the little church was having a prayer meeting and on this occasion the men went out into a grove beside the meeting place. Dr Criswell said, “I have never heard such testimonies. One man got up and said I was plowing in the field and a fire ball came from heave and knocked me to the ground. I don’t know how long I lay there. When he became conscious, he told how the plow and the mule and everything looked. Another man stood up and said that one day God sent an angel form heaven that told him how to be saved.“
Dr Criswell thought to himself. “I must not be saved because I never saw anything like that. So he began to pray every day that God would send him evidence that he was a Christian. So one day God sent a miracle.”
Dr Criswell had a dream that he was in a large crowd approaching the pearly gates of heaven when the Lord stopped him and said, “Why should you enter my heaven and walk on my streets of Gold?” Dr Creswell said, “I know I’m saved because a fireball came from heaven and knocked me to the ground.” Satan was there and he laughed ha, ha, ha; “I sent that fire ball to deceive you.” And he took hold of him and dragged him down into the fire and brimstone of hell.
Again Dr. Criswell found himself walking toward the gates of New Jerusalem and the Lord stopped him and said, “Why should I allow you to enter and walk upon my streets of gold?” Dr. Criswell said, “I know I’m saved because an angel of light came from heaven and told me how to be saved.” And Satan was there and he laughed, and said, “I transformed myself into an angel of light to deceive you.” And he took hold of him and dragged him down into a spiraling sheet of flames.
Once again Dr Criswell found himself approaching heavens gates and the Lord stopped him and said, “Why should I let you enter and walk on my streets of gold?” Dr. Creswell said, “One day I was in worship service when a gospel invitation was given and my dear mother turned to me and said, “Son why don’t you accept the Lord Jesus as your savior today.” And I did with all my heart and now I trust you to keep your word, and the Lord said, “Enter in thy good and faithful servant.”
The New Age Religion
I have a friend who lives on a nice farm where she and her husband raise cattle and horses. She loves to ride and go to horse shows. One day we were talking about religion and she said, “You know I believe that people from all religions are going to heaven.” I said, “Is that so; what about what Jesus said about there being only one way?” She replied, “I don’t know about that, I just believe there is more than one way and people will go to heaven from all religions.”
Well I guess you could understand where she was coming from since she didn’t know much about the Bible and didn’t claim to, but what about others who hold a similar view, who do know the Bible? Below are some links you might want to check:
- Former president George W. Bush http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9GzIx-qJ5U
- Rev. Charles Schuller http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axxlXy6bLH0
- Joel Osteen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihnGEV-q1gw&feature=related
- Oprah Winfrey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKZinlAbvcA
- Pope John the II http://www.christianarsenal.com/Christian_Arsenal/Who_is_a_Christian.html
Former president George W. Bush:
President Bush made his belief very clear to Charlie Gibson, of Good Morning America, by stating there are people in all religions that are going to heaven. He referred to Islam as a great old religion. So it doesn’t matter Mr. President if they know Christ or not?
Rev. Charles Schuller:
Perhaps Schuller is the most transparent of all as far as his take on the Bible and worship. All one needs to do is watch a few of his televised services.
Joel made his statement of belief on Larry King Live. Joel tried latter to do damage control by saying he should not have said what he did. Nevertheless, his worship style and preaching tells the story of what he thinks of the Old Time Religion. His emphasis is completely away from the Old Time Gospel and directed to the prosperity gospel.
Oprah insists that Jesus “can’t possibly be the only way” to God…Jesus did not come to die on the cross…” She insists that Jesus came just to show us how to live. She says that there are many ways to God.
The late Pope John the II
Pope John the II said and I quote, “All who live a just life will be saved even if they don’t believe in Jesus Christ” LA Times 12/9/2000.
The new age view of Jesus, the Bible and the church
Here is a list that have made statements concerning Jesus, the Bible and the church that go against the Old Time Religion.
- President Barack Obama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaNXqZGDYWc
- Rev. John Haggie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vfKL_yp_LI&feature=related
- Rev. Rick Warren http://www.inplainsite.org/html/saddleback_church.html.
President Barrack Obama
I don’t know what the president believes specifically about including all religions into the body of Christ but I do know what he thinks about the Bible and the Lord.
I recently listened to a clip from a speech our president made when he was yet a Senator. He mocked a couple of passages from the Old Testament and then said this and I quote, “The sermon on the mount is radical; if the defense department tried to execute it, it would dissolve” That was a gross misinterpretation of what Jesus was saying in the Sermon on the mount; He was not talking a nation not defending itself. By the way the sermon on the mount has been acclaimed by scholars as the greatest spiritual discourse ever given by any prophet. Then the president, then Senator, said, “You haven’t been reading your Bible have you?” as if to indicate, if you had, you would know better than to believe what it says.
This is an 18 second excerpt from a speech President made to the human rights campaign, that tells what he thinks of what Scripture says, “You will see a time when we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women just as admirable as between a man and a woman.”
Rev. John Haggie:
John Haggie in his book “In Defence of Israel” says he will prove that Jesus did not come as the Mesiah. Therefore, he says, we have no right to accuse them of rejecting the Messiah. I haven’t read his book but I’m sure wondering how he gets around the statements in the Scripture that leave no doubt that Jesus came as the Messiah: Mark 14: 61-62 mt 16:16-17 John 4:24-26. Jesus in his own words said “I’m the Messiah”.
Rev. Rick Warren:
Rick Warren is probably the most influenceial church leader in the world today. His influence has crossed all denominational lines. His style of worship is as far oppisite the Old Time Religion as you can possibly get and stil be called worhip.
David Clowd In his article “A visit to Saddleback church” describes the three different services he attended on one Sunday morning. He classified the music a “pure Rock and Roll.” He said the dress was like the kind you would see at a sporting event, shorts, short skirts and tight fitting pants, which he termed immodest. Below are some excerps of his observation of the worship service:
“The message, which was titled “The Potential of a Single Life,” was a witty, a motivational challenge to single people to dedicate themselves to God. Rick Warren said, “You are as happy as you choose to be. … You can waste your life on vanities, spend your life on yourself, or invest your life for God.” Mother Teresa was used as an example with no warning about her false gospel. There was no specific mention of the hard things of God’s Word such as sin, separation, judgment, hell, or repentance. These were replaced with general and vague references to biblical truth. No clear gospel message was given. Some of the things that were stated were good, but the error lay chiefly in what was not stated. This is the hallmark of New Evangelicalism, which is characterized not so much by the heresy that is preached but by the truth that is neglected in an effort to present the Bible in a more positive light.”
“Everything about Saddleback is shallow. Truth has been boiled down to such a low common denominator that not much is left. For example, the Saddleback Statement of Faith has six simple points. Note the following statement on salvation, which we are quoting in full:
“Salvation is a gift from God to mankind. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can we be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our life by faith.”
“Note that the gospel is not actually given in this statement. There is nothing about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, nothing about His shed blood and atonement. Sinners are exhorted to trust Christ but that is not explained in any sense whatsoever.”
“Rick Warren claims that he has not compromised the Word of God with his principles and methods, that he has only modernized them; but when I look into the book of Acts and the Epistles I see a different kind of Christianity, a different kind of church there, than the one that Rick Warren has devised. Thus I must reject Warren’s Purpose Driven methods and I must warn those who have an ear to hear, regardless of how small that crowd may be, that they not heed the siren call of the contemporary church growth gurus. It is fearful that this church is influencing thousands around the world.” If you would like to read the complete article: http://www.inplainsite.org/html/saddleback_church.html
In his book the dark side of the purpose driven church, Rev Noah W. Hutchings says there are several things that Rick Warren claims needs to be done to build a great church today:
1. Change the music to a contemporary rock style.
2. Remove all hymn books and eliminate the choir as well.
3. Change Sunday evening services and Wednesday prayer meetings or even eliminate them.
4. The word church can often be removed and the church may be called a campus. Denominational names may also be removed.
5. Crosses and other traditional symbols may be removed from both inside and outside of the church buildings. The pulpit may also be removed.
6. Eliminate words like the unsaved, saved, sin, heaven and hell, use rather the churched and the unchurched as distinctions.
One preacher, apparently influenced by Rick Warren, presented this formula for building a mega church in the modern age:
1. Don’t mention sin.
2. Remodel the sanctuary to look like a night club or casino.
3. Remove every cross inside and outside of the building.
4. Don’t give invitations to receive Christ.
Here is what the Bible says about the significance of the cross:
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2
1”For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” I Cor. 1:18
The Apostle Paul’s motto was “To Know Christ and Him Crucified”.
No other event of history comes near the importance of the death of Jesus on the cross. Our only hope is in his death. The apostle Paul, like other writers of the New Testament, considered the cross of Christ as the only way of salvation. We should never agree to take it down and hide it because it may be offensive to some.
Paul exuberantly preached Christ as the Messiah who gave himself on the cross. Paul writing to the Corinthians stated, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Paul was not hesitant or ashamed to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah hanging and dying on a cross. He proclaimed the message of the cross of Christ as “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).
The prosperity gospel:
Religion is a big time money maker today. If you have charisma and can speak well you can start your own church start preaching the prosperity gospel and before long you can become rich and live in a multi-million dollar house. The reason for that is that it is far more attractive to tell people that God wants you to be rich and well than it is to tell people they are sinners and going to hell if they don’t accept Jesus.
The greatest threat to the Old Time Religion and the Old Time Gospel today is the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel is combination beliefs from Pentecostalism and the new faith or new thought movement that had its roots back in the 19th century. It was first made popular by E. W. Kenyon; picked up by Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts and AA Allen. More recently it is Kenneth Copeland, Benny Henn, T.D. Jakes, Greflo Dollar, Paula White, Joel Osteen and others who are carrying this false gospel to the entire world through their books and television ministry.
I hold no bitterness at all toward those I mentioned above. We live in a free land where each of us has the right to believe and express our beliefs freely. However, it is of a great concern to me the growing number of believers who are drawn into the new age theology of being friendly to just any religion regardless of how paganistic they are, and their claims that we are all headed for the same place just taking different roads. My belief that there is only one way to heaven is based on what Jesus said and not what I have decided seems right. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man cometh to the father but by me” (John 6:14). There is a second danger of falling for the new evangelism of abundant living and prosperity and miss the true gospel of salvation completely. Jesus told his disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
© 2012 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved