Ephesians 4:11-16 Every Wind Of Doctrine

Hurricane Sandy 2012
Hurricane Sandy 2012

Why Modern "Evangelism" is Not Evangelism At All

Hurricane Season

Florida has a Hurricane Season. Back home in Nevada, we had Deer Season, Chucker Season, and Quail Season. But a Hurricane Season? That was a new one on me.

Starting in August and lasting through November, the eastern coast of the USA must deal with Hurricane season. I laughed the first time I heard this term. It conjured up an image of Elmer Fudd hunting a hurricane.

Never the less, we here in Florida must be ready to evacuate pretty quickly. Like that deer hunter who goes looking for it’s pray, searching for signs of deer tracks, peering through his binoculars, and combing the hill sides. We have learned to pay close attention to the early warning signs lest we be caught unaware.

The most severe storms bring about drastic changes in the landscape, carving out destruction as they go. The winds not only topple trees, they also, remove roofs, and in some cases, whole houses vanish, leaving nothing but an empty foundation or a pile of rubble.

One of the more vivid images burned into my memory is watching our huge Pine trees being blown to and fro by the wind. The trees bend hard to one side as the gusts of wind heave against their flexing trunks. Then as the gusts eased, the trees recoil back toward the upright position. This scene will repeat itself over and over again until the storm has passed. As you can imagine, it is frightening to watch because trees here in Florida that have shallow roots do not do well in the wind. They are found toppled over by the brute force of the storm, destroying fences, houses and anything else that stand between the tree and the ground.

Fortunately all our trees have survived. They are a testimony to the importance of deep roots.

A Spiritual Storm

I have been alarmed by a growing storm that has blown through the American Church. Like the hurricanes of the Atlantic, it has changed the spiritual landscape of our country and has blown the church nearly off its foundation.

Super Wall-Mart Churches

Recently, I saw some statistics on mega churches in the US and was shocked by the number of people who go to these churches every Sunday. According to forbes.com*, in 1970 there were only 10 churches nation wide with an attendance of greater then 1500 people. Today there are 1,373.

The following is a few of the larger churches. The information came from the Hartford’s institute for bible research as of 2006*

• Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston TX has on average 43,500 people in regular attendance.

• Second Baptist Church pastored by Edwin Young’s in Houston TX 23659 has on average 23,659 people in regular attendance.

• Andy Stanley’s North Point Community Church in Alpharetta GA has on average 22,557 people in regular attendance.

• Willow Creek Community Church pastored by Bill Hybels in South Barrington IL has on average 22,500 people in regular attendance.

• Saddleback Valley Community Church pastored by Rick Warren in Lake Forest CA has 19,414 people in regular attendance

• Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale FL pastored by Bob Coy has 17,000 people in regular attendance.

The question has to be asked, how did Christianity get to be so popular?

When humanity comes in contact with the truth of God's Word, it exposes the self-centered nature of the man. It reveal his wickedness, and his depraved thinking. At the same time, it shows us our need for a redeemer and our utter inability to earn our right standing with God. Humanity worships itself and will not easily tolerate a message that contradicts it own reasoning. It mocks the message of the cross. For it is a message of obedience, devotion and selfless sacrifice. It recognized that God is sovereign over us and it insists that our most important ambition in life is to please God. As you can imagine, this is about as popular with humanity as a ham at a Bar mitzvah.

Christ warned of the following:

John 15:18 -19
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.


For sure there are aspects of Christianity that are very appealing. But all must be taken in balance. If we only focus on the love of God, as many churches do, we will only understand one part of his nature. God is also just and has a limit to his patience. He is also sovereign. Meaning, he is in charge and does not need my permission or opinion.

In the last 30 years, I have noticed that our churches have geared themselves for reaching the unbeliever. While the importance of sound and thorough doctrine has been placed as a secondary priority. As a result, pastors are focused on spreading the gospel as apposed to teaching the gospel. The by-product of this mind set is the abundance of new converts that remain as infants, who show no fruit of repentance, causing one to question the sincerity of their conversion.

I am concerned because the message of the cross has been diluted, packaged, and then, mass marketed. The shift in the American church from teaching to evangelism has allowed a whole gamete of false doctrines to creep in unchecked.

Like those trees in my front yard that recoil after every gust of wind. Christians who make it their goal to know God's Word find that they remain standing after the storm has past because they are rooted to a sure foundation.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24

The Neglect Of Sound Doctrine

Like the Berean's in Acts 17:11 who studied the scripture diligently to see if what Paul and Silas was saying was true. We are to study God’s word diligently to present ourselves approved to God, workers who do not need to be ashamed because they are rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

I would ask those who place a higher emphasis on evangelism and Church growth, then they do the teaching of sound doctrine, to consider what Ephesians 4:12 states the purpose of the church is. It is for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:11-16
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The church is to make its primary ministerial effort those who already believe.

It is my understanding that "The Church" is to make sure that the followers of Christ should no longer be as children, (spiritually speaking) tossed to and fro and carried about (toppled over) with every wind of doctrine. By deceitful men whose cunning craftiness and deceitful plotting seek to destroy our faith by convincing us of false truths. She is to speak the truth (sound doctrine) in love. So that, all that are in Christ Jesus will grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.

Paul tells us that an assortment of gifts will be given to edify the Church. The word, edify, means to build up, to strengthen. Paul is pointing out that individuals will be given these gifts and they are to be used to build up the church. Individuals who have the gift of evangelism are to use their gifting primarily for the equipping of the saints. Not the recruiting of sinners.

Evangelism means to "Preach God's Word". It is a declaration of the gospel. While this gift comes in handy when witnessing to unbelievers, I don't believe evangelism, as scripture defines it, is the purpose of the Church. It is the result of its purpose.

The fruit of a changed life that is inspired by sound doctrine, then empowered by the spirit of God, and evidenced by repentance, is a declaration in and of it's self. However, evangelists are able to express all that God has done in their lives as well as show it through the demonstration of their faith. Their walk agrees with their talk because they have an intimate, personal, and tangible relationship with Christ. Because of their time in God's Word, scripture pours out of them, overflowing like water from a water fall.

This gifting can not be imitated or taught. It is the result of the presence of God in their life.

Don't Get Blown Away By Every Wind Of Doctrine!
Don't Get Blown Away By Every Wind Of Doctrine!

In closing I urge you not to be fooled by cheep imitations of Christianity. Numbers are a sign of popularity not righteousness. Watch out for salesmen who dress up like Christians, who peddle a form of Godliness that has no power over sin. Find yourself a church that knows the life changing power of God and places the teaching of the Bible as its highest responsibility.

For God's Word is a sure foundation, it is able to withstand every trial, every storm and every attack. Root yourself in it, Anchor your self to it. Know it, apply it. Then you will be secure, just like that tree that is planted by the water, You shall not be moved

Your brother in Christ
ABR

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Comments 14 comments

Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas

Thank you for your bold statement on behalf of sound doctrine.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Thanks Smireles, I am honored you visited my Hub. My your life be enriched in every way by your studies in God's Word.

In Christ

ABR


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California

There is an ebb and flow in the building of God's church-the process of finding lost sheep, feeding them and then folding them into the flock. Evangelism, a necessary gift, fulfills the finding process to be sure. I agree that evangelism is not the purpose of the church. Rather the gift of evangelism provides the gateway into the church. Once found, the lost sheep are to be immediately fed with biblical instruction (sound doctrine) and ministered to by the other gifts operating within the body of Christ as well (i.e. giving, healing, exhortation, helps, etc.). This balance of care brings the sheep into the fold. New believers need to be grounded in their knowledge of Christ as well as their commitment within the church of Christ to remain rooted and grow.

Matthew 28:19-20 reminds us that we are to "make disciples" not believers "of all nations." The ultimate purpose of the church is to fulfill this commission given us by Christ.

A timely hub indeed allowing churches to take inventory of their ministerial efforts and emphasis. Thanks and God bless you.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida Author

GS-Well said! I love your statement about Matthew 28. I have found in discussing this subject that verse often gets use as justification for the evangelistic church. Your point that we are to make disciples not believes is spot on and is a critical distinction.

Thank you so much for adding to my Hub. I so value your insight. Please know that I am praying for your ministry and rejoice in know that though you are a on the opposite coast, The spirit of God has placed us on the same page on so many things.Praise God!

In Christ

ABR


selahangel profile image

selahangel 7 years ago from Texas

Living here in houston I am well aware of both of the first two churches as well as the other mega church here not on your list that is just as big "First Baptist Church of Houston". I can tell you that the numbers are very reflective of the need of the church today. Here is why I make that statement in regards to the megs churches here:

1. Lakewood Church and the Olsteens minister to the hurting, newer christians, mostly coming out of the Catholic Church. People who have never been discipled. There is such a call for this ministry that they have gone from a very large building of their own, to actually buying Houstons old Concert/sports Venue the "George R Brown", only dwarfted by the Reliant Center.

2. First and Second Baptist Church are a virtual list of Who's Who in Entertainment, Sports and Business. You will see names on the rouster like David Weekly, The entire Caedmon's Call band, Bob McNair (owner of the Texans football team) and the list goes on including a very popular Hip Hop Artists mom who still lives here. They are "safe" in going to church there amoung a class of people that will not gawk and bother them for autographs. There are regular people that go there to but I venture a guess that nobody making under $80,000 a year is on the membership.

But I know that inpite of that, God's message is alive and well in these churches and tho there are superficial christians there (and everywhere) there are sold out people whos only purpose is to further the Gospel.

BTW - Ever heard of Beth Moore? She is a member of 2nd Baptist :)

Good hub, got me going! LOL

Angel


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Angel I am glad I got you going! I thank you for you input. I have heard Joel Olsteen preach on TV and I was very concerned. I have serious concerns with Rick Warren and Bill Hybels as well. However, that being said, I am not saying all mega churches are bad. I have a lot of respect for Bob Coy in Fort Lauderdale. I must admitt that I know nothing about Pastor Edwin Young and very little about Andy Stanley. I selected these churches because of the numbers in their attendance.

I hope this clarified a few things. I am so grateful when people like you read my Hubs. I am always honored. Thank you for taking the time. You comments are a blessing

In Christ

ABR


selahangel profile image

selahangel 7 years ago from Texas

Oh I could never listen to Joel Osteen or Ed Young for any length of time LOL but here is something that is interesting. I go to a church that operates in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, our church services regularly have miracles happen, it has become the norm - in fact if someone does not get healed, saved or there is no Angelic activity in a service, there is something wrong LOL.

When we joined we had a new members class and introduced ourselves to each other. Over half the class started in the catholic church, moved to Lakewood (Joel Osteen's Church) and were now wanting more of Jesus, more of His power and more relationship with Him. They wanted to move in that power, and they are some of the ones that I see getting 'drunk in the spirit' frequently now. Those that want relationship will seek it, we need to keep letting people know the difference between going to church and relationship with Jesus.

I love this LOL.

Angel


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Thank you Selahangel May God continue to bless you as you endeavor to know Christ more through his Word.

In Christ

ABR


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

I thoroughly appreciated your research and message! Milk is the first step and is the easiest ~ saved by grace...yet, we need to teach what faith is all about, for the righteous shall live by faith, amen! And by grace we are saved through FAITH, amen! Understanding the change of heart, the dying to self and the willingness to let the Holy Spirit use us is proof of salvation. It's a walk of testing and overcoming by faith.

I know when I was a baby in the Lord, I didn't know what was "sound" doctrine, or whether the "Spirit's voice" I was hearing was of God or not ~ it drove me to the Word in order to survive! I had to be discipled by a dear sister in the Lord. She took me under her wing. Once I learned how to study, I then carried on that ministry, equipping the saints!

If we don't know the Word, we will be deceived. The Word says His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge! This is the truth! The counterfeit "gospel" is so close, yet so "OFF", it takes the knowledge of the Word to even know the difference. All those out there that profess Christianity, yet don't know the Word, stating things they "believe", proving this fact. They've truly missed the mark!

I share this burden with you and so many. I understand Joel Olsteen doesn't even preach the unpleasant truths of the Bible ~ that many will say "Lord, Lord" and be told to depart. And where do they depart to? That shunned word...Hell. Explaining to believers that loving the world is not friendship with the world (the unbelievers); that this is hostility toward God! We are not part of a popularity club or social circle. Being a Christian means we will be hated! Even within the church that stays on milk.

How many pastors won't preach the entire truth because they fear their members will leave, not give into the offering? God judges the motive of the heart ~ and I pray for our churches today, for even in the time of Jesus and the apostles, the very congregations claiming to be the chosen ones put them to death!

I could go on and on ~ I am passionate about this topic, and you've captured it well!! Praise God for this message!!


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Thanks JD always a pleasure to have you chime in.

God Bless

ABR


exjwlaurie 5 years ago

Another excellent hub ABR, and I share your concerns over the bulk of the Churches of this type! People flock to them because the message "feels good", it is also quite palatable. Just like chocolate, it can be good for you in strict moderation, but when you make your entire diet off of it, it is quite damaging to your health.

I have watched Joel Osteen many times, and for months as a new born again Christian, I found his message to be uplifting and encouraging. But in reality--it didn't satisfy my hunger to "know" God.

I studied ONLY the Bible, asking God to show me his face--that I may KNOW Him. And He gives so generously to those who seek Him with prayerful diligence.

Now I KNOW that while these "chocolate" sermons have a place--they are not enough! So thank you!

On God's incredible compass, "due North" is Christ! We MUST follow HIM, not man!


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida Author

exjwlaurie

I am glad you stopped by. I like you Chocolate comparison.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Have a blessed day and keep fighting the fight.

God Bless

ABR


Scott Adie 5 years ago

Very well spoken my friend and brother. Unfortunately, the way of many mega churches and too many smaller local churches is to sell a watered down gospel that brings folks through the doors, pays the bills and makes it easy to come back week after week to 'be religious'. In Matt 16:24 Jesus said; "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Look at the depictions of Jesus on the cross. Although the crucifixion cross likely did not have the upright extend above the cross-bar as the symbol we often use to depict it, that cross was substantial. It was heavy. Try forgetting about all your personal interests, wants and needs to carry that cross everyday. True Christianity is not easy and too often, not spoken these days. The 'soft-gospel' taught and preached in many churches these days is Christianity Lite tickling the ears of it's hearers allowing them to cling to a form or religion that often isn't true Christianity. Fortunately there are still those who know better.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 5 years ago from USA- Florida Author

Scott I do so heartily agree!! Thanks you for reading my Hub and for sharing your thoughts

You said "The way of many mega-churches and too many smaller local churches is to sell a watered down gospel that brings folks through the doors, pays the bills and makes it easy to come back week after week to 'be religious'."

Indeed! Well said and and excellent add.

God Bless

ABR

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