Evangelism / Apologetics – where has it gone?
The rise of internationalism and interfaith
– Mike Oppenheimer
We are watching a phenomenon, where many churches are becoming less salt and light. Among the many diminishing assets is the last command we were given; to go take the gospel and make disciples. What Jesus came to earth for was accomplished and we are to tell others this. He wants us to share in this joy of changing people’s destiny. But for many this has become more of chore than a joy.
You are to be a light to help others out of the darkness; you may be the only light they get to hear from (not just see). How far does your light reach?
I used to do street evangelism in Waikiki, and in the seedier parts of town, before I began this ministry. When street witnessing and preaching I used to tell people Jesus loves you; they would respond back “I know.” So I started to respond by saying “and He wants you to love him back.”
That turned a few heads and gave the nominal answerer something more to think about.
You see the gospel is only words until it becomes personal, and elicits a response. When they really hear, it can be a yea, or nay, but, it is never neutral. But many have made it neutral by telling others Jesus loves you without any qualifications.
In our time we have so many finding new, more tolerable ways to reach others with good news.
After all, we can’t offend anyone with Jesus’ words. Excuse me, but Jesus went around offending nearly everyone, especially the religious people because he told them the truth.
The gospel is now presented as God has an amazing plan for your life. Join him to have it materialize for YOU. This is plain flattery to have one make a decision. We read of Ananias when sent to Saul, “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16)
Suffer! Well, in our day you are no longer going to hear anyone give an invitation like “come to Jesus to have eternal life and suffer for his namesake, and have rewards after.” In fact, the ones who suffer are those who stand for the truth, the Word, and the gospel; they can suffer from their fellow “Christians” who tell them to keep quiet on what they see wrong, leave things alone.
As a practicing new ager, mixing the occult and other religious practices I was immediately offended when I heard the gospel explained to me correctly. I was directly told that what I was involved with as a new ager was wrong. That was the right thing to do. I was so open that anything could influence me; anything except the truth. That is the one thing I was not open to! Today we have Christians trained this way. They cannot receive the truth when someone is trying to help them back onto the narrow path that has strayed from by following a man’s teaching that was not correctly teaching the Bible.
Let me pause here to tell you a little about myself. I was brought up Jewish, on the Old Testament. I read the Bible, even the New Testament for years. But I could not grasp the crucifixion of Jesus, the gospel, and I reinterpreted his words by the new age teachers and books I learned from. After I was saved, (this June its 30 years). I read the Bible over and over again. Now given understanding by the Holy Spirit, my eyes were open. I was then compelled to keep others from being deceived like I was, being in the new age movement.
The next year we went to the Harmonic Convergence in Hawaii and filmed interviews with the new agers and witnessed to them. At the time, I was being exposed to various forms of Christianity, even the Latter Rain as I went to different churches and meetings. The year after that I began to attend lectures and take courses at the International Bible College through Dr. Fruchtenbaum and others (ariel.org). Systematic theological teaching from knowledgeable men stabilized me from being influenced by the various teachings and how they conducted themselves at church.
Back then, it was a premiere college. The last course I took was on biblical archeology by Dr. Ron Youngblood, a pioneer in the field who since gone on to be with the Lord. Today the college is no longer functioning, and, it is Hawaii’s loss.
First and foremost in God’s will is (a) fulfilling the Great Commission, bringing people into abiding personal relationship with the Lord and (b), the secondary portion of Matthew 28:18-20 which is, as we go – make disciples. Teach them, train them, and equip them from the teachings of Christ and the apostles not by new revelation or prophecy. This means we must first know what the new covenant is; the gospel.
Bible education equips us to win the lost. Apologetics is part of this, it is the backbone of the church; it is a necessity as it equips people to defend the truth, and why there is a gospel. But, if you have not been taught this you will float, and be carried around by various winds of doctrine, which is what we see going on today. The church has put herself in a very bad position by ignoring the use of apologetics.
Everything that the church has held is being challenged. Its no longer are there spiritual gifts today, or is there a rapture (not just is it pre or post). These are minor compared to the fastest growing movement: kingdomizers, dominionism which ignores a Tribulation.
We are summoned and called to do a work (Eph.2:10) we are not to be sleeping, especially as the days get darker. We are to be awake. We are pilgrims, sojourners, aliens to this world. We should not get comfortable, nor should we try to establish Jesus’ kingdom before He returns. We should be building his kingdom in PEOPLE the way Scripture instructs, not His kingdom on
earth. There is a huge difference in these two concepts. Some are being taught that there is no need to wait for the kingdom when we can make it happen now! The Bible teaches His kingdom on earth will not come, it will not be produced until His return (Rev.19). And we return with him as glorified, immortal sinless beings ready to serve under Him in a new world, called the Millennium. This occurs after the Tribulation period. So the whole new apostolic movement of Peter Wagner, Chuck Pierce, the 7 mountain theory of YWAM is completely wrong.
Not only do we have strange doctrines being taught. Some cult groups seem tame compared to the unbiblical supernaturalism exhibited in some Charismatic Pentecostal churches. Division has come and the colors are becoming more contrast, but many still cannot distinguish them.
Nearly everyone has someone they know who is involved in some false spirituality, a cult, new age or false teaching in the church. They offer their church as THE WAY, they make a man THE
WAY. Today it has become easier to mislead than ever before. When the Church does not have
reasonable answers to people’s questions they will go to the cults who are more than willing to take the time to give an answer. That is what we see today.
We need to help exit them out. And when we do there is a transition time where one unlearns what was wrong and have it replaced by the truth. But even after eating poison (false teaching) for so long, eating the genuine food (the truth) can give them indigestion. One needs time to adjust to the new diet and absorb it for nourishment. Whether it Mormonism, Jehovah Witness or new age: contemplative prayer, or a crazed charismatic church that promotes a false spirituality in Jesus name. People need time to heal and begin to grow the right way. And that is where we all need to be involved: discipleship; which is genuine friendship.
Does contending for the faith have to be divisive?
Jesus said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division” (Luke 12:51-53). His ministry brought division wherever He went (John 7:43; 9:16), separating those who wanted to pursue the truth from the error they learned by their religious leaders. There is no reason to repeat mistakes when we have the examples in the Scripture.
Separation becomes the issue in the end. It becomes a matter of one’s safety, for their survival. Why? Because Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John warned of false teaching becoming the norm from within. Biblical separation from false teaching is a matter of your survival.
There has always been a certain amount of discord and division in the Church; this is to be expected. 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 says, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions (heresies) exist among you; and in part, I believe it. For there must also be heresies among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.”
To test by Scripture what is taught and practiced will give approval to those who correct in doctrine and helps us identify whom we are to separate from, who are wrong in doctrine.
The Apostle Paul also commanded believers, “Now I urge you, brethren, NOTE (identify) THEM who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them. For those are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18).
Paul did not say ignore them, he did not say don’t worry God will take care of them. He said YOU identify them and avoid them to be safe. And … we should tell others to avoid them as well. They are self serving, it is NOT about Jesus. They are feeding their own hunger by flattering people that are not on guard. You know the type, they tell you what great plans God has for you, that you as his child should get all the goodies, or don’t you want to be part of a church that is going to take over the world by doing miracles; or, that the god of the different cultures is the same God. This pig slop is everywhere today.
So we can understand from Scripture that Not all division is bad, sometimes it can be advantageous.
The word “church” comes from the Greek word “ekklesia” which means an assembly, “called out ones” from the world. Eph 4:3 indicates that the church is one body, not several – one and the same Spirit indwells all believers, no matter what denomination or non denomination (or no church you attend). We who believe and are in the new covenant have one Lord. This is a universal church that is not always seen by the eyes or gathered to meet.
Christ’s Spirit fills us as individuals and collectively as the church. We are living epistles of God’s grace to the world. The church grows by newborns, not by our buildings seen in the community but by the work done by individuals that have faith to obey giving the gospel.
Instead, we see churches following men as apostles of new Christianity; like those in the 60’s who followed Timothy Leary or Bhagwan as the apostles of enlightenment.
We are to be a group of people that contends for the faith in the face of opposition. We are to be different than those who want to be involved in all the popular trends that take place. We do not pick up their stale breadcrumbs from the ground but give them true bread from heaven.
As in Acts 2:42-47 We should be living “they continued in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship and the breaking of bread and prayers.”
One of our modern presidents was impeached for lying. What if the same process was applied to those behind the pulpit that is no longer spreading the truth? How do you think they would fare?
Who cares, right? After all, we have prophets that are justified at being 10-60% right. That’s what the Kansas City prophets taught (Mike Bickle, Bob Jones -deceased, Rick Joyner, Paul Cain); they will improve in time. We have had enough time to see that they are worse. The media protects the corruption of their political parties, and the Christian media (TV, magazines, even churches) do the same. Pastors and ministers protect the liars and connivers. Denominations, churches will back up a person, it does not matter what they do wrong or how off their teaching is if they are friends with them. I have seen this happen in numerous denominations, but there are always exceptions to the majority of those that ignore or ridicule Biblical truth.
The world is trying to produce a unity
Let us look at some of the changes being implemented here in America. John Kerry talked to graduates about a borderless world. Internationalists (globalists) want to remove borders; which affects the laws and sovereignty of a nation. Thus each nation loses its identity, history and what makes them unique. Globalists want to reshape the world, and nations are supposed to submit to some international law, including the US. America is slowly being turned into an international country as any type of nationalism is rejected. We are being led to join a globalist agenda and abandon our laws based on Scriptural principles to be replaced by UN laws. The only group of people who do not recognize other countries borders is Islam that wants a caliphate to rule over the world.
Again, everything that the Bible teaches is being challenged. We see this day to day in the news, from opening (erasing) borders to the sexes. God built a conscience of morality in man, and we are witnessing an open rebellion against our maker as we look to self, our feelings for the answers.
Officials from 11 states are suing the Obama administration, seeking to overturn a directive from the federal government that public schools should allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. The lawsuit accuses the federal government of overstepping its constitutional powers by taking actions that should be left to Congress or individual states.
The decisions for being a boy or girl to enter a bathroom of their choice because of how you feel on a particular day will certainly be expanded and applied in other areas. This is relativism gone amok, it changes reality itself.
Let me put this in terms we can understand. If one entertains themselves to be something they are not (i.e. not according to their birth certificate), then what is to hold this back from being applied elsewhere? What if I, as a student decided I want to be the teacher that day; whose to say
I’m wrong with the logic being applied? Let’s take it up a notch, What if I’m a general practitioner in medicine and decide to be a brain surgeon for a day to operate; on YOU? A bit discomforting to think about. This kind of thinking is now applauded as progressive thinking produced for a global tolerance. So if I decide to be a pilot (with no training) would you fly on the plane?
Teaching no more genders (nonbinary people; no longer he or she) turns into the abolition of the family, it brings confusion to our social structure, it is a revolution on societal norms, heading us in the direction of a cultural apocalypse. And the same attitude is being promoted inside the church, as they try to remove believers from biblical guidelines so they can form an unholy unity with foreign doctrines and those who do not have a spiritual union with the body of Christ.
This same concept is being spiritually applied by the interfaith or indigenous people movement, where all the cultures gods are accepted as the true God, no difference is distinguished of Jesus being the son of their cultures supreme god (as taught by Don Richardson, Daniel Kikawa). This universal god theorem removes any distinction of truth and falsehood. They are trying to make the false gods of the nations the true God (Father) of Israel. If this continues it will bring evangelism to a fast stop, as they are no longer considered false gods.
The new Christianity, will it fail or succeed?
“Together 2016” is An ecumenical event to be held on July 16 at the National Mall in
Washington featuring Hillsong United with renown evangelical and Catholic speakers and musicians. Confirmed speakers include Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Samuel Rodriquez. Music will be provided by Michael W. Smith, Hillsong United, Lecrae, Kari Jobe, Jeremy Camp, Lauren Daigle, Casting Crowns, Kirk Franklin, Andy Mineo and Matt Maher, among others.
Both Christians and Catholics alike will be at the prayer and worship event.
Supporters of the event include The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Luis Palau Association, CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Premiere Productions, the National Day of Prayer, YWAM, the American Bible Society and other organizations.
“Together 2016 is about laying aside what divides us to lift up Jesus who unites us,” organizer Nick Hall of PULSE told Christian News Network. “We are coming together in historic unity to pray for a reset for our nation.”
“Jesus said that His followers are family. We believe that it is time for a family gathering,” he also said in an official statement. “It’s not about what divides us, but about the one who unites us—Jesus. The world sees division. We can change that.”
Hall announced that Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, will be delivering a video message to those in attendance.
How do we become united with a different gospel of Jesus?
“Worship leader, Matt Maher, who identifies as a Roman Catholic, believes it is his calling to work toward to the unification of Christians and Catholics.”
“He said at OneThing 2015. “I think what the work of unity starts with [is]: It starts with us praying together. It starts with us fellowshiping together. It starts with us having a common respect for each other, a love for each other.”
No, that is where compromise starts; unity is indeed powerful and can be used for good or evil, look at the Tower of Babel for our example. God never calls us to compromise with error or falsehood but to separate from it. Respect is not the same as participation.
“Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries is a former Roman Catholic who now teaches evangelicals how to share the gospel with Catholics, said “Nick Hall either does not know the exclusivity of the gospel of God or he does not know the Roman Catholic plan of salvation because they are diametrically opposed,” “We’re divided on how one is born again: Rome says water baptism, the Bible says the work of the Spirit. We’re divided on how one is justified: Rome says faith plus works, the Bible says faith. We’re divided on how one is purified of sin: Rome says purgatory, the Bible says the blood of Jesus. We’re divided on the essentials of the gospel: Rome has other mediators, the Bible says it’s Christ alone,” he explained.
Gendron said that Jesus himself came to divide with truth, and prayed that His Church would be sanctified with that truth. “It was the Lord Jesus Christ who came to divide: He divides with His word and His gospel.”
We see this unity form naturally when we lay down our differences – God’s unity is supernatural, it is done by His Spirit, not man. This tolerance becomes the golden calf of the new religious /political order that is being implemented on all.
We can’t be eclectic, using other spiritual ways with The Way, which is also our truth and the life; even if they call it Christian. By doing this you are saying Jesus is not sufficient, and what He spoke is not necessary to adhere to.
What has this new openness given us?
Let me use our everyday news again. We now face an increase in diseases in America that were once eradicated. These are brought in by illegal immigrants who do not go through a proper screening process and are automatically put in with the public. The church is no different. We have illegal doctrines brought in that infect many because we do not use a screening process to judge what is right or wrong (truth or error). We have one; we just don’t use it. Why? For unity sake. We have convinced ourselves that this is loving our neighbor. So we avoid telling them the
error they are living in, that they are not abiding in the truth. Jesus was not some liberal
peacenik, he didn’t let challenges go, he directly disputed the people’s error openly.
If there is no one holding them accountable when they mislead others, where do you think this will end up? The same attitude working in politics and the church. There are people that have been inserted in our government that do not want America to be America the way it was made or intended. It is the same inside the church, they do not want it to be what it was intended to be from the beginning, they want it changed, changed into man’s image. They want a new foundation, with new apostles. They are removing the biblical borders in front of our eyes.
Those who want to change the church into a newer model are unsatisfied, they have no connection to Christ, except use his name. These “Illegals behind the pulpit” are allowed to stay no matter what kind of doctrinal crimes they commit. These false teachers who have not been called by God are protected by those who do not understand the issues because they are kept from becoming knowledgeable on them. Fear is used to keep them from using the Bible.
Politics has united with religion and the church, too many pastors act like politicians. The church is being run like our current congress. They think they know better, can do no wrong and they take no responsibility. This attitude has blinded them into an attitude that they are not there to serve the people. The church is about serving Christ, serving the people, not the pastor or any single man. Today we have those calling themselves Generals, prophets and apostles of a new era. These are authoritarians who lack true authority from Christ. They are the Nicolaitan’s who are ruling over the people; not serving them (Rev.2:6, 15). We now have an elite anointed class and the super elites. Servanthood is no longer part of the Christianity they teach.
You can’t be deceived by discerning teaching by the Scripture but you can be deceived by not discerning teaching. If you are really filled with the Spirit then you will be filled with the truth, and, you can tell truth from error, because the Spirit of God teaches you spiritual truth, NOT error. You will not compromise on the truth for friends or with those who claim to be leaders with an anointing. You will know when you are being lied to. Let me give you an example.
Kenneth Copeland’s meeting with pastors where he introduced the Pope to everyone and proclaimed the Catholic church believes what they do on salvation, that this Pope is our friend. Supposed Spirit filled charismatic leaders cheered and went along with this new deception that is to result in unity. All one has to do is listen to the Pope and what he teaches. He may be soft spoken, but when his words are measured against the word of God … clearly he is misleading those who listen. They need to understand the error they have wed themselves to.
The Old Testament is for our example, and Jeremiah continues to speak to the repetition of mistakes made today.
Jer. 12:4-6 “How long will the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there, because they said, “He will not see our final end.” “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? For even your brothers, the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; yes, they have called a multitude after you.
Do not believe them, even though they speak smooth words to you.”
Can a church reach out to those involved in other religious systems without answers? Can we reach out when there is no caring for the lost, or for those who are hurting among us? Can we survive without adhering to the word as our spiritual life? Can we survive when we bring other religious systems to be united with Christ?
May our God give us the wisdom to know what to stand for and the strength to stand.
IT IS BETTER TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT IN GOD’S EYES AND RISK THE CONSEQUENCES FROM MAN, THEN TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT IN MAN’S EYES AND RISK THE CONSEQUENCES FROM GOD.
May you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,