Psalm 135:6 [ESV] Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e live in a time where it seems as though American Evangelicalism is purposely doing whatever it can to undermine the authority of scripture and the sovereignty of God. Seeker-sensitive mega churches and their pastors are growing herds of false converts who have no idea what the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is and mistakenly think the Bible is about themselves and their temporal comfort and happiness. I’ve written about these issues at length and there remains an endless cesspool of material from which to choose a suitable Biblical discernment article. I should add, brother Tony Miano does an excellent job of addressing the many failures of American Evangelicalism every so often on Twitter.
In other words, it’s easy to find a celebrity pastor or conference speaker who is espousing a doctrine antithetical to the Gospel and address their errors. It’s not so easy to find reasons to be encouraged amongst the chaos. Further, one thing I’ve learned in a little over a year of blogging is that articles lacking provocation, especially in regards to a popular personality, do not get very many clicks. This then begs the question, am I writing and podcasting in order to espouse Truth and share the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ or am I seeking the adoration of fellow fallen men and those to whom I hold in high esteem?
If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t think I’ll always like my answer to that question.
[alert heading=”Divine Providence?” type=”info” close=”true”]Interestingly, literally in the middle of writing this article, Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith graciously shared one of my past articles regarding Jefferson Bethke. It has caused the sort of dust-up between Christians for which this article is intended to be a respite. There are no coincidences.[/alert]
With that in mind, the challenge I placed before myself was to pray about and come up with three reasons why I am encouraged about the future of American Evangelicalism. While this was a most difficult exercise, it was indeed cathartic. I pray it is edifying and uplifting to my brothers and sisters in Christ who may also be grieving the current state of American Evangelicalism on a daily basis.
1. Unity for the Biblical Gospel.
I do not believe I have ever seen so many Christians uniting over the Gospel Truth laid out in the Bible; men are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9). While there will always be some percentage of evangelicals willing to partner with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14), I’ve been encouraged by the growing number publicly decrying such ecumenism and preaching Biblical Gospel in its place. Certainly we have areas in which we divide from one another, but there is a growing trend of tolerance toward those disagreeing on secondary issues without sliding over to full on Restoration Movement theology.
2. Men are being raised up to boldly proclaim Christ.
As a faithful Bible-believing Christian, it’s not out of the ordinary to sometimes wonder if you’re the only true Christian remaining; which reminds me of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:22. However, the truth is that we should not be discouraged as God is raising up faithful men to spread the Gospel each and every day. Some of these men are high-profile and some are never noticed. Either way, you are not alone and through the wonders of the internet, you can get encouragement from some of the more well-known of these men whenever you please.
This is anything but an exhaustive list, but if you want a good start, follow and learn from these men:
- Tony Miano
- Emilio Ramos
- Todd Friel
- Chris Rosebrough
- Jordan Hall
- Phil Johnson
- Mike Abendroth
- Ray Comfort
(Update: To be clear, first and foremost we should be looking to the Godly men in our own congregations boldly proclaiming Christ.)
3. Christian persecution is coming to America… quickly.
This may seem like an odd thing to include in an article about encouragement in American Evangelicalism but the truth is that persecution might very well be the best thing to happen to us. There is great encouragement in persecution because it will cause the true church to rise to the top as those not really saved will no longer see it beneficial to proclaim something (Christianity) that they do not actually believe and they will walk away from the church. Those congregations willing to stand up for convictions and Truth will become shining lights in a world of darkness.
Recently, on his daily radio program, Wretched Radio, Todd Friel asked a poignant question, “Does your church have a plan for the coming persecution?” In light of this recent pew research poll, which says Americans professing Christianity are in sharp decline (of course meaning they were never Christians to begin with, John 10:27-30), many articles have been written and podcasts published that have fretted over the declining numbers of Christians in America. This should not surprise us.
It is no longer profitable for a person to proclaim Christianity in our society. Thus, those whose faith was never true to begin with no longer see any benefit of claiming Christ, and they drop the label. Now, imagine when a state official is standing outside the doors to your place of worship asking for your social security number to ensure you do not receive government assistance, tax breaks, etc. because you’re a Christian. How many of those lukewarm, professing but not saved Christians do you think will stick it out? Little to none. This is not something in which we gloat, rather, it will become easier to identify those who are currently within the church yet in need of evangelism.
Persecution of the Christian church in America is coming sooner than we think and it may very well turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to us.
Let us not forget God is sovereign. (Ps 115:3, Pr 16:9, Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28, Is 40:23, 2 Chron 20:6, Ze 4:6)
Christianity may very well die in America, or at least no longer be tolerated. We should take heart in knowing, however, that the one true church will never die (Matthew 16:18). While it can be incredibly discouraging and disheartening seeing all the shenanigans taking place around us, we must rest in the Sovereign and know that His will be done.
Finally, dear brother/sister in Christ, take inventory of what you are feeding your mind on a daily basis. Are you in the Word faithfully? Are you feeding your soul with solid messages from faithful exegetes? Do you ensure to read uplifting articles? Sadly, too many of us well-intentioned Biblical Christians feed ourselves a steady diet of discernment articles and media only. I know, brother, it’s because you love the bride of Christ and you long to defend her that you sound the alarm as the watchman on the wall and educate yourself to recognize when damnable heresies arise among your people (2 Peter 2:1). I, too, fall into the trap of ingesting only conflict and that is simply not healthy.
There is no question that #AmericanEvangelicalism is a bullet train racing away from sound doctrine. However, let us not allow ourselves to be so fully engulfed with discord that we fail to recognize encouraging signs cropping up around us. It’s an issue I myself need to improve and I hope you’ll join me.
Be encouraged, brethren– faithful men of God are being raised up all over our nation. We may lose all things temporal, but the Word of God will never die.
Soli Deo Gloria.