Empirical Evidence for a Modern Day Downgrade
In case anybody needed evidence of the current downgrade going on in the evangelical church, well, I found some. My wife and I own a small cottage located in a Christian campground. One of the claims to fame of this place is that Billy Graham was a camp counselor before he became the ecumenical evangelist we know him as now. In the main building outside the main office is a large room with a library of sorts. People would leave books they wanted to part with at the office. It isn’t necessarily a lending library. One could take a book and return it, or not return it.
On one of the shelves, I found on of John MacArthur’s books titled The Vanishing Conscience. This book was released in 1994. On the back is a list of endorsements from well-known people who read the book. Part of that list is three names that I found interesting considering where they are now. The three names are Anne Graham Lotz, Greg Laurie, and Bill Hybels.
Anne Graham Lotz is the author of the book The Daniel Prayer, reviewed by Pulpit & Pen, and a proponent of witchcraft circle praying and contemplative prayer. In addition to that she self-identifies as a preacher, which, as cited in the Pulpit & Pen article, Billy Graham said, “she is the best preacher in the family.” I don’t think I have to go much further than that. Engage the search function on Pulpit and Pen to see posts about her.
Greg Laurie is the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, which puts on the Harvest Crusades annually. Laurie invites a lot of teachers who are known for their false teachings and twisting of scripture. It seems as his crusades have become more popular he has slipped further down the slope to apostasy, which seems to be a trend among the most popular teachers. Recently, for Georgia Crusade 2016, the promoters for the event dishonestly used an endorsement from Dr. John MacArthur which was given for a crusade that happened around twenty years ago. Dr. MacArthur’s organization Grace To You asked them to remove the endorsement and you can read the response here from Phil Johnson of GTY.
Bill Hybels is one of the pioneers of the seeker sensitive and purpose driven movements, which are two prongs of the same forked tongue. He has stripped the gospel of all its uncomfortable aspects like sin and repentance and hell for those who don’t repent and turned the service into an entertainment extravaganza for the sake of attracting “seekers” to their church. In 2004 and 2007 Willow Creek surveyed 11,000 members about their spiritual growth in regards to their service in the church. They had assumed that the more people served the more spiritually mature they became. The opposite was true (a brief analysis of the results can be seen here, here). Those who served more were more likely to leave the church because they wanted to know more about doctrine, they felt “stalled” and “dissatisfied”. Willow Creek has packaged this survey, called the Reveal Survey, for a church to purchase to use on their own members, any way to make a buck is a valid way.
We also are witnessing an aspect of the Downgrade right in front of us. Several years ago, Matt Chandler, a leader among the group who are labeled New Calvinists, spoke at Steven Furtick’s Code Orange Revival. Those of us who are conservative in our doctrine applauded him because he preached Law and Gospel to the crowd at Elevation Church, which infuriated Steven Furtick. Now Chandler is embracing a book on how to hear God’s voice and is open to the apostate Roman Catholic Church practice Lent. He too has stepped onto the slippery slope which is known as the Modern Day Downgrade and most will never recover.
The Modern Day Downgrade proclaimed originally by JD Hall is evident all around the evangelical realm. It is difficult to ignore and it needs to addressed by sound doctrine and arguments that are based in scripture.
3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. –Jude 3-4.
[Contributed by Michael Hall]