T H E S I S # 11
Jesus taught the life built upon His words will be successful. And Jesus taught the life not built upon His words will be disastrous. (Mt.7:24-27) Solomon: He who despises the word will be destroyed. (Pr.13:13)
Matthew 7:24-27: “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
“and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
“and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
An evangelical is “a wise man who [builds] his house on the rock”. And an evangelical is “a foolish man who [builds] his house on the sand”. In some ways he is wise, in other ways he is foolish. He will be rewarded for his wisdom and “suffer loss” for his foolishness because….
As “the floods came”, so “the judgment seat of Christ” is coming.
The guy who thought the flood would never come, who figured he could save money by building on sand instead of digging down to the rock, was wrong. Floods come eventually and unexpectedly. We take turns having “times of trouble”.
Evangelicals avoid, mostly, the subject of our impending judgment whereby our obedience will earn us rewards, eternal rewards, and our disobedience will result in loss, eternal loss. Nervous evangelicals no more want to hear of the approaching “that Day” than the nervous builder wants to hear about a flood.
Like the catholic who builds, mostly, on the sand of tradition, the evangelical likewise builds, in part, on that same sand. Both proclaim infallibility of the Bible, but neither give full allegiance. The catholic knows the Lord Jesus instructed, “Call no man father”, and the evangelical can easily deduce that if people had called religious overlords ‘Pastor’ instead of ‘Father’, Christ would have likewise forbidden it.
To understand the evangelical heart the reader must accept a very inconvenient reality: on many issues, it just doesn’t matter what the Bible says!
Again: On many issues, it just doesn’t matter what the Bible says!
When Bible and traditions collide, and the evangelical is forced to choose, often (usually?) he will set his loyalty upon traditional position rather than The Word. That’s why he will continue to call the man, ‘Pastor’. He accepts a temporary reward – the endorsement of man – and suffers eternal loss.
It just doesn’t matter what the Bible says! is a strong statement. Perhaps an overstatement?
Let’s step back, way back, where we can get an overall perspective of evangelicalism….
Evangelicalism consists of thousands of denominations (and affiliations), some birthed centuries ago, others recently. All have one thing in common: Each is right in its own estimation.
But none are ‘right’, though each contains much truth. All are both right and wrong. Their disagreements cause them to look upon each other with suspicion. Not one denomination has been built entirely on the rock of Christ’s sayings. The construction of any and every denomination requires much adding to and subtracting from New Testament writings. To fulfill their religious ambitions, the builders of big must compromise The Word and convince many to embrace their ambitions.
If the evangelical would visit the catholic church down the street it might bring some clarity to his own religious predicament. Might help her see herself. Might set him free.
Seeing the lady lighting a candle before the statue of the ‘Blessed Virgin Mary’ could help her see every person can be sincerely wrong. Watching all those people receive God’s salvation in the form of a wafer might help him realize millions can error in unity. The purposeful externals – statues, vestments, rituals, and many etceteras – could make her realize the effective externals of evangelicalism – titles, the suit-and-tie, the pulpit, and many etceteras. Witnessing such an abundance of religiosity could help him see the nasty abundance in his own heart. Discerning the catholic heart that places tradition above the Bible could make it easier for her to see the evangelical heart.
Catholicism should convince us that being universal and being historical and being numerous and being powerful and being influential and being endorsed doesn’t make wrong right, invalid valid, un-Godly Godly.
So this is one global perspective of evangelicalism: thousands of conflicting evangelical denominations worldwide, each controlling between a few and many evangelical churches, and each church influencing many evangelicals. Each and every evangelical is influenced to build his/her christianity upon both rock and sand, the sayings of Lord Jesus Christ and conflicting sayings.
It may be troubling for some to think the Lord Jesus did not build their beloved denomination/affiliation, but even more troubling to think He did.
Evangelicalism is built upon traditions of sand. There is no Bible precedent for a salaried pastor, nor a board of elders (or board of whatever). Elders, yes; board of elders, no. There is no precedent for denominations with its regional and national directors, its general secretary or superintendent (or whatever).
And all are unnecessary.
We must learn: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man”, for such a man is no longer trusting exclusively in Lord Jesus.
In many ways does the evangelical choose tradition over the Bible, as Another 95 establishes. Yet there is an obvious alternative to disobedience…. obedience.
For the house owner to raise his house, dig down to the rock and build a proper foundation would be expensive and time-consuming. But it would take only a few minutes for an evangelical (etcetera) to shift his/her life from the sand of tradition onto the rock of Christ’s sayings (which includes all Scripture). And it wouldn’t cost a nickel.
The first step would be repentance, apologizing to the “head of the church” for betrayal. Repentance is hard, but necessary. The next step would be a recommitment to Lord Jesus Christ, and receiving the fullness of Him in a more serious and sincere manner than ever before. And last, making a full commitment to the Bible, perhaps signing the last page to help seal that commitment. That’s it.
Oops! Did I say it wouldn’t cost a nickel? Actually, it will cost much, much more than that….
2 Timothy 3:12: All who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
That’s a promise. The reason more christians aren’t suffering persecution must be because few “live Godly in Christ Jesus”, living in submission to The Word alone. Perhaps evangelicals have learned too well the skill of getting along, keeping in step, walking in unity, being a team player.
Commitment to “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” and commitment to His Bible will certainly bring complications. Their warmth will turn to a chill. How dare you refuse to bend your knee to their lords!
And the pulpit guy relocating from sand to rock will lose his job.
Ah, but the rewards! Eternal rewards! The judgment seat of Christ will be a celebration instead of a time of regret and embarrassment.