T H E S I S # 40
Non-Biblical words familiar to evangelicals – such as membership, denominations, program, covering, seminary, senior pastor, home church, ministerial, and many others – reveal a wide chasm between evangelicalism and the Bible.
Matthew 7:14 (NIV): Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life.
Within the “narrow…. road” (within christianity) is a narrow road. Ten virgins were on the narrow road, but only five were on the narrow road (the road of faithfulness to First Love) within the narrow road.
Within the “narrow…. road” (within christianity) there is also a heavily populated wide road. On this road reside the majority, those who have shuffled Lord Jesus from first place to a lesser place.
Both the narrow and the wide road lead to the same location – the judgment seat of Christ. At this time and place the value of everyone’s eternity will be revealed and established. How narrow is narrow?…. the judgment seat will reveal it. How wide is wide?…. the judgment seat will reveal it.
If those on the wide road, which leads to a vast and eternal loss, realized it was the wide road they travelled, they would make, one would think, a quick transfer to the narrow road, which leads to a vast and eternal wealth.
Narrow road, wide road – how does one know?
The answer is found in our speech. Our words reveal the road we travel. What we say unlocks the secrets of the heart. It doesn’t take much listening to know where one’s enthusiasm and love has been placed.
All began their christianity on the narrow road where passion for Him overflows. But many found the narrow road hard and lonely, and the wide road seemed more appealing and less demanding. A distant Jesus takes less courage and effort than an up-close Jesus. So the transfer from one road to the other was made silently in the heart of most.
With a transfer comes a change of vocabulary.
When the Holy Spirit invaded catholicism in the ’70s and ’80s – this known as the catholic charismatic movement – it didn’t take long for strange doctrines to weave themselves throughout the movement. And with strange doctrines came strange words – charismatic, group discernment, submission to (spiritual ) authority, rebellious (to authority), discipleship, covering, headship, core group, community, renewal, etcetera.
The encroachment of curious teachings, packaged in curious words, came through preachers (certified preachers, mostly) – in person, and via books and audio tapes – and was probably the main cause of the collapse of one of the most profound visitations of God in church history. Had everyone in the catholic charismatic movement stuck to the language of the Bible it would still be the mighty force it once was.
A preacher, we assume, is one who preaches the gospel or some spiritual truth. Not entirely so….
Galatians 3:1: Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth?
That “who” was a preacher.
Acts 20:29: I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Those “salvage wolves” Paul referenced were preachers.
Acts 15:5 (NLT): Some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”
Those guys were preachers.
A preacher does not always preach the truth.
Most of Christ’s own within evangelicalism travel the wide road, this made evident by evangelical conversations peppered with words foreign to Christ’s words and ways. Preachers (and certainly other influences) are responsible for the heavy pedestrian traffic. Humility and repentance will bring anyone back to the narrow road where Christ’s unadulterated truths reign and Godly enthusiasm overflows.
We are all preachers, sometimes for the good and sometimes not. When our speech is colored with words not found in Scripture we should suspect our perspectives. Deviant words seriously damage us and those we cherish/influence.
When Christ returns there will be millions, perhaps billions, of born-again believers in His church. Yet Jesus asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Yes, our Lord Jesus will find faith on that narrow road within the “narrow…. road” where His faithful walk out their earth-years.