Once I get into work each day I like to put in my earbuds and listen to the daily message from Alistair Begg (truthforlife.org). There are a lot of Evangelical preachers on television and radio/podcast, many bad ones and a few good ones, but none that I enjoy listening to more than Alistair Begg.
The other day Begg commented that if you want to know the current state of Evangelicalism just take a look at the “Christian” books being published these days. How very true. Take a walk through a Christian bookstore or skim through a Christian publisher’s online catalogue and brace yourself. New titles are dominated by the “prosperity gospel” preachers with advice on how to claim your God-given inheritance NOW. Or there are the emergent/seeker church pastors with their ecumenical message of “just love Jesus and your fellow man and don’t get bogged down in doctrinalism.” Well, I’m all for loving Jesus and humanity but correct teaching was extremely important to Christ and His Apostles. A person can’t really love Jesus until they understand exactly who He is (God the Son), why He came (to save sinners by His atoning death and resurrection), and what is required of them (to repent of sin and accept Him as Savior by faith). Some basic Biblical doctrines must be understood in order to repent of sin, accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, and then love Him as Savior and Lord. Being “in Christ” is not a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s not a religious high. Sure, those that have accepted Christ are overjoyed to be one of His beloved sheep but emotionalism is not the litmus test of salvation. Repenting of sin and accepting Christ in faith are thoughtful, sober responses coming from the conviction of the Holy Spirit through the truth of God’s Holy Word. But in many churches today, good doctrine and teaching are being trumped by subjective “we just love Jesus” emotionalism and religious experientialism.
I wrote all of the above to write this: Last night I was scanning Google News for interesting stories about Evangelicals and I came across this one regarding popular Evangelical author, speaker, and radio-host, Eric Metaxas. Mr. Metaxas has a new book out entitled, “Seven Women and the Secret of Their Greatness.” First of all, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I would not refer to any frail human being as “great.” Far too often I have heard pastors refer to some Old and New Testament saints and even contemporary Christians as “great.” Didn’t God say He hated pride most of all? In his book, Metaxas lifts up seven women as examples for veneration. Two of the women happen to be Roman Catholics: “Saint” Joan of Arc and Anjeze Bojaxhiu aka “Blessed” Mother Teresa. See my earlier thoughts on Mother Teresa here. Evangelicals supposedly believe in salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone but both of those women believed in their church’s doctrine of salvation by sacramental grace and merit earned through perfect obedience. The two belief systems are doctrinally incompatible. But like some other ecumenically-minded Evangelicals, Metaxas flushes doctrine down the toilet and lifts up two women who believed and defended merited salvation as inspirational examples.
I’m so saddened by the putrid garbage being peddled by some Evangelical “leaders.” Is the Gospel the good news of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ or is it “obedience” to the Ten Commandments? You cannot mix the two, Mr. Metaxas. You cannot rationally point to two women who attempted to obey their way to Heaven as inspirational examples for Christians!!!!! What’s next from Mr. Metaxas, a book about the greatness of Shirley MacLaine???
“And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” – Romans 11:6