Is Seduction an Appropriate Evangelical Methodology?
Evangelicalism divides itself more each year as various streams and methodologies are constantly evolving into extremes of bizarre mutations of biblical Christianity. These extreme mutations are often referred to as the Worship Wars or Music Wars. These mutations of true Christianity present themselves as spiritual warfare for the souls of men. This pseudo-spiritual warfare is nothing but a worldly carnival trying to attract worldly people to come to some bizarre corruption of Church by using worldly entertainment. The common thread mantra for all of this is to be as little like traditional worship as possible.
Those doing this are false teachers trying to build themselves personal empires that are presented to their communities as mega ministries. These men have created spiritual monstrosities built upon the crumbling foundations of the latest social crazes. We must not forget that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word craze as to make insane or as if insane. What is evolving in the Worship Wars is spiritual insanity.
The term Worship Wars is used to describe the arguments being used by people using these carnal methodologies to grow the numbers of people attending their church services. These arguments are unscriptural and rational Pragmatism (“look at the results we are getting”) used to justify the obvious insane and carnal methodologies. Building a Church of perfected saints (Ephesians 4:12) cannot possibly be compared to just gathering a crowd of unregenerate people in order to give them some mutation of the Gospel and some form of watered down biblical mass counseling disguised as preaching.
It is easy to be critical of all this nonsense. However, it is also painful to watch this fiasco because the Word of God clearly exposes all of this as a farce and sham of the real thing. It is especially painful if you sincerely love people and want them to get the real help they need to escape the snares of the devil and the clutches of entrapment by the world. It is even more painful when we understand that these false teachers are preying on individuals who have seen the spiritual deadness in the liturgical churches and want no more of that.
Instead of providing these people with the real thing, they manufacture some euphoric religious experience by using contemporary Southern Gospel and Christian Rock music all developed by the entertainment industry and masquerading itself as Christian. Church platforms have become low quality and amateurish copies of the American Idol TV show where worldly music and worldly singing is Christianized. The fiasco lays in the fact that these methodologies cannot be Christianized. This is Christianity being Paganized through the incorporation of Hedonism (“lovers of pleasure,” II Timothy 3:4). The term “lovers of pleasure” is very descriptive of this mutation of Christian worship from its intended edification that raises God-consciousness in people to a false worship that just entertains and helps people feel good about themselves because they have just attended Church.
People leave these carnivals having a semblance of a religious experience because they have been told that what they just experienced was religious. They have just been seduced! This is not evangelism. This is seduction using worldly enticements.
In II Timothy 3:13, Paul says that “in the last days,” “. . . evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” This will happen when religious leaders (we dare not call them pastors) will try to create a religious movement that will be tailored to fit the kind of people Paul describes in II Timothy 3:1-9. When the world is desperate for the real thing, we can be sure Satan will raise up many of those he has corrupted to provide counterfeits of the real thing.
“1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was” (II Timothy 3:1-9).
The word “perilous” in II Timothy 3:1 is from the Greek word chalepos (khal-ep-os’). This word is a derivative of the Greek word chalao (khal-ah’-o), which means to lower or to let down. The meaning of Greek word chalepos (khal-ep-os’) translated “perilous” is to reduce the strength thereby creating a very dangerous situation. It would be similar to having men work underneath a heavy platform with inadequate supports. These “perilous times shall come” in the “last days” just before the second coming of Jesus and the catching away of His true Church. The “perilous times shall come” of the “last days” will be created by the dominant carnal characteristics of people of the world listed in II Timothy 3:1-9. The peril under which they live is the pending judgment of God.
The predominant characteristic of this carnal culture is communicated by the words “men shall be lovers of their own selves” (II Timothy 3:2). When it comes to the so called Worship Wars and what is acceptable, this phrase translates into what I like or what I want. When people are asked about the appropriateness of certain music styles for worship, they often reply with, I like it. This phrase really translates into – I do not care what you think of this music style. I like it and that is all that is important to me. Most people do not care enough to ask the questions – Does God like it?
Two other important questions must be asked. Is this music common and worldly? Or, is this music distinctively sacred and spiritual? When the question, what do I like? becomes the qualifying decision for worship music, “perilous times” will follow shortly thereafter! We have arrived at a point of transition in Christianity. Almost every local church in the world today has someone asking this inappropriate, defining and deciding question about what worship music they will use -What do I like?
Another qualifying statement is found in II Timothy 3:5 – “having a form of godliness.” The word “form” is from the Greek word morphosis (mor’-fo-sis). The word means a semblance in appearance. The point is the semblance is a façade and pretense. The semblance looks like “godliness” but it is not “godliness.” It is counterfeit, a farce, and artificial. “
Godliness” cannot be manufactured. “Godliness” is pure holiness that is completely separated from worldliness. Holiness and worldliness are antithetical terms. When someone makes a decision about what worship music to used based mostly upon I like it, he will never take into consideration if God likes it. The person that loves the things of the world will love the music of this world. Yet God commands believers against such an oxymoron in worship that incorporates worldly music into worship under the guise of “godliness.”
“15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:15-17).
Can you imagine the angels of Heaven’s choir singing any of the common contemporary rock worship songs being used these days? Do you see God setting upon His throne rocking out to this music as the angels of the Throne cry out, “holy, holy, holy Lord God almighty” (Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8)?
Worship context defines what will be become part of worship practices.
If worship context is primarily intent upon what is attractive to God, that context will predominantly be defined by holiness, sacrosanctity, and the absence of all things worldly. If worship context is primarily intent upon gathering/attracting a crowd of unregenerate people, who are by their very nature worldly, the context will predominantly be intent upon providing things that are attractive to them.
The false idea that worship is primarily intent upon gathering/attracting a crowd of unregenerate people will also be governed by the necessary absence of anything that might be unattractive or offensive to these unregenerate people. In this mindset, certain practices or subjects must be avoided lest the carnal be offended by such things. However, the absence of certain talking points is counterproductive to a genuine conviction of sin that will produce repentance and conversion of the heart. Therefore, this superficial context fails to produce a soil that is spiritually fertile enough to be able to generate life because the Spirit of God does not work in a vacuum void of spiritual truths necessary to understanding and conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Since a genuine salvation decision must begin with a person’s understanding of his condemnation before God, there must be an explanation of what sin is and what defines various aspects of unbelief. Most of what is being passed off as Ecumenical Evangelicalism today propagates a watered-down substitution for the Gospel without power to save anyone (Romans 1:16).
Since the second epistle to Timothy is a pastoral epistle. Therefore, we must understand that the context addresses people coming into the church in “the last days.” II Timothy 3:1-10 describes the characteristics of the culture of “the last days.” The characteristics of the culture are to be corrected by the Church. These characteristics are not to be catered to by the Church. The fact that Paul refers to these people as “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:5) means that the characteristics of this culture has invaded and become dominant in the local churches of the “last days.”
Everything described in II Timothy 3:1-9 is a contradiction against biblical Christianity. The purpose of the statement is to confront these characteristics with the truths of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the failure to confront these corrupted characteristics in a culture and in the Church is why they have development to become so dominant in society. Hedonism (the worship of pleasure) and the need for the instant gratification of desires has led this generation to be the most self-indulged generation since that generation which preceded the fall of the Roman Empire where debauchery became the norm. Perhaps this is the very reason the Roman culture hated Christians seeking to annihilate them. Christians would not minimize the definition of sin or talk around wickedness in order to be accepted by their culture. However, people do not like to have their sins pointed out to them!
“14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. 16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. 17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philips wife: for he had married her. 18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. 19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: 20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly” (Mark 6:14-20).
We are rapidly moving into a similar period of history for true Christians. It has been quite obvious for some time that the Gay/Lesbian agenda has very little to do with their rights to marry one another. Their hidden agenda has always been to criminalize Bible believing Christianity and annihilate true Christians. The solution to the corrupted characters of humanity described in II Timothy 3:1-9 will never be addressed by the new religions of humanistic psychiatry and their new priesthood of psychiatrists whose New Absolutism looks upon the Bible with disgust and disdain.
True Christians believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible as God’s holy Word and the dictates of His will for humanity. However, there are many in the wide chasm of corruption known by various categories of Evangelicalism who give lip service to the inspiration of the Bible. The reason it is mere lip service is because they do not see the preaching/teaching of “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), beginning with the Gospel and salvation, as the solution to the abnormalities listed in II Timothy 3:1-9.
Historically, there have been three governing principles regarding what should be allowed as worship in the Church, by which is meant collective local churches.
1. The Inventive Principle, which allows for the episcopal hierarchy of the Church (Biblically there is no such thing) to evolve, develop, and invent various worship practices, styles, or use items such as statues, pictures, or building structures to aid in worship.
2. The Normative Principle, which is simply an extension of a weak position on Sola Scriptura – whatever the Bible does not disallow, we allow. Simply stated, what is not forbidden is permitted. Therefore, if the Bible is silent on certain practices, these practices should be permitted. This is the argument used to justify various music styles in worship music.
3. The Regulative Principle, which is a much stricter view of Sola Scriptura – what is not commanded is forbidden. In other words, if the Bible does not give clear instructions on something, do not do it.
The dogma of the Regulative Principle for worship is to eliminate the anything goes argument simply because the Bible may be silent on something. Chapter I of the 1689 London Baptist Confession, although a Reformed Baptist Confession, makes two clear statements regarding the Regulative Principle of which most Bible believers would affirm and agree.
“Paragraph 1: The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in diversified manners to reveal Himself, and to declare (that) His will unto His church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now completed. (2 Tim. 3:15-17; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29,31; Eph. 2:20; Rom. 1:19-21, 2:14, 15; Psalm 19:1-3; Heb. 1:1; Prov. 22:19-21; Rom. 15:4; 2 Pet. 1:19, 20)”
“Paragraph 6: The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed. (2 Tim. 3:15-17; Gal. 1:8, 9; John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9-12; 1 Cor. 11:13,14; 1 Cor. 14:26, 40)”
The “whole counsel of God” is essentially the Regulative Principle for preaching and worship. Without the people knowing the “whole counsel of God,” it would be very easy to manipulate their ignorance into worship practices abhorrent to God. The cultural foundations for what is described in II Timothy 3:1-9 began to move away from the Regulative Principle within Evangelical Christianity in 1965. This corruption of the Regulative Principle has come to be known as Positivism. Positivism is a radical philosophy integrating rationalistic psychology into the presentation of Bible truth.
The approach of Positivism understands that people psychologically resist negative statements and even statements that they view as being critical. In other words, people tend to avoid discussions that make them uncomfortable. Therefore, this psychological approach to Church Growth philosophies taught preachers to simply avoid or deemphasize any Scriptures or teaching that might carry a negative or critical connotation. It was not long before people were mentally (psychologically) conditioned to view any negative comments or critical teaching as offensive and judgmental. As a result of this psychological conditioning, people immediately closed their spirits to anything that was being said in that their mindset categorized that preacher as a radical who did not deserve to be heard or considered. This is from where the word preachy evolved.
As we apply the Regulative Principle, the first question that we must ask ourselves is if this psychological approach known as Positivism a justifiable approach to biblical evangelism and Church Growth methodologies? Can we find a pattern for such an approach ANYWHERE in Scripture or any example of such a philosophy or practice by any of God’s ordained prophets, Apostles, or even the Lord Jesus Himself? If we cannot find such a practice, it ought to be clear to anyone that it is not a biblical approach to the presentation of truth. What is the Scriptural pattern for the pastor to follow in his teaching/preaching ministry? We find a detailed explanation of this biblical pattern for teaching/preaching in Acts 20:26-31.
“26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:26-31).
In Acts 20:28, the first Pastoral responsibility is to “feed the church of God.”
We notice in Acts 20:20, that Paul says, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you.” Paul taught them “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” We also see that Paul did not withhold truths that might be offensive or bring about conviction of sin and guilt of sin. “26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
In most Bible believing, Bible preaching churches, we would take these three areas of teaching for granted. We would expect a faithful pastor to teach people about turning from sin. We would expect a faithful pastor to “declare” (preach and teach dogmatically) all that the Word of God says. However, this is not true in progressive evangelical churches practicing the psychological manipulation of Positivism.
To be able to discern those who are practicing the psychological manipulation of Positivism, a person must learn to listen for what they do not say. That is a very difficult thing to do for those who do not have solid theological foundations already established (which is true of the vast majority of professing Christians). Most Christians have never been discipled.
Although churches practicing the psychological manipulation of Positivism may preach against sin, they do so as a generality. They often avoid preaching against specific sins such as adultery, fornication, worldliness, or alcohol use. For those churches practicing the psychological manipulation of Positivism, those who do preach against specific sins and use a strict, literal interpretation of Scripture are usually labeled as Legalists.
There is so much Political Correctness (neo-absolutes of Moral Relativism) in these types of churches that only those sins that are part of the social concern of that particular moment in history are mentioned. This is true because they are more concerned about social relevancy (how society views them) than they are about how God views them. This is due to their view of God as being predominantly loving and forgiving while deemphasizing the fact that God is also a God of wrath, justice, and holiness. The practice of the psychological manipulation of Positivism reveals a much distorted view of God and His holiness.
These types of churches do not want to appear preachy or judgmental. They preach the unconditional love of God (which is true), but without the balanced teaching that God expects those who believe in Him to repent of all that His Word condemns and to begin to make radical changes in their lives that will reflect the image of Christ through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
“13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:13-16).
In Acts 20:31, the Shepherd is instructed, in his third main responsibility, to “warn” the Lord’s sheep.
He is to warn about both false teachers and false teachings that will continue to arise periodically so as to keep his people from being led astray. The word “warn” is from the Greek word noutheteo (noo-thet-eh'-o). It means to fill the mind. The idea is to confront and expose false doctrine so thoroughly that the sheep will flee from it. There is not much warning going on when Ecumenicism becomes the defining factor for what is said or not said.
How does this practice of the psychological manipulation of Positivism impact Christianity and how people think and receive truth? People become so accustomed and conditioned to never having specific sins preached against that anytime they hear someone do so, they are repulsed by it and they condemn that preacher as judgmental. Any proclamation of absolute truth regarding moral issues or doctrinal truth is immediately viewed as abstract and radical. Most people have become so accustomed to attending churches where the preaching is soft on sin and so light on doctrine that when they do attend a church where someone preaches hard on sin and presents the “meat” of God’s Word, they almost choke to death on it. They are so uncomfortable under the guilt of their own softness towards Christ and their own tolerance of sin that they flee from that kind of preaching intent upon never attending again.
Secondly, people are so accustomed to the minimization of doctrine by the Pluralists and Ecumenicists that permeates and saturates most of evangelicalism today, that when they hear someone pointing out false doctrine, they are conditioned to condemn that kind of preaching as divisive, critical, and even cultic. The person conditioned by the psychological manipulation of Positivism becomes closed minded and hardhearted to anything other than Positivism.
The effectiveness of preaching, by which God has ordained to warn against false doctrine, false teachers, and satanic deception, has been compromised by the psychological manipulation of Positivism. Positivism has proven itself to be one of the most effective tools of satanic deception in the twenty-first century. Yet most people are almost completely unaware that they have been psychologically programmed by Positivism. People under this type of preaching have been covertly deceived, enticed, and seduced.
“10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:10-17).
According to II Timothy 3:10-11, Paul puts the persecutions of his own life forward to exemplify the sincerity and commitment necessary to confronting false doctrine and those that oppose right doctrine. In II Timothy 3:12, Paul states that every person seeking to fight for “the faith” should expect similar persecution. Jude says every believer must be willing to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
Corrupters of the truth will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:13). The point is that the cycle of corruption will never end while the curse remains. Notice as well that corruption is ALWAYS connected to those who have been deceived. The deceived become deceivers and the army of deception grows with every generation. Those corrupted are described by the characteristics of II Timothy 3:1-9.
Paul’s solution to Timothy, his son in the faith, is simple: “. . . continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:14-15). The simple solution to deception and false doctrine is to return to the Scriptures – the theological anchors for faith. II Timothy 3:16-17 is God’s Regulative Principle.
The words “inspiration of God” in II Timothy 3:16a are translated from one Greek word - theopneustos (theh-op’-nyoo-stos). God breathed out ALL the Words of Scripture and God breathed spiritual life into ALL those Words. Therefore, the very notion of minimalism regarding our understanding of God’s will from Scripture is ridiculous.
II Timothy 3:16 tells us that God’s Regulative Principle is “profitable” for four purposes. “Profitable” is from the Greek word ophelimos (o-fel’-ee-mos), which is a derivative of the Greek word ophello. The meaning of ophello is to heap up or accumulate. The accumulation makes the person possessing what is accumulated advantaged. The meaning of ophelimos (o-fel’-ee-mos) is advantageous. “Profitable” is an excellent translation.
Profitable for doctrine
The simplest meaning of this statement is to heap up to one’s self the treasures of the knowledge of God’s will about how to live. “Doctrine” is from the Greek didaskalia (did-as-kal-ee'-ah), which simply means instruction or teaching. However, the higher meaning is the function or purpose of that teaching. Since “all Scripture” is of divine origin, all teaching from of the Bible is of divine origin.
Profitable for reproof
The simplest meaning of this statement is to heap up to one’s self the treasures of the knowledge of God’s Scriptural proofs for refuting error. Christians must thoroughly know the Scriptures and what the Scriptures teach in order to recognize error or false doctrine. The vast majority of the New Testament epistles are for the purpose of correcting false doctrines that had crept into local churches. This is also true of Jesus’s seven epistles to the seven local churches in Revelation chapters two and three.
Profitable for correction
The word “correction” is translated from the Greek word epanorthosis (ep-an-or’-tho-sis), which means to straighten up, rectify, or set in order. The point is to take something that has gotten out of place and put it back in its proper place. All believers are to heap up to their selves the treasures of the knowledge of God’s Scriptural truths in order to recognize when practices are out of order or distorted and give the necessary instruction to correct the fault or failure.
Profitable for instruction in righteousness
The word “instruction” is from the Greek word paideia (pahee-di’-ah), which means to educate or train. The intent is to train someone in the disciplines of what God defines as righteousness. To discipline is to train someone to be disciplined in choices and practices that are righteous in the eyes of God. The Greek word translated “righteousness” is dikaiosune (dik-ah-yos-oo-nay), which actually means to be equitable. The idea is a fully matured and holy character that is able to be fair/just in decisions “that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The point is that the Word of God should change our thoughts and actions in life. This is why II Timothy 3:16-17 is referred to as the Regulative Principle.
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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.