Dear Fellow Christian,
Let's be brutally honest, you've got a difficult road ahead of you. You no longer live in a culture that tolerates Christian beliefs very much, you've got secularists and atheists breathing down your neck, and you're loosing your sons and daughters to the surrounding pagan culture at an alarming rate. There are a lot of things that the Evangelical church is struggling with at this point in history. In the many attempts to remain effective, relevant, and frankly, to try and stay ahead of declining membership, many churches have adopted a solution that is making things even worse-they're throwing gasoline on this raging fire.
Here at Pirate Christian Media we are constantly trying to sound a warning to the church: "You are way off course-you're in great danger!!" is the message we often proclaim. We provide evidence and convincing proofs. On "Fighting for the Faith" Chris Rosebrough plays (and then carefully critiques) hour after hour of sermons from the biggest and most popular pastors in the world. These sermons are terrible. These pastors are using the Bible as a prop-they often don't even read it at all. These pastors are clearly misusing God's Word to say whatever they want to say-to get what they want to get. The proof is abundant and it's overwhelming. If you haven't listened to Fighting for the Faith I expect you to read the previous four sentences with great skepticism. Fine. Listen to a couple dozen episodes and come back to this when you're done (and presumably queazy).
Having enough proof of the false-teaching is not the problem; in fact, it's not even very hard to prove these "super-pastors" are misusing God's Word. Anyone who simply reads their Bible can see what's going on most of the time. So yes, there's a Really Big Problem in the church: False-teaching is the new normal in many mega-churches. Google any list of the "Biggest Mega-Pastors in America" and you'll notice how just about every single one of them has been exposed as a false-teacher on Fighting for the Faith (and some other good podcasts and blogs, too). All sorts of false-teaching is also the norm in many best-selling "Christian" books that are published by "Christian" publishers, and things are really bad on "Christian" television. False teaching is the new normal and it's everywhere, but that's not the Gigantic problem.
The Gigantic Problem is that you're being systematically convinced that sound doctrine is the problem.
You're being told, over and over again, that we need to skim even more lightly across the surface of Christianity and "just love and accept each other no matter what we believe; after all, isn't that what Jesus is all about?..." Churches, pastors and Christians that refuse to take a stand on the meaning of God's Word are not helping anyone-they're making things worse. When they go along with this confusing idea of doctrinal ambiguity, they're throwing gas on a dangerous fire.
This strange new version of Christianity can only be passed off to a church that has rejected God's Word. And make no mistake about it: The American Evangelical Church has abandoned God's Word. It almost never comes right out and says so, but it has. But that's why it's so hard for most Christians to see what's right in front of them: everyone assumes that everything is Biblical and, therefore, everything is okay. Almost never do these false-teachers come right out and proclaim their abandonment of the Bible, because that would set off alarms and they would lose their audience. So a very thin facade covers up a very obvious and overwhelming issue: False-teaching (of many varieties) is the new normal. And the thin facade covering up this obvious false-teaching? Often, it's just the use of the adjective "Biblical." As long as a false-teacher sticks the word "Biblical" in front of their twisted teaching, most people smile and nod in agreement.
I truly wish more people would say things like:
"I wonder if what this guy is saying is really Biblical?"
"I wonder why this pastor sounds exactly like a motivational speaker with Jesus tacked on at the very end?"
"I wonder if this teacher is being accurate with the text? It seems like he's inserting his own meaning into what the Bible says."
"I wonder if this guy is just proof-texting the Bible to make it say what he wants it to say?"
"I wonder if this lady really knows what she's talking about-she talks so fast I can't even keep up with half of what she's saying! I'm gonna check my Bible and test what she's saying."
"I wonder why this supposedly 'new and better' version of Christianity never existed for all of church history... until now?"
"I wonder why this guy always hears a 'fresh new word from God' at exactly the same time as his latest book comes out?"
"Isn't it a strange coincidence that this pastor suddenly changed his view about an important issue and adopted the exact same viewpoint of the surrounding culture?"
"If it's so important for me to emotionally experience the "Presence" of God, why didn't Jesus or the Apostles ever mention it? Why is the church now sounding like the New Age movement??"
Most of the time people don't want to believe bad news-especially bad news that seriously affects their whole view of the world. But when there's really bad news they really don't want to believe it. Having to admit that your favorite pastor/author/teacher is wrong is just too hard for many people to accept. But one's feelings about reality should never be a cover-up for reality itself.
Something is true because it's actually true-whether you like it or not.
Something is false because it's actually false-whether you like it or not.
Something is Biblical because it's actually Biblical, whether you like it or not... no matter what some slick, over-paid and overly-confident pastor might say, even when he's in an expensive and emotionally manipulative video full of half-truths, careful editing and compelling music.
The Bible makes it ridiculously clear that sound doctrine is vital and essential. It's not just a nice hobby for theologians and Bible nerds. Jesus made it ridiculously clear that we should watch out for false teachers-He warns us to not get mislead by them. Then the Apostles did the same thing. But a lot of people are ignoring Jesus and His Apostles (who wrote the New Testament) and following the teachings of men (and quite a few woman, too).
If you listen to many of these super pastors, you'd think there were all sorts of Bible verses instructing us to skip God's Word and follow whatever our pastor says-especially if he seems really sincere (and can muster up tears at the conclusion of his sermons).
If you evaluate the modern Evangelical church, you'd think there were lots of Bible verses telling us to "make it up as you go-as long as your heart is sincere and you seem to be getting results."
If you read many of the Christian best-selling books you'd think that the Bible says: "Listen for your own personal messages from God, because this Bible isn't really good enough."
If you believe the new normal, you'd think that the Bible teaches everyone to navigate this life, and all of eternity based on our feelings, thoughts and personal experiences, because "God just wants us to be happy."
If you believe the new normal, you'd think that the Bible is a success guide to help you achieve the American Dream (and maybe improve your sex life).
If you believe the new normal, you'd think that the Bible says, "listen to the most popular and convincing false teachers, because even though they twist God's Word, they have some good things to say, too."
If you believe the new normal, you'd think that the God of Scripture, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny reside in the same realm; along with the ability to "speak things into existence" and "discover your Destiny" so you can "become a Champion!"
Here's an entire article full of things that aren't in the Bible (but you'd think they were).
Underneath these really bad ideas is the gigantic bad idea that "doctrine doesn't matter-doctrine is the problem." Doctrine is just another word for teaching. The Christian Church gets its teachings from the Bible, and the Bible demands that we adhere to sound doctrine. You cannot bypass the Bible and "just follow Jesus." Sorry, but Jesus never taught that, the Apostles never taught that, and God's Word-The Holy Bible-does not teach that. Does this sound legalistic to you? That's probably because of all the bad doctrine (bad "teaching") that you've received. God demands sound doctrine (good "theology") because He wants you to know the Truth. Remember, the Truth can set you free-but it has to be the Truth.
Think about it: Doesn't it make sense that God would want us to know what's true and avoid everything that's false? And if God has given us His Word, shouldn't we listen to it-instead of the teachings of mere men? The very Good News is that God Himself has intervened into human history and given us His Word; and His Word tells us about the amazing and shockingly Good News that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World, who died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.
Now here's something you really need to read (I dare you to read through the entire page):
Here's another article that might add more clarity to this topic:
Here are a couple of videos that provide convincing evidence of the fallen state of the church:
Here's an interview with Dr. David Wells on Issues, Etc.:
Here is a recently completed survey of the Evangelical landscape that shows how confused Christians are:
This article by Steven Kozar