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Please take a look at these articles regarding the errors of modern Evangelicalism as espoused by Pr. Stuart Wood, and emphatically endorsed by yours truly.
If you look in the left-hand column these links will be a permanent part of this blog and a keystone piece of the web-site I'm constructing.
As you will see, these errors take issue with American Evangelicalism (and everything which falls under that broad umbrella), Calvinism, and Roman Catholicism, et al., head-on, so as to challenge the reader to question if their beliefs meet up with God's Word and historic Christianity.
This blog also encourages debate on these issues, so if anyone finds need to dispute with any article, the author of these articles and the moderator of this blog will gladly defend them, as should be expected.*
I'd ask that if anyone who has a friend, family member, or someone in their life who falls under the persuasion of any of these errors, and wishes to point them in the right direction, please send them this way for help.
(*This blog entry will be the comment page for ALL the articles of this series. If you want to leave a comment, please reference what number article(s) you wish to address. Thank you!)
25 Errors of the Modern Evangelicals
by: Pr. Stuart Wood
Dear Reader, below are listed 25 errors of the modern Evangelicals. There are other errors that I do not include, but this is enough for you to see just how far astray the modern Evangelical church is from historical, Biblical Christianity. And these are serious errors. They have a bearing upon the most important doctrines of the Christian faith. I write these things out of love for those who know and love the truth. I don’t expect that many will agree with me, but to simply disagree means nothing. What matters is why do you disagree. If I have spoken in error, then show me my error from the Word of God. I do not assert these things lightly nor have I learned them quickly. What you are about to read has taken me 30 years of Bible study to learn. I know these points to be true to the Word of God and to historical, Biblical Christianity. Thank you for taking the time to consider these points, and I pray that this reading will prove to be a great blessing for you.
Relationship of faith and reason
This is truly the foundation of all the errors of the modern Evangelicals. Because the Scriptures contain truths that are infinitely above and beyond human reason, we are called to take God at His Word. But the modern Evangelicals do not do this. Rather, they measure God by their own ruler, and cannot and will not receive anything that appears foreign or contradictory to their natural thoughts. In truth, they do not really believe in the total depravity of man, which necessarily includes his depraved mind. Thus, where the Scriptures often leave the mind in paradox, the modern Evangelicals will commonly cling to and argue for one side of a Biblical truth and deny and condemn another seemingly opposite Biblical truth. This priority of human reason lies at the root of many controversies between the Calvinists and Arminians. Both camps are guided by their fallen nature, and not by child-like Christian faith.
Some Verses to Consider: Isa. 8:20; 55:7-9; 65:2; 2 Cor. 10:4,5; Rom. 5:20-6:1; 10:17
Bondage of man’s will
Most modern Evangelicals do not believe that man’s will is completely in bondage to sin. In relation to the law of God, man is incapable of performing even one thought or act that is pleasing to God. He is truly dead in his trespasses and sins. His will is like a lifeless log lying on the ground in the forest. Left to itself, where the tree fell, there it will ever remain. It is only by the work of Another that that log can ascend upwards. It is only by the grace of God that man can think or work any good thing in the sight of God. Thus, whoever leans upon his own thoughts or asserts the freedom of man’s will to choose both good or evil stands in denial of this important Scriptural doctrine. He thereby loses his dependence upon Christ and the necessary light that He alone provides via His Word.
Some Verses to Consider: Eph. 2:1; Rom. 3:10-18; 8:7,8; Jer. 13:23; Isa. 64:6; John 15:5
The Kingdom of God
Most modern Evangelicals know little or nothing about the very important doctrine of the kingdom of God. Some go so far as to make distinctions between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. Rather the kingdom of God is one. The kingdom of God is that kingdom of truth that we apprehend by faith through the trustworthy eye-glasses of the Word of God. It stands in contrast to the kingdom of this world, the kingdom of darkness, ruled by the prince of darkness, although over-ruled by our Saviour. The kingdom of God manifests itself in the Church as a kingdom of grace, in the world as a kingdom of power, and in heaven as a kingdom of glory. How few tragically know anything of this. If they did, how quickly they would see the utter futility of being led by human reason.
Some Verses to Consider: John 18:37; Heb. 2:7,8; Matt. 16:18; 28:18-20; 25:31
Confusion of Law and Gospel
The modern Evangelical commonly confuses the Law and the Gospel. This is another necessary product of being guided by reason and not faith. The Law should be preached in all of its severity, sparing no sinner from the dreadful consequences of his sins. This is rarely done in modern Evangelical circles. Also, the Gospel should be preached in all of its sweetness as that which avails before God completely apart from one’s own works. This also is rarely proclaimed. I have always been amazed how few modern Evangelicals can define for you what the Gospel even is, how that “Christ died for our sins”. For many of them, Christianity is nothing more than a self-help tool for the concerns of this life.
Some Verses to Consider: Nahum 1:6,7; Ezek. 18,20; Num. 32:23; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; John 8:24
Confusion of Repentance and Faith
The modern Evangelicals commonly err on the issue of repentance. As with so many issues, they tend to fall off of either side of the path of faith. Most do not talk much about repentance at all. For them God requires nothing of them but a head knowledge about the historical facts of the Gospel. Others, seeing the bad fruit of such lip-service, make repentance another work of the law which God requires for salvation. Faith is relegated to the background, and what really matters is whether you have repented of your sins. What is not seen here is the necessary Biblical distinction between repentance in its narrow sense and repentance in its wider, saving sense. Repentance in its narrow sense is a product of the law and results in the regretting of one’s sins. This in and of itself does not and cannot save a person. Repentance in its wider sense is a product of the law and the Gospel. It includes both the sincere regretting of one’s sins and the looking to Christ’s cross for forgiveness of those sins. This repentance saves, not because of its relation to the law, but because of its relation to the Gospel. We are saved not for the sake of our imperfect regrets and sorrows, but for the sake of our faith in the atoning work of Christ at the cross.
Some Verses to Consider: Mark 1:15; Acts 16:30,31; Jer. 3:12-14; Pro. 24:16
The Means of Grace
Contrary to historic Biblical Christianity, the modern Evangelicals have no place in their theology for the means of grace, that is, the Scripturally-sanctioned means by which God applies the atoning work of Christ to the believer. God has provided three means of grace: the naked Word of God, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are means of grace only because they contain the Word of God. As St. Augustine said, “they are visible words of God”. That is, God wraps his invisible Word in visible elements (water, bread, wine) in order that the one who receives the visible element may know with certainty that he also receives the invisible grace, that is the forgiveness of sins proclaimed by the Word of God which cannot lie. The closest thing that the modern Evangelical has to the means of grace is “the sinner’s prayer”, but this has no such sanction from the Word of God, and thus brings no certain comfort.
Some Verses to Consider: Rom. 10:17; 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18; Acts 2:38,39; 22:16; 1 Thess. 2:13
Most modern Evangelicals do not believe nor teach the clear words of Christ, “This is My body.. this is My blood”. Instead they flatly reject the Word of God and assert that the bread and wine are merely symbols of Christ’s body and blood. This is an accommodation to their reason which cannot fathom these words as being true. Thus, through unbelief, they make void to themselves the promises of God that “as many as touched Him were healed,” and “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us of all sin”. They do not realize that the Lord’s Supper is not a re-sacrificing of Christ, as the Roman Catholics falsely teach, but rather an ongoing distribution of the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood to all believers throughout the world via the Word of God which cannot lie.
Some Verses to Consider: Matt. 26:26-28; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:29; Mark 6:56; 1 John 1:7
Most modern Evangelicals do not believe nor teach the clear words of Christ, “that you be baptized for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost shall be given unto you”. Instead they directly contradict God and assert that baptism is not for the remission of sins, and that the Holy Ghost is not granted via the waters of baptism. Baptism, however, is the Scripturally ordained means by which God applies the atoning blood of Christ to us. As Martin Luther said, “If we look at baptism with the eye of faith, we see that its waters are not clear, but crimson, joined as they are with the blood of Christ”. Baptism is the Scripturally sanctioned means by which a person becomes a Christian. The historical Christian church has always regarded baptism as the doorway into the kingdom of God. In place of Christian baptism, the modern Evangelicals have substituted “the sinner’s prayer”. It, and not baptism, supposedly works the forgiveness of sins and grants the Holy Ghost.
Some Verses to Consider: Acts 22:16; 2:38,39; Gal. 3:27; 2 Kings 5:9-14
Objective and subjective justification
The modern Evangelical makes no distinction between objective and subjective justification. Objective justification refers to the objective fact that all people are forgiven all sins because of the universal atoning work of Christ. It is an objective fact that Christ died for a man’s sins whether he believes it or not. His believing or not believing cannot change this fact. God will be proven true though every man a liar. Subjective justification refers to whether a person has received this forgiveness through faith in Christ’s atoning work. It has reference to the application and possession of the forgiveness of sins. Even though Christ has objectively wrought this forgiveness for all, it does not come into the possession of those who refuse it. They aren’t forced to take the gift, even though the gift is extended to them.
Some Verses to Consider: 2 Cor. 5:18-20; 1 Tim. 4:9,10
Hidden and revealed will of God
Many errors are made among modern Evangelicals because there is not a distinction made between the hidden and revealed will of God. The revealed will of God is that which God has declared for us in His Word. And everything that He has revealed is profitable for instruction and correction that the man of God might be adequately equipped for every good work. The hidden will of God is that which He has not chosen to reveal in His Word. These things which have not been revealed are not our concern and should not be investigated lest one be justly consumed in his mind by the unveiled majesty of God. This is why the universality of Christ’s atonement is so important because it is a declaration that includes us all. However, if a person seeks out his acceptance and election in some other personal way, he is proceeding without the Word and thus cannot but err severely.
Some Verses to Consider: Deut. 29:29; 2 Tim. 3:16,17
Toleration of Limited Atonement
This one’s for the smug and secure Calvinists who arrogate to themselves Christ’s blessed atonement and exclude others who don’t embrace their error. Rather than locking arms with the lowest of the world and glorying in Christ’s universal provision plainly declared in His Word, they climb up over the wall by means of their own experience and make themselves chiefs in the Lord’s vineyard. There is no question that the Lord’s atonement is universal, plainly stated in both Scripture and Church history, and anyone who denies it is led not of faith but his own depraved reason.
Some Verses to Consider: John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:3-6; Heb. 2:9; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 2:2; Gen. 3:15
Autonomy of the local congregation
Most modern Evangelicals do not understand the autonomy of the local congregation. The local congregation is by divine command and is a divine institution. It is not optional for a Christian to belong to a local congregation. It is commanded. The power of the Keys, that is the administration of the Word and sacraments, is to be exercised within the local congregation. Denominations and federations may exist for the purpose of mutual support but may not exercise authority over the local congregation.
Some Verses to Consider: Heb. 10:24,25; Acts 14:23; 20:28; Tit. 1:5; 1 Pet. 5:2,3
Use of the Keys
The use of the Keys refers to the wonderful gift that Christ has given to His Church to remit and retain sins. This gift is to be exercised within the local congregation through the administration of the Word and sacraments. The forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed as the voice of God to those who repent of their sins and believe the Gospel, “how that Christ died for our sins”. The retention of sins is to be proclaimed to those who refuse to repent of their sins and/or refuse to believe the Gospel. The practice of church discipline is a divinely commanded exercise of the Keys, both for the sake of the impenitent and the reputation of the Church. Few modern Evangelical churches understand the use of the Keys nor practice church discipline. In the case of those who do practice it, there often is little or no follow-up or coordination with other churches with whom they are in fellowship.
Some Verses to Consider: Matt. 16:19; 18:15-18; John 20:21-23; 1 Chron. 15:13
This is really another exercise of the office of the Keys, specifically having reference to the remission of sins. Absolution may be defined as the announcement of the forgiveness of sins by a pastor or any other believer standing in the stead of Christ. Thus a pastor may declare to a congregation that “in the name and stead of Christ, I forgive you all of your sins”. He is speaking not in and from his own person, but his mouth is at this point the very mouth of God. This brings great comfort and assurance for the guilty sinner. I think it is fair to say that the modern Evangelical knows nothing of this.
Some Verses to Consider: 2 Cor. 2:10; 5:20; Matt. 9:2; 2 Sam. 12:13
Confusion of the new man and old man
Once again because of the guide of reason over faith, the modern Evangelical muddles and confuses the new man and old man, that is, the Christian according to the Spirit and according to the flesh. There is little teaching or apprehension as to who we are in Christ versus who we are in Adam, who we are as those born from above versus who we are as those born from below, who we are as righteous men versus who we are as sinners. Rather than being guided by the Word of God into these wonderful truths, the modern Evangelical perceives himself according to experience and according to nature. Thus, he is denied the joy and spiritual strength of knowing his precious Christian birthright.
Some Verses to Consider: Eph. 4:20-24; John 3:3-6; 1 John 3:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15,16
The danger of losing faith
The more Calvinistic modern Evangelicals deny the danger of losing faith, despite the many passages and Scriptural examples warning of this. They have every possible interpretation explaining away these troublesome verses, but to any honest onlooker their efforts are forced and contrived. The problem here is the old nemesis human reason, which cannot receive the Word of God as stated but must try to square it with the doctrine of election. The truth is that the elect are the very ones who take heed to the warnings and thus prove themselves to be the elect. But in place of this sincerity and godly fear, the modern Evangelical has established their presumptuous “once saved, always saved”, which forces one to look back to a decision in the past rather than to look up to the Saviour who truly can preserve and save them.
Some Verses to Consider: Rom. 11:18-22; Heb. 4:1; Gal. 5:3,4; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; 1 Tim. 1:18-20
The security of the Christian
The more Arminian modern Evangelicals deny the security of the Christian, despite the many passages and Scriptural examples asserting this. They have every possible interpretation explaining away these comforting verses, but to any honest onlooker their efforts are forced and contrived. The problem here is the old nemesis human reason, which cannot receive the Word of God as stated but must try to square it with human responsibility. The truth is that God’s elect are eternally secure being chosen unto salvation before the world was. They were not chosen in view of their faith, but they have faith because they were chosen. And they are kept, not by their own strength, but by the power of God.
Some Verses to Consider: John 10:27-30; Phil 1:6; Rom. 8:28-30; 38,39; Jude 1:24
Unionism is the idea that Christians “agree to disagree agreeably” on what they would call “non-fundamentals” and continue to maintain a pretense of unity despite their differences. While this looks charitable on the surface, it is truly a betrayal of the Word of God. It makes the truth of the Word of God of no great significance. It says to God, “thank you very much for your Word, but as to it’s true meaning, we don’t really care if one affirms it or not. We will gladly join arms with those who deny it.” Unionism also arrogates to itself the right and ability to carve up the Word of God into its own categories, not realizing that all the doctrines are intricately connected to one another and a denial of one has implications about another. The Scriptures rightly condemn unionism, and command us to “speak the same thing” and “avoid those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which we have learned”. The modern Evangelical church is thoroughly unionistic by definition.
Some Verses to Consider: Rom. 16:17,18; Rom. 15:5,6; 1 Cor. 1:10; 5:6; 1 Tim. 5:22
Toleration of the Charismatic movement
The Charismatic movement is truly inspired of the devil, having wrought great damage to the reputation of the visible church and the cause of truth. Both Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 show clearly that Biblical tongues were known languages. If this be true, which is not hard to prove, then what is this modern day tongues which everyone admits are not known languages? These tongues are clearly fraudulent, being manifestations of the flesh or the devil himself. Most modern Evangelicals are quite content to allow this fraud to co-exist in their midst, and would rather “agree to disagree agreeably” than defend the Word of God and the reputation of God’s church.
Some Verses to Consider: Acts 2:6-11; 1 Cor. 14:27,28; 13:8; Jer. 23:25-28
Toleration of worldliness (modern dancing, gambling, lottery, etc.)
The Word of God tells us to “be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds”. Yet it is often hard to distinguish between the modern Evangelical and the world in their everyday lives. Modern dancing, with its sensual and seductive gyrations, is clearly a form of lasciviousness, but how few voices do we hear against it. The lottery, office-sponsored sporting pools, and even certain kinds of speculative investing are forms of gambling, and yet the modern Evangelical commonly partakes of these alongside the world. It is not that you will not find sin and worldliness in every congregation, as you will also always find tares among the wheat, but what marks the modern Evangelical churches is their toleration of and indifference towards such worldliness.
Some Verses to Consider: 1 Thess. 4:3-5; Eph. 4:28; 5:3-5; 1 Cor. 5:6-8
Identification of Israel
The modern Evangelicals do not understand the relationship between natural Israel, that is the physical descendants of Abraham, and spiritual Israel, that is the holy Christian Church. Thus, modern Evangelicals tend to regard natural Israel as a sort of spiritual ally, who at least believe in the Old Testament, etc. But this is not true. The Jewish religion today does not believe in the Old Testament and is every bit as false a religion as Islam or Buddhism. In fact, the names “Jewish” and “Israel” should not even be associated with this religion, as it is really nothing more than Talmudism or Rabiism, denying and blaspheming the blessed work of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Yet the modern Evangelicals hold up such ones as “the people of God”. Not only can these “people of God” not be identified as such by their religion, but even their physical lineage cannot be established. In Bible times, Jewish lineage was established through the Jewish fathers. Today’s Jews reckon their heritage from their Jewish mothers. After centuries of inter-marriage and Gentile conversions, who can say for certain who is truly a “descendant of Abraham”?
Some Verses to Consider: Rom. 4:13-16; 9:6-8; Gal. 6:16, Phi. 3:2,3; 1 Thess. 2:14-16
Identification of the Millennium
Once again the modern Evangelicals make literal that which is spiritual and make spiritual that which is literal. The idea of a literal thousand year reign of the Messiah here on this physical earth to be followed by further rebellion and wars has commonly been rejected by historical orthodox Christianity as a Jewish myth. Christ Himself clearly declared “My Kingdom is not of this world”. The millennial kingdom spoken of in Revelation 20 is the spiritual reign of Christ in the midst of His enemies since the day of Pentecost. The number 1000, as all other numbers throughout the Book of Revelation, is spiritual, not literal. God “signified”, lit. “symbolized” to John the things that were to come.
Some Verses to Consider: Luke 17:20, 21; John 18:36; Rev. 1:1; 7:4
Identification of true antichrist
The modern Evangelicals have a myriad of theories as to the identification of the antichrist, but have no real Scriptural certainty for their opinions. Even though some have proposed it, few know with conviction that the antichrist has already been revealed in the office of the Pope. Had they understood the doctrine of justification clearly, they would see that this enemy from within has been the true believers’ biggest historic adversary. Also from Scripture it is plainly stated that the antichrist will take his seat in the temple of God (the Church) displaying himself as God. When the Pope speaks “ex cathedra”, “out of the chair”, from his office, so to speak, he speaks as infallible God. His words hold a higher place than Scripture. He exalts himself as Christ’s vicar (representative) on earth. And yet as obvious as the identification of antichrist is, how few modern Evangelicals recognize it. Rather, many embrace the Pope as a “brother in Christ”.
Some Verses to Consider: 2 Thes. 2:3,4; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; Rev. 13:18 (Pope’s crown); 17:1-9
Two natures of Christ
Here is a doctrine that only faith can approach, and reason on its own must err. We are told in the Word of God that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. He is eternal and yet temporal, all-powerful and yet having weakness, all-knowing and yet not knowing some things. He has two natures, divine and human, and yet is one indivisible Person. All that can be said of Him according to either nature can be said of His Person. Thus, in Christ, we can and do say that God is born and God dies. It is in this sense that the ancient Church affirmed that Mary was the mother of God, not to exalt Mary, but to preserve the unity of Christ’s Person. How man modern Evangelicals today would confess Mary as “the mother of God”? This gives us some indication as to how very foreign such orthodox truths are to the ears of the modern Evangelicals.
Some Verses to Consider: Luke 1:35; 1 Cor. 2:8; Acts 3:15
Christ’s descent into hell
Even though this doctrine is clearly taught in the Word of God and even incorporated into the Apostle’s Creed, confessed by orthodox Christians for 2000 years, the modern Evangelical presumes a more enlightened knowledge by which he commonly denies this teaching. The doctrine, simply stated, is that following His blessed death on the Cross for our sins, Christ descended into hell and proclaimed His victory to the spirits now in prison. He did this so as to show Himself as both just and the justifier of those whose sins had been forgiven previously, and to show the justice of the condemnation of those who had rejected His promises since the beginning of the world. The descent of Christ into hell was not a part of His suffering for sins and His humiliation, but rather is the first rung of His exaltation above everything that is below, on, and above the earth.
Some Verses to Consider: 1 Pet. 3:18-20; Col. 2:15; Rom. 3:25,26
Thank you again for taking the time to consider the points above. I am happy to tell you that the doctrines that I have asserted are the precise doctrines of the orthodox Lutheran church. This is not to affirm modern-day Lutheranism, which has gone even further astray than modern Evangelicalism, but it is to affirm those doctrines and teachings preserved in the Lutheran Confessions. Martin Luther did nothing more than bring to light again the true and orthodox teachings of historical, Biblical Christianity which had been buried for centuries by the Roman church and Pope. Luther’s doctrines are indeed the true doctrines of the Word of God. May we, like him, value these precious truths enough to restore them again.