In the distant past, at this blog, I have identified what I believe are seven (7) evangelical movements/streams/theologies that have gotten off the main Biblical track and are taking many Christians down wrong roads.
Today I want to summarize in chart form the data I've researched for many years.
The main reason for these movements are unresolved problems in the evangelical church. Since these problems have not and mostly are still not being addressed, movements to solve them arise, often going to extremes. Most of the leaders of these movements are sincere, but IMO off-track. The danger is how much influence they have within the evangelical community.
So then, here are the seven with the problem(s) they are trying to resolve, their solution(s), the new problems their solutions are creating, and the BIG question this is raising.
The Problem from their view: Non-Christians and even many Christians are simply not coming to church. So, the solution would be how to get them there.
Their solution:Do marketing campaigns to find out WHAT people in the neighborhood want in a church. Then design the church around that data.
The problem with their solution: The Holy Spirit is blanked out of the "drawing to God and church" process as man draws people through slick programs and at times manipulation. We saw this at times last summer in my revival series. For example, check out Charles Finney. In the midst of this, the gospel gets compromised or even lost. Many call it "gospel lite.
The BIG Question: Does gospel lite save?
Notables: Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen
The Problem from their view: Same as above except it is worse in the generation between 18 and 35. How do we get this age group to church? Soem polls show that 9% of Christians in this age group go to church and only 4% of non-Christians ever attend.
Their solution: Same as above. Cater to the wishes of this group.
The problem with their solution: What this age group wants is tolerance. Unfortunately, that isn't always possible in Christianity. Tolerance shouldn't be confused with being mean. But Christianity means walking a narrow road where Christ Himself says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." He intimates that He is the ONLY way. The emergent generation doesn't always like that.
The BIG Question: They often do not present certain crucial propostional Biblical truths. They also tend to embrace all kinds of non-Christian thought. Can this save people?
Notables: Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball, Erwin McManus
3)The Third Wave (Charismatics)
[Note: Not all Charismatics are Third Wavers as we have seen in pervious posts here).
The Problem from their view: Early Christianity was endued with power. This is missing from many churches today and so evangelism and healing is thwarted.
Their solution: Bring forth the gifts of the Spirit through fasting and prayer and other means.
The problem with their solutions: Too many of their signs and wonders do not "feel" right Biblically; they seldom mention Christ, the cross or are in the New Testament; they have a works program of fasting and prayer, observing feasts, strong spiritual warfare and other works; too much mysticism; little or no accountability for their "anointed" prophets and apostles and pastors; a lot of hype about healing and other "wonders" but the facts don't always bear it out; little growth in church attendance that one would expect in a revival.
The BIG Question: If Christ and the cross is seldom preached, how do they get saved?
Notables: The Head Apostle of the Apostolic Reformation Council-Dr. C. Peter Wagner, the Kansas City prophets, Randy Clark, Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, John Arnott, Che Ahn and a myriad of others.
4)Word of Faith
The Problem from their view: Christians are not getting too many of their prayers healed, especially in the area of area and finances.
Their solution: Faith and standing on certain Scriptures seems to be the key to this dilemma.
The problem with their solution: If they were more balanced, this would be a great contribution to the Body of Christ. Unfortunately, they often get off on extreme tangents such as the extreme prosperity message. Also, their church organizational structure is quite faulty causing small churches that do not grow and often have too much control and even abuse.
The BIG Question: Actually there isn't any question, but there is a statement. If the WOF'ers would revise some of their theology and their organizational structure but keep some of their main tenets, they could become a vital force and a blessing in the evangelical church instead of being marginalized and laughed at as is their current situation.
Notables: The late Kenneth Hagin Sr., Kenneth Hagin, Jr, Kenenth Copeland, Frederick K. P. Price and so forth.
5)The Open View or Open Theism
The Problem from their view: The dilemma of Free will. If God knows what we will decide before we decide it, isn't our free will then compromised?
Their solution: Establish a theology which claims God "knows the future as it is." This simply means that God doesn't know all of the future-that is the part of humans making decisions.
The problem with their solution: While they have some good Scriptural passages to back up their theory, there are other passages which can blow it apart.
BUT, the main problem is the compromise of the omniscience of God.
The BIG Question: If Christians start to go in these directions, where does it end? In other words, what will God end up being? Will He go from being God to being god?
Notable: Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock
6)Universalism and Partial Universalism
The Problem from their view: "God so loved the WORLD He gave His only begotten Son..." If evangelicals only believe SOME get saved, wouldn't this negate this verse?
Their solution: All are saved through the Atonement whether they accept Christ or not. Partial Universalists believe a few really, really bad people are not saved--people like Hitler, Stalin, etc.
The problem with their solution: Poor Bible exegesis ignoring key Biblical passages that plainly state not all will be saved uch as the last part of John 3:16. Ecumenicalism becomes very real in their churches, that is, all religions and life-styles are welcomed without question.
The BIG Question: Why receive Christ if all are saved?
Actually, the Christian Universalist says that there are benefits on earth for those who accept Christ.
Notable: Carleton Pearson
6)Gay-friendly churches (not liberal mainline or MCC churches--but evangelical gay friendly ones--yes it has now arrived in our camp)
The Problem from their view:Evangelicals do not know what to do with homosexuals, lesbians and transgendered people who may be born that way. It seems that the church has a poor record helping and changing these people.
Their solution: Accept these people the way they are and require NO change.
The problem with their solution: To teach and believe this, these churches have to adopt similar Biblical interpretations as their MCC and liberal mainline counterparts. The major "revision" is the definition of effeminate used by Paul in the NT. The gay-friendly churches say this refers to homosexual prostitutes who were common in the Roman empire; not to monogamous moral gays. Most mainstream evangelical scholars maintain the interpretations of these groups is faulty.
The BIG Question: How will other evangelical churches respond? Will they--and can they-fellowship with churches who maintain that their members can be practicing homosexuals? And can these people be saved in this atmosphere?
Notables: I am having trouble finding out leaders involved as it's very new on the horizon in the evangelical community.
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