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October 4, 2022
NAR Pre-Bias Skews New Christian Research Results
By Anthony Wade
How can you stand next to the truth and not see it?
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. - Romans 11;11 (ESV)
There is a line from a popular song that says, "how can you stand next to the truth and not see it?" Such is the case for the leaders in the apostate church. With each passing article on Charisma News one starts to wonder if the myopia of their false positions simply prevents them from seeing the truth, even when they are in possession of it. This seems never clearer than when they examine research regarding Christianity or the church. They strain themselves so hard to make the research fit their false narrative that they do not see what God might be trying to say directly to them. Such is the case with the article linked above from Charisma Copy Editor, James Lasher, examining a recent study conducted by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research. Let us reason together again beloved.
"John 14:6 says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Jesus rightfully claimed His place as Truth. His words are true, as are the words found within the Christian Bible. That is why it is so disturbing to view the results of 2022's 'State of Theology' survey. This research has been conducted every two years by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research since 2014. The results, while disheartening for believing Christians who hold onto biblical truths, shine a light on the causation of American culture moving away from God. It is because self-proclaimed Christians are losing faith in His unerring Word. Below are several of the areas that caused concern among the survey researchers, as the results show a departure from Scripture:" - James Lasher
Let's start with the obvious. While well intentioned, Ligonier Ministries does not ascribe to correct theology as they are Calvinist to the core. Now it is true that Calvinists tend to have general theology pretty accurate but they are still centered on believing that God only saves some people, pre-destining them before the foundations of the earth and lo and behold, they are all on the list! Any faith that starts with you hitting the eternal lottery sure will have its attraction but we digress for the purposes of this devotional. They believe that the new research shows a departure from biblical truths for the church but incorrectly blame this on American culture moving away from God. This is the traditional dominionist position. That America is somehow to blame for the church going rogue. Nonsense! Since when is the church supposed to follow the whims of the unsaved? Is it possible for the unsaved culture to move "further away" from a God they already do not believe in? Of course not. They have it backwards as the church is supposed to be a shining city on a hill for the unsaved world. So, if the world drifts further from believing in God one needs to look no further than the church for leading them in that direction.
'"God learns and adapts to different circumstances." A disturbingly high 51% of adults and 48% of evangelicals agreed with this statement. The researchers of this survey expressed dismay in their discovery by explaining their position: "Despite the clear teaching of Scripture, this year's survey reveals that approximately half of evangelicals believe that God learns and adapts to various situations, meaning that they believe that God does change." Hebrews 13:8-9a addresses this error in belief directly when it states, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Do not be carried away with diverse and strange doctrines." It is a telling phrase that warns of "diverse doctrines." Many today are committing atrocities against children, spreading racial division and twisting the Word of God, all in the name of diversity.' - James Lasher
Where do we start? First of all, research is only as valuable as the questions being asked and the format of the answers. This question is poorly designed. We are taught that God can do anything so why couldn't He adapt or change something? I get the overall point about not changing but that can get lost in the weeds of what seems to be a misleading statement at best. We are also taught that God brought salvation to all of creation after His own people rejected it, no? Read the key verse for today for a reminder. Can't this be construed as God adapting? King Hezekiah prayed for an additional 15 years of life and God answered his prayer. Come to think of it, if "God never changing" means what these folks think it means exactly what would be the point of petitioning God in prayer? I think the proper interpretation of Hebrews is that who God is does not change. What His attributes never change. God is always love. God is always just. The notion however that He never changes His mind is not entirely supported so maybe a lot of people answered this item the best they could but I think it is unfair to indict everyone who did not reflect to Hebrews as somehow falling away from the word of God.
The more disturbing thing here is the regurgitation of dominionist talking points that pretend there is no racism and that the concept of diversity must somehow be bad. Right now, in this country, evangelicalism is being associated with white racist nationalism because of the NAR dominionist mindset. Because the NAR is in bed with the Republican Party though, they must tow the party line on all issues. To deny these things as a matter of politics is horrific but to do so in the name of God is blasphemous. The world is watching and our witness for Christ must extend beyond our ethnic group, national borders, and individual siloed churches. Our church family extends throughout the world, even to those places we like mocking, deriding, or blaming for all the ills of society. If you think diversity is a problem, you sure will not like heaven.
'"Everyone is born innocent in the eyes of God." This question saw a staggering 71% of U.S. adults and 65% of evangelicals agree with this statement. These beliefs open the possibility that there could be another like Jesus, because if we are born innocent then it is theoretically possible to live a life without sin. This statement is also refuted by the Bible in several places. Romans 3:23 states, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." This means that yes, even children have sinned because they are physically born into a 'sin world.' The Earth suffers from the curse of sin that Adam and Eve allowed in when they succumbed to temptation. Nothing will be able to remove that curse until the Lord ushers in a "new heaven and a new earth" and sin is no more. The researchers also note that Ephesians 2 verse 3 addresses this as well: "God's Word, however, makes clear that all humans are 'by nature children of wrath.' This truth is foundational for an accurate understanding of the gospel and of our absolute need for the grace of God in salvation."' - James Lasher
Lifeway Research would be better off explaining the theology and asking for agreement or disagreement rather than this hit and run tactic. As a minister, I know that we are not born innocent in the eyes of God because of the reasons set forth here by the researchers. If we are to truly understand this however, we must move beyond the overly simplistic conclusion that people have moved away from scripture, even in the church. The real problem is that scripture is not taught anymore in church and when it is, it is marginalized, placed in second place to our experience, or broken into fragments as opposed to trying to understand what God is saying. Do you think Joel Osteen has ever preached on all falling short of the glory of God? Do you think Bill Johnson has every properly exegeted that we are children of wrath? Hillsong ever preach on original sin in the garden? The vast majority of churched people are fed a never ending pablum of motivational and self help messages that would make Tony Robbins blush and then you have the temerity to ask them if they agree if all people are born innocent in the eyes of God? Dear Lord, what answer did you expect? I am amazed that 35% of identifying evangelicals got it right! That alone is a refreshing and positive outcome! Seeker friendly and purpose driven churches have systematically removed the blood, the cross, sin and repentance from church vernacular over the past three decades. This will only continue to erode the folks that make up the foundation of the church, that Rick Warren teaches up and coming pastors to remove through "blessed subtraction."
'"Jesus was a great teacher, but He was not God." Perhaps the most disturbing trend found in this survey of U.S.-based, evangelical Christians is the increase of those who agree with the above statement. In 2020, 30% of evangelicals agreed with this statement. Now, in 2022, that number jumped to 43%. This shocking result shows that many who claim to be followers of Christ, are in fact no such thing. The researchers summed this stunning revelation up as a denial in Jesus' divinity: "This year's survey also revealed a significant increase in evangelicals who deny Jesus' divinity. Such a belief is contrary to Scripture, which affirms from beginning to end that Jesus is indeed God (John 1:1; 8:58; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:1-4). The sad reality is that this survey's findings are being displayed in American culture for all to see. The sexualization of children, the apostacy within the church, division at every level of government and so much more show a lack or removal of God at every level of society, including within the church.' - James Lasher
Enough with the stale NAR dominionist talking points! God has not been "removed" from anywhere! He is God! If He wants to be in a school, He will be in a school! If He wants to be in any portion of human society, He will do so! What kind of powerless God to you think you serve! The problem is that you think it is a Christian endeavor to demand that school kids who do not know God be forced to pray to Him. If this theocratic demand is not met then you deem society as having kicked God out of schools, what irreverent garbage! Focus on training a child up right and God will be in schools through the indwelt Holy Spirit. That means children and teachers and staff. Live your lives for Christ. Not forcing your belief system down the throats of the unbelieving. A "Christian" football coach suing to allow Christian prayer is unbelievably myopic and stupid. You cannot adjudicate or legislate faith. It doesn't work like that.
There are real political differences in this country, but the problem is the apostate church, which has the microphone, has chosen one side. If you are not on that side, you are deemed hell bound and unredeemable by leaders in the NAR dominionist movement. While it is shocking that 30% of folks who think they are evangelical do not believe in the divinity of Christ I again turn to what they are being taught. Andy Stanley teaches that we should no longer teach the inerrancy of scripture and that we should unhitch ourselves from the Old Testament. Bill Johnson, Bethel and the entire experiential Christianity crowd of the NAR teach that the bible is secondary to our personal experiences. Joel Osteen believes he does not need to teach people about the mistakes they make, you know, sin. These are just microcosms of what is being brought forth as credible doctrine every single week in churches across this land. Everything comes before God. Politics, nationalism, pride, money, fame, power, personal experience - you name the idol and we worship it. Is it any wonder than that alleged evangelicals would get such a basic fundamental question so wrong? Every day these charlatans and hucksters are burning down the house of God around us and most do nothing. They stand by like Dr. Michael Brown, enabling at best, responsible at worst. Paul named names of false teachers because he understood the grave threat they posed to the sheep. Yet we not only welcome the wolves with open arms but reserve the very best book deals for them and then wonder why people are confused about the divinity of Jesus. Then in a twist of cruel hypocrisy - we blame the sheep! When Jesus wept over the multitudes for they were like sheep without a shepherd, they had teachers! They just were being taught wrong!
"Christians in America can no longer say these attacks on God Himself occur other places, but not here. The is at the American churches doorstep and will not stop. There are many who still believe the unerring Word of God, and those faithful must stand up and speak the Word to the world. Jesus is the remedy to the symptoms of sin this world is experiencing. The gospel must be preached in its entirety if Christians are to see the world changed radically back towards God and experience life changing revival." - James Lasher
There is no promised revival James. Read the bible and you will find a promised apostasy, which you are currently serving in. Yes, the answer as always is the gospel but not your gospel. The gospel is not meant to be spoken at people. It is not meant to be codified into law. The Supreme Court, Congress or the President do not get to decide what the gospel is. God already did that and it is not enforcing a monument to the Ten Commandments at the front of a court building. It is not demanding a baby manger scene in the town square and demanding people say Merry Christmas. While Jesus certainly is the answer for the sins of the world, you cannot legislate that solution. Modifying the behaviors of the unsaved does not save them. Stop the dominionist nonsense. The world was never with God to be able to "turn back" to Him as Lasher lays out here. That is a fundamental error of the NAR dominionist. Stop being so obsessed with blaming those walking in darkness and turn the focus to the church and how we might come out from among the apostasy, to be the true remnant of God. The shining city on a hill that the world needs so desperately.
Reverend Anthony Wade - October 4, 2022