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DOCTRINAL ERRORS IN MODERN EVANGELISM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, October 13, 2002


"For the time will come when they will not endure [put up with, Strong] sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).


Yesterday was October the 12th. It marked the 510th anniversary of Columbus discovering America. Politically correct numbskulls, who teach in our schools, will tell you that he didn't discover it - but he did! They have restricted the word "discover" and have made it mean "finding something for the first time." But that is a restricted use of the word. Everyone has known for centuries that there were people who came here before Columbus - the Vikings and the Indians, who came over the Bering Strait. We always knew that. But the old Hippies, with their ever-militant correctness on every point, now tell us it is wrong to say, "Columbus discovered America." Nuts! All we ever meant by that was that he discovered it for Europeans, whose descendants we are, as a culture. We are not Vikings, are we? We are not Native Americans, are we? No, we are the heirs of these Europeans. So why not say, "Columbus discovered America" for us? Why do we need old Hippies to tell us, with beady-eyed zeal, what we already knew? I wish the Hippies would die off and get it over with, so we could get back to normal! It will never be normal until they're gone!

Columbus discovered America five hundred and ten years ago, yesterday! The Daily News asked several little kids, "What do we know about the world today that Columbus didn't know?"

A nine-year-old Chinese girl said,

In 1492 they thought potatoes were bad to eat. They thought that because the potato had a red spot. Every food that had a red spot was bad to eat. They said that because they might get sick. In 1492 TV was not made yet. It was the old days. But now the potato is grown without a red spot and TVs are now made (Kids Daily News, October 8, 2002, p. 4).

Another nine-year-old, a little Jewish girl, wrote this,

When Christopher Columbus was alive they didn't have skateboards and stuff like we do. In the old days they'd take an apple and put it on someone, then they would take a bow and arrow to shoot the apple off the person's head (ibid.).

A little boy wrote,

We know a lot of things that Columbus didn't know. People all know that Columbus went to the wrong place. What Columbus didn't know was that he didn't go to India. Instead he went to America. He didn't find spices or money. Columbus just found dirt (ibid.).

These letters are amusing. I enjoyed reading them myself. But there is a lesson in them. These children got the facts, but they misinterpreted those facts, and misapplied them. I am very much afraid that something quite similar to this has happened among Bible-believing ministers. These men have the facts concerning salvation and conversion - but they have a great tendency to distort the facts, to misinterpret the facts, misapply them, or even disregard them.

The doctrines I will mention are not obscure or peripheral. They are core Protestant doctrines. And I am saying that these core doctrines have been distorted, misrepresented, and misapplied in our day.

"For the time will come when they will not endure [put up with] sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).

Here are three of the key doctrines which have been distorted and forgotten today.

I. First, the Bible doctrine of total depravity is neglected.

Protestant and Baptist theology has always started with man as a fallen and completely ruined creature, not only cut off from God, but actually hostile toward God. All branches of Protestantism held this belief - including the followers of Luther, Calvin, Bunyan and Wesley. All branches of Protestant Christianity believed that you had to start with the belief that mankind is inwardly opposed to God and does not want anything to do with Jesus Christ experientially. The Bible clearly teaches both of these things:

(1) Mankind is opposed to God,

"Because the carnal [unconverted] mind is enmity [hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).

(2) Mankind does not want anything to do with Jesus Christ,

"He is despised and rejected of men…and we hid as it were our faces from him" (Isaiah 53:3).

Most preachers don't believe either one of those verses in any practical sense. If they did they would stop the silly things they do in so-called evangelism.

One preacher said, last October, that God was doing something "awesome" through a Billy Graham crusade in Fresno, California. I questioned that, and I question it again a year later. I will give that preacher $1,000 if he can find 25 people in the Fresno area brought into the churches by the Graham meetings, who were not already in church before the crusade. I know he won't be able to collect, because I know Graham adds virtually no one to the churches. It's silly, wasted "evangelism" because it holds an incorrect view of man. Man is not searching for God, as Graham repeatedly says! No!

(1) Man is opposed to God.

(2) Man wants nothing to do with Jesus Christ.

If you come to Christ it will be sheerly by the grace of God - and nothing else! Unless God draws you to Christ you will never be saved, because you are against God. You don't want anything to do with Jesus Christ! If God Himself does not draw you to Christ, you are hopeless. Jesus said:

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44).

It does no good to learn the Bible (John 6:44). It does no good to say the "sinner's prayer" (John 6:44). It does no good to believe things about Christ (John 6:44). You are lost. Unless God draws you to Christ you will always be lost!

The first doctrinal error in most churches today is that you, as a human being, can do something to obtain salvation.

It's amazing to me how preachers will say they believe the doctrine of total depravity, while at the same time they reject it in their preaching and counselling. Preachers accept people for church membership who are lost. This is done virtually everywhere, by everyone. These preachers are trying to turn their churches "around" by adding more lost people. Their own children are lost, but they will not check their testimonies or do anything to help them. They read J. I. Packer, and R. C. Sproul, and John Piper, and call themselves "Reformed." At the same time their own families, and almost everyone in their churches, are ready to sink into the flames of Hell!

"For the time will come when they will not endure [put up with] sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).

Look at you. Why are you here? You're here for a birthday party. Be honest enough with yourself to recognize that you are not here because you love God! You are not here tonight because you want Jesus Christ to forgive your sins! Let's get real! You're not thinking about God or Christ at all! You're only thinking about having a good time! Isn't that right? Isn't that the truth? You must understand that this is because you are totally depraved - completely ruined - opposed to God - against God - not interested in Christ. Isn't that right? Isn't that the truth? So, the first doctrinal error in modern evangelism is rejection of the Bible doctrine of total depravity.

"For the time will come when they will not endure [put up with] sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).

II. Second, the Bible doctrine of the Trinity is neglected.

I heard a woman teaching on a Christian video last Tuesday morning. She said,

"Boys and girls, let's pray. Heavenly Father, we pray that you will bless our food, in your name, Amen."

That confounds the Persons of the Trinity! I recently heard another teacher on this same video say,

"You must believe in God. You must believe that He died on the Cross for you."

That confounds the Persons of the Trinity! It scrambles a kid's brain and helps to send him to Hell! Yet this kind of junk is taught every Sunday in so-called "fundamental" churches - and the pastor could care less!

I really think many of these pastors must not care what their people believe! They don't care what they believe, as long as they keep coming to church and dropping a few dollars in the plate. How are these "fundamental" preachers different from the priests of the Middle Ages - who had no real care for the people in their churches? I fail to see the difference between a Protestant minister who doesn't care whether his people are converted and a Roman Catholic priest who doesn't care. Please, pray tell, what is the difference? And, please, don't tell me there aren't plenty of Protestant ministers who could care less whether their people are really converted. Please, spare me!

We cannot have revival when ministers are more concerned with saving their "jobs" than they are with saving souls! We can pray for revival for fifty years and it will not come. So long as ministers like this control things, God will not send it. For revival to come, God will have to break through, and circumvent these ministers, as He did, primarily, in the First Great Awakening.

"For the time will come when they will not endure [put up with] sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).

Very little is said about the Trinity in the pulpits of our day. And even less practical application is made.

I am saying that the Trinity is held as a doctrine, but it is not preached as a practical, needed message to lost people. As a result, God is seen, by the masses of people, as a single Person, not as three distinct Persons in the Godhead. This makes it impossible for the man in the street to see how God can be angry with him for sin and, at the same time, how Christ could be loving and forgiving. God the Father and Christ the Son are so confused that Christ becomes either an angry God (with those from a Catholic culture) or a being who tolerates sin (as with those from a Protestant culture).

For you to be truly converted, you must see that God is angry with you for your sin and, at the same time, Christ, the Son of God, can forgive you through His death on the Cross. This is made very clear in I Timothy 2:5,

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5).

This all becomes quite clear in the testimony of Charles Spurgeon's conversion at the age of fifteen. Spurgeon said that he read the Ten Commandments, "and as I read them they all seemed to join in accusing and condemning me in the sight of a thrice holy Jehovah." He saw that he was condemned for his sins in the sight of a holy God.

It was only when he went to a little church one Sunday morning that he saw Christ. The preacher said, "Look to Christ." Spurgeon looked to Christ, the Son of God, for the first time in his life. He said, "I could have leaped, I could have danced…I thought I could have [jumped] from my seat [and shouted] 'I am forgiven! A sinner saved by blood!' I could have danced all the way home." That is a true conversion! You are condemned for sin before a holy God! You are forgiven for your sins by the Bloody sacrifice of the Son of God!

But this distinction of the Persons in the Trinity is neglected in today's preaching.

"For the time will come when they will not endure [put up with] sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).

III. Third, the Blood of Christ is neglected.

There is a great tendency in many evangelical circles to downplay the Blood of Christ today. I believe that this is rooted in a neglect of the first two doctrines: the neglect of man's utter depravity, and the neglect of preaching the practical application of the Trinity.

If man isn't completely ruined, he can do something to save himself. He doesn't need the Blood. He can reform himself.

If there is no holy God to condemn him, he has no need for a separate Person, the Son of God, and he doesn't need the Blood of the Son of God. He only needs to make a superficial human decision to "follow Christ." He has no need for the Blood.

But, my friend, you are too ruined by sin to be able to help yourself. You are far too condemned in the sight of God to do anything that can please Him. You must have the Blood of Jesus Christ! The Bible says,

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7).

How much sin is cleansed by baptism? NONE! How much sin is cleansed by obeying God? NONE! How much sin is cleansed by asking, in a "sinner's prayer"? NONE! How much sin is cleansed by believing the facts of the Gospel? NONE!

What do you need to do to get Jesus' Blood to cleanse your sins? The same thing young Spurgeon did!

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

As Joseph Hart put it,

The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives,
Redemption in full through His blood.
   ("The Moment a Sinner Believes," by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

May you do that soon! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 16:31). No one but Jesus Christ, God the Son, can save you - by His Blood!


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: II Timothy 4:2-5.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"O Day of Rest and Gladness" (by Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-1885).

THE OUTLINE OF

DOCTRINAL ERRORS IN MODERN EVANGELISM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"For the time will come when they will not endure [put up with, Strong] sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3).

I.   The Bible doctrine of total depravity is neglected,
Romans 8:7; Isaiah 53:3; John 6:44.

II.  The Bible doctrine of the Trinity is neglected, I Timothy 2:5.

III. The Blood of Christ is neglected, I John 1:7; Acts 16:31.

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at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."