Dead Orthodoxy

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by gb93433, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    FIRST-PERSON: Returning to our glory days?
    Wednesday, Jun 1, 2005
    By Freddie Gage

    DALLAS (BP)--I remember vividly the first conservative resurgence meeting.

    It was on a Wednesday evening in 1979 and I was one of six invited to W. A. Criswell's office. He asked me if I would recruit evangelists, pastors and laymen and go to Houston to help elect Adrian Rogers as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He said we are going to rid this denomination of liberalism and we are going to bring it back to evangelism -- Souls! Souls! Souls!

    Criswell was much more than a theologian; he was a soul winner.

    Whatever happened to the focus on evangelism in the conservative resurgence?

    In 2004, only 287 SBC churches out of 43,000 reported baptisms of 100 or more. Sadly, 11,000 churches did not baptize anyone and 20,000 did not baptize a single teenager. We need to face the music that we actually baptized fewer than 10,000 teenagers from a lost pagan culture of 34 million teenagers. We must face the embarrassment of how few lost people we are reaching.

    In my opinion dead orthodoxy has created a lack of passion for souls in our pulpits. The battle for the Bible has been won. The battle for souls has not begun.

    However, there is a fresh wind blowing in. Our SBC president, Bobby Welch, has a God anointed passion for souls. He has one drumbeat -- Souls! Souls! Souls!

    Bobby Welch is bringing us to focus our lives on what used to be our main concern, evangelism. Without a doubt he has been one of the most effective voices for evangelism in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Bobby Welch is leading us to prioritize once again the saving of souls as the passion of our lives.

    I came on the scene in 1952. Our goal was a million souls in 1954. I was in the right place at the right time. From the historic pulpit of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Dr. Criswell called me the bouncing ball of fire. But no way could I make it in evangelism today because I was a 9th grade dropout. It was house-to-house evangelism, a rerun of the book of Acts. I had come on the scene in the day when evangelism was the passion of the leaders.

    "Souls! Souls! Souls!" they would cry.

    Jesus said to go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. I took God at His Word. I was told every human being had a lost soul and I never got over it. I knew very little theology -- all I knew was Jesus. I was saved, born again, redeemed by The Blood.

    We had a chorus we would sing "Ringing door bells for Jesus, wearing out your shoes, telling God's good news." Another chorus was "Harvest time." We sang "Saved, Saved, Saved."

    Everything was geared toward reaching lost souls.

    Baptist churches had altar calls, tent revivals, all-night prayer services, testimonial meetings and open-air crusades. Churches in the same association would have revivals going on at the same time. We were taught that real discipleship was teaching and training new converts to go reach another lost soul. We were taught that discipleship was not complete until those evangelized became evangelists. We were taught to reproduce.

    We didn't know anything else.

    Back then if you were not a soul winner, you were out of place. Today, if you are a soul winner, you are out of place. Souls being saved was not only on the agenda, it was the agenda.

    Those were the glory days!

    Bobby Welch has reminded us that the redemption of sinners was Christ's passion. Saving souls meant more to Him than the joys of Heaven, for He left those joys and became a man of sorrows.

    Bobby Welch has challenged us to remember that winning the lost meant more than life to Jesus, for He gave His life as ransom.

    Bobby Welch has urged us to consider that soul winning was the only business big enough to bring Jesus out of the glory of heaven into this world of sin and wickedness.

    What is it going to take for our Convention to rekindle a fire for the first love that once consumed our every energy?

    What is it going to take to recapture our passion -- Christ's passion -- for the souls of lost men, women and teenagers?

    I gave fifteen years of my life believing that the conservative resurgence would bring us back to the glory days of W.A. Criswell.

    Perhaps it was not all in vain. I pray that Bobby Welch will return us to the passion we once had -- Souls! Souls! Souls!

    http://www.bpnews.net/bpcolumn.asp?ID=1849
     
  2. av1611jim

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    amen!

    Questions:

    Why should it be just the SBC?

    Why not EVERYONE who names the name of Christ?

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  3. Rachel

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    Yeah, it should be every Christian including us baptists!


    --What is it going to take to recapture our passion -- Christ's passion -- for the souls of lost men, women and teenagers?

    That's a good question, and something I've wondered about myself! I haven't been a Christian for too many years but it seems to me we 'Christian's' are not really that conserned with sharing the gospel. I don't understand it really.

    Rachel †
     
  4. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    Where is the passion?
    A person can be on fire for the Lord end up in church and people there have the attitude like he’ll get over it, he’s confused in his faith, or is it the importance of believing some thing the way we teach it taking precedence over faith and uplifting? Better just throw some buckets of water on them until they get it right and we can straighten them out! It gets lost in church politics, theological practices, and traditional teachings that one must accept or he doesn’t belong? If the passion is there does one dare show it?

    David had a passion; I doubt he could believe his eyes when seeing his people trembling at the sight of a giant. David knowing and trusting in the Lord had no fear, but what did they tell him; oh son get real-he’ll kill you, well then OK, but you’ll have to do it this way-try this armor on for size! The little Shepard boy did the job, but went on to make some mistakes; the little hypocritical unorthodox heretic.

    Sarcasm aside, I live in the fastest growing city in the second fastest growing state in the nation. I’ve never had a Christian knock on my door, never been asked to go door knocking and only once even heard of it being done and only as a one time thing. I’ve boldly spoke of God to some of the roughest construction characters, kindly spoke to friends and acquaintances, and these people will come back to me or call asking questions and seeking guidance obviously hungry for the Word, but I have not a clue how to get these people to keep growing and come to church. I’ve never been taught how to do this. Just like when I came to God myself I couldn’t believe no one had ever told me about this great instruction book for life, why there wasn’t a church on every corner, all the promises, truths and joys of righteousness; I only got to know God after asking Him out of desperation and then picking up the Bible on my own. Where was the church? Where were the teachers? Where are they now, again I am asking God to show me how to share the gospel and bring people closer to Him on my own? Shouldn’t that be the churches main focus to teach others how to spread the gospel, how to pray with people who ask you for help, and shouldn’t we be taught to practice these things as a priority instead of traditional denominational philosophies? People have a mind of their own; maybe God should be teaching them the truths and our focus should just be getting them in the door and telling them the Word. Let God save the souls and us humbly share the gospel.
     
  5. Deacon

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    After six weeks preaching on evangelism (titled, "Go Fish") our pastor received complaints from the dragons that we were turning into a "Purpose Driven" church!

    Some Christians have become so divisive and afraid of being identified with a particular popular (and effective I might add) movement that they have become stagnant and resistant to the word of God faithfully preached.

    Rob
     
  6. Jensen

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    Just a comment from the opening article....If all those people who were reached back in the "Glory Days" were really "reached" (converted by Christ) then why didn't they continue to reach? Unless they were not realled "reached" (converted by man)?

    I agree that evangelism needs to be taught and encouraged more, however, if a person is saved...shouldn't they know enough of the gospel to share with others? Shouldn't they have enough hunger for righteousness to share the gospel with others. Maybe its not so much evangelism that is lacking, but true conversion & discipleship? Just some thoughts.
     
  7. Jeffrey H

    Jeffrey H
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    I won't argue with the need for evangelism and I have deep respect for Freddie Gage, but I am always concerned about "crusades" and "altar calls" that produce temporary emotional responses to Jesus rather than true conversions. These devices were common in the 50's and 60's and produced many decisions for Jesus, but it's interesting that the SBC still drifted toward liberalism during this time.

    Rather than huge crusades and altar calls, folks need to be encouraged to share Christ with those within their sphere of influence (aka, personal evangelism).
     
  8. Kiffen

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    I must also say, that many people who made Professions in those "glory" days are no longer in Church. Having lower baptismal numbers in the SBC is not necessarily a bad thing if those converts are real disciples and not false converts making an emotional decision.

    Real discipleship is much more than training new converts to go reach another lost soul. Real Discipleship is teaching converts theology, doctrine, to love God with your whole heart, to love your neigbor as yourself, how to Pray and yes do evangelism.

    The problem with many of the current SBC leadership is they think the answer to every problem is baptisms. That is like saying all they needed on the Titantic was more buckets to bail out water when you have a huge hole sinking the ship.
     
  9. gb93433

    gb93433
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    You are absolutely right. Fortunately for myself I did have someone from The Navigators who led me to Christ and help me grow.

    The religionists are too busy making money from other Chrsitians. Just lok at TBN and all the "Christian" radio stations.

    Sometime read about the very thing that made national news in your city.

    http://www.azag.gov/victims_rights/BFA/caseinfo.html
    http://www.rickross.com/groups/bfa.html

    The money changers need to get out of the churches and into the streets and doing evangelism.
     
  10. Benjamin

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    This slightly starts to center on the point I was trying to make; so I’m using it as an example only. “If a person is saved…” When I hear those words, which I hear very often, I cringe in the thought of the bucket of water that is just about to be thrown on a new believer that’s on fire for the Lord. “Shouldn’t they know enough” – “shouldn’t they have enough” – maybe lacking “true conversion” and discipleship (because) of this or that! Look how people in this tread or even throughout the church start questioning others faith, salvation, or true conversion. Many people I meet that profess to believe in God are deeply offended by these kind of judgments and it keeps them away from church. And yes I know even the Devil believes but he also likes to keep people out of church and from learning the Word!

    I do not feel it is the churches job to judge ones salvation, but to teach and to teach to preach the gospel. Meekly edifying and uplifting and guiding from sharing the Word of God and trusting Him to do the righteous converting and show the truth. Why is it people feel the need to shove theology or non-essential beliefs down someone’s throat? God promises instruction, understanding, and wisdom through His Word; so why is it so many take on the responsibility of translating the truth to suit their agenda and judging ones conversion? I hear you that evangelism needs to be taught and encouraged more, it’s the “however” part that I’m trying to get at. Discipleship is being hindered from the start because the sweet milk of salvation is being watered down by the buckets of water being thrown in judgment on the hearts of the new believers. I just think the converting should be left to God who will feed the meat to the hungry sheep that are lead to green pastures. Problem is the sheep are afraid to walk in the pasture because of all the land-mines being planted there.

    For an answer to the question, I would say, yes, they should know enough and have enough hunger for righteousness to share the gospel with others, but I would leave out the “if a person is saved” part, the questioning of the “true conversion” part, and focus on the uplifting, edifying and training a disciple without the judgment of the status of ones heart because they don’t have the same traditional understanding or maybe haven’t developed the wisdom to spread the seeds of the gospel effectively “enough” to lead people in into growth or a church that people fear. The grass needs to be plentiful for the sheep that are in the pasture and the sheep need to be able to eat without worrying about what the Shepard is going to do with that staff. With a gentle nudge from the Shepard and plentiful patches of grass available the sheep will know where to go and have their own mind to tell them what to eat.
     
  11. gb93433

    gb93433
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    That is a very common theology. The only problem Jesus didn't believe it nor did Paul and all the other disciples. Imagine leaving a newborn baby to eat for itself. It is very hungry but will still die if left unattended. Sometime when you get a chance read Acts 20 especially verse 28 where Paul addresses the elders from Ephesus.

    The letters Paul wrote were the follow up letters to new Christians. Remember Paul spent some time with those new converts before he left them, then followed up with the letters we read today.

    Sometime read http://www.bibleteacher.org/Dm118_8.htm
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    Glory days? Every day I give 100% glory to God.

    My primary purpose of being saved was to bring glory to God. NOT for "souls, souls, souls".
     
  13. Benjamin

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    gb,

    I see why you posted that link and it having caught my attention and so being half way through I got to stop a minute and say it never ceases to amaze me when asking for more light and then the light switch is flicked on.

    The last couple months I’ve been underlining scripture with a green highlighter calling it D-triple T-KG (Drop Them To Their Knees Gospel) in preparation for memorization so I will have them on my heart and at the tip of my tongue. I started this because of watching people slip through my fingers, including one that died after overdosing that was calling and coming by enjoying talking about God with me, but I obviously didn’t have the right words, never lead him in a prayer, just attempted to get him into the word of God and His truth by witnessing. A dreadful failure of not knowing what to do with him and maybe shyness because of never seeing it done. So when his mother was throwing out his ashes I made all his friends put down their beer cans and quoted Psalms 116 wondering why the love he had for God’s word didn’t catch on and change his life and looking at myself shamefully giving my first public prayer to other than family a bit too late.

    Just like Trotman is saying about the Holy Spirit calling his attention to the memory verses he had meditated on, He has done the same with me and all I can think to do is start memorize more verses for the purpose of sharing the gospel while in prayer for guidance.
     
  14. Soulman

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    Quoted by Dr. Bob: My primary purpose of being saved was to bring glory to God. NOT for "souls, souls, souls".

    What is God's will? That all should be saved. We need to forget the calvanistic view that God has already chosen all he wants and get to the job of "souls, souls, souls".
     
  15. dh1948

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    I think if I confronted some of the more pious members of my church with a challenge to share their faith, I would hear something similar to Dr. Bob's comment.

    Soulman, I concur with your statement.
     
  16. Jeffrey H

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    Even the "non-calvinists" make plenty of excuses for not sharing their faith...
     
  17. shannonL

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    Dr. Bob you got to much Johnny C doctrine running through that noggin of yours. One of the chief ways we can bring glory to God is tell somebody what God has done for us through His Son.

    I cant' stand it when people get down on door to door evangelism. I've been out doing there knocking on doors and seen folk that I hadnt even gone to visit come to know the Lord. Its not the door knocking evangelism that doesnt' produce discipes its the lack of follow up afterwards. So don't put the blame on the style of evangelism. There is a time a place and a need for all kinds of evangelism. God may want you to plant a seed by going door to door canvassing your neigborhood. Later on when that family goes through a hard time they just might remember those nice folk who left a brochure and told them Jesus loves them.
    I admit door to door may not fit the bill in your church but don't knock it.
    Any Baptist church worth its salt ought to have some type of visitation for those who visit the church.
    The sad truth is many many many baptist pastors dont' train their folk on how to be soulwinners or witnesses which ever you prefer.
    We have a gazillion programs today for sister Sue and brother Bob on how to be this and how to be that just to try and get them motivated to do something besides warm a pew. You get a man or woman into the practice of sharing their faith and friends its like somebody flicked a switch on in there noggin.
    I find it so ironic that in Paul's day and age the culture was really wacked out homosexuality, molestation, false teachers, persecution, temple prostitutes, agnostics, sorcery, you name it was out there yet HE WAS BOLD. HE WAS CONFRONTATIONAL! Yet,today BOLD is almost a cuss word in our churches. I don't care how graceful, how loving you are when trying to reach people at some point in time the message will offend because it cuts to the heart.
    We are told we have to abandon everything we have ever done by the big church gurus in order to reach this new generation there so different you know. Well it seems to me this generation is no different than the one I described in Paul's day.
    MAN we have complicated things.

    Furthermore how do think churches are gonna get fired up about soulwinning when most of the time the young men coming out of seminary have been discouraged to do it unless it is in some covert, non confrontational way.
    I know for some it is easier than others but I have found that through years that if you just approach people with a smile on your face with a look of joy upon you countanence people will listen.
    Also, I haven't been on this posting thing long. Its pretty cool I enjoy the interaction but I've almost gotten to the point of conviction about being on here. There is nothing wrong with it.
    But maybe if more of us spent more time out in the fields instead of on the net that might be a start. WE ARE SAVED TO BE SENT! I'll preach it yall just turn the pages.
     
  18. gb93433

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    Visitation is seldom evangelism. Over 80% of new members come from other churches.

    Not all evangelism in the NT was polemical but all confronted the people with the gospel. You cannot equate boldness with polemical. Polemical is not always bold. Sometimes it is just plain lack of control and brain power to think and use godly wisdom. Boldnesss can reside in one who is very quiet too.

    If you notice Paul dealt a lot with the leaders of the day. He used his intellect too.
     
  19. shannonL

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    I agree gb I dont think bold means hitting someone over the head with a Bible. There are quiet ways to be bold. If you look again at my post I said there is a need for all types of evangelism. I have unsaved friends I'm building relationships with right now at the gym where I work out.
    Sunday at the Crackerbarrel I witnessed to my waitress off the cuff. I'm not tooting my horn in anyway I'm just saying there is a time and a place for all kinds.
    I have a great admiration for those who are gifted in the school of apologetics. They will reach people with their style that I might not ever reach.
     
  20. gb93433

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    When I read your post I said, "All right!" I agree with you 100%. I rejoice when I read about people like you. Glad to see there are people who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading with zeal and boldness. Glad to see you are in it for the long haul. Keep it up!!!!! I would bet you are reaching people by your passion and who you are. Isn't it great to watch how God works as we follow Him!

    Most likely you are reaching the people I struggle with. My passion is apologetics. It seems as though God gives me those who are hardened by the easy believism approach. I am in an intellectual environment and love it. It matches who I am and my personality. It is slow work but so rewarding.

    Great to read about how God is using you.
     

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