something truly frightening learned at VBS

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by nodak, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    We just finished a wonderful VBS. It went well.

    However, discussions and planning sessions and followup discussions revealed something truly scary.

    We are SBC. Most of our materials we use are from the Convention, a few from local churches around the country, a little bit from Saddleback.

    Most of our materials do contain the plan of salvation or a brief "how to be saved" article.

    But we discovered that many many of our people--older teens on up--think salvation means believing in the deity of Jesus and living a moral life and "worshipping."

    We used the gospel ABC's presentation with the kids, and many adults were shocked to learn that everyone is a sinner. Many had never even considered the idea they had anything to repent of. A good number had no idea what is meant by trusting Jesus for your salvation.

    Many many are figuring God will weigh their deeds and they will be judged "good enough".

    These are people who are really well trained in the Bible when it comes to moral issues, money issues, parenting, marriage, and how to run the church.

    We run a bang up good "worship time." (At this point I wonder how you can truly worship, unsaved and not knowing the Lord you are supposed to be worshipping.)

    But the main thing--individual salvation--is totally off the radar screen.

    I don't know how we got this way (new here to this church.) I don't know if it is local, regional, or a Convention-wide problem. I don't know if it is just SBC or a problem in other groups.

    But I do know we got a wake up call. We need to preach, teach, sing, witness, whatever about salvation in Jesus Christ. We need a regenerate membership. (Maybe we should bring back the invitation!)

    We seem to have confused Christendom with salvation.

    Pray for us. One lady said we are the nicest, most moral, most worshipful bunch of heathens you ever saw.

    I think she may be on to something.

    How prevalent is this and what is your opinion on what causes this?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    No doctrinal discipleship
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Brother,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and concern. To answer your question about how widespread this might be in American churches? In a word...EPIDEMIC.

    We could try to point to this or that as to the reasons for this famine of biblical and theological literacy in our churches, and probably identify a few areas that are reasons for this. And I think to some degree we need to do this.

    But we also need the remedy. If we have the right diagnosis, then we need now to apply the right remedy. And that is nothing less, and nothing more, the pure Biblical and Theological preaching in our churches. Churches would do their flocks and this nation an immeasurable service by learning and engaging in sound exposition of Scripture.

    To the Law and to the Testimony! If any do not speak according to this Word, it is because their is no light in them.
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    We do our own VBS stuff (we are blessed to have the staff and resources to develop our own) because we continually find a poor representation of a true Gospel presentation in most other VBS materials.

    It goes to the heart of the great problem of evangelicalism which is turning away from true Gospel centered biblicism and into weak moralist therapeutic deism.

    Following Christ isn't about giving intellectual assent but embracing God's grace through faith.
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    Moralistic Therapeutic Deism...just bought that book.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    I have some experiences with a number of major "types" of Baptists, having pastored 40+ years and having spoken in conferences across America.
    • Black Baptists have almost no doctrinal understanding or discipleship.
    • Southern Baptists have little doctrinal understanding and blind loyalty to decisions made by those in the hierarchy. Big jump in doctrinal fidelity and grasp of truth by SBC who are in the Founders Org movement.
    • IFBX'ers, BBF, have limited doctrinal understanding and do little critical thinking (but lots of "amening" their gurus)
    • American Baptist (old Northern Convention) are about on par with the Black conventions with almost no doctrinal understanding
    • Break-offs from the old Northern Baptists (historic, now Conservative, General Assoc of Regular Baptists, etc) have a good doctrinal understanding and typical small-town mentality
    • Reformed Baptists have a great deal of doctrinal understanding, esp in the doctrines of grace (but not necessarily about the church or eschatology

    Of course this is VERY "broad brush" as you may find a strong doctrinal church among Blacks or American Baptist and a weak one in another group. But as a "trend" this is an accurate personal assessment.
     
  7. Gina B

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    I believe it's very prevalent in the United States.

    What's worse is that no matter what church I've been in, there has been a clear presentation of what it means to be saved.

    People who think they're already saved gloss over this. It's like a famous commercial jingle where you can sing the words and may not even be able to get them out of your head, but you just can't remember what the song is for.

    I went over this recently with my oldest, who attended a public school this year for the first time. She was very happy to find they had a Christian group there. Then she was disappointed to find that there was only one other Christian in that group. The rest were there for the free food. When a new girl came to school one month, she was extremely joyful to find yet another believer. One large public school, three known believers.

    The part that was hardest to deal with? Quite a few of the girls from our church attend that school. The first time she saw someone from our church, she very eagerly walked up to her to chat and make a new friend, but the girl was cussing up a storm and talking dirty, and I since verified that this behavior was accurately described and is continuous during school hours, but she is so well behaved in church that many people believe her to be one of the "stronger" examples of a good Christian teen.

    Are the adults any better? Nope. So many just sit there without hearing, or get into the theology without having ever learned the one single most important part of the puzzle, the only piece that makes the others mean anything. They honestly do believe they're saved...many have parents who told them they accepted Christ at bedtime when they were three, or some other such nonsense and then spent the next years being drilled with the concept of eternal security, so they really think they are. They just don't realize they don't HAVE that security, so there's nothing there to become eternal.

    That's the thing. They don't know they aren't saved. They think they are. They know the words. They're living the life. They feel safe and secure. Very subtle, very satanically manipulative, isn't it? Lucifer and his angels aren't stupid.
    Reminds me of big government. Make everyone feel safe and secure before you do take 'em for everything they ever worked towards...
     
  8. annsni

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    Just read about it in another book!! :)

    That is a sad state, I have to say. I'm grateful that I've heard the Gospel again and again in our church and I know that it will be continuously presented in our new church, where we are hoping to reach many unreached. Without the basis of the Gospel, nothing else will work.
     
  9. ReformedBaptist

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    The primary research was done by Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton. Their book is called Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. It is a sociological work, but of great value to pastors, parents, and youth workers. Having been a youth pastor, I would make it required reading as much as it would be required of a missionary to learn the language and culture of the people they sought to reach with the Gospel.

    I am so glad to hear of your commitment and fidelity to the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope of mankind.
     
  10. Ruiz

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    A church I pastored, I asked my deacons, "What is the Gospel?" Not one got it correct. I told my youth minister and he did not believe me. He asked his youth leadership, only one was able to get the right answer.

    I was convinced that for much of our modern churches, we are a gospelless organization.
     
  11. ReformedBaptist

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    I am running into this alot lately. Even recently, a brother running into the New Perspectives on Paul theology, a brother whom I love and I know loves the Truth.

    I am so yearning that our Churches will become mini-seminaries. By that I mean a place where rich theological truth is taught. Practically speaking, I think it would be wonderful to see programs created that taught the core things normally a pastor recieved in seminary--Church history, biblical and systematic theology, hermenutics, apologetics, and Christian ethics.

    It could be referred to under such a title as the church's "Instititute of Christian Studies" or something of that nature.

    Well, there is a dream and a desire anyway..haha
     
  12. gb93433

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    Currently I meet with a young man who led a number of students to be atheists while he was in a youth group in his church when he was in high school. He was an atheist until I challenged on some things he told me. From what he says the youth leader spent almost no time answering their questions but rather was more about having fun. Eternity is at stake and youth leaders are more about having fun?
     
  13. gb93433

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    There are some great materials put out by the SBC that I have been using for years. Many of their churches were involved in courses done by them until this generation of leaders.

    I do not know one person who makes disciples who does not read their Bible, share their faith, and pray.

    Jesus made disciples not just converts or good students.
     
  14. nodak

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    Our puzzled people can hold their own in a debate on Calvinism vs Arminianism, can give you chapter and verse and the major teachings of dispensationalism, can debate storehouse tithing and have an excellent grasp of Biblical ethics. Know their history quite well.

    But somehow we've made a whole bunch of "good Baptists" without salvation.

    Scares me to think what the future holds for the church.

    As someone said, some think they were saved as tots but clearly they haven't got a clue.

    And some are upright righteous Lordship salvationists that trust their upright moral life instead of the Savior.

    Once had a pastor that is now a state director. One of the first things he told us when we came to our church was we have to keep the main thing the main thing.

    And the main thing is evangelism. Everything else will get covered if we do that well--worship, church growth, discipling, etc. But if we miss the main thing we become just another nice mainline group or service organization or political action group.

    I think personally we need to get back to the main thing being the main thing.
     
  15. gb93433

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    I was shocked when in the last church I pastored were some deacons who thought the local Mormon bishop was a Christian and invited him to speak a few times each year where they also invited other evangelical pastors too. One of the deacons was a volunteer at the state level on the church growth board. Another had graduated from a Christian college. When I inquired further the practice had been going on for over 20 years. Two of the previous pastors had graduated from seminary.

    So welcome to the club of don't ask don't tell unless you might not like what you find out.

    A few years ago Josh McDowell wrote a book Right From Wrong and it he claimed that 25% of the youth were involved in immorality.

    A few years ago I had a discussion with the pastor of a large church who told me that he was concerned that the college pastor was going too deep and it might scare off people. When the college pastor started the college group was just a few students but about two years later it was running about 200. The college pastor was discipling the students. So much for scaring off students. The college pastor was moved out of the college group and into leading worship.
     
  16. Jon-Marc

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    I faithfully attended a Baptist church for nearly a year (Sunday school, morning worship, evening worship, Wednesday evening, and any special services) and heard the gospel preached (and started to "believe") and thought I was a Christian. However, as I was reading in the NT and read that you had to repent AND believe when you call on the Lord, I realized that I had not done either of those when I called on the Lord nearly a year earlier. Those who are even trying to win others to Christ are too often too enthusiastic and don't take the time to ask, "Do you believe any of this?" or "Do you understand any of this?" I had no idea what "saved" meant and had no idea from what I was being "saved." When I went home that day, my dad jokingly asked, "Well, did you get saved?" I replied, "Yes, but I don't know what from", and we all laughed.

    I was 16, shy and withdrawn and didn't have the courage to tell them I didn't believe or understand the words they asked me to repeat after them. I just did as I was told; I was used to doing that.

    People think they're Christians for all kinds of reasons. One woman, in reply to my question "Are you saved?", said, "Of course, I'm an American." Another woman said "My husband and I were both raised that way." Your average "Christian" never opens a Bible at home and relies on the pastor or whoever is teaching the Bible at church to tell them what it says and means. I'd be willing to bet that many can't even tell you what John 3:16 says.

    There was a song many years ago titled "Dust on the Bible", and that's all you will find on most Bibles in homes, and not a fingerprint to be found on it--if you even find a Bible.
     
    #16 Jon-Marc, Jul 3, 2010
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  17. sag38

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    It is a negative that many at this VBS were so misinformed. But, it's also a positive because it sounds like they are finally getting "it." The truth is taking hold and growing in their lives. There's evidence of the Holy Spirit moving in your church pointing people to a real faith in Christ Jesus where the key word isn't works but grace. While we lament their prior lack of knowledge we praise God that they have seen the light.
     
    #17 sag38, Jul 3, 2010
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  18. nodak

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    sag38--I SOOO agree with your post!

    It is truly wonderful to see so many realizing they missed the first step.

    My prayer is that this may spark a real revival of soul winning in our church--starting with unsaved church members but spreading to the community.
     
  19. jaigner

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    Most SBC materials are next to worthless. I'm never buying a stick from LifeWay again. They are completely out of their minds. Moralism, legalism and such are found there, but it's hard to put it all together for a child, especially.

    It seems to me, though, in your church, maybe a number of elements of relationship were emphasized, but the people have a hard time fitting those pieces together.
     
  20. SolaSaint

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    RB stated:


    "I am so yearning that our Churches will become mini-seminaries. By that I mean a place where rich theological truth is taught. Practically speaking, I think it would be wonderful to see programs created that taught the core things normally a pastor recieved in seminary--Church history, biblical and systematic theology, hermenutics, apologetics, and Christian ethics.

    It could be referred to under such a title as the church's "Instititute of Christian Studies" or something of that nature.

    Well, there is a dream and a desire anyway..haha"


    I whole-heartily agree. I'm just afraid many won't be interested since they are lost and think their saved. I see a lot of growth in apologetics lately and I think it's a good thing. What scared me about the OP was the comment about using Saddleback material for the VBS. I know Rick Warren is about 80% sound in doctrine, but he has truly watered down the gospel to make it appealing when it should be offending, if you know what I mean. He and others over the last 20-30 years have changed the true gospel into a social and easy-believism church growth gospel. IMO.

    I would like to see our Baptist churches raise the bar on what their members know about the doctrines of faith. The SBC is incorporating apologetics strongly as of late through sending men and women to Biola Univ. to study Apologetics and then sending them out to their Associations to spread the good news they all need to hear.
     

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