Scripture and the Church

Three 'Hard Truths' That Must Be Declared to the Church In Our Time

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Today we humbly declare them from the Word of God.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Much of today's post-evangelical church refuses to face these truths: 1. Millions of "evangelicals" who profess Christ are in fact unsaved; 2. Today's churches suffer from a woeful lack of maturity among both leaders and members; 3. There is no such person as a "Christian homosexual". Today we humbly declare them from the Word of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ declared many hard truths during His days on earth. In the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John, after having miraculously fed five thousand, Jesus told those who were following after Him that

you seek Me, not because you saw [Greek eidete, discerned] the signs [semeia, the things that attested to His deity], but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him. (John 6:26-27)

When those who heard complained about this statement, He went on to say,

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven - not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever. (6:53-58)

What was the reaction of the crowd?

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard [skleros, unyieldingly difficult] saying; who can understand it?"

When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend [literally, scandalize] you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (verses 60-66)

We must note well that those who "went back and walked with Him no more" are called "disciples" (verses 60, 61, 66) and "seekers" (verse 26) - but they were not truly believers. They wanted what appealed to them, what they thought Jesus could do for them physically and psychologically, but they did not truly want His person and work.

Much of the church is unwilling to hear "hard truths" today. I think of three in particular.

1. Millions of "Evangelicals" Who Profess Christ Are In Fact Unsaved

Praying a formula prayer, or signing a card, or going forward in a service, or being baptized, or joining a fellowship, does not make anyone a Christian. Millions have been led into a false security in self-described evangelical churches by believing that such things are true.

For several generations now, churches in America - and in other lands to which this falsehood has been exported by American missionaries - have been in decline because of the tragic fruits of belief in a so-called "soul-winning" technique that has its roots not in Scripture but in the deceitful philosophy of the used-car salesman.

Self-described evangelical churches are filled with millions who have made false professions of faith in Christ. There is widespread confusion about what it truly means to be saved. The vast majority of the people who populate these churches have been effectively inoculated against the reality of Biblical salvation. They are assured that they have a free ticket to Heaven, without regard to their unchanged thinking and living. They exhibit careless indifference, and even open hostility, toward the "hard truths" of Scripture. Such "converts" see repentance from sin and sanctified living as optional at best, and they are told it is so. Today's churches are filled with unregenerated people who, over the last three or four generations, have become the majority of the members, leaders, pastors, and teachers.

2. Today's Churches Suffer from a Woeful Lack of Maturity

This is true both in a spiritual and in a general behavioral sense. The "adult" men in many churches dress - and often act - no differently, in essence, from their five-year-old sons. This is often true even of those who dare to get up and preach. Generations that have grown up in youth programs and "children's church" - where the emphasis is on fun and entertainment and not on Biblical truth - now demand the same motif in the main service. But a Sunday stage production that emulates worldly entertainment is not reverent worship of the one true and living God.

The condition of today's church is much like that of Corinth, to whom the Apostle Paul said,

Brethren, do not be children in understanding...but in understanding be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave [in the original, andrizesthe, act like grown men], be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Today's church desperately needs regenerated people who, men and women alike, act like grownups in every aspect of their thinking, speaking, and living - a people who will not fear to proclaim hard truths, or shrink from living those truths before the church, their families, and the world.

3. There is No Such Person as a Christian Homosexual

Many self-described evangelical churches are caving into the abominable lie that a person can be both a Christian and a homosexual. What churches of past generations accepted and proclaimed as the forever-settled Word of God has become, amazingly and tragically, a "hard saying" within today's church. Satan's "Has God indeed said?" has replaced the prophet's "Thus saith the Lord" regarding homosexuality. It is one of the saddest manifestations of the lack of spiritual adulthood in today's church.

Just as sadly, many pastors who still hold to the Biblical position on this crucial issue fear to publicly proclaim the hard truths of Scripture. For details on some of these developments, and a review of the truths of Scripture about homosexuality, see our Bible Knowledgebase article "Why Are Some 'Evangelicals' Caving In to the Homosexual Agenda?".

We now have openly homosexual pastors in purportedly conservative churches and denominations such as the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). As one pastor who has now left the PCA puts it,

  • All the PCA's homosexual pastors and elders now have a seat at the table [i.e., in determining church positions on matters of doctrine and life]
  • Those opposed to homosexuality are old and getting older
  • Already this year [2019], forty percent of the [PCA's General Assembly] commissioners opposed the Nashville Statement [a document designed to refute the homosexual agenda]

He observes that it is only a matter of time before a younger generation of those who are not loyal to Christ and His Word will vote to make the homosexual agenda the official position of the denomination - as happened in the mainline Presbyterian church years ago. [1]

They Went Back and Walked With Christ No More

In all three of the issues we have cited - the perversion of Biblical evangelism, the general lack of maturity among professed evangelicals, and the growing cave-in to the homosexual agenda - many in purportedly evangelical churches who claim to be "disciples" of Jesus are going back and walking with Him no more. The Apostle John described such individuals:

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (1 John 2:18-19)

The difficulty is that many of these people who have "gone out" spiritually remain physically in the visible body. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul describes them:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

"Will You Also Go Away?"

After many of those whom the Holy Spirit through John calls disciples and seekers "went back and walked with Him no more," Jesus said to the twelve, "Will you also go away?" (John 6:67). Dear friends, this is the test of our time. It is the critical question that each one who claims to be a Christian must face. Peter's answer showed the great difference between being a mere "disciple" or "seeker" and being a regenerated believer:

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:68-69)

Peter could not deny that Jesus' words were "hard truths." But in humble submission he declared, "You have the words of eternal life." Those words are indeed often hard words, but they are life. "Soft" words - words that affirm people in their sin - are death. Those who are truly Christ's understand the difference.

 

References:

1. Tim Bayly, "Revoice Pastor Greg Johnson Assures PCA His Homosexualists Will Win" as viewed on 9/12/2019 at http://warhornmedia.com/2019/06/28/revoice-pastor-greg-johnson-assures-pca-his-homosexualists-will-win/

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