The Serpent’s Deception
“And the Lord God said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
I am amazed at how quickly Baptist churches are disappearing all across our nation. Those that are dropping the name “Baptist” and renaming themselves as “community” churches still claim to be Baptist but have chosen to change their name to be more appealing to the masses are quite simply compromising. I used to condemn that practice, but now I believe that if that’s their goal, they should change the name because they are no longer adhering to the Baptist’s Distinctives. These Baptist churches that drop the name are predominantly denominational Baptists – but now many independent, fundamental Baptists are following the same pattern.
I believe one such cause for this change is that many publications put out by new evangelicals have made their way into the libraries of Baptist preachers. In other words they are being beguiled by what they are eating. While there may be some good information in these books – they may also be very dangerous. I know of one such book that is excellent in pointing out the fact that many pastors can become bogged down by too many programs that may complicate the ministry and distract the preacher and the church from fulfilling the Great Commission; however this same book takes this point to the extreme of suggesting eliminating soulwinning, serving, and even services!
Just as Eve was beguiled by the devil perhaps because she simply wanted to “be as gods” which sounded like a good thing, many pastor’s in their desire to have successful churches are being beguiled, deceived and even led astray by contemporary methods. While I do not believe that the authors of these books are deliberately seeking to deceive their readers, many pastors are being led astray by unbiblical practices.
1. They suggest eliminating services to simplify things – but the Bible says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
2. They suggest to eliminate serving opportunities or ministries – and I understand that sometimes a church can become overburdened with too many “programs” (especially a smaller church) and there may be times when eliminating ministries or programs that distract from the Great Commission is beneficial – but not to the point where the church offers no areas for the members to serve and use their spiritual gifts. Remember that when we serve and provide areas for others to serve it is an opportunity to be co-laborers with God. Paul in his zeal said, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” II Corinthians 12:15; and speaking of other serving Christians he said, “I beseech you, brethren (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.) I Corinthians 16:16
3. They suggest eliminating organized soulwinning opportunities for the church. I believe that God’s people should be witnessing on their own everywhere, but when the church fails to provide organized opportunities to “go” it sends the wrong message. After all isn’t the church’s foremost responsibility to evangelize the world? “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:47. Read Paul’s exhortation to the Christians of Galatia, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9; and “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” II Corinthians 9:6. If we fail to sow, we will not reap.
Nothing will ever replace God’s method for the local church…be not deceived or led astray.
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 3:6-11