Irresponsible Evangelism Breeds False Hope in Christ and Confidence in the Path to Destruction
There is a strong correlation between the “big name” preachers in the realm of professing Christianity and the greatest culprits in soul damning, irresponsible evangelism. These “big name” preachers care about statistics rather than turning people to righteousness. Bringing their hearers to worship God in spirit and in truth to bring forth the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ is not their top priority, and they gladly give people a counterfeit salvation in Jesus Christ to boost their own statistics and make themselves sound credible. When you hear someone speaking of the great numbers of people they’ve allegedly led to Christ, and when you hear about any ministry that is taken up more with the statistics in their meetings than leading those who come to their meetings to walk in the whole counsel of God’s Word, then know for sure that they are servants of Satan whose alleged ministry is advancing their own their own agenda and feeding their own carnal desires. These also can also turn away true Christians into following their ungodly ways and pervert their faith into the lascivious false grace which they offer.
2 Peter chapter 2:1-3 says: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
Irresponsible evangelists typically don’t even profess in their doctrine that Christ’s resurrection, above all, validated the Scriptures themselves and His Ultimate Supreme Authority. Christ’s resurrection vindicates His authority and demands that people repent of their sins and submit to His authority by walking in the light of His Word- and Christ only offers man forgiveness of sins in the context of recognizing Him and obeying Him accordingly.
Daniel 12:2-3: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
Noah had to build the ark in order to properly recognize God’s authority and be diligent in seeking Him. Abraham had to leave his own land and go into a strange land in order to do the same. The suffering of each to act upon God’s Word was the only way for them to obtain His grace and be pleasing to Him. They would not properly be regarded as true men of faith if they had been disobedient in these things and if diligent obedience was not the overall testimony of their life. The preaching of irresponsible evangelists causes people to think they can have faith in Christ and be in God’s grace without diligently following the way that faithful men like Abraham and Noah followed. Yet that is as great a delusion as anything can be. This is also why the “faith alone” doctrine falls flat on its face. Acceptable faith in Jesus Christ suffers to follow the truth of God’s Word and to do righteousness before God.
Hebrews 11:6-8 says: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”
James chapter two makes it as clear as anything can be that a living faith absolutely must do this, and that people cannot be justified by faith alone. The faithful, righteous, godly men of the Old Testament are consistently held up in the New Testaments as examples for us of being justified by faith in God’s sight through Jesus Christ. There is no other type of faith in Christ than the type of faith that men like Abraham and Noah had. And those who point to the worst moments in the lives of the faithful men of the Old Testament to try to defend sin and compromise in their own lives, and to overall try to mitigate the uncompromising nature of acceptable Christianity, are doing something which these men who died in faith did not do themselves and would doubtlessly find abhorrent and shameful. Living according to fleshly lust is guaranteed to result in spiritual death and condemnation (Romans 8:13, Galatians 5:19-21, etc).
Walking straight before God and acting according to His commandments often means foregoing momentary pleasure and comfort, while not even receiving a benefit in exchange which can be felt good about- unless you really take to heart that God’s truth will prevail in the end and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. It involves much patience then to walk this way and the persuasion that all that is of man which is not subject to God’s authority is under the condemnation of death. Noah had to have this persuasion to build the ark. Such a persuasion is only logical. Noah is certainly a type of Christ. Christ would not have come to redeem man from his sins if Christ’s own judgment was not that all that is of man which is not subject to God’s authority is under the condemnation of death. That should persuade us to die to ourselves and suffer for truth and righteousness according to God’s Word, even if nothing else will.
A true walk of faith must be entered into by a proper recognition of God’s rightful authority over us through Jesus Christ. Such demands repentance and works that are in keeping with, and fitting for, repentance. There is no true faith without true repentance wherein one recognizes where they are out of line with God’s authority and does whatever is in their power to amend that. This involves restoring that which was stolen, breaking off from all idolatry and all idolatrous pursuits, forsaking all deceit, giving up all lascivious behavior, letting go of all malice, assuming one’s duties to the poor and needy which had been set aside, honoring and getting in line with God-ordained authority in one’s life, and doing whatever else it takes to come into line with God’s commandments wherever one can see that they have been out of line with them. This would also include choosing to face reproach from man which inevitably comes with being faithful to Christ. It also must include a surrender to call people out of sin as a witness for Jesus Christ. These things also involve a readiness and willingness to come out of churches that are out of line with God’s Word and do not represent the real Jesus faithfully, as well as a willingness and readiness to join in fellowship with those who wholeheartedly want to be under the authority of God’s Word and are therefore in a position to follow Jesus faithfully (and Billy Graham and most every other “big name evangelist” has failed miserably in calling people out of false churches). From the point of surrender to Jesus Christ in true faith, one must take up their cross daily and make choices to come into line with God’s Word as they are confronted with more light from the Word and face new circumstances which inevitably call for further steps of obedience. Receiving the demands of God’s Word and fulfilling them without murmuring and complaining is inherently involved in living by faith in the true God.
Abraham is set forth in Scripture as a man whose faith we are to follow, even being called “the father of faith” whose footsteps we ought to walk in Romans 4:11-12. Besides Hebrews 11:8 which we looked at earlier, we see in Abraham’s life how he exercised faith by a proper recognition of God’s authority and hope in God’s promises which caused him to act quickly upon God’s Word. Such an exercise inherently involves suffering for truth and righteousness. We must swiftly do what God says, even when that is painful. This is epitomized in Genesis chapter 17 by how Abraham had himself, along with every male born in his household, circumcised at God’s command. Abraham did this on the very same day which God commanded it (Genesis 17:26-27). He embraced the inconvenience, the pain to his body, along with the risk of his reputation, in order to be obedient to God and walk acceptably before Him. That also shows the true spiritual symbolism of circumcision in the Bible.
Abraham’s obedient faith which was ready and willing to suffer for truth and righteousness to obey God was also eminently displayed by his taking Isaac quickly to the mountain which God told him to offer Isaac upon. God told Abraham to do it; and Abraham rose up early in the morning, took Isaac, and went to the place which God told him to go (Genesis 22:1-3).
This is the type of faith which is necessary to be a part of Abraham’s spiritual seed, to be in covenant with God like Abraham was, and to inherit the blessing through Jesus Christ which God promised to Abraham. This also demonstrates the attitude towards God’s authority and reliability which we must exercise and walk in to live by a faith which will truly save us on Judgment Day.
The false grace preachers often quote Ephesians 2:8-9 (independent of its context and usually with a smooth sounding voice): “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The false grace preachers will also often quote Romans 4:5 (independent of its context and usually with a smooth sounding voice): “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
But the false grace preachers will not say that the man who wrote those Scriptures also testified about his own Gospel preaching in Acts 26:19-21: “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.”
The false grace preachers will often quote 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (independent of its context, usually with a smooth sounding voice, and almost certainly not addressing the obvious possibility of having believed in Christ in vain which these verses in themselves bring up): “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” The false grace preachers they won’t say that these verses continue on and culminate in Christ’s kingdom being delivered up to the Father at the end, God’s authority prevailing, and that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection were thus accomplished to redeem people in a manner which is consistent with the authority of His coming kingdom. They also won’t point out the exhortation which this passage flows into that is given in 1 Corinthians 15:33-34: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”
The following examples show the Apostle Paul’s mindset as he preached. And yet there are tons of people going around acting like experts on Paul’s words and examples on God’s grace who have a mindset which is totally opposed to Paul’s mindset (and example as a Christian too).
Romans 15:16-19: “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
(Note the goal of the mighty signs and wonders which Paul did. Paul was not a showman, and he was not an enabler of man’s sensationalistic desires. He was actually totally the opposite).
Acts 24:24-25: “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”
The false grace preachers do not preach like this. They likely even say that man cannot live in the manner in which Paul described faithful Christianity. Their own unwillingness to die to self and sin’s pleasure in identification with Christ leaves them unrighteous, intemperate, and having little insight into the reality of the shocking great shaking which Christ’s coming judgment will actually bring about.
The big name preachers, and many other irresponsible evangelists, typically rely on methods related to emotionalism to produce shallow decisions for Christ and boost their statistics (and hence their egos and likely their pocketbooks too). They resort to hype, emotional persuasion (often proven as such by the manner in which they slickly alter their voice to make people suggestable to their requests), and music as key means of accomplishing their agenda.
To counter the influence of irresponsible evangelists, ask yourself if you are committed to being a faithful subject to Jesus Christ’s reign, pursuing and following the truth of His Word unto not loving your life to the death? You can be excited about Jesus in many ways, but still not have this. In John chapter 2 we read how many people were excited about Jesus, yet Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew what was in man. You can be moved and mournful about Jesus dying on the cross, yet not be mournful about being opposed to His divine authority in how you practically think and live (such enmity is actually what crucified Him). You might love Him on a human level- yet Jesus, the real Jesus, is not someone whom we should relate to as the hero of a novel or a childhood crush (like emotionally manipulative music, labeled as Christian, often portrays Him). To be on the real Jesus’ side, and in His grace, you must in truth honor Him as a Righteous King whom you worship in spirit and in truth. You must disassociate yourself from sin and be subject to Him, so that you are obedient to Him from the depths of your being as the Righteous King that He is. Welcoming, and striving from the heart to align with His righteous reign, goes much deeper than emotion.
These irresponsible evangelists who aim for decisions under their ministry, and the environments they often foster where emotionalism reigns, do not recognize the seriousness, acute danger, and horror of being lost; nor do they recognize the greatness of Christ’s salvation and the great vigilance, circumspection, and meticulousness which is required to enter into, and continue in, that salvation. Thinking that emotionally moving music and hype which humans generate can bring a person to a righteous faith in Christ, like Zaccheus came to, is ridiculous. Those who resort to emotionalism lack real wisdom and power from God. Make sure your faith in Christ is something which will hold up, causing you to trust God and work righteousness before Him, in the darkest and loneliest hour when emotional satisfaction is out of reach for you; and there is no one there to hype you up nor cheer you on. And do not think you are eternally secure because of a sinner’s prayer you prayed, a decision card you filled out, a time you raised your hand, or even the time you got baptized (valid Christian baptism is a testimony that one is under Christ’s authority and is intended as an initial or near initial act of following through in demonstrating repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ- otherwise, it is worthless).
One example of a false grace preacher whose preaching aimed at accumulating statistics out of men’s souls, enhancing his own ego, and gaining a following of himself was Jack Hyles. Jack Hyles is whom many regard as the father of the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) churches. Hyles was the leader of Hammond Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana from 1959 until his death in 2001. There is also a movement that is commonly called the New IFB which is no better, but perhaps takes Hyle’s easy-believe-ism even further (if that is possible)! Hyles and his followers’ preaching of easy-believe-ism, cheap grace, and unconditional eternal security make them quintessential irresponsible evangelists.
Many still follow Hyles today and his influence still prevails in IFB churches, many of which are pastored by men trained at the college which he founded, Hyles-Anderson College. These men learn to twist Scripture out of context. They also learn to speak confidently, smoothly, and as if they have great authority (men with real authority from God don’t need to act like this). They preach a false gospel denying the need to be under Christ’s Lordship and they instead offer salvation by a quick prayer. A good description of this trafficking in man’s souls which I came across is “1,2, 3 repeat after me.” A quote from an online review of a book exposing the Hyles cult states the obvious. “They are responsible for the encouragement of an easy, repeat-after-me type of ‘salvation’ that is mostly for the purpose of claiming inflated numbers of members while leaving the ‘convert’ with no idea of what he’s done, or even worse, the idea that he is just fine and ‘Heaven-bound’ because he prayed some prayer after a desperate college student needing to claim the numbers.” And for all their shameless promotion of unconditional eternal security, don’t be surprised if you’re cursed out and told you’re going to hell by an IFB Pastor or deacon or ardent follower if you confront them with their unbiblical doctrines, their godless methods, and their sinful admiration of the ungodly men whom they follow and so highly adore. This is also true with many believers in unconditional eternal security, no matter their church (or their lack of a church altogether).
I remember once talking to a guy who was my next door neighbor at the time about Christ. He told me that he had just recently “got saved” at a local church’s evangelistic campaign. When I asked what he meant by that he explained how he had a certain serious illness and had been seeking healing. He explained that the people from the church who counseled him explained that the first thing he needed to do was “give himself to Jesus.” And so he said that is what he then did. As I tried to talk to him about what sin, repentance, and faith in Jesus actually are, he admitted that he was an adulterer who had committed adultery and he was still not even sorry about that (not sorry at all, in any form). Yet this man had been labeled as “a salvation” in this church’s evangelistic crusade though he was obviously still an unrepentant adulterer.
I remember meeting another man who told me that he had recently “got saved.” When I asked what he meant he told me something like “well, I came to the front of the church, and- I got saved.” He was dumbfounded and didn’t have any further elaboration. When we talked some about what Biblical salvation actually is he admitted he hadn’t heard that and he saw that what had happened at the church wasn’t getting saved, even though he surely had been counted as a statistic by the church as someone who had “gotten saved” there.
It is not hard for people with both influence and money to gather a large crowd for a mass crusade. You don’t need God with you to do that! When you have a lot of money to rent a big auditorium or stadium or some other massive venue, and you also have money to advertise it, you can get plenty of people to come. And that is especially true if you have a famous person speaking and/or singing at the event, a lot of excitement about the event generated through previous events in other cities, promises of healing and prosperity, a carnival-like atmosphere (which is a key factor in how Jack Hyles got tens of thousands to his church to lead in the “1-2-3 repeat after me” sinner’s prayer.), and/or you have a lot of people in an area just grasping for some sense of purpose and something to hope for (and there are always many like this in poor countries and/or in crisis circumstances). And how much more will people do something like come to the altar and say a sinner’s prayer when you have the star power of someone like Billy Graham to persuade people to comply with an altar call and/or sinner’s prayer? BTW: Billy Graham literally has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame- he was given that star and gladly accepted it because he was a friend of the world; and the world loves its own. This mass crusade evangelism has of course been very successful (for its corrupt ends) all over the world- and especially in poorer nations where there is desperation for some type of hope; and where the star power of mass evangelists holds extra weight.
In all such mass crusades, and in all evangelism which implies that the new birth in Christ is a quick transaction and can be accomplished as such, there is an irresponsibility in such to the max. This is a form of trafficking in men’s souls in a way that makes slavery itself seem only mildly cruel. At the recent Asbury meetings one of the preachers preaching on the campus actually told his audience “we’re all going to repent in a minute.” That is as foolish as saying “we’re all going to join the Army in a minute” or even better “we’re all going to be led out to be crucified in a minute.” Only someone with a shallow understanding of repentance who had no care to have God’s authority vindicated, no care for righteousness to prevail in man, and no care that people would actually reconcile with God on His righteous and holy terms would ever say something like “we’re all going to repent in a minute.” And that is the spirit of virtually every, or altogether every mass crusade evangelistic campaign, as well as much else that happens under the label of Christian evangelism. Such robs God of the worship He is due and treats people like cattle to be led off to slaughter in the name of the evangelist’s own statistics, reputation, and likely their pocketbooks and ministry budgets too (since so many foolishly give based on reported statistics).
Matthew 23:12-15: “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte (to make a convert), and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]