Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Separation series # 8: New Evangelicalism

Prior to the 1950’s Bible believing churches put aside their denominational differences to unite in mission conferences and evangelistic crusades. Bible believing churches, regardless of their denominations, were united in recognizing theological liberalism with its rejection of the Bible, as enemies of Christ. Christians were separated from the evil of apostasy. Evangelist Billy Graham, as well as dozens of lesser known evangelists, held city wide crusades sponsored by Bible believing Christians. Churches were strengthened and the Church was alive and well, fulfilling the Great Commission.

New Evangelicalism
At the beginning of the 50’s some well known Christian leaders got together to form a new movement. They no longer wanted to be known as Fundamentalists. They took the name New Evangelicals. In 1955 the religious periodical, Christianity Today was launched to repudiate the separatism of the Fundamentalists and to enter into dialogue with the Liberals. That is clearly revealed in Dr. Harold Lindsell’s book, The Battle for the Bible, a book that accurately traces the rise of the New Evangelical Movement written from the viewpoint of a New Evangelical.

It’s one thing to dialogue with unbelievers. It’s another thing to recognize them as brothers in Christ. That’s what New Evangelicalism did. They accepted Liberals as brothers in Christ and thus began ecumenical evangelism which continues to this day.

There is no question that city-wide evangelistic crusades are not a new phenomenon. Moody, R.A. Torrey, Billy Sunday and many lesser known evangelists have conducted city wide crusades through the past two centuries. The difference was that these crusades were not sponsored by an unholy mixture of believers and unbelievers.

It is not my place to judge any preacher or evangelist. God alone is able to judge us correctly and He will one day when we stand before Him. No evangelist or preacher is the issue. Ecumenical evangelism is the issue. No matter who the evangelist is, I will not as a pastor participate in any Christian endeavor that is sponsored by a mixture of Bible believing pastors and liberal, Bible denying pastors. I will not participate in a crusade where lines are not clearly drawn between theological truth and error and where converts may be channeled into false religion.

This influence of God’s servants to break down the walls of separation between believers and unbelievers was the sin of Balaam, described in Number 22-24, 25:1 31:16 and condemned in II Peter 2:14-17, Jude 11, Revelation 2:14 Balaam preached the truth, but used his influence to bring fellowship and intermarriage between Israel and the heathen.

I began my ministry in the mid 50’s just as New Evangelicalism was coming on the scene.  At that time, it was not the Fundamentalists who separated from those who adopted the New Evangelical label. Rather, New Evangelicals separated themselves from those who loved God’s Word and stood against the enemies of Christ and His Word. They no longer wanted to associate with Fundamentalists. Though I no longer hear the label, New Evangelical today; their fateful decision made in the early 50’s has had a tsunami-sized negative impact on the state of the church and Christian colleges and seminaries over the past half century.

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May 23, 2006 - Posted by | Separation Series

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