The highly polarized SBC Presidential election ended with the youngest pastor the convention has ever had as their President. J.D. Greear, the 62nd President from The Summit Church in Durham, NC, is bringing a pseudo Billy Graham flare to the office as he holds more of an arminian (or traditional) stance on salvation. The SBC is riddled with Calvinist and pseudo-Calvanist positions with prominent members such as Albert Mohler leading the way.
For myself, I would consider myself a David Platt style Calvinist. I think other prominent Christian leaders that would fall into this level of Calvinism would be John MacArthur and Paul Washer.
The Pulpit and Pen article I am using for my JD Greear research highlights this style of Calvinism perfectly:
The fact is, while a modified form of Calvinism has grown in recent years and taken some in the SBC away from Finney’s notions of Decisional Regeneration, the Sinner’s Prayer and altar calls, Calvinism in the SBC is typically a world away from the staunch Calvinism of the Reformation that the not-so-traditionalists fear so greatly. In fact, most of the “Calvinists” in the SBC really aren’t Calvinists at all; they’re just men who have grown tired of the number-counting, every-head-bowed and every-eye-closed salvation mills popularized by Semi-Pelagian preachers like Billy Graham, Billy Sunday and Charles Finney, who did little more than serve as midwives for the spiritual still-births of generations of false converts.
We all have spent time or know loved ones that attend churches that are obsessing over the Sinner’s Prayer (I blame the pride of megapastors and their focus on a “head count”, which shows how many people have prayed this prayer). The church we are members at also obsesses over the Sinner’s Prayer, reciting it almost weekly with invitations to recite it after the pastor. This style does not worry me too much at our church as they preach convicting messages instead of the fluffy sermons you see and hear on television, or your local megachurch, but the slope is slippery and the pastor is standing on the edge.
If you listen to my podcast, I discuss regularly my experiences under a false salvation. That was, I believe, due to my confidence in the SP keeping me from eternal damnation. After reading such books in the NT as 1 John and James, I can now fully say without hesitation that I was bound for hell for the bulk of my life. The commercialization of the SP has led to many people being falsely converted, which in return is destroying the church from the inside out, highlighted by the social Marxism movement today within the church.
J.D. Greear, from what I can tell, is leading a mission to where he is truly trying to bring people to Jesus Christ. But the recent article I read from One News Now might be worrisome to most orthodox Christians like myself. The author of the article, Bryan Fischer, summarizes the column with this statement:
If my position on an issue is right and biblical and grounded in God’s Word but interferes with my relationship with a homosexual, then I’ve got to dump being right. That’s pretty much what the new leader of America’s largest Protestant denomination implies.
If this summary rings a bell, you might be thinking of Carl Lentz’s most notorious interview on The View, to which he fumbled around on the idea that an abortion is indeed a sin. Lentz later retracted that viewpoint on Twitter, but only after serious backlash. Lentz is the “pastor” at Hillsong in NYC. Hillsong professes themselves to be a church, but they are anything but. Click here to watch him on The View.
The ONN article highlights one of Greear’s sermons in 2014, where he hit on homosexuality and how we should treat this sin and the people inflicted with the sin:
We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on sexual morality, which means that our relationship with them must not be contingent upon their agreeing with us about sexuality. It means that when they don’t agree with us we still don’t push them away.
The posture of many Christians in our churches is more characterized by anger than by compassion, by judgment rather than by friendship. I am NOT saying that we would ever compromise our position or fail to state it, just that even when they disagree with it, we do not cut them off – we draw them close. We say yes, this issue is important. I cannot compromise, but I love you more than I love being right. And so even if you don’t see things my way, I’m going to keep bringing you close, and I’m going to remain committed to you.
In the cross of Jesus Christ, he shows us the right way to relate to the gay and the lesbian community – clarity about God’s righteousness, compassion that would give up its own life to draw them close.
Homosexuality, racism, and sexism topics have engulfed modern Christianity. Orthodox Christians like myself, Todd Friel (Wretched Radio), and Phil Johnson (Grace to You, Grace Community Church) have been left perplexed by these topics. Organizations such as The Gospel Coalition and evangelical “leaders” such as Beth Moore have taken hold of these topics. Although I really like some of the TGC council members, there stances on these social issues are rather odd and confusing at best, such as J.D. Greear’s stance in his 2014 sermon highlighted above.
I guess for myself I would say the answer to all of these topics is the gospel? The Bible? Jesus? Sermon on the Mount? I guess I could go on and on about different passages of the Bible that could help defeat these sinful positions, but that would not get endless clicks each and everyday, or whenever the news starts fake outrage. For an evangelical leader looking for their own fame instead of proclaiming the Gospel, bringing in social changes and highlighting entire organizations as “racist, sexist, or homophobic” is key in 2018. The Holy Scriptures and teachings of Jesus have been the firm foundation to root out these evils for 2000 years, but the 21st century approach within the church have seemingly left the gospel for a mainstream, secular approach.
One of the reasons that these wishy-washy stances on homosexuality have become so watered down is the fact that evangelizing and the bar that makes someone a follower of Jesus have lowered. No longer is repentance the bedrock to a true salvation, but the SP. The ware on the SP has taken root because it has led to so many people living under a false salvation. In 2018 it has been labeled blasphemy to highlight to homosexuals that they have to turn from their sin to be a true son or daughter of Jesus Christ. Can a true Christian still have the homosexual desire? Sure. But as we have read in 1 John, it is evident that someone that is living with the Holy Spirit cannot live under a constant, unrepentant sinful nature and still be confident in an eternal salvation.
Churches are no longer focusing on the gospel and leading lost sheep to a strong, true salvation, but are in fact focusing on congregation numbers, balance sheets, and Twitter followers. Church leaders are more focused on obtaining the blue Twitter check mark instead of pleasing their Holy Father.
Christians should be witnessing by showing the lost sheep that they are sinners in need of a savior. The only chance that they have in an eternal salvation is dropping their worldly desires, repenting of their evil sins, and following and trusting in Jesus Christ. We have decided to turn evangelizing into a soft friendship to try and lead people to Christ. We ignore the sin and instead just focus on going to church and having Christ as your “best friend”. The church in the western hemisphere has become so watered down that soon we need to be sending Christians from the third world to America instead of the other way around.
Homosexuality as a sin that can lead you to eternal damnation? Yes, but so is constant gossiping, adultery, lying, envy, lust, etc. The list is long. The social issue crowd is growing because as orthodox Christians we have neglected to focus on these other sins as tickets to hell as well if we live in constant un-repentance. The key to truly bringing lost sheep to Christ and a true salvation is highlighting the importance of knowing that you are a sinner in need of a savior, and the only savior is Jesus Christ.