Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Rayola Kelley

For the past three months, we have been considering how the world’s philosophies have been influencing the Church. When we embrace or adopt any worldly philosophy, it will defile or pervert our perception about God and life. As you consider the philosophies of the world, you can actually see how they cleverly demote God in His holiness and truth, and exalt man in some way. At the core of the foundations of the worldly philosophies is humanism. Humanism does away with any belief or real need for God and exalts man into a place of authority and self-sufficiency. In other words, man becomes the final say as to what is true, real and acceptable. Needless to say, this does away with the sovereign rule of God and the authority of the Word of God. Let us consider the ways that such philosophies manage to replace the truth of God and salvation.

Religion: What many people do not understand is that man-made or inspired religion is a product of the rebellious spirit of the world. A religious or antichrist spirit may be counterfeiting the things of God by putting a religious twist or environment on religious practices. Nevertheless, it is man’s attempts, understanding or beliefs that are exalted. We all know we are saved by grace, but man’s religion puts the burden on the people to conform, perform or reform a certain way in order to be accepted by God. However, there is only one way God will accept a person and that is through the redemption of Jesus Christ.

The different arenas that man operates within the religious realm can also prove to be extreme. For example, you have the presentation of “cheap grace.” This is where man maintains his old ways while hiding behind an unscriptural perspective of grace. Such an attitude nullifies the work of grace as man fails to respond to the things of God by faith. Faith not only believes a matter is true, but will walk in obedience to that truth. Faith that responds to grace is counted or reckoned as righteousness. This is why the Apostle Paul stated that grace reigns through righteousness in Romans 5:21.

The other extreme is where people must work to gain God’s approval. Usually, they are seeking the approval of a human leader and not God. These people have been seduced in some way. But, in these cases, the leader and his or her teachings have subtly replaced God in devotion and service. Scripture tells us that our best is filthy rags to God, and that leaning on the arm of the flesh in any way brings a curse with it. Such an attitude will frustrate the grace of God because it is not being received and properly appropriated in our walk. Grace actually gives us the freedom and space to do what is right in the right spirit. Man’s religion can be seen in legalism, the winds of doctrines that have traveled through Christendom, and the many cults such as Mormonism and the Roman Catholic Church.

New Age: The New Age is another popular means in which true Christianity has been undermined or replaced. The New Age is humanistic to the core, but it appeals to the spiritual side of a person to explore the unseen world. People who are attracted by the New Age are searching for some god, but they have no boundaries in which to consider or test the god or gods that are being presented to them. In this scenario, such people will have some type of spiritual experience that will cement their delusion even more.

These spiritual experiences are real. However, they have a spiritual twist to them that is void of truth. In the midst of the spiritual side of the New Age is usually a person who serves as a guru or medium. Such enlightenment is an open door to the occult. He or she is the one who will supposedly lead these people to some point of enlightenment. When you examine the influence of the New Age upon people, they end up worshipping the experience, intellectual insight, a leader, or the teachings, but there is no real knowledge or acknowledgement of the real God of heaven. In fact, a false light blinds them. Once again, some of the influences of the New Age have made their way into the Christian ranks. Here are a few examples: yoga, mind science, visualization, reincarnation, metaphysical or psychic healing, and contemplative prayer.

Humanism: There is an actual religion known as humanism. Man is clearly exalted as the center of importance and worship. At the core of humanism is the concept that the strongest will survive. After all, a person must survive at any cost. People who are adhering to this religion possess various notions about God. There are those who claim that there is no God. Others are amoral. They may believe in some god, but they have their own idea of God, as well as standards as to what they consider moral. In a way, they believe everything to be relative. There are no absolutes about what is right or wrong.

Sadly, we can find the influence of this humanistic philosophy alive and well among Christians. There are those who may declare the morals of the Bible, but are amoral in their own lifestyles. Sins that should not be named among us are often practiced and justified in these people’s lives. It is important to recognize the beliefs or philosophies that have been produced by this humanistic viewpoint. The most popular examples of humanistic influences and practices are abortions, psychology, self-esteem, alternative lifestyles, situation ethics,and evolution.

       Politically Correct: A popular philosophy that is gaining momentum is the concept of being politically correct. According to this philosophy, we are to be politically correct, not morally upright, spiritually aligned to truth, or honest. We are to be correct according to a political worldview. This worldview is not established on a national level, but on an international level. Much of the policies of this philosophy come from the political body of the United Nations. This view has one goal, and that is to do away with Christianity as they work towards a one-world government and antichrist religion.

Christianity maintains there is only one God, one way to heaven, and one absolute truth. Due to its immovable foundation of Jesus Christ, it will not be moved from its position. This poses a real threat to Satan’s liberal kingdom. It does not want to be challenged, exposed or proven to be insufficient. Therefore, it wants to drown out the truth through policies. If this wicked tide does not change or is stayed in some way, in the name of political correctness, the Church will soon begin to taste persecution right here in America in a greater measure.

Sadly, the spirit and attitude behind this philosophy has also made subtle inroads into the Church. The reason for this is because by coming into agreement with worldly methods, we have opened ourselves up to the attitude that is prevalent in the world. This attitude is to not rock the boat. Rather, people need to be tolerant towards others, regardless of whether a person is going to hell. As a result, sin has been downplayed, Jesus is being redefined to fit into the attitude of the world, the Gospel is being stripped of its power to convict, and entertainment and fun have been instituted as a means to attract others to some type of religious atmosphere. Yet, Christ is missing, the Holy Spirit has departed, and the Church is ceasing from being the salt and the light in this world. A good example of this influence can be seen in the seeker-friendly, emergent church.

       Positive and Negative: One of the most used philosophies of the world in the Church is the concept of always being positive. According to this philosophy, we must not state anything negative, even if it is truth. Can you imagine Jesus trying to adjust this concept to His preaching, as well as confrontations with the Pharisees and scribes of His day? His preaching was simple, repent of your sins or perish. These exhortations are not positive, but they are truth, and for those who fail to repent, they will know what it means to perish in their sins.

Jesus also taught as a man having authority because He would not compromise the truth to get along with others. He did not care if He was popular with man. In fact, He offended anyone who did not have a real love for truth. In a sense, Jesus tore up the foundations that were plainly in place, causing anger and chaos. His unwillingness to play the game with the religious people of His day ended in His crucifixion.

It is important to realize that trying to be positive about everything will not change reality. The reality of life is that wherever there is potential for that which is beneficial and positive, there is always going to be the negative. Without the negative, there is no real contrast. The negative is what causes friction to produce the desired potential or results such as in the case of lightening. For the Christian, this friction can be adversity, tribulation or persecution. However, friction has the potential of enlarging our faith and producing godly character.

Let us consider what would happen if we took the negative out of our Christian lives. If we took the sharpness and bitterness out of the Word of God, it would not have the power to penetrate our lives. If we took the fire out of the work of the Spirit, we would not have any purging or sanctification taking place. If we took away the fiery test applied to our faith, it would not come forth in value or purity. If we took the unpleasant self-denial out of the Christian walk, we would be void of preparation for greatness. If we took the work of the cross out of redemption, we would still be miserably lost in our sins.

To only maintain the positive aspect of something is to create an imaginary fluff that has no real substance or meaning behind it. To only insist on looking at the positive is to fail to face or confront the reality that will eventually drown people in problems and despair. Keep in mind, it is the negative reality of the cross of Christ that results in the positive aspect of receiving the gift of eternal life. One of the greatest examples of this worldly philosophy making an inroad into the Church is the worldly gospel being expounded by the many Word of Faith preachers who can be heard on TBN.

Higher Power: The philosophies of the world either do away with God altogether or they redefine Him to make Him tolerable to everyone else. There is no greater evidence of this than the concept of appealing to a “higher power.” Clearly, this philosophy admits that there must be something beyond our humanity to help us in our plight. If there isn’t, we have no hope. After all, when we come to the end of self, we do not have the power to overcome that which enslaves us spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Since there is an admission that there is a higher power in relationship to the need for intervention and help, some of the Church has embraced these philosophies through different programs. These programs seem harmless enough, and in the mind of some, they could possibly open up the door to lead people to the God of Christianity. Sadly, people in this situation simply erect a god of their own liking. Admittedly, if they were seeking the true God of heaven, they would not settle for some “higher power.” And, if such people do come to some concept of Christianity without repenting and changing their mind about their life and ways, they simply bring their new god in with them to be a part of some religious, social program. It is from this premise of a false god that they see all religious matters including the character of God. However religious or accepted these individuals become in their new social status, they remain indifferent to the true God of the Bible, and His provision of Jesus Christ. The question is what has been accomplished by offering any kind of reform without scriptural accountability and truth?

Obviously, these beliefs are offering social reform without the true God of the Bible. Granted, these individuals may not be alcoholics or addicts, but they are still as lost in their present state of reformation as they were in their previous downtrodden state. They may not be as dangerous or as insane, but they still stand condemned before God. Needless to say, you might recognize some of the philosophies that adhere to the idea of a “higher power” such as the popular Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Step program.

As Christians, we must remind ourselves that our commission is not to promote some type of program that may allude to God, but we must preach the Gospel that upholds the redemption of God, and make disciples of Jesus, bringing forth lasting transformation. As far as I am concerned, these programs are the best the world can offer; therefore, let the world promote them, but for you and me, our solution is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

We must come back into line with the central shaft of all light and truth, Jesus Christ. We must remember that to be in agreement with the world makes us enemies of God. As saints, we are called to be separate and distinct from this world, not come into agreement with its many vain philosophies.

The unholy mixture of beliefs and practices of the world have weakened the Church as individuals adopt their own version of Christianity. After all, such agreements with the world occur because such people fail to add true faith to the things of God (Hebrews 4:2). Rather, they have adjusted the things of God to the worldly philosophies that appeal to their flesh and pride.

It is time to come back into agreement with the Word of God and purge ourselves of all unholy agreements with the world. It is time we cease from covering up the failures of our humanity with worldly philosophies, and recognize and admit our sins and wrongdoings according to the character and Word of God. This is the only way we can come to true repentance, receive by faith the hope we have, and allow God’s life and healing to bring us into a satisfying and complete life in Him.