There comes a time in the life of every church, and consequently every pastor, when a certain question must be asked: “Do we want to draw a crowd or do we want to build a church?” The way the church answers this question determines not just its future, but also tests its present spiritual health.
True revival begins within the church calling Christians to a new life in the Spirit, but it also means converting thousands of present members for the first time to a new birth by the Spirit. That is a stupendous task considering the way things are today and involves far more than popular meetings, happy singing, and canvassing new ‘prospects.’
The bottom line is that evangelistic preachers know that they can’t do the work of the Holy Spirit. I cannot offer or provide grace. I can’t regenerate a lost soul. It’s not in my power to glorify anyone in heaven. What I can (and believe I must) do, is to make the explanation and plan of salvation as clear, organized and understandable as possible.
In view of this deluge of counterfeits, believers have an unparalleled need for a deeper understanding of authentic Christianity. For it is impossible to recognize a fraud unless we have an understanding of the genuine. Error can only be correctly measured over against the truth of God’s inerrant Word.
I was born and bred a Southern Baptist. I was saved in an SBC church, committed to ministry in another SBC church, educated in an SBC college, trained for ministry in an SBC seminary (tuition paid, in large part, with SBC dollars). I’ve been a pastor who was involved in SBC work from the association to the state convention to the national denomination. My church consistently gives hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for SBC causes.
So, both Calvinists and non-Calvinists agree that God chooses individuals to be “in Him.” Calvinists believe the individual is unconditionally chosen before he/she is “born or had done anything good or bad,” based on their erroneous interpretation of Romans 9:11. While the non-Calvinist believes God’s choice is intimately personal because God is choosing to save someone who is admitting how bad they really are right in the midst of their shame and guilt…