The battle for the soul of the evangelical church in the United States spans across the remaining denominations that have not openly fallen into apostasy. The United Methodist Church was saved by the African delegations from rejecting biblical ministry standards. The Southern Baptist Convention struggles to reject critical race theory. Many denominations have split over the encroachment of liberal or progressive theology such as the PCA. This constant fight to maintain the doctrine of the church from false teachers is never ending, dating back to the divinely inspired writings of Paul. The Evangelical Dark Web is the latest decentralized movement in the fight against false teachers infiltrating the church.
As I enter the fray to defend the church, it is important to recognize that, in defending the church from the false doctrines and heretics, the stakes are eternal. We live in a Romans 1 era.
28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
The country’s descent into decadence, its rejection of truth, is evident in seemingly every area, and the church is unimmune. The attack on the church is one that seeks to pacify the gospel with worldly ideas. I identify three false gospels, in which, the Evangelical Dark Web combats that seek to subvert Christianity. Note: these do not include cults that identify as Christian.
The Prosperity Gospel
The word of faith heresy reduces the God of the universe to a vending machine with a name it and claim it philosophy. It conforms the gospel to a self-help ritual so that the practitioners can get rich and stay healthy. In short, the Prosperity Gospel is about using God to achieve worldly desires.
The Social Justice Gospel can be briefly summarized as antinomianism combined with postmodernism. This heresy reduces God by denying the Word. Sanctification is discouraged. Its Jesus is a brown-skinned Palestinian. Its evangelism is affirming the world. Its sacrament is abortion. Its charity is entitlement programs. Belief in the Resurrection is optional, and Muslims worship the same god. The Social Justice Gospel is the troll to the Bride of Christ. It’s how the world wants Christianity to be, if people are to identify as Christian and those who practice the Social Justice Gospel always feel the need to call out Christians who hold to orthodox doctrine.
This doctrine is a parasite. Churches who partake in the parasite dwindle, and so the parasite must find a new church to infiltrate, for the Social Justice Gospel cannot survive in the world it wants to create.
The Popularity Gospel is most difficult to explain. It reduces Jesus to the popular kid in high school. Its hard to describe a heresy that creates an idol out of the living God, but this phenomenon is prophesied in scripture:
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NASB
The Popularity Gospel is an artificial image of Jesus that appeals to the masses. It’s often identifiable in those who employ a worldly definition of love when talking about a savior whose kingdom is not of this world. God is all “love” and no wrath. Its favorite verses poll extremely well. We aren’t being saved from sin; we are trusting in Jesus to protect, lead, and bless us. You are good. Jesus makes you better. This diluted gospel accepts worldly premises on goodness, judgment, love, and Christianity as a whole. Its church organizations are mass growth marketing mechanisms. Its sermons are elementary. Its commission is to baptize believers, nevermind discipleship. Discipleship requires critically thinking. With the Popularity Gospel, one just has to sit back, enjoy the entertainment, ambiance, and childcare.
Unlike the Social Justice Gospel, the Popularity Gospel is self-sustaining because marketing works, and the masses enjoy being entertained. What I described was the megachurch motif.
A number of Christians are waking up to the spiritual battle that is going on within the Church, realizing, how many leaders are perpetuating or capitulating to the corrupting forces of the three aforementioned heresies. Just as academia in this country has largely been corrupted, our seminaries, likewise, are under attack. If the institutions that train the pastorate in this country fail, churches will struggle to find pastors worthy of the calling.
In the last few years, church leaders have responded with faith statements such as the Nashville Statement and the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel to redress such pressing issues. But these faith statements, while a commendable effort, are insufficient in rooting out false teachers by themselves. For the Bible says:
10As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11 ESV
Christianity needs a united front against such heresies mentioned above as they would, in modern times, be united against the teachings of Arian. Orthodoxy must be enforced even if it means powerful figures in Big Eva get cast out in the process.
In championing the disparaging title Brian Auten and Jake Meador over at Mere Orthodoxy, this platform seeks to be theologically sound, historically literate, and culturally relevant, as called in facing the most pressing threat Christianity is facing in America today.
If you are feeling called to learn more about this important battle, join the Evangelical Dark Web