Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pragmatism

Forget the arguments about KJVO and standards for a minute, and look at this list of problems with all IFBx churches, which should concern you:

1. Lack of formal church discipline (inward pragmatism)

2. Sermons that lack teaching substance

3. Outward pragmatism in evangelistic ministry.

4. Over-emphasis on human authority within the church

5. Lack of any real accountability for leadership

6. Uncritical adaptation of the methods of "more successful" ministries within the group

7. Over-emphasis on outward "performance," appearance, and behavior. (personal pragmatism)

You know what one word sums up these 7? Pragmatism. The only difference between this type and the type practiced by mainstream evangelicals is that mainstream evangelicals accept modern cultural developments. Pragmatism in any form is an affront to God by placing man's perceived need above God's decree.

It is this common undertow of pragmatism that repels me from both the IFBx crowd AND mainstream evangelicals.

When your ministry is _pragmatic_ it may produce the right _results_ but it will not produce proper _fruit_. The fruit it does produce is that which shares your outward goals- for now.

When the ministry is centered around God's _decree_ it will be focused on _teaching_ and discipleship and will produce the proper fruit because it calls for _commitment to God and His commands_ rather than a specific _result_. It is a ministry that has enough _faith_ to leave the results up to God.

What we are talking about here is _sanctification_. The very fact that IFBx churches talk about "separation" to a much greater degree and almost to the exclusion of "sanctification" is a symptom of the utterly rampant pragmatism that has seeped in even to the point of affecting personal holiness.

Long-dress, shirt-and-tie, IFB high school graduates FLOP because they were raised in a pragmatic ministry that did not sufficiently equip them through teaching. Teaching and exposition are so often regarded as dead and dry but it is what the Bible explicitly says is required for the successful Christian! The issue isn't the standards or the Bible version it is the commitment to God's word and the expression of that commitment through teaching and discipleship, and trusting God for results.


Often people are attracted to pragmatic ministries who have been in smaller churches that don’t conduct frequent promotional outreaches. Where was their walk with God? Why wasn’t their Christianity complete without an endless stream of big days, cantatas, friend days, and conferences?

Why does “doing something for God” mean more buildings, more attendance, and more programs?

1 comment:

Luke said...

Good to see you back, David. Good thoughts; I could not agree more. Pragmatism by definition is antichrist. Christ was never driven by the "end" of things - his whole struggle in the garden was to let go of control. I think that is the meaning of the "cross" in our lives - to surrender to the will of God, even when it seems to be certain destruction. Maybe we will "die", but maybe that was the whole point of life anyway.