The Uncertain Sounds of Evangelicalism

Evangelical leaders today are so uncertain and tentative in their words and actions that it is difficult to know just where they stand on some of the most important issues of our day. Many of these leaders vary their messages to appeal to different audiences, often expressing positions and principles that are contradictory. When they write books or prepare tapes and videos, some of their message is so biblical and so well-presented that even true believers could respond with a hearty “Amen!” However, so many half-truths, perversions of truth, and outright errors are mixed with the precious truths of God’s Word that any believer with even a limited amount of spiritual discernment is left with serious questions and doubts—“What is this leader trying to say?” “What does he mean?” “Is he teaching new truths I need to learn, or is error being presented in a deceptive form?” Is it the believer’s scriptural responsibility to be reconciled to the enemies of Christ and the Bible, or must these enemies be properly identified, exposed, and removed from fellowship? Today, evangelical leaders and movements have become so popular and appear to enjoy such growth and success that it is difficult to speak words of reproof and rebuke, even though all of God’s leaders are commanded to do so (2 Tim. 4:1-5). We plead with all believers everywhere to realize that failure to declare and obey “all the counsel of God” can only lead to ultimate spiritual disaster for all concerned. 

In 1 Corinthians 14:8, God asks a question which implies only one answer: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” The only answer possible is “no one.” If those commissioned to be God’s trumpet blowers (which would certainly include every evangelical leader) give uncertain sounds on their trumpets, those who look to them for leadership and spiritual guidance will certainly be deceived and confused, making them easy prey for Satan and his angels of light (2 Cor. 11:1-15). A similar message to that which God gave to His people Israel in Isaiah 58:1 needs to be repeated to all believers today with even greater diligence: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Tragically, most evangelical leaders today are trumpeting uncertain sounds, giving mixed signals and leaving their followers in a state of spiritual confusion. Yet every Christian leader has the God-given responsibility not only to help bring the unsaved to Christ, but also to feed believers with the pure Word of God. At the same time, he is to protect them from the wolves in sheep’s clothing (false teachers) who have surreptitiously infiltrated the flock and from those who have risen from within the flock (disobedient brethren) to draw away disciples after themselves (Acts 20:17-32).

There are several reasons why most evangelical leaders produce uncertain sounds on their trumpets. Perhaps the first reason is because most people today want to hear words that please the flesh and not those that call for personal sacrifice. When absolute Truth is proclaimed with complete disregard for how that Truth may be received, Christian leaders—whether pastors, missionaries, teachers, writers or speakers—quickly discover that numbers decrease and contributions disappear. Many professing Christians today are looking for and willing to accept almost any form of worldliness as long as the word “Christian” is coupled with it. As a result, we have “Christian” entertainment, “Christian” psychology, and “Christian” rock music. The satanic premise “The end justifies the means,” has been “Christianized.” This phrase is now applied to unscriptural evangelism in both the message and methods. It is being used to produce massive movements that result in unscriptural worship, Bible study, prayer, and fasting; it is being used to destroy Scriptural walls which provide necessary spiritual protection for the children of God; it is being used to build bridges between truth and error, unscriptural bridges which facilitate the promotion and acceptance of doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1-3) and fail to protect against the insidious wiles of Satan (Eph. 6:10-18).

Despite the uncertain sounds of evangelicals that are so prevalent today, we are so thankful that God has His faithful leaders scattered around the globe—men comparable to Elijah in the Old Testament who stood alone in challenging the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the groves (1 Kings 18:17-46); men like the apostle Paul in the New Testament who, in a time of crisis, found himself standing alone, humanly speaking, but received deliverance from the Lord Who stood with him (2 Tim. 4:16-18). Through our radio and literature ministries, God is bringing us into precious contacts with other leaders of like precious faith, convictions, and desires. We are thankful that we can encourage each other in the continuing battle for the faith and in the proclamation of the one true Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. We are thankful for the growing number of correspondence from fellow-believers whose spiritual discernment has led them to separate from compromising churches even though such separations are extremely painful. We are thankful for the growing number of discerning believers who are withdrawing financial support from compromising groups and individuals and using their means to help those who will not bow the knee to Baal nor remain silent in these days of rapidly increasing apostasy and compromise. We are thankful for those faithful believers who are changing their wills and/or trusts so that what they leave behind when God calls them home may be used for His glory. We may not have much time left to serve the Lord acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Heb. 12:28), for our Blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, could return at any moment (1 Thess. 4:13-18). But as long as He leaves us here, we should put Him first in our hearts, minds, thoughts, and actions.

A wonderful future lies ahead for those who have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. The conflict now is great. The problems may seem insurmountable, and suffering may be intense, but let no believer become weary in well doing, for God has promised that we shall reap in due time (His time) if we faint not (Gal. 6:7-9). Let us continually look up! Our redemption draws nigh!

— Pastor M. H. Reynolds Jr. (1919-1997)