Decision or Delightful Duty
Mega church pastor Steven Furtick says he's setting "strategic goals in the areas of attendance, salvation decisions, (and) baptisms.”. That's what Steven reports on another post in which he shares how God told him that "100 people would give their lives to Jesus" , and before he preached a sex sermon God told him that "50 people would be saved.
A staffer at one church talks about their goal of saving "hundreds" over the upcoming year.
Another church, on the verge of their upcoming iPod sermon series, says that the 200 people that recently got saved are just the tip of the iceberg this year. How do they know that? What if God decides to melt that iceberg?
At Granger Community Church, where church-goers were once asked to make salvation decisions by coming forward and signing a Davinci painting, 600 were said to have "decided to follow Christ" this time, but they don't mention anything about God's role in those salvations.
The Cool Church mission’s blog points out that 300 made decisions when "Pastor George spoke". Elsewhere, Pastor Greg talks about 1600 people who got saved in jail, and makes a special point of mentioning that "I led over 130 to the Lord myself".
A nursing home evangelist says that he resists boasting about 'decisions' but, you guessed it, he ends up doing it anyway. Not only that but, he lets you know that the decisions occurred "due to our ministry".
Another church says 50 kids decided to let "Jesus be the boss of their life" through their VBS.
Here's a pastor that says in ALL CAPS that 6 people made "REAL decisions.” But just saying they are REAL doesn't demonstrate that they really are
These wild statements, comments, and “promises” are not restricted to the fringe, or the Emerging Church, or to mega churches. You find this same kind of mentality right at home in our own evangelical/fundamental bible, community or Baptist churches. The average church today bases the eternal security of its membership on a decision that was made on a certain date.
The Apostle John wrote his first letter with a distinct purpose of providing “proof” or assurance of salvation in his readers. He never mentioned “decisions” or “dates” as the means of obtaining or maintain assurance. The whole body of his letter deals with the grounds of Christian assurance of salvation. He writes that the grounds of assurance are found in:
- Defining and Describing true fellowship with God through the Son
- Discerning the truth from error in various conflicts of our faith
- Demonstrating true God-like love for both God and the children of God
- Determining our son-ship, or true Christian faith by the witness of the Holy Spirit
John wrote some pretty deep and “heavy” things about these topics. He pulled no punches and minced no words. He was clear and direct as he spoke of the evidence of salvation. There was no “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” for John. Salvation was free and it was a gift. Salvation was received by faith. But true salvation was not guaranteed by a decision but by delightful duty as one worked out one’s salvation in works in fear and trembling.
How did we get here? Where did this hellish and demonic idea of decisional regeneration develop? Before we look at the evidences given by John for the assurance of salvation, let’s answer this question.
To be continued…