Which brand of Christianity do I follow, man’s or God’s?
by David Leach
Which brand of Christianity do I follow, man’s or God’s?
1 Pet 1:15 But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct
In a book entitled “Revival Fires and Awakenings” Mathew Backholer describes thirty moves of the Holy Spirit that produced revivals or Awakenings (big revivals) in various parts of the world over the last 300 years. He quotes extensively from the writings of many of the highly esteemed leaders of those revivals as well as some of the most widely respected Bible Teachers of recent Church history.
A significant portion of these quotes, six of which are given below, relate to the contrast between the authentic on fire Christianity that always follows a revival and the lukewarm counterfeit Christianity that often precedes it. It is the sad opinion of Mr. Backholer, shared by some, that the Church today closely resembles that which preceded many of these great revivals and reflects the urgent need for a new and great re-awakening of those who profess to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Charles Finney: Mr. Backholer notes that before Charles Finney began his crusades, roughly over the period 1825-1835, Church membership in America stood at about 200,000 people. After Finney’s crusades, resulting in America’s second great awakening, Church membership stood at 3 million or close to half of the adult population of America. Concerning the results of one particular crusade in Rochester, New York in 1830 Mr. Backholer quotes from a book “Finding the reality of God” by Paris Reidhead :-
“Finney was in Rochester New York where a blue ribbon committee of outstanding citizens was appointed by Henry Ward Beecher to study the converts who, a decade earlier, had come to Christ under Finney’s preaching. It was found that 85% of those who had made professions of faith under Finney’s preaching were still faithfully living for Christ. (160 years later Reader’s Digest identified Rochester as the kindest city in America and its residents attributed this to Jesus Christ and the Finney crusade of 1830).
In contrast It is reported that only one half of one percent who make decisions for Christ in our evangelistic meetings today will be living as Christians two years from now.” “This is how far we have strayed from the word of God” (and preaching God’s whole counsel).
In this connection Mr. Backholer then quotes Charles Finney himself as saying: “Away with your milk and water preaching of the love of Christ that has no holiness or moral discrimination in it, away with your preaching of Christ not crucified for sin”.
Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Andrew Murray the highly regarded Bible Teacher, is quoted as having written: “It is comparatively easy to win people to a cross, but to a cross that leaves them un-crucified”.
Gal 5:24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Duncan Campbell the principal leader of the 1949 Revival on the Island of Lewis is quoted as saying: “Oh beware, beware of the cross that leaves you un-crucified; we sometimes say that in the natural world we “live to die”, but in the spiritual world we “die to live” that’s the answer, that’s the secret.”
Luke 9:23-24 Then He (Jesus) said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it”.
A W Tozer, Pastor and widely respected Bible Teacher from the Christian and Missionary Alliance group of Churches in the 20th century is quoted as saying “ It is my opinion that tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ and they have not been saved”. (The root meaning of the word “saved” is “to be made safe”, so to have “not been saved” means to have “not been made safe”. Made safe from what? In this present life this means to have been made safe – or saved - from all my enemies, namely, my own flesh, the world and the devil.
Such safety or salvation comes only as I believe that I am crucified with Christ, risen with Him and currently living in Him. And to be made safe with respect to eternity, and not, because of my enemies, to lose my heavenly election, comes by my dying now to myself and for my life to remain hidden with Christ in God. And so my calling and election can be made sure – 2 Pet 1:10).
Luke 1:71-75 That we should be saved from our enemies…that we…might serve Him (God) without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
Col 3:3-4 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Evan Roberts was the principal leader of the welsh revival. Mr. Backholer refers to him to give an example of how the un-crucified flesh of one believer can grieve the Holy Spirit and block revival coming to a congregation: “Evan Roberts was invited to speak at a very successful Congregational Chapel in Dowlais, South Wales a few months after the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival broke out. Within thirty minutes of his arrival he announced that someone in that service was blocking the way of revival by criticism of the revival and especially criticism of the revivalist.
He declared that unless the spirit was expunged he would be compelled to leave. He would not take part in mock worship where the Holy Spirit was grieved. He soon departed leaving the service to the opposition.” (Other revival historians frequently note that sweeping revival fires have often skipped whole churches because they were not in one accord and there was not unity of spirit in those churches).
Eph 4:29-30 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…
Steve Hill was the principal evangelist of the Pensacola Florida revival of 1995-2000 and of him Mr. Backholer says “He did not mince his words”. Mr. Backholer then gives the following summary of Steve Hills “Christ embracing and holiness preaching message”:-
“As Christians we are called to be holy, so let us get sin out of our lives and the rubbish out of our homes. Destroy all videos, CD’s, posters, magazines which are anti God in morals and principles (and stop) any swearing, cuss words or blasphemy. Don’t forget the rubbish you watch on television. Quit it now! Get the junk out of your house and lives, the lucky charms, articles of affection that you know God is not happy with, the cursed ornaments, the devil’s trinkets, any foreign gods, the fantasy novels, and the men’s girly magazines. Men get those earrings out, ladies dress modestly”.
“We're in the world but not of the world. We are called to be set apart and different, a holy people. Stop going to immoral places where Satan’s followers hang out (evangelize yes, socialize no). You’re dancing with the devil and two-timing Jesus. You are crucifying Him again. His blood was shed for you. Don’t be a God mocker. You mock Him with your lifestyle.
Either you live like a Christian or you had better change your name. Quit the smoking, the drugs, the sleeping around, pornography, lustful thoughts, masturbation, attention seeking, arrogance and prideful snobbish glances. Stop the judgmental thoughts, criticism, the back stabbing, the slander and the gossip. You are tearing the body of Christ apart. Stop loving your denomination more than Jesus and put Him first”.
“Stop following the Christianity of Christ and start following the Christ of Christianity. God wants you to become a disciple not merely a person with the nickname Christian. Religion is hanging around the cross, Christianity is getting on the cross! God wants total surrender in your life”.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. KJV
Rom 6:22 But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life. AMP
Heb 12:9-10 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He (God) disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. NKJV & AMP