A Man-Centered Gospel is an Abbreviated and Diminished Gospel That Then Adds
Entertainment and Attractional Elements

By Orrel Steinkamp
The Plumbline, Volume 21, No. 4, July/August 2017
Used by Permission

It is my privilege to share with you an article by a long time friend, Bill Randles. Pastor Bill Randles has been pastor of a church in Marion Iowa called "Believers in Grace Fellowship" for well over 20 years. Bill was a great help to me as a pastor 20 years ago on how to identify false teaching which was already becoming prevalent in the churches. I spent a weekend in his church along with two other pastors. Bill shared with me how he was the son of a famous leader of a German old time polka band in New Ulm, MN. After Bill was converted, he soon was overtaken by the Word-Faith cult. He told of his escape from Word-Faith teaching. In my case, my church was invaded by proponents of end-time restored apostles and prophets which today is called the New Apostolic Reformation. Shortly after meeting Bill, I sent out my first Plumbline newsletter 21 years ago. The article that I am sharing with you below by Bill is entitled "God vs. Man-Centered Spirituality." What was true twenty years ago is now multiplied many times over.

For me to include a short introduction of current false teachings that are current today would take too many pages. What was only embryonic 20 years ago is now nearly mainline. Since those early years, we have seen a parade of false teachings represented to some degree in many evangelical churches. We had ECT "Evangelicals and Catholics Together." (example, Kenneth Copeland responded to Pope Francis and agreed publicly that the Reformation is now over) Many many other evangelicals began borrowing from Catholic medieval monastic mystical prayer forms (nicknamed "spiritual formation"). This has exploded in recent years. Nearly all evangelical colleges now teach this including my original denomination, CMA. I must stop here, but there are currently many more examples. A common feature of all these incursions is to reduce the gospel of all the features that might repel sinners. Rather, now evangelical ingenuity is being exerted to attract and entertain without exposing people to biblical teaching that might be controversial. This is the modis operendi of evangelical mega churches. Andy Stanley, the son of Charles Stanley, is a case in point. Stanley Jr. is founder of North Point mega church which includes six linked campus ministries in Atlanta comprising more than 30,000 worshipers each week made up of mostly millenials. Stanley's attempt to attract and hold young people is deeply influenced by postmodernism. Stanley has decided to publicly tell his listeners, who are hung up with the miracles in the OT (like the flood, etc. and Jesus' virgin birth and other miracles in the NT), that these biblical miracles potentially are not true and only optional. Regarding Jesus' virgin birth, he suggests that this could have been a convenient myth. Stanley's only remaining card in his gospel deck is the resurrection of Jesus. Stanley stated: "Christianity does not hinge on the truth or even stories about the birth of Jesus, it really hinges on the resurrection of Jesus." (source not given) This seems like a replay of the mainline church capitulation to a Christianity without any miracles. This is not simply a paring away a little here and a little there. This is more like decapitating the gospel. If Jesus was not "from heaven" as he claimed again and again in John's gospel, His sinless perfect atonement for sin is simply a joke pulled off by any old Palestinian messiah wannabe. Stanley, as an accredited Southern Baptist minister, asserts privately that he personally believes the scriptures are entirely true. Supposedly, these public questionings of the miracles is only a methodology to reach the millenials. But what happens when the millenials learn he is only coning them? This also helps him retain his Baptist ministerial credentials. Stanley began this with questioning the OT flood stories, etc. But for now, his methodology has demanded that he preach that the virgin birth of Jesus is a myth. But where can Stanley stop? He may not know it yet, but he cannot stop and he will believe his own preaching.

Linked to this, is the paring away of other biblical teaching that might cause unbelievers to reject the gospel. For instance, I have never heard the term "wrath of God" even mentioned for ten years in a local church even though it is mentioned at least ten times in the Gospel laden teaching of salvation by Paul in Romans. The assumption is that, after all, salvation is ultimately in the sinners own hands, and that nothing must be done to provoke resistance. Apparently, conversion is purely a mans decision and man can just do it on his own. It is man-centered to the max. Usually the appeal is to raise a hand or stand up. You are invited to a new relationship with Jesus. The gospel is like a product that everybody in their right mind would surely want if attractively presented. You just have to make the sale and get a quick reaction.

Biblically conversion is not man-centered. (see the article by Bill Randles below) Spiritual rebirth is not initiated by an unbeliever. That is work of the Holy Spirit. The task of the evangelist isn't to make a quick sale, but rather to present clearly the gospel and expect the Holy Spirit to cause a spiritual rebirth within an unbeliever. The biblical doctrine of regeneration is at stake here.

God vs. Man-Centered Spirituality by Pastor Bill Randles

4 Truth Ministry Addendum: Listen to Andy Stanley regarding the birth of Jesus on Pulpit and Pen's website in this article Andy Stanley Says He Doesn't Care About the Birth of Christ by Brandon Hines

For more articles by Orrel Steinkamp, click here

Orrel Steinkamp
74425 County Road 21, Renville, MN 56284
Email: orrelsteinkamp@hotmail.com

Theological Studies
Contemporary Concerns
Deception in the Visible Church