Protestant Failure - Part 1

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, Isaiah 8:20, 2 Timothy 4:2
Protestantism in America seems to be failing in the United States. Why is that? The Bible gives us a clear reason why religion fails. This broadcast looks at Bible statements about truth and modern teachers who are skeptical about
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A Gallop poll on religion in America reveals that there has been a 12 percent drop in the last 35 years in the number of Protestant Christians in the United States. During the same period there was an 8 percent increase in the number of Catholics. Although 72 percent claimed to be Protestants among those polled, only 39 percent said they attended church on a typical Sunday. An even lesser percent admitted to believing that the Bible should be taken as literally inspired and true, 37 percent.

Paul Harvey gave his appraisal of the religion scene in these words: "You combine all the money that we spent on religion, education, medicine and automobiles; all the money we give to gamblers is more than those put together. Ours is the most civilized, the most Christianized nation on earth, yet 37 million of our own children receive absolutely no religious instruction. So what I'm presenting is that we have more preachers in the United States, but we're paying less attention to them than in any time in the nation's history. The devil's disciples, obviously, are better salesmen. Our clergy are not being persecuted, just being ignored." And that is the end of Mr. Harvey's statement.

Yes, my friends, Protestantism is failing. Sometime ago I picked up a Reader's Digest and noticed this article, "Can Protestantism Be Saved?" by Norman Vincent Peale. And he said this in the article, "Protestantism today is losing ground, not so much in numbers as in spiritual effectiveness." Then he quotes from the Church Herald by Dr. Gerald Hearsma, "Protestantism has now lost its faith; not all protestants to be sure, but so many of them that the gasoline in the tank is half water. You can't run a car that way and you can't run a church that way either." Well, friends, let's turn to the Word of God now and find the platform of historic Protestantism in Isaiah 8:20. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Now, there it is, friends. This is the platform of Protestantism, the Bible and the Bible only; the law of God and the writings of all the prophets. This is the platform for Protestantism. Now the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:1,2, "And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." So Jesus and His teachings, His life and His death, His resurrection and mediation, His coming again, why this is the gospel and it should be the very heart of Protestantism today.

You know it was back in the early days of the Protestant reformation that princes of Germany at the Diet of Spires in 1529, and by the way, that is where the term "protestant" was first given, laid down the platform for Protestantism and here it is, and I'm quoting from these princes of Germany: "There is no sure doctrine but such as is conformable to the Word of God. The Lord forbids the teaching of any other doctrine. The Holy Scriptures ought to be explained by no other or clearer text. This Holy Book is in all things necessary for the Christian; east of understanding and calculated to scatter the darkness, we are resolved by the grace of God to maintain the pure and exclusive preaching of His only Word such as contained in the Biblical books in the Old and the New Testament without adding anything thereto that may seem contrary to it. This Word is the only truth. It is the sure word of all doctrine and of all life and can never fail or deceive us." So that was the platform, my friends, which was laid down far back there in 1529. The term "protestant" came actually from the word "protesting." They were protesting against anything unscriptural. Now we find today, four hundred years later, that Protestantism has almost ceased to protest altogether and rather, it is going rapidly right back to the very same beliefs and teachings and practices from which she marched away four hundred years ago.

Now let's turn to three very important texts from the Word of God. First, 2 Timothy 4:2. Now the apostle Paul here, through inspiration, was looking right down to our own day and describing it as follows in his letter to Timothy. He said, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." Now, notice, Paul said this would be in the last days. Men would turn away from the truths in God's Word, heaping to themselves teachers having itching ears, who would preach smooth things and not preach the clear plain Word of God. Dr. Peale in his article in the Digest says further, "We have departed from some fundamental doctrines of Protestantism and have grown weaker in the process." Now I don't know just what doctrines Dr. Peale might have had in mind but I know of many doctrines, clear, plain teachings of the Word of God, that have been laid aside and are no longer taught as the Bible teaches them.

Some time ago, Professor Betz from the University of Chicago made a survey of modern Protestantism and he came up with these statistics, these facts. He said, "Nine out of ten ministers disbelieve the second coming of Christ as the Bible teaches it." Now let me share another statement or two with you. I note this one by G. Bromley Oxnum, who was then serving as a Bishop in the Methodist church. He said, concerning the second coming of Jesus: "He is here and He is to come is a contradiction in terms. I believe He is here in all His power now. It's a terrible thing to admit, but I don't understand what they are talking about." Now Bishop Oxnum was discussing the Evanston, Illinois, meeting a few years ago by the Council of Churches on the second coming of Christ. And he said, "I just don't understand what they're talking about because I think Christ is here now." He didn't know anything about a grand, glorious second coming of Jesus in the clouds of heaven, such as the Bible describes. Listen, in the Bible there are three hundred and thirty-one texts in the New Testament alone dealing with this wonderful subject. In contrast to the second advent, baptism is mentioned nine times and most all Christians believe in baptism. What do they do with these three hundred and thirty-one other texts concerning the second coming of Jesus?

And Dr. Ferry, American Baptist convention professor at Andover Newton Seminary, in his book, The sun and the Umbrella, lists the number of umbrellas which he claims blocks out the light of truth. One of those umbrellas, he says, is the Bible, and here is his statement. He said, "The use of the Bible as final authority for christian truth is idolatry." Now, this man says we shouldn't go to the Bible for final source of christian truth and he lists other umbrellas that veil the light of truth. He says one of them is Christ, Himself. He says, "The second coming of Jesus Christ is the darkest of all umbrellas. It seems doubtful that Jesus ever taught such a doctrine." Now, you will find that on page 33 of his book, The Sun and the Umbrella. Isn't that ridiculous, friends?

And then Dr. James Ebbit of the Mt. Ellison University, in his book entitled, The Life, the Question and the Answer, says, "It can only be worldly and literal-minded souls that can scan the skies looking for a physical second coming." Well, I want to be among that little group, friends. The Bible says that Jesus is coming again and He's coming in the clouds of glory unto them that look for Him and without sin unto salvation shall He appear and every eye shall see Him.

Bishop Gerald H. Kennedy who was the chairman of the committee on arrangements for Billy Graham's campaign in Los Angeles said, "Stripped of their sophisticated theological jargon, they appear to be talking about the second coming, with few notable exceptions, as if it were a crucial issue facing Christiandom." Then he makes this statement. "With the exception of a few narrow sects, this has not been a relevant issue in Christianity for twenty-five years." Well, friends, it is a relevant issue in Christianity, for Jesus Christ is coming back again just exactly like He promised. No wonder then that Protestantism, ceasing to protest against things unscriptural, has settled down to a modernistic socialistic gospel, trying to make this world a little better in which to live and die in, rather than to prepare for the coming of Jesus and the world that is going to be made over again when He comes to restore all things. Professor Betz goes on to say, "Nine out of ten discount the virgin birth. Eight out of ten disbelieve in a literal devil. Eight out of ten deny the day of judgment." And yet, my friends, the Bible says that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. There is a day of judgment coming whether we believe it or not. Yes, fundamental Bible doctrines have been laid aside and in their place have been put the ideas of men.

Dr. Nels Ferry made this statement in his book: "When a person dies, though completely forgiven, he may still have some untold consequences for which he must help to pay. Purgatory stands for this truth of reconstruction of consequences after death in whatever proper medium God may have prepared. Hell is for the bad. Purgatory is for the repentant. Hell leads away from heaven. Purgatory is a necessary corridor to heaven." Now believe it or not, my friends, that statement was made by a Baptist professor. But I tell you, that the Bible knows nothing about purgatory. There is no such place in the Bible at all. The rewards of eternal life and eternal destruction both are received when Jesus comes back again to this earth. Eternal life is given when they are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, to ever be with the Lord. And eternal destruction comes when fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them and that takes place right here on the face of this earth. In Revelation 20, in fact, you will read all about that. Thus, we find these people, these teachers, heaping to themselves teachers with itching ears, turning away their ears from the truth, and it says, they will be turned to fables.

Now listen, friends, what is the Bible definition of truth anyway? John 17:17 says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Now there it is, friends. Jesus is the truth also. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He was the truth, lived out in the human life, so that you and I could see. Well, please don't misunderstand me, now, Jesus was not only human, He was also the great mystery of Godliness, but when He came here in a human body, He lived among men a perfect life in order to show us the living embodiment of how we should also conduct our lives and how we should prepare for His glorious second coming.

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