The man centered, or humanistic, teaching and philosophies we hear and see practiced in our modern churches have very little in common with what we see in the functions of the early church.
Actually, the man centered gospel we hear in many congregational meetings is a function within the kingdom of darkness because this gospel message does not exalt Jesus as Lord and King; it exalts man as the as the one who determines what is right and wrong or what he will do.
The Gospel which we have in the Bible is the gospel of the kingdom of God. It presents Jesus as King, as Lord, as maximum authority. Jesus is at the very center. The gospel of the kingdom is a Christ centered Gospel.
I have been involved in church for over 35 years and vast majority of the "alter calls" I have heard given from the modern day pulpits seem to be very humanistic, or man centered, in their content.
Remember when I referred to Charles Finney, the great evangelist of the past, who said. "The quality of the convert will be determined by the content of the message." It appears that for several centuries the central message of the Lordship of Jesus and His kingdom has been drastically watered down. We seem to be preaching and teaching a very sugar-coated, watered-down version of the New Testament message that turned the world upside down in the first 100 years after the birth of Jesus.WHAT IS HUMANISM -- OR BEING MAN CENTERED?
Isaiah 14:13-14 -- "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the starts of God, and I will siton the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascendabove the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
Then we read the account of Satan lying to Eve in
Genesis 3:5 & 6 -- "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Humanism is simply a prideful attitude of believing that I am equal with God concerning the choices in my life. I have the right to decide what is good and what is evil. This is the action, or attitude, that brings about spiritual death.
That I am the center of the universe and I am free to make any and all decisions as to what is right and wrong.
That I am the "boss" or king of my own life.
Humanism in the book of Revelation is represented by the number 666 being in the hand or our forehead. The number 666 represents the human in the fullness and completeness of who he is apart from God's life. If it is in my hand it represents that my actions are conformed to the kingdom of darkness and if it is in my forehead it says that my thinking and thoughts are controlled by the kingdom of darkness. It is not a literal number, but says that if your actions and thoughts do not allow God to be in charge you deny Him the right to be God in your life. That is SIN. That is a person ruled by the prince of darkness rather than the Lord Jesus.
This thinking is the essence of the kingdom of darkness!
The kingdom of God is also referred to as the kingdom of light.
When we become "born again" our eyes become open to this light and we can now see the kingdom of God.
As long as we are in the kingdom of darkness we are blinded to the truth and we simply believe the lie of Satan's deception about he two kingdoms.
LET'S SEE SOME EXAMPLES OF THIS MAN CENTERED GOSPEL.
THE BIG OFFER
The preacher says something like this, "Come to Jesus and "GET" healed, "GET" salvation, "GET" peace, "GET" prosperity, etc.
The error in this is that even though these benefits become ours within the kingdom of God, we are trying to get them without rejecting our involvement in the kingdom of darkness and bowing our knee to the Lord Jesus.
This message of "getting" is definitely man-centered.
We don't tell the King what to give us, we bow our knee and acknowledge Him as the Lord. When we do this we enter covenant with Him and become "born again". When this occurs we get all the benefits of the "great exchange" because of covenant and we become part of the family of God.
The Holy Spirit comes to live within us and we obtain the "LIFE" of God and become a new creation in Christ.
He is the initiator of this experience because He has drawn us out of the kingdom of darkness and accepted us as we are. We do not accept Him -- He accepts us.
Our meetings are man centered because everything done in the meeting is done for the welfare, comfort, and enjoyment of the congregation.
The pews or chairs are all set to point to the pulpit which points to man.
We set the air-conditioning or heat for the comfort of the people.
We sing songs like "Jesus belongs to me", "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine", "He walks with me and He talks with me", most of the songs we sing make Jesus our servant - not us being His servant.
When we pray what do we ask for?
Are we only concerned with receiving blessings for ourselves and our church?
Jesus said that we are to "Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33
Notice that if we put things in the right priority most of the things we normally ask for don't need to be asked for anymore.
He simply gives us the things we need. That is a radical concept.
The purpose for have a meeting of the Church is to learn more of Him and allow Him to express His life through us.
Why do we participate in evangelism, if we do at all?
Our normal motivation is man centered.
We want to reach out to the lost because if we don't they may die and go to hell.
We do this outreach for the sake of the lost person, not because we want to expand the kingdom of God and bring light into the darkness of the culture.
Again, our focus is on what is good for man, not on what is good for the kingdom of God.
OUR USE OF THE BIBLE ITSELF
In our man centered gospel we have a tendency to use the Bible as though it were Aladdin's magic lamp.
In other words, if I read the Bible and quote Scripture in a manor of positive confession, then those things will come to pass and become reality in my life.
Most people have the verses in the Bible underlined or highlighted that offer or promise something, but why don't we do that to all the verses that require us to do something for God and His kingdom?
Again, this practice is man centered because we are using the Bible to gain something for our purposes, not God's purposes.
THE MAN CENTERED GOSPEL IS PRESENTED AS OUR "ACCEPTANCE" OF JESUS
The preacher says something like this, "If you simply "accept" Jesus as your personal Savior your will get peace, joy, healing, prosperity, etc."
The error presented here is that YOU are the one in charge. This is a great example of the man centered gospel.
If all I have to do is "accept" someone telling me that if I say this little prayer asking god to forgive me and there is no change required in my lifestyle, then I would be a bloomin' idiot not to do that.
They tearfully say, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart knocking and pleading to come in and YOU have to "accept" Him.
In reality it is He who has accepted you and given you the opportunity to bow your knee to Him and give Him control of your life in exchange for the tremendous benefits of the covenant lifestyle.
The gospel becomes the irresistible deal.
We are told we can have Jesus be our Healer, our Deliverer, or our Savior without any requirement on our part.
Who would ever turn that down?
That's why our congregations are so full of people that really have never given their lives to Jesus.
They are deluded into thinking they are going to heaven, but they don't even know Jesus.
This is a man centered false hope that has been fed to the people.
WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHICH COMMANDMENTS IN THE BIBLE ARE COMPULSORY AND WHICH ARE OPTIONAL?
You see, this humanistic man-centered gospel has created a very strange thing --AN OPTIONAL COMMANDMENT!
You can do it if you want; or don't do it if you don't want to.
But that is not the gospel of the kingdom presented in the Bible -- it is a counterfeit gospel that breeds delusion and destruction.
Where do you stand on this issue?
Are the commands of Jesus optional?
If not, do you consider yourself one who is obedient to your Lord's commands? A sobering question isn't it?
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"Declaring the New Covenant and that the kingdom of God is at hand"
Rob Board Ministries
Christiansburg, Virginia 24073