Website owner:  James Miller

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      EVANGELICALS                     11/77

   God has said that if we truly seek him we will find him.  I 
   believe that is true.  I think the key to finding true 
   spirituality is earnestness, sincerity and honesty (honesty 
   with ourselves and with God).  It is only when we read the 
   Bible in true honesty, earnestness and sincerity do we really 
   understand it.  I think the biggest problem that conservative 
   Baptists, and evangelicals in general, have is the one of 
   honesty.  They have a problem of self-delusion, self-deception.  
   They are forever reading the Bible but they simply are unable 
   to read it honestly.  The problem is all that dogma that they 
   have been indoctrinated with, the dogma on salvation, etc. that 
   stands in their way and prevents them.  Instead of reading it 
   honestly all their preconceived notions and dogma makes them 
   try to bend it and twist it to fit their own ideas.  This is 
   one way in which they are dishonest.  There are others, too.  
   They want to be zealous for God.  They work themselves into 
   great zealousness.  But how do they channel their zealousness?  
   In going to all the many church services --- morning worship, 
   Sunday School, evening service, prayer meeting, ladies 
   fellowship, etc..  In going "calling" on Thursday nights.  In 
   getting involved in the church, teaching Sunday School, taking 
   a job as an usher, etc..  In going out with groups to 
   "witness".  All these things and more.  But in all these things 
   they are deceiving themselves.  They are not being honest with 
   themselves or with God.  They are grossly duping themselves.  
   Why?  Because in doing all these things they are evading the 
   true point, the essential point.  They are not facing up to 
   what God really wants.  God wants spirituality.  And 
   spirituality just does not consist in these things.  
   Spirituality comes with first being honest with God, being 
   truly honest, sincere and earnest with him.  And when you are 
   truly honest with God you realize that what he is really 
   interested in is Goodness --- that Goodness is the first 
   calling of a Christian --- not activities.  He wants you to 
   look for your sin, ferret it out, and try to get rid of it.  He 
   wants you to focus your mind on changing yourself, trying to 
   improve yourself.  He wants you to at least try to obey him.  
   He wants you to take his commandments and injunctions 
   seriously.  He wants you to face yourself and to face him --- 
   he wants honesty --- an honest response on your part.  His main 
   concern is not a lot of deeds, actions and talk, his main 
   concern is "what you are".  He wants a better person, a good 
   person.  He wants you to channel your efforts into changing 
   yourself, not the rest of the world (at least not at first).  
   He wants you to focus on your own values, attitudes, priorities 
   and outlooks.  He wants you to look at yourself --- your own 
   heart.  The object is a "new you" first of all;  you can 
   convert the world second.  Spirituality comes first;  
   evangelization comes second.  

   So, because of the evangelical emphasis on "activity" rather 
   than on "spirituality" we see how it is possible for a person 
   to be so zealous and fervent, always doing a lot of religious 
   talking, boldly attempting to "win souls", involved in all 
   kinds of church activities, yet at the same time, be an 
   unhappy, angry, hate-filled person, confused and mixed up. On 
   the one hand we see all kinds of religious cant and pious talk 
   and on the other a person angry at the world, hostile, without 
   any warmth or love for others, a person putting the lie to 
   everything he says by everything he is.  He lives in a home 
   filled with argument, strife and turmoil and is forever 
   gossiping and speaking badly of other people.  It is all called 
   hypocrisy, that terrible sin that so often affects the 
   religious, the sin Jesus hated so much and condemned so 

   There are reasons evangelicals get caught up in this web of 

   1. They believe, by their doctrine, that on becoming converted, 
   immediately on accepting Christ as Savior (i.e. "being saved") 
   they are in some mystical way, suddenly transformed beings, 
   "new creatures in Christ Jesus".  Thus, because of this, they 
   tend to assume that they then have everything they need, all 
   the spirituality, wisdom and understanding that is to be had.  
   Thus there is no real impetus, no motivating force, to push 
   them to seek spirituality.  They are taught not to trust their 
   feelings, that feelings lie;  that if they don't feel like a 
   Christian, if they feel a dearth of faith or belief or 
   spirituality, if they "don't feel saved", not to worry about 
   it;  that feelings lie and are not to be trusted.  They are 
   taught that "being a Christian" is not based on feelings but on 
   "promise" (God's promise, as found in various scriptures, that 
   if they perform a certain action they are saved) --- all of 
   this, just more of the grossest self-deception and personal 

   2. They put up "evangelization" as the sole purpose of 
   Christianity, the one and only important responsibility of the 
   Christian.  He has one mission, purpose and responsibility --- 
   to "win souls".  Thus the attention given to spirituality, to 
   spiritual growth, to the need for spiritual understanding is 

   3. They argue that a person can't be good on his own power, but 
   only as God gives him power --- that Goodness is a fruit that 
   must come of itself. 

   And so we see that underneath a lot of religious talk and cant, 
   underneath religious zealousness, can be a lot of the most 
   grave self-deception, dishonesty and falseness.  And all this 
   shows why a person who never goes to church may be a lot more 
   serious about God, a lot more spiritual really, than the most 
   religiously zealous person.  And that is the reason why a very 
   religious person can have so many problems (emotional and 
   otherwise) and the person who never goes to church so few.  The 
   main thrust of Christianity is to follow God's holy law, follow 
   one's conscience, be good and do good, and a person who has 
   never opened a Bible or gone to church can do that just from 
   his own conscience and good sense --- and God honors him for 

   Do I think all evangelicals are hypocrites?  I think that due 
   to their particular religious doctrines and practices there are 
   very strong forces that tend to push them in this direction.  
   The evangelical's mind is blinded to that deep spiritual truth 
   that "Goodness is the first calling of a Christian" --- and 
   nothing else, not soul-winning, not anything, ranks with it.  
   To start out with, God wants one thing.  Goodness.  With 
   Goodness (Honesty, Morality, Love, etc.) we are all God wants 
   us to be, we will automatically "stand out" as a light to the 
   world, we will bring glory and honor to his holy name and 
   delight to his heart.  From the condemnations of Christ on 
   hypocrisy one might well wonder if the sin that God hates the 
   most is not Hypocrisy.  God is not a God of sham or falseness.  
   He is a God of honesty, goodness and truth.  Religion without 
   Goodness is sham and fakery.  Talk without substance is sham 
   and fakery --- detestable to God and a curse to Him and his 

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