The Dangers of the Gospel of Accommodation on Forgotten Word Ministries

                                             
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The Dangers of the Gospel of Accommodation

A sermon given by David Wilkerson at an Assemblies of God headquarters chapel service.

By David Wilkerson

I am not coming to you as a pastor but with a prophetic word. God so shook me recently with this message that I should bring it somewhere, sometime in Springfield. This morning the Lord, by His Spirit, spoke to my heart that this is the time. He has called me to be one of His watchmen, and I have wept over this and prayed that He will help me deliver the message in a spirit of love. This is not a chastisement but a warning for the Assemblies of God.

A New Gospel

 

Accommodate means to adapt, to make suitable and acceptable, to make convenient. A gospel of accommodation is creeping into the United States. It's an American cultural invention to appease the lifestyle of luxury and pleasure. Primarily a Caucasian, suburban gospel, it's also in our major cities and is sweeping the nation, influencing ministers of every denomination, and giving birth to megachurches with thousands who come to hear a nonconfronting message. It's an adaptable gospel that is spoon-fed through humorous skits, drama, and short, nonabrasive sermonettes on how to cope—called a seeker-friendly or sinner-friendly gospel.

To begin with, those terms are unscriptural. The gospel of Jesus Christ has always been confronting—there is no such thing as a friendly gospel but a friendly grace.

This new gospel is being propagated by bright, young, talented ministers. They have come upon a formula which states you can go into any town or city; and if you have the right formula, within a short time you can raise a megachurch.

If you are a young man and have certain skills, you find those skills and a part of the city that would best suit you. You move into that area, poll it, and find out what the nonchurchgoers want:

"You don't like choirs. Well, would you go to a church that didn't have a choir?" Yes.

"You don't like to wear suits. Would you go where it's informal?" Yes.

Then you go to your computer and design a gospel that will not confront but will shoot out the desires and the needs of the people. After you have gathered a handful of people, you keep interviewing them to find out what they want; then you design your message to help people cope with their needs. The program you design is intended to make the church comfortable and friendly for all sinners who wish to attend.

This gospel is fast becoming the most prosperous and flourishing of all religious movements. Thousands attend these churches. The pastor is the CEO, and it becomes a business. They make no bones about it: They are following Madison Avenue tactics and can make a success of it. Their formula for quick church growth is cleverly packaged and is being sold especially to young ministers—those who want to be a part of the big boys and what's happening on a fast track. They want it to happen quickly.

Paul's Warning

Paul warned of the coming of another gospel and another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4). He warned the church that it's really not another gospel but a perversion of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. If you hear any other gospel, he said, let that preacher be accursed. In other words, no matter how pleasant, how pious, or how sincere, if the message is not the death of sin through the cross of Jesus Christ, let it be accursed.

I tremble when I read in the Scriptures that in the last days Satan is going to come right into the church posing as an angel of light. He's going to take ministers who, at one time, had the touch of God, and he's going to transform them into angels of light to become his tool of deception. That's frightening. It causes me to fall on my face before God for such false, deceitful workers transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. No marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it's no great thing if ministers also are transformed as the ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works.

Paul said they are going to glory in the flesh, in their bigness, their numbers, their influence, and their contemporariness. They will boast they are contemporary, that there is a gospel that is out of style that doesn't reach human need anymore. They will glory in the world's acceptance. Jesus warned, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matthew 7:15). The context of that warning was: "Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it" (verse 14).

His warning was to beware of the wolves who are going to say it's really not that narrow and straight—they are going to come posing as submissive sheep. Jesus put His finger on the cause: ambition—ambitious ravening wolves. In the Greek it means "starved for recognition and quick gratification, quick growth."

Jesus left no doubt about His meaning. For example, He was addressing a struggling pastor who has worked for years and hasn't seen the kind of growth he wants to see. A young man with an accommodating gospel moves into town and and within a very short time has a megachurch. People are flocking there because there is entertainment; it's a gospel of fun. I've been in some of them. It's the gospel of entertainment that has no conviction whatsoever. There is very little in their gospel that speaks to sinners of repentance, brokenness, and cross-bearing. A Christ is preached, Jesus' name is mentioned, but Paul said their's is another gospel, another Jesus.

Paul warned that if you are caught in this trap, if you want that hook of entertainment, that hook of sudden growth, this is the hook: The enemy will put in your path a teaching.

I have two preacher sons. One of them confessed to me, "Dad, I was that close to being sucked in because I fasted and prayed and didn't see the growth I wanted to see, and I saw these others grow. That hook was there, and I almost bought it."

That is something this Movement and every movement is going to have to look at and deal with: It is possible, through unholy ambition, to be transformed from a man of God, who has been seeking God and getting a word from heaven, to an unholy ambition and a tool of Satan. Let every pastor heed this warning: The moment you begin to consider the "competition," seeds of accommodation will be planted in your heart. Suddenly, Satan will put in your path a wolf in sheep's clothing—a man who will try to seduce you into ungodly ambition and achieving church growth at any cost. Yet the truth is, it could cost you your soul.

The Right Formula

If you find the right formula, according to the accommodation gospel, you can succeed in any field of endeavor.

An editorial in the New York Times (March 1, 1998) was entitled, How To Manufacture a Best-Seller. It told the story of John Baldwin, a 53-year-old carpenter and a would-be writer, who had struggled for years to make a living from writing. He determined to become famous and rich overnight by writing a best-selling medical thriller. He studied five or six best thrillers. After 7 years' research he found 10 steps to producing a best-selling medical novel. He honed it with some Hollywood writers and agents, and here is the 10-step formula he used:

  1. The hero is an expert.
  2. The villain is an expert.
  3. You must watch all the villain's activities over his shoulder.
  4. The hero has a team of experts behind him, working in various fields.
  5. Two or more on the team must fall in love.
  6. Two or more on the team must die.
  7. The villain must turn his attention from his initial goal to the team.
  8. The villain and the hero must live to do battle again in the sequel.
  9. All deaths must proceed from the individual to the group.
  10. If the story bogs down, just kill somebody.

John Baldwin had the formula but no story, so he read of research by John Marr who was studying the epidemiological causes of the 10 plagues, hoping to explain their causes scientifically. The two men formed a partnership, and using Baldwin's 10-step formula, together wrote a 640 page manuscript called The Eleventh Plague. Harper Collins bought it for almost $2 million.

Baldwin, who has no passion for writing, said, "If I get the formula, I'm going to be a multimillionaire and famous." Well, he's going to make another $3 million on the movie rights, and he's laughing all the way to the bank. His philosophy: "If you have the right formula, you can be a success at anything."

You see, this is the gospel of accommodation—the formula. You get the formula, you get what people want, and you can be a success. I am here to tell you that a formula-based, accommodating gospel is contrary to everything in the Scriptures.  (click for remainder of the article) at http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/199901/078_accommodation.cfm

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2000-2018

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