Satan tries to redefine the term “radical”
The following excerpt is from Chapter 23 of Dr. Jack Hyles' excellent book, The Church...
A fundamental Baptist church is a church whose faith and practice goes back to 31 A.D. to Jesus. You can be a fundamental Methodist and go back to Wesley. You can be a fundamental Presbyterian and go back to Calvin or Zwingli. You can be a fundamental Lutheran and go back to Luther. You can be a fundamental Catholic and go back to Constantine, but you cannot be a real Bible fundamentalist unless you go back to Jesus.
Two things cause these movements to move away from the fundamentals:
1. Unwillingness to accept the stigma of either extreme. Either position has a stigma. If a man is a strict fundamentalist, the great host of society calls him a radical. Most people do not want to be considered fanatical.
The evangelicals came along and taught fundamentalists how not to be radical. The evangelical movement was not founded because of conviction. It was founded because the evangelical people were not willing to be branded for Jesus' sake. They did not want to bear the stigma.
The farther from fundamentalism the Devil can brand as radical, the better he likes it. He likes it when more liberal Christians are called fundamentalist because it moves the line of what a radical is considered to be. If you are not a fighting fundamentalist, you are an evangelical.
The neoorthodox movement is the same thing to liberalism as the Evangelical movement is to fundamentalism. It is a way to avoid being in the extreme of a movement.
In Washington, D.C. you will not find many old fashioned conservative Republicans. Nor will you find many staunch liberals. The same concept applies. Everyone wants to be moderate, so they will not be considered radical.
The evangelical movement is nothing more than fundamentalists who use liberal terms. The neoorthodox movement is nothing more than liberals who use fundamentalist terms. New evangelicals are those who meet somewhere in the middle.
2. A desire to gather a larger following. Many people make the mistake of believing that they will grow more by appealing to a wider scope of people. In reality, people are drawn to that which is distinct. Most people hold to extreme beliefs and are thrilled to find an institution that has not compromised those beliefs. That has been the secret of the success of the First Baptist Church of Hammond. We have done nothing to try to appeal to crowds other than proclaiming the uncompromised truth of the Word of God.
Many men who had great and growing ministries saw the opportunity to enlarge their outreach and changed their position more towards the middle. In most cases the ministries diminished.
Let me make a few observations...
1. The Devil wants to bring the term radical toward the center.
2. Let us thank God for every group that broke with their original group when it got liberal and went back to what it used to be.
3. Let us hold to our Baptist distinctives. They do matter. Baptism does matter. It is in the Great Commission. Soul winning does matter. It is in the Great Commission. The Lord's Supper does matter. It is one of the church ordinances. It does matter. The doctrine of the church does matter. Let us hold dear and treasure our Baptist distinctives while at the same time admiring those who are willing to take a stand in their denomination.
4. Let us not be ashamed of being considered radicals.
5. We had a stronger nation when each did its own work alone and the rest of us admired each other from a distance. I am a Baptist. I thank God that I am a Baptist. I thank God for my Baptist heritage. I thank God for Baptist distinctives. I thank God for the men who died for them. If they can be martyred for these Baptist distinctives, the least I can do is believe them.
Let us not be ashamed of being considered radicals for Jesus!
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