"Humanism" and "Love" Are Major Problems Among Baptists
"BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS..."
Bible Believers' Bulletin, August 1993
By Dr. Peter S. Ruckman
Local Baptist churches have a major problem which I have never seen discussed in print in the last fifty years. I have seen this problem, first hand, on a one-on-one basis, in at least twenty independent Baptist churches; I have encountered it on the foreign field; and I have also run into it, and had to deal with it, in at least one hundred other Baptist churches during revival meetings or Bible Conferences. I have read the most recent writings on Dear Preacher, Please Quit; How to Avoid Church Splits, etc., but, every time, the author skirts the basic problem. It is not a sex problem, a money problem, or a problem with "separation." This problem lies behind every church split I have ever been in, or connected with, or had to deal with: that would cover experiences in at least twenty other Baptist churches, besides the three that I pastored. Right now it is "raising Cain" on the mission field in the Philippines, Australia, Germany, South Africa, Russia, and, undoubtedly, exists on the mission fields of England, Ireland, Mexico, and South America.
The problem is a love problem: it has to do with "humanism."
The first and great commandment was NOT "by this shall all men know ye are my disciples, in that ye love one another." The first and great commandment was not "love is the fulfilling of the law." And the first and great commandment was not "that we should love one another as he gave us commandment." The first and great commandment didn't deal with men, any man's relationship to man, or anyone's relationship to his relatives, foes, friends, or "peers." The first and great commandment was to put God FIRST (Matt. 22:37). Once you make Romans 13:8 and John 3:23 (and 4:8) into substitutes for Matthew 22:37, you have taken half a step towards Karl Marx. If you proceed further, you will be a "do- gooder" who has substituted "good deeds to your fellow man" for worshipping God (Rev. 14:7, 19:10). I have not seen these matters discussed in one book published by The Sword of the Lord, Zondervan, Eerdmans, or Baker Book House, in the last fifty years.
Now, walk into a modern Christian bookstore--the average one, anywhere in any large city, or any Christian campus--and note the mass of literature that deals with "how to get along" with PEOPLE. The terms "coping" and "sharing" show up at such sickening intervals that you would think they had something to do with Christianity. Both words are NEA words that come from the news media and amateur psychologists. You "share" nothing with God (Rom. 11:35,36), and you are not to "cope" with God about anything (Rom. 8:28, 1 Cor. 2:14). Modern Fundamentalists (including the memberships of most independent Baptist churches) have been drawn off with the spirit of this age (1 John 2:17). Thousands of them (plus hundreds of thousands of Charismatic and Interdenominational schools) have been seduced into thinking (unconsciously) that "the Christian life" is loving people, coping with people, sharing with people, loving oneself ("accepting yourself for WHO you are," etc.), and becoming successful through understanding people. Fifty years ago, this came under the heading of Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, and Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking. Neither man knew enough about either Testament, or the God of either Testament, to teach a freshman class in New Testament Survey.
Only rich nations (Ezek. 16:49) that have a lot of time on their hands, can afford the luxury of psychologists and psychiatrists. Neither profession could earn a dime in New Guinea, Nicaragua, Haiti, or Somaliland. It is the WHITE man who goes "off his rocker" (Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the United States, etc.). Poor folks (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Chad) are too busy trying to stay alive to spend time practicing psychology on those they have to "cope" with. When you are "coping" with starvation, you won't be taking trips to the shrink to get your "neuroses" and "psychoses" bent back into shape. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."
It was RICH white men (Jung, Adler, Freud, Menninger, Klein, Kraeplin, Mesmer, Fleugl, Karen, Horney, Froom, and others) who set America and Europe up to replace Bible-believing ministers with Bible- rejecting psychiatrists. They were to take the place of "ministers." The "pulpit" was to become "the couch," and inquiry room was to be converted into the doctor's office, and the Bible was to be replaced with the literature of Functionalists, Structuralists, and Gestaltists (Freud, Jung, Angell, Pavlov, Watson, Wolfgang Kohler, Wertheimer, Lewin, Koffka, Angyal, and others). You say, "What does this have to do with local Baptist churches?" I'll show you.
The emphasis was turned from God, judgment, heaven, hell, and eternity, to getting members, increasing enrollment, family counseling, "faith-promise" offerings, "coping" with personal problems, "sharing" the gospel with others, adjusting oneself to one's mate, or one's "work crew," and teaching Christian "principles" to young people in a Christian "environment." Everything I listed was humanistic. It explains the dearth of BOOKS in any Christian bookstore about judgment, hell, heaven, and eternity. The "overkill" is on "How to avoid a divorce by letting your wife run the family." (P.S. And the ministry: adopt the feminine approach to preaching.)
The tremendous interest in abortion, pro-life, TV pornography, dress codes, etc., among the Christians--I am not saying these things shouldn't be dealt with--shows exactly what has happened to the average local Baptist church since 1964. Christians are living in the present (Col. 3:1-3). They are taken up with "the cares of this world" (Matt. 13:22). They are landlocked; earth-bound. They no longer live in eternity, where the Bible says they have been placed (Eph. 2:6, Col. 1:1-3). They have lost the vision.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Of course, the main instrument that brought this about, once the Liberals and Modernists had focused the eyes of professing Christians on the Second Commandment (the one Karl Marx swore by when he appropriated Acts 4:32 for a "proof text"), was TELEVISION. It completely secularized the professing Christians--over 10,000,000 of them--who were not saved, and then it partially secularized ninety percent of the Body of Christ that lived in America. The leading "militant Fundamentalist educators" in America are all Secular Humanists: they simply make a different profession than the Humanist Manifesto. In practice, they are concerned with dress codes (man), enrollment (man), income (man), maintaining their own authority (man), getting rid of anyone who opposes their ministries (man), taking "stands" for what YOU should believe (man), building buildings and buying land (man), and loving and honoring those who love and honor them (man, again).
Humanism: top to bottom, stem to core, inside and out, through and through.
Now this is what has gotten into the churches. Instead of being armed camps to send out combat patrols into enemy territory, to deal with the unsaved, they have become doctors' offices for "counselling," hospitals for patching up the wounded, and social clubs to "win friends and influence people." (I am speaking about Bible-believing, New Testament, Baptist churches.) In every church split I have ever seen, families and friends "got together" and then turned INWARD instead of outward (Acts 1:8). The thing that kills local congregations is LOVE. Once this "by this shall all men know..." and "speaking the truth in love..." and "forbearing one another" gets going, it always winds up in Christians loving those who love them and criticizing those that don't get along with them. It forms "cliques." I have never known it to fail: every time any woman in a church (or connected with a church) begins to holler about "lack of love" or "hate preaching," she is always a woman who is running her husband, and wants to run the church. I don't know of one exception in forty-four years. And I am talking about local, King James, Bible-believing, premillennial, Baptist churches. Every time, without fail, the biggest back-slapping, handshaking, smiling, associate pastor, choir director, deacon, trustee, or youth director begins to major in the internal affairs of the church, the congregation splits. It is the concern with the internal affairs of the local church that destroys the local church for its calling (Mark 16:15).
Overseas, it comes out worse, for here the Christians are a staggering minority, so they tend to "cluster," like rabbits in a burrow. Once clustered, they are face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball with each other's Adamic natures; then, the griping starts. What begins as "Thank God for Christian fellowship!" and "It's such a blessing to be with Christians!" and "We had such sweet Christian fellowship!" winds up with "I didn't say that!" "Who told you THAT?!" "Oh, he did, did he?" and "I don't know why he picked HIM!" etc. (Don't tell me; I'll tell you!) I have seen it in operation for over forty years. Once that tight, close, intimate, social relationship is obtained, all hell breaks loose. It breaks loose because God never intended Christians to spend their time that way. The man who wrote 2 Cor. 2:4; 8:7,8,24; 12:15; Gal. 5:13,14; Eph. 1:15; 4:2,16, and the "love" chapter (1 Cor. 13), did NOT spend the major part of his life "fellowshipping with the breathren," eating "dinner on the grounds," or standing at the front of the church shaking hands and complimenting people, to get them to come back to hear him preach. Paul was not a "kind, sweet, loving pastor" who made folks "feel good" by talking sweet talk to them. He was "obedient to the heavenly vision" (Acts 26:19), and that vision was not "go love the brethren," or "share" anything with anybody. If you don't know what it was, read Acts 26:16-18). That is the "vision" that no longer exists among American Baptists.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Our modern, local, Baptist churches are filled with Christians who desire three things before they desire to obey God, or love God, or worship God. 1) They want personal attention, all the time, as proof that someone loves them (humanism). 2) They want a good income and good health physically (humanism). 3) They want to be bragged about so they can "feel good about themselves" (humanism).
Outside the building, over 2,000,000,000 people are going to hell at a rate of one every two seconds. (Over 3,000 people of the world's population die every hour of the day, and certainly not one out of five could be saved.)
THAT is what destroys local Baptist churches: fellowship, friendship, charity, and "sharing," as a substitute for obeying the first and great commandment, and obeying the Pauline commission (Acts 26:16-19). The "tie that binds" is quite often Secular Humanism: "We like them," "I like her," "She doesn't like her," "They like us," "We don't like him any more," etc. THAT is what splits Baptist churches. When you see the stuffed auditoriums of well-dressed Christians (Sunday morning TV), sitting like frozen dummies before professional "copers" and "sharers," you are looking at a graveyard: there is no life there. You will evangelize or perish, you will win souls, or you will rot on your stumps, and 3,000 sermons on charity, pastoral care, and pastoral counselling will amount to nothing but ALIBIES for living like the devil, if you have forgotten God, heaven, hell, judgment, and eternity.
Our life is upstairs; NOT down in the basement (Col. 1:1-4).
[The whole modern trend (since 1933) has been to turn INWARD and get "friendly." It is NOT New Testament Christianity. (P.S. Let me know the first time you pick up any book, in any Christian bookstore, that deals with this matter!)]