Logos Resource Pages
Gateway to all our WebPages

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
. . .  Acts 4:12  . . .

Chaos in the Church: The Waves of Evangelicalism

Pastor Richard Rogers

Links to Topics:



We are going to address some of the highlights of evangelicalism. This topic is worthy of an entire college or seminary year, if not a major for a degree! It is crucial to stay on top of the issues involved, as the philosophy has taken American Christianity by storm. It has provided the basis for so many contemporary philosophies; the mega-church movement, church marketing movement, the replacement of doctrinal centered theology with feeling oriented psychology, from the singing of contemplative hymns to celebrative contemporary choruses. And it has impacted fundamentalism! We are going to start with a very brief history of the evangelical purpose; then move into the purposes of the church and see how the evangelical philosophies have impacted the church. You also need to understand that the conclusions I have reached have been the result of research AND observation! Some of this information I have documented, some I have obtained through conversations and observation.


  • Change in Direction: Evangelical is a reaction against fundamentalism! You need to understand that basic foundation. This is not a group that was established from nothing, but itcame from within!
  • Change in Separation: The traditional fundamentalist view was to separate from liberalism. However, the evangelical became very optimistic about reaching the liberal. Toleration and acceptance became the keys to fellowship. (Are we to separate from those who knowingly and willingly deny truth? Rom. 16:17; Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Thes. 3:6)
  • Change in Foundation: Evangelical holds a softer and less precise view of Bible doctrine, stressing the importance of love over truth. In short, one can love everybody without the common ground of Scripture; what is most important is to love one another. (We are to love one another; but what is true love? Phil. 1:9. Love is activated by knowledge and discernment - truth!)
  • Change in Methodology: Evangelicalism utilizes the world’s means to attract the saved and unsaved alike. This consists, among other things, of music, plays, pep-talks, festivals, ... instead of prayer, dependence on the Holy Spirit and dedication to the Christian life. They would also stress the need to work with non-evangelical in evangelistic efforts and social endeavors.
  • Change of Standards: The Christian life is no longer emphasized by standards of holiness based on the absolutes of Scripture, but centers more on experiencing God," similar to the early church mystics and, in reality, the Pentecostal Movement. This consummates in relativism, which is why many churches are changing traditional, accepted standards, e.g. removing any restriction for drinking alcohol, allowing worldly music, no dress standards, carnal types of entertainment, ... "It may be sin to you, but it isn’t to me."
  • Change of Authority: Evangelical has embraced many of the views of the secular science community. Theistic evolution is now the accepted norm in many colleges and seminaries. A major shift that has been seen in churches is the use of psychology, utilized as a so-called science (which it is not!) In reality, when man’s discoveries have taken precedence over Scripture, man has become the measure, which is the true root of humanism, which is anthropocentric.
  • Change in Reputation: Whereas the fundamentalist is seen as old-fashioned and anti-intellectual, the evangelical is enchanted with scholarship and intellectual respectability. For example, they feel as if they, through their rational approach to apologetics, can bring others - even educated liberals and atheists - to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through their understanding of the world, cults, evidences for the faith, ... Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:17-31; Col. 2:8.
  • Change in Emphasis: Social endeavors have an equal status with evangelism, if not greater. The necessity of meeting man’s physical, material and emotional needs have superseded the spiritual need. The fundamental emphasis for social work centers on the gospel and building the church; the social is merely coincidental, the spiritual is primary.


This gives you a brief background of the changes evangelicalism has brought. We are going to change direction now and move on to the ministry of the local church, and see how these factors impact ministry. Biblically, the church has three main responsibilities - worship, discipleship and evangelism. Of course, these have many sub-points which can be developed much further.


Explanation: We will address worship in the context of the local church service, and narrow it to a specific activity. When we speak of a "Worship Service," we need to reflect on what worship includes. Surely praying, reading the Scriptures, preaching and teaching of Scripture and the offering are all acts of worship. However, few activities render themselves as naturally to worship as music does.

True Worship in Music

The word, proskuneo, means to kneel before One in reverence. It shows how the worshipper esteems and values the One worshipped, illus in Rev. 4:8-11.

John 4:21-24 shows that worship is based from the spirit within and in truth! There may well be an emotional element in our singing (based on "spirit" that is within us which relates to God. Our singing should be joyful and out of adoration, which are emotional responses to God’s greatness. We are not advocating a lifeless, droning monotone as worship, Psalm 95:1-3). However, we must base worship on truth, which must be the foundational to our feelings. The two are comrades; what we know about God should create an attitude of worship within us. Through worship, we correspond with the spiritual aspect of our being with truth!

There are New Testament Principles for Music

  • It glorifies God but minimizes man, 1 Cor. 10:31, John 3:30.
  • It is instructional, not merely emotional, Eph. 5:18-20, Col. 3:16, 1 Tim. 3:16.
  • It conforms to righteousness, not carnality, Rom. 12:2, Col. 2:8.

Trendy Worship in Music

Contemplation (traditional, doctrine hymns) has been replaced by celebration (feeling centered choruses).

The focus is no longer on the Lord and doctrinal truth, but upon man and his feelings.

The accepted, traditional music which uplifted the spirit and mind towards God has been replaced by rock, country and rap beats which feed the flesh.

Pianos and organs have been replaced by electric guitars, bass guitars, drums and synthesizers.

In short, worship has become entertainment.


(Quote from The Young Evangelicals, p. 132.) At this early date, with this goal, we see some roots of the evangelical philosophy of music. Does it seem to hold true through the last 23 years?! In some churches, you cannot tell if the music is from Christians or the Rolling Stones! Yet this is how the evangelicals say they "worship God" - with music that is feeling centered, doctrinally empty, rock & roll driven, performance oriented noise, often accompanied by "worship leaders" - sounds like entertainment, not worship! Incidentally, this "feeling oriented" mentality fits in very well with the current evangelical trend of Christian psychology and self-esteem. Feelings are the most important area of our lives - right?


Explanation: Within the realm of ministry, the local church has varied responsibilities to each believer, involving a process we’ll call discipleship. The church, through discipleship, has a ministry for believers, and is often defined in a statement of purpose. For example, the purposes of a church may include a group of believers gathered together for worship, fellowship, evangelism, instruction, ministry, discipline, organization and observing the ordinances. These responsibilities are fulfilled in various ways and with various philosophies. In this point, I want to address one particular area that effects the underlying foundation of all church ministry; the ministry of instruction. Instruction in Bible doctrine is the foundation of everything the church does and in everything it teaches. In the evangelical trend, doctrine is under a vicious attack.

The Status of Theology in Evangelicalism

Explanation: I will be quoting several sources in this section to give an accurate picture of what conservative Evangelical are saying! Some evangelical have a credible view of Theology. For example, Carl F. H. Henry and Kenneth Kantzer produced three "marks" of evangelical authenticity: "1) belief in the gospel as set forth in Scripture. 2) commitment to the basic doctrines of the Bible as set forth in the Apostle’s Creed and other historic confessions, and 3) an acknowledgment of the Bible as the authoritative and final source of all doctrines." However, there are requests to abandon the terms throughout evangelicalism. Theologically, this has resulted in:

  • A change in God’s Justice: "Gone are substitutionary atonement and forensic (judicial) understandings of justification. God’s wrath, newly defined, ‘never means sending people to an eternal hell.’ The church is not the assembly of the redeemed but a fellowship poised to declare all sins forgiven." Explanation: Evangelicalism stresses a gospel, but what kind of gospel? If hell is not an eternal place of torment, what are you saving the lost from, and to what? What grants them permission to say that the words of Mt. 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-50; Rev. 20:11-15 are figurative, and not literal? Some now argue that hell will consummate either in annihilationism for the unsaved, or that ultimately all will be saved, after a type of Protestant purgatory. Of course, the fact of universalism is clear; are we here to declare that everybody’s sins are forgiven? Where is that in Scripture?
  • A Change in God’s Person: God has been redefined by a "creative love Theism." It "would include a new understanding of God as open and relational, and an affirmation of ‘a wideness of God’s mercy,’ which denies the Reformed doctrine of election, and a reconceptualization of God as ‘a mutual and interrelating Trinity, not as an all-determining and manipulative transcendent ego" (Spirit). CEC p. 34. In short, God is some type of loving, warm-fuzzy nice guy who understands you, who is not sovereign and governing all that is in the world. In my opinion God has become a supra-cosmic Santa Claus with this kind of Theology!
  • A Change in God’s Redemptive plan: If God is only a loving God, and freely forgives all men automatically, and if there is no eternal condemnation for the sinner, there is no need of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Cross, the Resurrection, ... thus there is no need for redemption, justification, propitiation, sanctification, or any other aspects that are essential to saving faith.
  • A Change in Biblical Thought: The evangelical is engulfed in what is called the "hermeneutics of suspicion." "The reader decides what is and is not true and authoritative in the biblical text by judging whether a text corresponds with what is taken to be the central thrust of the entire biblical narrative." (CEC, p. 38). This has similarities of the old Neo-Orthodoxy view of Karl Barth, which stated that the Scriptures "became the Word of God" when they spoke to you personally. This is called existentialism, and it basically describes an encounter between God and man. Thus, man stands in the judgment of God’s Word to determine whether or not the Bible is the Word of God based upon your subjective experience. Thus, evangelical is changing the meaning of inspiration, inerrancy, authority, based upon what you believe the text is teaching.

Explanation: Traditionally, the true church held to a view known as sola Scriptura, meaning that Scripture alone was the Word of God that was inerrant, infallible, inspired and authoritative. If God said it, it was believed, trusted, preached and defended - the way that fundamental Baptists must strive to accomplish today! But attacks often come from within, which the Bible warns about e.g. 2 Peter 2. Martin Luther believed that the devil always attacked externally through unbelievers and scoffers and internally through false teachers! These false teachers "tear (the Bible) to pieces, scourge and crucify it, and subject it to all manner of torture until they stretch it sufficiently to apply to their heresy, meaning and whim." Another side to this needs to be mentioned. In saying this, please don’t misunderstand what I mean. The knowledge of Biblical languages is very important, and we need to be developing our grasp of Greek and Hebrew. However, some have done this to such a degree that they have lost the meaning of the text due to their (over) exegesis! They talk smart and credible, but often miss the point of the passage, e.g. 1 Tim. 2:9f. A relative view of the Bible and thus Theology has replaced the absolute authority and objectivity of it. The results of this have been very devastating to the church!

The Shift of Ideology in Evangelicalism

  • Experiential relationship with God. As we’ll see, a greater emphasis on "feelings" and very little on doctrinal truth. Scripture does not determine truth, but feelings can. It becomes a form of "evangelical mysticism." Many current works in Christian bookstores stress this and teach you how to make it "work."
  • Feelings are preeminent to thought. It is more important to feel good than think well. This is clearly evident by the multitude of self-help and self-esteem books seen in Christian bookstores. Of course, this is where the therapeutic psychology supersedes biblical preaching in pulpits. Challenge: I would challenge you to go and visit a Christian bookstore (not on a Bible college campus!) and see how many self-help and self-esteem books you can find. Then, go and see the number of theological works you can find. Finally, go and count how many books you can find by earlier Christian leaders (Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, ...) What do you think will be in 1st place? 2nd? 3rd? As fundamental, Bible believing Christians, we need to govern our feelings by our thoughts, not our thoughts by our feelings! We must return to the discipline of developing the mind through Scripture, Ps. 119.
  • Relativism in conduct. There is a demarcation from biblical separation. The question is no longer "Is this right, and can I do this based upon Scripture?" but is instead "Is it right for me to do this?" I have heard evangelical say "Nothing is sin in and of itself." Think about that statement! With it, anything can be justified! Which is why churches have become entertainment centers; instead of using prayer, preaching and dependence on the Lord to build a godly church, secular entertainment methods are being used to build worldly churches. How can this be? Nothing is wrong! You can tolerate about everything, anyone, ...
  • Change of ethical belief. Many in evangelical have changed their views on cultural norms on such issues of abortion, homosexuality, feminism, euthanasia, ...
  • Theological illiteracy. Churches are full of people who know nothing of doctrinal truth, how to apply Scripture to life situations, and are carried about with every wind of doctrine. Church attendance is not for learning Scriptural truth, but to get their weekly emotional charge from the pastor. They are established for great spiritual defeat!


These are a few meager examples which have effected evangelical. One can determine, however, the consummation of evangelical thought. A pastor cannot preach the Word of God and take any doctrinal stand because, in a mixed congregation, he cannot offend anybody. So he preaches shallow messages on the Christian life, self-esteem and how to deal with your problems. Since that will not create hunger for people to attend, entertainment must be used to draw and keep the people in. Thus celebrative music replaces contemplative hymns, drama presentations and musicals replace biblical preaching, and the church is marketed - man’s way, not God’s way! However, through it, one builds a crowd, but not a church; one can collect much money, but not teach the importance of sacrificial giving as an act of worship; one can make a name for oneself, but not a Name for the Lord!


Explanation: We know the importance of world evangelism, cf. Matt. 28:18ff; Acts 1:8. However, it is to be accomplished by prayer, truth, purity, and dependence on the Holy Spirit. As we have seen, this is not necessarily so! In summary, evangelical has misdefined what the Gospel is (not clear on it’s content), has misdirected the results of it (easy believism, after salvation, go back to false church...), has misguided the proclamation of it (ecumenicalism and compromise of Biblical truth) and has rendered it inoperative (by marketing techniques and psychological endeavors, not by the Lord and His Word!).

Conclusion: Fundamentalism has made mistakes, and may continue to do so; that does not mean the movement is wrong - if it is based on Scripture! We need to be careful not to allow our faith to be a mechanical, non-emotional relationship, but a vibrant, active and joyful faith - based on truth. For those who are trying to re-claim evangelicalism back to the truth, they have not yet realized they are fighting the same battle the fundamentalist did for years. They may even belong in the fundamentalist camp - even though they do not know it yet, and would likely not admit it!! History does repeat itself!


Armstrong, John H., ed. The Coming Evangelical Crisis. Chicago: Moody Press, 1996

Written by conservative evangelicals describing the negative changes taking place within their own ranks. Contributing authors include R. Kent Hughes, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul

Pickering, Ernest. Biblical Separation. Schaumburg: Regular Baptist Press, 1979

A classic, fundamentalist work about "The Struggle for a Pure Church."

The Tragedy of Compromise. Greenville: Bob Jones University Press, 1994

A fundamentalist’s view of "The Origin and impact of New Evangelicalism."

Quebedeaux, Richard. The Worldly Evangelicals. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1978

The Young Evangelicals. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1974

Written by an evangelical defining and defending the evangelical goals and philosophy.

Wells, David. No Place for Truth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993

Written by a conservative evangelical describing the discount of truth within evangelicalism

Please click here for the Most Important Message of the Bible Concerning You. "
Is any of the following a blessing to you today?
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matthew 24:3

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9

Free Literature Packet
Click hear for a free literature packet about God's way to eternal life by providing your name and complete mailing address

How you can be Sure you are going to Heaven?

Logos Resource Pages

Logos Resource Pages is an Online Ministry of Logos Communication Consortium, Inc.

P.O. Box 173 - Oak Creek, WI 53154

E-Mail: Pastor David L. Brown

Copyright © 2012 - 2015 Logos Communication Consortium, Inc. - All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

WebSite PageViews
Online Coupons
Online Coupons