Thursday, March 04, 2010

How Different is Modern Christianity from that of the Apostolic Age!

I want to continue to share a few "power quotes" from my reading in John R. Rice's book, "The Power of Pentecost". Published in 1949, Dr. Rice states that he wrote the original manuscript seventeen years earlier in 1932. I find it amazing that he saw the same barrenness in our churches in the 30's and 40's that we continue to see afflicting us to this day.

Christianity is not true Christianity, not complete Christianity, if it does not reproduce the salvation, the joy, the power and victory over sin, the progress and making of converts of New Testament times (p23).

We should see in this day the same kind of results that New Testament Christianity produced. Any religion that is not based upon the New Testament is not Christianity. Any religion that does not hold up Christ the same Saviour, does not demand the same new birth on condition of the same penitent faith, is certainly not Christianity. Then we must rightly conclude that after one has trusted in Christ, after one has this same Saviour, this same new birth, this same indwelling Holy Spirit, and is become a new creature as were believers in New Testament times, one should certainly manifest the same power New Testament Christians exemplified! (p23-34)

If any doctrine varies from new Testament doctrine, then it is off-color, it is inadequate, it certainly does not truly represent Christianity. And likewise, the life that does not have the power New Testament Christians had is off-color and inadequate Christianity. The ministry of the gospel which does not have the power of God upon it as so many preachers had in Bible times, is not the New Testament type of preaching (p24).

Consider what happened at Pentecost. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication . . ." (Acts 1:14). How strange, how unlike present-day churches! " . . . the multitude came together, and were confounded . . ." (Acts 2:6). Mighty crowds hearing the gospel with profound concern! How different form our empty churches and the indifference and disgust which the multitudes feel for the church and its ministry! (p24-25)

"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). Three thousand saved and baptized in one day! Today in the most evangelistic denominations in America it takes about twenty persons one year to win one soul. In many denominations there is a net loss in membership every year, and in literally thousands of congregations not a single convert is won to Christ in a year! Is this Bible Christianity? Do you marvel that the gainsaying world has no interest in our churches, in our ministry, in our Christian profession when these are so fruitless compared with Bible Christianity?

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