I too am troubled by the evangelical church, but I still continue to make a sharp distinction between evangelicals (those who believe that the Bible is fully God-breathed) and the liberals, many of whom are very nice people, but nevertheless believe that there are multiple ways to be saved. For them, Jesus and the Cross are not essential!
I make this sharp distinction between these two groups because the Bible does:
- John 15:7-10: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
· John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Almost inevitably, those who hold that part of the Word is God-given inevitably sit in judgment over His Word instead of allowing the Word to judge them. In sitting above the Word, they have delegated to themselves the responsibility to determine which parts are inspired. (If we had such an ability, we wouldn’t need the Word altogether!) The result is a very different faith! Also inevitably and predictably, their religion resembles the liberal, educated world, which has become authoritative for them. Are they faithful to the Word? Hardly! Are they saved? I’ll let God be the judge.
Yes, the evangelical world is a mess, but how does God regard them? Well, how did God regard the compromised Lot who chose to raise his family in Sodom?
- 2 Peter 2:7-9: and if he [God] rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.
In writing to the Corinthian church, Paul charged them with all kinds of sins. Nevertheless, he assured them that they were righteous in the sight of God:
- 1 Cor. 6:8-11: Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Can we say this about the liberal church? We are all sinners who deserve destruction! Were the Corinthians any more deserving than the others? No! Is this fair? Certainly not! It is grace!