Regeneration and the Fire of “Pragmatism”
from The Church under Fire sermon series . . .
A few weeks back, Pastor Jody Anderson of Christ Church in Guntersville, AL, preached one of the topics in our Church under Fire series. His topic was pragmatism, which is rampant throughout local churches in our country and the world. And this article is a brief summary of the topic for those seeking more information or perhaps just coming to an awareness of the problems it poses.
In short, pragmatism is the believe and practice that if something “works” to accomplish a goal, then it most certainly must be legitimate. In other words, the end justifies the means. When it comes to the church’s mission, many have adopted pragmatic ministries, missions, and forms of worship that are more akin to the kinds of entertainments found in Hollywood and on Broadway. Within the Southern Baptist Convention, pragmatism has become the foundation of ministry among many churches rather than reliance on the Holy Spirit’s power and prerogative in the work of regeneration.
When it comes to regeneration, the Holy Spirit alone is the sole cause of the spiritually dead being brought to life and the spiritually blind receiving eyes to see the gospel (Eph.2:1-10; Jn.9:39; 2 Cor.4:4). Not even miracles such as people being raised from the dead are sufficient for causing a person to be born again (Lk.16:31). The sole cause of the new birth is the movement of the Holy Spirit regenerating a dead soul to life like the wind blowing through a tree (Jn.3:5-8; 1 Pt.1:3). When all is said and done, man’s conversion is dependent on God’s will alone (Jn.1:12-13).
The result of watering down the Word with pragmatic approaches to ministry is nothing other than hyped up idol worship (Ex.32). There is no other way to build a true church and a healthy church than through simple proclamation of God’s Word accompanied by prayers of humility, submission, and dependency before God (Eph.6:18-20; 2 Tim.4:2; Titus 2:15). We do not want people becoming members of a local church for any other reason than they want to receive the bread of life, which is the Word of God and the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ and worship Him alone (Matt.4:1-5; Jn.1:1; 6:1-71).