Is ‘The Downgrade’ coming to a church near you?
January 25, 2005
What will history say about us – 40 years from now? What kind of legacy will you and I leave behind for our children and grandchildren? Years ago when Suzanna and I were beginning to think about starting our own family, a frightening thought raced through my mind. It was, “Do I really want to bring sons or daughters into this world as corrupt and vile as it is?” That was over 28 years ago. Things have gotten much worse, not better since then. Have you ever had a thought like that?
Last year, I received the first installment of MY crop of many grandchildren. He is a beautiful grandson and Yes, I have pictures that I will gladly show you and yes, like yours, he is exceptionally beautiful, intelligent, wonderful, etc. Yes, I am crazy about him and will talk your arm off about him if you will listen. But of grave concern is, “What kind of country and culture am I leaving to him and his children?”
Where are we headed? Unless God chooses to intervene in a supernatural way with a Great Awakening, it doesn’t seem as if our country will be influenced by Christianity like our land has been for over 400 years.
What has happened? I am quite positive that the problem is in the CHURCH, not the CULTURE.
QUESTION: “What was the most ‘Christianized’ society in all of human history?”
ANSWER: I want to suggest to you that it was Victorian England. It was in this time period that the highest percentage of any population known to the world was regularly attending a Christian church and influenced by Christianity. These were the years of a highly dedicated Christian leader, Queen Victoria. These were the years of ministry of the greatest of all Baptist pulpiteers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. There were many other great pastors and evangelists in these days as well.
This period ended in 1915. What is the condition of the English Church today, in 2005, 90 years later?
- 1/3 of English churches cannot find a pastor
- Average Sunday School Attendance is 34
- Average Baptisms of new believers is ½ person, per church, per year
- Every 9 days an evangelical church closes its doors
- Every 15 days, a new Islamic Mosque is opened.
- A great spiritual awakening is taking place in England, it is Islamic, not Christian
This decline in the influence of Christianity on the nation of Great Britain has taken place in just two generations! What happened?
What happened to England is that the church lost its salt and light in a nation because it lost its compass for absolute truth! To understand what happened to the most Christianized culture that the World has ever known can be explained if you study and understand Baptist History. In our history books, the disease that infected the church is called: The Downgrade Controversy. This disease sent Charles Haddon Spurgeon to his early grave. He was so severely criticized for his stand for truth by other Baptist pastors of his Baptist Union (convention) that the stress of it killed him!
This disease is very much alive today in Baptist churches and universities. The only thing that has changed are the dates. It is now, 2005.
So what is The Downgrade Controversy? It is when the inerrancy of our Scripture is “downgraded”. How can you identify a pastor, professor or church that is a carrier of this disease? You will hear them say things like:
- “the first eleven (11) chapters of Genesis are allegory, not historical fact.”
- “Moses did not actually and personally write the first five books of the Bible”
- “the Book of Daniel is not a book of prophesy, it is a history book.”
- “there were two writers of Isaiah, not just one”
- “the Bible contains the Word of God, not every word is His”
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus Himself and the body of the New Testament, refutes all the previous statements. (2 Timothy 3:16; Genesis 1:31; John 7:19; Matthew 24:15; Mark 7:6; Matthew 4:4)
So what will happen to our country and culture if we too go down the path of our own “Downgrade Controversy”? I am sure we can … and are … experiencing the same results as England has in its last 90 years. When pulpits preach a downgraded scripture, they will lose their salt and light. They will be subject to be blown around by every wind of doctrine that comes their way (Ephesians 4:14). Does it happen today? YES!
Within the last 10 days, I had a leader of a Columbia, MO Baptist church that told me his pastor had a CBF “missionary” come to his church and espouse Native American folklore as gospel fact. This “missionary” said, “Native Americans were Christians before the white-man ever arrived in America.” He said, “little white beings came and told them.” How can a group of people accept such heresy? This leader I spoke to did not. He left the church. When the Bible is downgraded, people will be tossed around by every wind of doctrine.
QUESTION Number 2: When was the high water mark of churched population in the USA?
- I would like to suggest to you that it was the Post WWII years of 1955-57. This is when our returning veterans had now established homes and most had small children. They wanted their families influenced by the Bible and Christianity. This high water mark was only about 50 years ago.
- History repeats itself over and over again. You only have to look as far and the book of Judges to see how Israel repeated its sad history seven times in the history of that book. So, what will America look like in another 50 years?
Today, we are fighting for the sanctity of life, marriage and moral purity. There is an abortion industry that sells the body parts of aborted babies and 300,000 pulpits are SILENT! Biblical Christianity is the only voice standing against postmodern perversion.
These are days of urgency. Days where we do not have the luxury of simply drifting toward action, we must be diligent about missions. Be about the Masters work with urgency!