By Brannon S. Howse
Pragmatism proclaims that the truth or worth of an idea is based solely upon the results it brings. Pragmatists believe truth is relative, situational, and that a desired end justifies any means required to reach it. German Christians were seduced by the lie of pragmatism, the same lie that has seduced many Christians in America and other countries. The Achilles heel for most people is the desire to be comfortable, financially well off, physically safe, and free of worry, trouble, hardship, or challenges. This desire for comfort has led many Christians to compromise the Gospel. Such was the case in Germany as Erwin Lutzer highlights:
[quote] Even when Hitler’s agenda finally became clear, they were not willing to suffer for a gospel that they had long since abandoned. They were more interested in the miracles of a revived Germany than in the miracles on the pages of the New Testament. Salvation in this world was more important than salvation in an unseen life to come. [end quote]
As we watch the rise of the global false church, do not be shocked at the “Christian” preachers, teachers, authors, talk show hosts, and even family and friends who will buy into pragmatism in an attempt to further their own selfish ambitions. Pragmatism will cause many people to compromise the Gospel and throw in with “Christian” colleges, universities, seminaries, publishers, television networks, and radio stations that hire, promote, unite with, feature, and otherwise give credibility to false teachers.
While we must guard against legalism, we must also guard against the equal and opposite evil of liberalism. Lest you accuse me of legalism that promotes guilt by association, let me be clear that most of the people I expose are not guilty just by association; they are guilty by participation in the evil. On this point, 2 John 9-11 clarifies that if you do not openly reject false teachers but embrace them or fellowship with them, you are aiding in the spread of false teaching. Such actions make you guilty of partaking in their evil deeds.
Some will say they are innocent through what they call “secondary separation.” Yet, speaking at a “Christian” conference without calling out the false teacher also present at the conference is not “secondary separation.” Censoring one’s message in order to retain the placement of one’s radio or television program on a network that embraces false teachers is not “secondary separation” but is involvement in a spiritual enterprise with false teachers and unbelievers.
Many who claim to be “watchmen on the wall” wear a title that makes them appear trustworthy and sincere, but it’s nothing more than marketing and self-promotion. A title does not validate a person’s trustworthiness or integrity. A true watchman does not wear a title that is put on or taken off like a coat. A watchman wears the scars of spiritual battle that include public ridicule and mocking, self-sacrifice, unpopularity, and rejection by the false church, false teachers, and undiscerning followers of them. These scars are the battle ribbons of a watchman and reveal his or her trustworthiness and sincerity.
A true watchman is not embraced, sponsored, or promoted by those who embrace and promote false teachers, but the enemy would like nothing more than to compromise watchmen with the rewards of group consensus that include advancement, notoriety, more visibility, a larger audience, and worldly success. The watchmen who succumb to these rewards start by embracing pragmatism. Once poisoned by it, they are easily co-opted and become an entry point into the camp of the true Church for false teachers and their friends. Unsuspecting Christians who trust the watchman are also betrayed—often without knowing it—and embrace the religious Trojan horse that their favorite and beloved “watchman” has led into the camp.
Never forget that you can be in only one of two camps: the camp of Jesus Christ or the camp of Satan. Christians cannot camp out, take refuge, strategize, partner, worship, or give credibility to the camp of Satan and its occupants and still claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and members of His camp. The prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 18:21 warned the Israelites who wanted to mix their ways with the worship of Satan that they must choose which camp they were in, which leaders they would follow: “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.”
Pragmatism has influential advocates within the Church. For instance, the Rev. Jim Garlow, pastor of an evangelical church, was a guest on a talk show in January 2012, one day before the Iowa caucuses. In this interview, Garlow explained why he believes Christians should vote for Newt Gingrich. His choice of candidates is not the critical issue here. The problem is the reasoning he brought to defend his recommendation. He called for Christians to practice “biblically founded pragmatism”:
[quote] [W]e do not as Christians assess the problem quickly enough with a healthy, biblical, biblically founded pragmatism. For example, I see people hyper-spiritualizing this election. They say, “Well, God parted the Red Sea.” Well, he did it once! But he told Noah to build a boat. In other words, get in there and float on this thing. So we’re being out-fought, unfortunately, because we hyper-spiritualize way too much. [end quote]
Ironically this is coming from a man who worked with “prophet” Lou Engle of the New Apostolic Reformation in prayer and fasting events in California. The NAR and Word of Faith members are well known for their “hyper-spiritualizing” and spiritual allegorizing. Charisma magazine reported on this prayer rally sponsored by NAR and WOF:
[quote] Organized by California pastor Jim Garlow and Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson, Pray & Act has gained support from a cross-section of Christians, including Bible teacher Kenneth Copeland, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Generals International co-founder Cindy Jacobs, Southern Baptist Convention leader Richard Land, Atlanta pastor Creflo Dollar, and Campus Crusade for Christ co-founder Vonette Bright….The Pray & Act kickoff, to be broadcast on the American Family Association (AFA) website Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern, will feature leaders attending the AFA’s Values Voters summit this weekend. The speakers—ranging from conservative politicians to pastors—will be interviewed by Garlow and will join him in calling Christians to 40 days of prayer and fasting. A final simulcast will be held on Oct. 30 from the Lincoln Memorial. [end quote]
It is pragmatism at work when self-described evangelicals unite with false teachers in prayer, fasting, and other spiritual enterprises in hopes of winning the culture war, passing legislation, or winning elections. For several years, I have warned against the New Religious Right and today’s neo-evangelicals’ practice of pragmatism.
Copyright 2015 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.