There is a prevalent emphasis among Evangelical churches about the journey a person may be on. It is a way of speaking about where a person is in relationship to God without saying anything negative. Churches are adopting this approach as a less confrontational way of getting people to attend. The thought is that hopefully they will become converted eventually after being inculcated into the fellowship of the church.
Is this obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ or is it another example of the world making its way into the fold of the Lord’s people?
John 10:1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.”
Such churches are specifically seeking to remove the stumbling block of the cross for those who profess a self-righteousness and to remove the foolishness of the message preached for those who are worldly. [1 Cor. 1:23; Gal. 5:11]
Churches that use the word Journey in their church name are making this idea of a journey central to their identity. Their brief introduction about what they mean is alarming. Here are some examples of what is being said:
- Wherever you are on your journey with Christ we are here to walk it along with you
- A church for the spiritually curious
- Your story is welcome here
- Regardless of where you are along your spiritual journey, you are welcome at Journey Church!
- Committed To Helping Everyone Take The Next Step On Their Journey With God. No Matter Where…
This is a very serious error.
It is one thing to say that everyone is welcome, it is another thing to say that people are welcome to make of their own journey whatever they like.
The ministry of bible believing churches should be and must be about the present conversion of its hearers. Ours must only be a message that calls upon every hearer to become saved, which is to be born again. Regarding those saved, the ministry must always be a “preaching to the converted,” so as to present every man complete in Christ [Colossians 1:28,29]. Paul desired to know nothing among the Corinthians but ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified’ [1 Corinthians 2:2]. Understanding how the cross of Christ impacts our daily lives is not something to be underestimated, as the Galatians had failed to understand its significance [Galatians 3:1].
If it is a matter of a truly saved man being accommodated in his time of rebellion, then is this obedience to Christ? What would a true ministry of the Word have for a back slidden Christian? The answer is always to speak the truth in love.
Ephesians 4:11-16 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
A true ministry cannot wait upon an unbiblical “journey”, which is nothing less than a path of destruction, simply because to do so is to allow for what is harmful. To not speak the truth is to not love.
1 Corinthians 13:6 [love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth…
Psalm 119:104 From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
We must reject this demonic substitution of a “journey” and bring back the biblical emphasis upon conversions. It is not the teaching of the Scriptures that people are saved by means of a journey. People are saved from darkness to light by means of faith in the gospel, which is preached to sinners who are at enmity with their Creator. Salvation occurs upon a conversion that is founded upon the call to faith and repentance.
The problem with adopting this back door approach of a “journey” is that it fails to say that I must repent and have faith. I must turn away from what is against God and turn toward God. The “journey” approach does not require obedience, because the individual determines if he is ok or not in his present situation and when obedience is necessary.
The “journey” approach fails to provide for a ministry that is specifically and intentionally helpful. Paul did not use the “journey” approach with the troubled church in Corinth. He addressed problems head on, in love.
The reason why this is such serious error is that it makes ‘man the measure of all things’, which is ungodly philosophy going back to the Sophists in 500 B.C.. Instead of it being a matter of obedience to God’s revealed Word it has become a ministry that conforms to man. It is like the rich young ruler who ran up to Jesus asking what good thing he may do to inherit eternal life only to go away sorrowful because Jesus pressed upon him a calling in which he was necessarily confronted with his need to be converted. The churches who promote this talk about a “journey” are seeking to give those who are not actually converted a place in which they can still feel like they belong. Jesus did not do this with the rich young ruler [Matthew 19:16-22].
The “journey” approach is the worst thing for those who are not converted. Instead, what the unconverted need is the message of a new life in Jesus and the necessary death of their own life. The message of a “journey” is about the old man skirting the elephant in the room! Rather, the natural man needs to die, to be done away with, and a new life in Jesus is the only thing worth having. That means that a conversion is what it is all about, not a journey.