If indeed there is, in today’s Church, a unique hardness in the hearts of men and women formed by humanism, then we must believe that if we seek the Lord, He will give us special wisdom. Jeremiah 33:3 states “Call to me, and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (NKJV).
Unfortunately, when dealing with different sociological trends affecting the thinking of the people throughout history, instead of counteracting such teachings, the Church formed teachings and doctrines, which accommodated them. We can clearly see that we live in an age of sensuality paralleling the immorality of the Roman Empire, an immorality that led to its eventual demise.
With self sparkling at the center of the humanistic idol, opportunistic church-going modernists have seized the moment and developed teachings that appeal to sensuality and this “self god.” They have formulated teachings that I believe are demonically inspired which “sound good” to those seeking philosophies from the spiritual realm, which might just have the “God stamp of approval.”
Closet humanists, supposing themselves to be true believers, have accomplished this by taking scriptures out of context and bending or twisting them to appeal to people’s “itching ears.” They recognize that those that have been bottle-fed the basic principles of humanism from the time that they were old enough to watch cartoons all the way through college, will automatically give a hearty “amen” to those teachings because they sound good to them!
Take for instance the teaching of “positive confession” that swept through the Charismatic Movement in the 1980s. Not only did it appeal to the “god of self” and to one’s personal power, but it also promised “a lot of good stuff” would come to the child of God. Using a few carefully selected scriptures, people were told that if you speak positive things then positive things would come to you. In contrast, you were to resist any negative speaking because that could “open the door to allow the devil to bring bad things into your life.”
This theory was partially extrapolated from Romans 10:17, which states, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (NKJV) The developers of this “power of self”centered philosophy stated that if you speak positive things, and quote the Bible as much as you can, you will hear yourself speak it, causing your faith to grow, and then grabbing the last sentence of Mark 11:23, “you will have whatever you say!” This false teaching left many people in bondage, fearing that if they ever expressed doubt or said anything negative they were sinning and opening the door to the devil.
To this day, I still meet people who continue to practice this concept. If you try to tell them something negative they believe that it is coming from the devil. Many have fallen away due to this misinterpretation of Scripture. The fundamental problem with the “Positive Confession” teaching was that it did not consider the Greek meaning of the word “hearing” in Romans 10:17. The word “akoe” found there and several other places in the New Testament has nothing to do with physical hearing but instead in this context means the ability to receive what was being taught.
Instead of dealing with this generation of humanists by developing teachings that appeal to their culture, we should preach the cross of Christ like never before. Jesus demonstrated the greatest act of love in the history of the universe on the cross. The Holy Spirit will still anoint preachers who pay the price in prayer, develop their own personal relationship with Jesus and proclaim the time-proven message of Matthew 16:24; “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross, and follow me.”(NKJV) Once their eyes are opened to the true nature of their sinful state, people are still being truly converted today.
I challenge the preachers of today: If you preach solid biblical truth, the lies of humanism will fall, and people will be genuinely born again! The pure Gospel will reach humanists just as it has reached communists, anarchists and atheists throughout history!
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.