Wrong Influence From Days Gone By


Have you ever had and/or voiced the thought that life and people were better back in the day? I have done this numerous times as I looked at the way society has fallen or even at the depleted quality and rising costs of life’s material goods. I have often had to remind myself that the Bible teaches it is unwise to say/ask why times gone by were better than today (Eccl 7:10). The older I get the more I realize the truth of this, as well as there being nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9). One need only look closely at those supposed grand ol’ times gone by to find the influences behind the condition of the church and society we have today. An example of this is found in a sermon from 1922 given by a man named Harry E. Fosdick. You can read the sermon here. I would like to share with you my response to his sermon. (Just so you know, it was written for an assignment and is 7 paragraphs long.)

 Now, let’s hear some chatter out there!

If you have chosen to read his sermon, what are your thoughts regarding his views? Do you agree or disagree with the response given? How would you respond?


Reaction to Harry Emerson Fosdick’s Sermon, “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?”

It is evident that Fosdick’s sermon or thoughts have had a great impact on the Christian church and society in America. Today more people, even professing Christians, have their own way of looking at the Word of God; they manipulate it to suit their fleshly sensibilities and natural understanding.  Liberal thought has inundated practically every aspect of our society and the church. The church has lapped up so much of the world’s culture that many professing Christianity question or disagree with the very foundation of the faith. In fact, it is getting harder and harder to tell the believers from the unbelievers.

Another point of influence is Fosdick’s continued use of the “watch words” intolerance and tolerance.  This is a word that has been used to bring guilt for not supporting unbiblical beliefs and what God calls sin. If you do not go along with what the world decides is right (it’s your thing do what you want to do) then you are branded as intolerant. This intolerance idea has permeated the Christian church and shackled many to the point they refuse to stand up and tell the truth regarding not only sin but also who a true Christian is. They see and hear the unscriptural and refuse to speak out against it under the excuse of false love. Just as our society rejects anyone who speaks the truth, so goes the backbone of the church to stand up for what is right (this is as a majority; I know there are still some who are not afraid to stand for what is right).

Jesus is the Word of God and nothing was made without Him (John 1:1-5). If we do not believe the infallible Word of God then we are not Christians. We may use the “name” but we are not true Disciples of Christ. Those who would cast off the virgin birth as fact are not Christians. To reject the second coming of Christ as portrayed in the Holy Scriptures is to call the Lord a liar; therefore, they are not Christians. The Bible says all scripture is infallible and given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21 etc…). The Bible says that Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Matt 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-35, Gal 4:4 etc…). The Bible says that Christ will return again; there are numerous passages regarding this including Acts 1:11, Titus 2:13, Luke 21:25-28, and Matt 24:27, 36-44. To reject the Bible is to reject Christ; therefore, if we do so, we are not Christians.

Knowledge/Science has its place. For true believers knowledge such as this strengthens the belief in God and His Word. We are not to walk in the “vanity of our minds” (Eph 4:17…), using the knowledge we obtain to inflate our heads with arrogant pride and reject our creator (Romans 1).  If anyone comes into the church with “facts” that do not coincide with the facts given us in scripture then we are not to “tolerate” it. If they will not accept the flawlessness of God’s Word then we should not continue to listen to them; we are actually instructed to avoid those who believe contrary to the sound doctrine we have been given (Romans 16:17-18). A little bit of truth mixed with a lie is detrimental to those who hear it; it is deception and we are to guard against that.

Liberal thought has been around in some form since the Bible days; John stood against the Gnostic thought trying to permeate the church in his day. We are also given numerous warning concerning those who would be in our midst spreading drivel in attempt to lead Disciples of Christ away (Acts 20:28-31, 2 Peter 2:1-3,). The Fundamentalists of the ‘20s and beyond were/are not wrong to combat Liberal thought of their (our) day. The scripture instructs us to bring open rebuke on those who sin (including those who commit the sin of teaching erroneous doctrine) even putting them out of the congregation if necessary (Prov 27:5, 1 Tim 1:20, 1 Tim 5:20).

I would that someone had reminded Fosdick of 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 and explained to him that the root of his sheep coated sermon is a lack of faith. It all boils down to faith for those who would truly follow Christ.

We cannot be Christians without faith in God and His Word. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Faith allows us to stand with God when the world and its philosophies, opinions, feelings, and scientific reports would try and coerce us otherwise. It takes faith to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Those who would try and redefine scripture to sooth their own itching ears do not have faith; therefore, they do not have God. They may have a form of godliness, but they deny the power. Followers of Christ must turn away from them (2Timothy 3: 1-17).

Juanita Deloris Copyright 2010

7 thoughts on “Wrong Influence From Days Gone By

  1. James Jackson

    Obedience!! Wide is the road leading to death.. Narrow is the road leading to life!!!!!

    1. Hello James 😉
      Thanks for reading and responding to the post. I agree with your thoughts here. It is sad but, so many in the church have given up a Biblical worldview for the flesh appealing secular worldview. That is the problem. They have traded the true and living God of the Bible for one they have created in their own minds; a god that requires nothing of them. This is why we see such a huge number who have a FORM of godliness but without power.
      God Bless You!

  2. James Jackson

    I don’t have a sermon to include.. Lol.. But my response is from a world labeled (hater).. Because I believe tolerance has no place in the church I believe there is only place for intolerance. Intolerance of sin,intolerance of unrighteousness, and intolerance of everything (EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!)that goes against what’s outlined in the Bible concerning living a holy life. If you have to have the Holy Spirit living within you because the Lord knows his own. How can you be prepared for judgement day If instead of listening to God’s word you listen to the teachings of the world as if they know the mind of God and have been given authority to instruct him on what he will and won’t tolerate, adding to and taking from the Bible what you will as if you do not know you are heaping hot coals on your own head. If you don’t want to follow biblical truth and instruction then I feel sorry for you because in hell you will lift up your eyes!!

  3. rhonda jackson

    OOOOOOOOOOOWHEW!!!!Preach on children. Fosdicks sermon just showed that the enemy has been trying to fool and destroy God kids for a loooooonnnggg time.
    Yet we stand because though many have left God, God is still calling and still keeping all that have and will hear and obey HIs voice. Hallelujah………………………………………………..Praise GOD almighty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hello Rhonda ;),
      Thanks for your response! Like the old saints used to say, we have to make sure that we do right and stay in the ark of safety. We must make sure, however, that we don’t just sit in the ark and sip tea all day. If we carry(and use) our “do nothing stool” with us everywhere we go, we are no better than those who reject God. It sends Him the message that all He has done for us is not worthy more than our television program, favorite game, or ‘fill in the blank’. We must stay in a state of constant examination, make sure we are doing all the we are supposed to do in order to remain in the faith.

  4. Exactly!!!! Faith has been taken out of God’s righteousness and the church has been taught a new form of righteousness, but righteousness IS of faith!! So, those who refused to loose their righteousness of faith, were presented with faith “without works”. That’s where the majority of the “christians” are today… Just say you’re righteous and say you have faith and as long as you have a good dance or you speak in tongues fluently, you don’t have to put any actions behind your righteousness!!! You don’t have to put any actions behind your faith!!! But according to God, faith without works (actions) is DEAD!!!!!!!!!!! That’s why we see so many churches that are dead! Because they have no actions behind their praise, no actions behind their preaching, no actions behind their giving, no actions behind their prayer…. No actions equal death!!! I say it’s time to live! It’s time to let go of every thing and every body that’s not connected to life! And Live! There is NO time left to waste on the dead!!!!

    1. Hello Rodney! Thanks for your response. I agree wholeheartedly with you. What you are explaining is a huge part of this ‘American christianity’ we have today. One thing we had better keep in mind is that Jesus has no part of uncommitted, half-hearted, lukewarm christians. If we are of that ilk then, to Him we are not christians but the equivalent of a cup of lukewarm water or coffee. We wouldn’t want that and He doesn’t either, which is exactly why He said He will SPIT US OUT(Rev 3:16). Now I don’t know about you but, in my book, if he has to spit us out then it means we are NOT SAVED. I don’t care how many church “trappings” we say we have, if He spits us out then we are not saved. We can speak in some kind of tongues until our own tongue gets stiff and falls out, we can shout around the church ’till we get trimmed and toned, we are not saved. And anybody who takes the American view that christians don’t have to work, needs to go and read the book of James. It is because we are saved that we work. If we are sitting on our duff doing nothing then we are in for a rude awakening, because we are as dead as the pew/chair we sit on in church on Sundays.

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