The following sermon is taken from a chapter of Evangelist Stewart’s book entitled Evangelism. Many years ago we were given permission to reprint three chapters from this book.
The compromises of the gospel that James Stewart witnessed in evangelical Christianity were just beginning to bud during his lifetime. These messages were first written in the 1940s. Even so, the faithful evangelist did not forbear to lift his voice against them. He did not follow the New Evangelical philosophy that the evangelist should simply preach the gospel while avoiding any negative aspects of the preaching ministry such as rebuking error. Oh, that God would raise up a new generation of men with the spirit of the Charles Spurgeons and the James Stewarts of a bygone era.
The compromises that burdened the heart of Evangelist Stewart are in full bloom today. These messages are therefore more urgently needed now than when the writer was alive. May God give us ears to hear these important truths.
By James Alexander Stewart, D.D.
Satan is dishing out today in the Name of the Lord a potpourri evangelism.
The dictionary suggests, among other definitions, that pot-pourri means a “mixed pot with a bad odor.”
In 1940 I preached the message on “Hollywood Evangelism” which girdled the globe and which was read by a vast number. This message was a protest against a cheap vulgar “amateurish” evangelism which robbed the Christ of God of His dignity and reduced the glorious gospel to a message of entertainment. “Pot-pourri Evangelism” robs the gospel of its power and the Cross of its reproach.
I have waited again for someone to sound the alarm in God’s holy mountain.
The time has come when I can keep no longer silent. This loving message of warning burns within me. “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” I believe pot-pourri Evangelism is more sinister that “Hollywood Evangelism.”
As one of the Puritans quaintly expressed it, “The face of error is highly painted and powdered so as to render it attractive to the unwary.” Satan comes as a roaring lion to persecute, or as an angel of light, to patronize (1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Cor. 11:14). Satan as an angel of light is more to be dreaded than Satan as a roaring lion. A patronizing enemy is more dangerous than a persecuting enemy. John Bunyan warns us of this in his Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian had a hard fight with Appolyon in the Valley of Humiliation, and the enemy nearly overcame him; but the Sword of the Spirit in the hand of Christian put even his strong enemy to flight. Later, Christian and Hopeful, having been up the Delectable Mountains, and coming to a cross-way, stop and confer as to which road they shall take. Presently a black man in a light robe asks the travelers the reason of their standing there. They tell him their perplexity, and are led by him, as they supposed, the right way. But, instead of conducting them aright, the black stranger has brought the travelers into the compass of a net, and they wake up to know the wiles of a flatterer.
We must beware of the flattery of the world in its commendation and patronage.
We must be more afraid of flattery from the camp of the enemy than persecution. Read the pages of Church history. Persecution never did the Church of God any harm, but compromise with the world has always robbed it of the power of its purity. Heroic Bishop Latimer knew this truth of persecution when, dying at stake, he turned to saintly Ridley with these blessed words, “We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust will never be put out.” We must never forget that Satan as an angel of light is a most beautiful spectacle, and that is why so many dear saints are deceived. “Pot-pourri Evangelism” consists of two features: mixed evangelistic campaigns and mixed Christianity.
MIXED EVANGELISTIC CAMPAIGNS
By mixed evangelistic campaigns I mean the alliance of Modernistic and Evangelical churches together in an evangelistic effort. The devil is very religious and the world system he controls has its own worldly religion. In Deut. 22, verses 9 to 11, God has stated clearly His laws of separation:
“Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together. Thou shall not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.” The mixed seeds speak of mixed teaching.
The mixing of the ox and ass speaks of mixed service.
The mixture of wool and linen speaks of mixed conduct.
The message of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy is that God is a holy God and demands a holy people. The Israelites and their cattle were stamped with the marks of separation. By forbidding the intermingling of seeds, and animals, and garments, God teaches us the great eternal truth of sanctification. The Scripture abounds with this blessed teaching. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt. 6:24). Christ did not say that it is difficult but that it is IMPOSSIBLE to serve two masters.
“No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved” (Matt. 9:16-17).
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light and darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6:14-17).
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
You will remember the very solemn lesson we have in the experience of the Children of Israel. In Exodus 12:38 they flagrantly violated God’s holy command in allowing the mixed multitude to come out from Egypt with them.
This mixed multitude of uncircumcised people was a continual source of weakness and trouble to the saints of God. They caused them to stumble and fall and compromise their position as a holy people (Num. 11:4).
Thank God that during the times of reviving in the days of Nehemiah the saints dealt with this God-dishonoring compromise. When they rediscovered the law of God they separated the mixed multitude from Israel. They once again became a peculiar people unto the God Who had redeemed them. Remember, an unequal yoke makes for bad ploughing and crooked furrows.
As one aptly said,
When religion gets up a revival, it must have from five to twenty churches of heterogeneous creeds and sectarian bodies go into a great union effort; it must have a mammoth choir with great musical instruments, and many preachers and multiplied committees, and each committee headed by some banker, judge, mayor, or millionaire’s wife. It signs cards as a substitute for the broken-hearted cry of scriptural repentance. It must count its converts by the hundreds in a few days’ meeting. It must apologize for natural depravity. Human religion thinks it will conquer the world; it curls up its lips at the coming Jesus, thinks the world is growing beautifully better and is forever forming itself into fresh organizations of “leagues,” “endeavors” and “brigades.” It denies holiness, ignores the omnipotent personal agency of the Holy Ghost, steers clear of all divine manifestations, is terrified at the supernatural in Grace, discounts personal testimony, is afraid of weeping, is terrified at a “hallelujah,” and thinks that the sobs of a penitent should be stifled with a lavender- scented handkerchief. Human religion’s enterprises have an atmosphere of earthliness about them. It despises the day of small things and scorns little humble people and lonely ways. It is easier to jump to the height of prosperity. Its music has no pathos in it, its laughter lacks divine cheerfulness, its worship lacks supernatural love, its prayers bring down no huge answers, it works no miracles, calls forth no criticism from the world, and it has no light of eternity in its eyes. It is a poor, sickly thing, born of the union of the heart of the world with the head of Christian theology--a mongrel, bastard thing with a backslidden church for its mother and the world for its father.
Oh, my dear brother and sister, never forget that this unnatural monster will be destroyed at the coming-again of our Blessed Lord Jesus. The above described human religion is the “mixed multitude” with which evangelical fundamental churches sometimes find themselves allied in an evangelistic campaign.
In our Christian world today Satan has created a mixed Christianity by destroying the meaning of our evangelical terms and the great fundamental words of the gospel. He has also succeeded in removing the line of demarcation between the world and the redeemed. By defective gospel preaching and subtle usage of evangelical phrases, we have bastards and sons mixed together in evangelical circles (Heb. 12:8). By robbing the cross of its stigma, and failing to demand a supernatural experience in the “new birth,” many preachers have reduced the Message of the Cross to a meaningless Evangel.
It cannot be denied that there is a religious revival in America today. The Modernistic churches are in many cases full to capacity. The Roman Catholic church is experiencing its greatest revival, while two of its leaders have once again been voted as among the ten most prominent figures in American life. False sects are “mushrooming” everywhere and one of them can bring together one hundred and twenty-five thousand delegates daily for a week’s convention.
Along with this religious revival has come a wave of popularity for so- called Evangelical Christianity. On the surface it seems very flattering encouraging, but in reality it is dangerous and deathly.
Almost everybody is religious. It is popular to be religious. It is fashionable to be a church member and even to talk about being saved. (Of course the phrase “supernaturally born again” is not popular, because that demands a new creation in Christ Jesus as the result of a new birth.) Movie stars, popular entertainers, Disc Jockeys, Sportsmen, Mayors, and Politicians, all are fluent in talking about religion. It is not uncommon for one of these personalities to tell you to “go to [the] church [of your choice] on Sunday,” and “read your Bible,” and “God is the only hope of America.” A story with a religious slant will hit the front page.
A religious jazzy song will be among the ten top tunes in the Hit Parade. Our evangelical Christians seem to be thrilled and flattered when some ungodly outstanding figure of the world condescends to say something nice about the gospel. We have reached such a low state of spirituality that we are excited when a prominent personality professes conversion and speaks our evangelical vocabulary--even though his life shows no evidence whatsoever of the revolutionary change wrought by the gospel of Christ. We have so lost the vision of the power and dignity of our blessed Lord that we think it very wonderful when one of these unregenerated leaders “helps God out” in His great enterprise of evangelism.
In the mixed corrupt Christianity we see Satan’s masterstroke exhibited.
The Protoevangelion of Gen. 3:15 describes the Conflict of the Ages, between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. This battle will continue through the ages until Satan is finally cast into the Lake of Fire. The conflict goes on today. We must not be ignorant of his “wiles” (Eph. 6:11) Satan sought to destroy the seed royal to hinder the promise of God from being fulfilled. (See 2 Ki. 11:1-3.) The devil’s business now is to hinder the completion of God’s work for this age through the spread of the pure gospel. Both Paul and Peter warn us of the wiles of Satan in these last perilous days. “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2 Tim. 3:8). Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses by duplicating the work of God by satanic power (Ex. 7:10-12). This is exactly one of Satan’s wiles today.
R.B. Jones has left on record the following warning:
“Satan is not the enemy of Revival in itself. It would not be difficult to show historically that at times Satan, somehow aware of God’s purpose in this respect, has managed to forestall God by sending a counterfeit of the revival God intended. Also, when he had failed in forestalling, it could be shown how he has succeeded in troubling the stream of Revival, which though pure as crystal at its source at the throne of God, gradually became turbid and impure.”
Thus by counterfeiting, Satan hinders the believers praying for the real, supernatural, spontaneous outbreaking of the Spirit of God.
Blasphemous semi-evangelical songs with the music composed in Hell are the “hits” of the hour. What a violent contrast to the hymnology that was born in the great Revivals!
Satan hates the Cross, because the Cross is the symbol of his defeat. The object of Satan’s attack has always been the Cross of Christ. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15; see also Isa. 53:12).
His be the Victor’s name, Who fought the fight alone; Triumphant saints no honor claim, His conquest was their own.
Bless, bless the Conqueror slain, Slain in His Victory! Who lived, Who died, Who lives again, For thee, my soul, for thee!
In Exodus we have four strategies of Satan. The first suggestion is the most dangerous, and it is highly popular today: “Go sacrifice to God in the land” (i.e. “You don’t have to leave Egypt to serve your God.”) Exodus 8:25.
In “Pot-pourri Evangelism,” the Cross is no longer the Church’s symbol of stigma and reproach (Gal. 5:11; 6:14). General William Booth, with great prophetic insight, stated over fifty years ago: “The chief danger of the twentieth century, will be
Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ,
Forgiveness without repentance. Salvation without regeneration,
Heaven without hell.”
What would this man of God say to our day and generation regarding this new danger? Satan does not mind our worshiping and preaching a Cross without its stigma. He has garlanded the “Old Rugged Cross of shame and reproach” with bouquets of flowers from worldings who have never left his employment.
How different is the attitude of two godly bishops of the Church of England. “Oh God,” cried Bishop Taylor Smith, “we are neither fit for earth nor heaven, but only to be hung between on a cross!” Bishop J.C. Ryle rightly says, “A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity without a crown.” We are in grave danger when we court the applause of the world.
Think of how Paul bore the stigma of his message! “For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were, appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the off-scouring of all things unto this day” (1 Cor. 4:9-13).
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood,
Sealed my pardon with His blood:
Hallelujah! What a Saviour.
In “Pot-pourri Evangelism” there is very little emphasis on separation from this present evil age. The challenge of Mark 8:36 is unnecessary. The story of saving grace as described by Paul in Ephesians, chapter two, is meaningless in “Potpourri Evangelism.” Puritan John Bunyan and Bishop John Commenius in their strikingly similar books, Pilgrim’s Progress and Labyrinth of the World portray a Christianity which is sheer nonsense to the friends of “Mixed Christianity.” “Vanity Fair” and “The Market Place of the World” are unrecognized places to many of the adherents of “Mixed Christianity.”
WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES?
The gospel will ever be foolishness unto the natural man (1 Cor. 1:18).
The gospel will always be unpalatable to the natural man (Isa. 53:2,3; Rom. 8:7; 1 Cor. 2:14).
The natural man is unable to comprehend and appreciate the things of God (Jn. 3:10; 1 Cor. 2:14).
Christ crucified will always be a stumbling block and offense to the unregenerate man (1 Cor. 1:23).
The unregenerate man is dead and needs new life in Christ (Jn. 3:7; Jn. 5:24).
The unregenerate man can only be born again by the miraculous work of the Holy Ghost, resulting in a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
A regenerate man is a new creation in Christ Jesus and is delivered from this present evil age (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 1:4; Col. 1:12-13).
The regenerate man must bear the stigma of the reproach of the Cross of Christ (Gal. 2:20; Heb. 13:13).
The regenerate man will glory in all the implications of the Cross of Christ (Gal. 6:14).
THE TRUE MESSAGE
In closing, I feel that in order to counteract this “Pot-pourri Evangelism” we must emphasize three definite phases of the gospel Message.
First: Regeneration is the supernatural work of the Holy Ghost which man himself cannot accomplish.
How can we believe in the latter part of John 6:37 and not believe the first part? “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing me of my sin and misery, enlightening my mind in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing my will, He did persuade and enable me to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to me in the gospel.
Second: We are saved from a life of sin to a life of holiness. The gospel is not just that Christ died to save us from the penalty of sin (Jn. 3:16).
That is only part of the gospel Message. What saith the Scriptures?
“Who gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4).
“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people” (Titus 2:14).
“Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it.” Why? That He might save it from the future punishment of sin alone? No! “That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:27).
Salvation is more than a passport to Heaven; it is deliverance from the dominion of sin in this life (Titus 2:11-12).
Third: Receiving Christ as Saviour means repenting from sin and acknowledging Christ as Lord (Luke 13:3; Acts 11:18; Acts 17:30; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9).
Evangelical repentance is a breaking from the dominion of sin. True repentance is always accompanied by a heartlonging after holiness. It is a false gospel that divorces Christ the Saviour from Christ the Lord. The sinner is a rebel who must repent and lay down his arms of rebellion before the king of Kings. “Christ will save none but those who are brought to resign themselves sincerely to the obedience of His Royal authority and laws” (Walter Marshall, 1692). “God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” The gospel is not “believe on Jesus, and thou shalt be saved,” but “believe on THE LORD JESUS Christ and thou shalt be saved.” “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD JESUS, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom.10:9).
As in “Hollywood Evangelism,” I plead for true evangelism in the old-fashioned way. Let us preach a full-orbed gospel, setting forth all the implications of repentance and forgiveness. Let us go outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
Our Lord is now rejected,
And by the world disowned;
By the many still neglected,
And by the few enthroned.
But soon He’ll come in glory!
The hour is drawing nigh,
For the crowning day is coming by and by.
Let all that look for, hasten
The coming joyful day,
By earnest consecration,
To walk the narrow way;
By gath’ring in the lost ones,
For whom our Lord did die,
For the crowning day that’s coming by and by.
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