Gary L. Grizzell
The Biblical Mentality is the mindset which:
1) Seeks to abide in the doctrine of Christ (the New Testament) and bids Godspeed only to true teachers of God’s Word, while refusing to bid Godspeed to false teachers. (see proof here: 2 John 9-11).
2) Believes that one who teaches God’s Word must produce New Testament authority in preaching the gospel (Col. 3:17).
3) Insists on anyone who professes to preach the Word concerning salvation, Christianity and religion to speak as the oracles of God teach. (1 Pet. 4:11).
Mainstream Mentality today, as is being described in this article, is a thought process which:
1) Professes to abide in the doctrine of Christ (the New Testament) but contradicts itself by going beyond the doctrine of Christ and bids Godspeed to false teachers, in violation of 2 John 9-11.
2) Professes to believe that one who teaches God’s Word must produce New Testament authority in preaching the gospel, but when it comes to his personal prejudices it ignores the name (authority) of Christ. In so doing such mentality runs rough shod over particular instructions found within the doctrine of Christ. Thus, such a mentality violates the principle found in Colossians 3:17.
3) Seeks to give the impression it is solely interested in preaching the Word concerning salvation, Christianity and religion, but in practice is given to ignoring the oracles of God to suit its personal prejudices and desires (1 Pet. 4:11).
The word mainstream refers generally in our society to “a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Specifically, in this article the word mainstream is used to describe an unscriptural mentality, which thought process has been determined by a prevailing current influence manufactured by false teachers.
Someone rightly defined “culture” as group habit. The culture of mainstream “Christianity” equals man-made thinking, which is in direct opposition to the plain scriptural teaching of the Word of God (specifically, the New Testament of Christ).
Is there New Testament authority to label a certain mentality as a mainstream mentality? Absolutely. How’s that? Such is authorized by the principle of implication, which is one of the three ways the New Testament authorizes.
Jesus stated of those with such a faulty mentality, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Here is an example of the corrupt mainstream thinking of certain false teachers in the Lord’s day. The attitude of the Pharisees in this context was mainstream, the prevailing current thinking, in the first century among that religious sect of the Jews. In this case those in error were binding where God’s Word did not bind.
However, those who loose where God’s Word does not allow loosing are also guilty of following a mainstream mentality! In fact there are more of the latter category than the former. For example those false teachers of this stripe (of unscriptural loosing clique) teach that water baptism is optional and advocate that one is saved from his sins by faith only (in contradiction to 1 Pet. 3:21 and Jas. 2:24). Of course the false teachings among this group vary as they practice unity in diversity (in contradiction to 1 Cor. 1:10).
The Elephant In The Room
Where is there New Testament authority for a television preacher to encourage those in his viewing audience to go to the church of Christ nearest them in their community?
What good does it do teach the correct plan of salvation to a man, then send the lost soul to a corrupted church leadership in his community? Where is the logic in that? Where is the scripture authorizing a preacher to do that? It does not exist.
Here is the problem with such a practice: The speaker is ignoring the great apostasy among us today. He is closing his eyes to the three major “isms” which exist among apostate church leaderships, to whom no lost soul in the viewing audience deserves to be directed: 1) anti-ism, 2) liberalism, and 3) ugly-ism (unchecked meanness in the leadership, usually because of the toleration of a Diotrephes). By pretending the apostasy does not exist, the hireling preacher with his mainstream mentality continues to send sheep to the wolves. Jesus said to beware of wolves, not send sheep to them (Matt. 7:15). If a sincere preacher has been misguided, he needs simply to repent (Luke 13:3).
I offer the following applicable quotation from my chapter drawn from a past lectureship book dated 1998:
Last, elderships and individual Christians who know and respect God’s Word will not drain the Lord’s treasury to support the misguided programs of those who ignore the apostasy among today’s churches of Christ. Those of this stripe sabotage their own efforts. These are like the Jews of old who had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2). They zealously advocate to sinners that they hear, believe, repent, confess the name of Christ, be baptized for the remission of sins, and then join the church of Christ of your choice. Thus, they are guilty of incredible folly. The only ones who are guilty of greater folly are mindless supporters who viciously oppose those who point out the obvious imbalance in such! Just how hard is it to understand that not all who erect a sign in front of a meeting house reading “The Church Of Christ” are actually committed to a respect for Bible authority? Some who advocate to join the church (of Christ) of your choice today would condemn Billy Graham (insert: when he was alive) for telling multitudes to join the church of your choice. Yet, today, in many congregations which profess to be the Lord’s church the doctrines of the denominational theologians reign! To stand against the hard-headed liberals in churches is to hasten one’s exit. Now, who would deny this documented fact? To deny it is to show further one’s ignorance of the situation.*
Unless you have personal knowledge of a particular leadership in the viewers’ geographical areas, then do not blindly encourage your viewers to go to the church of Christ in their communities. One possible solution is to have them instead contact you for more information about a congregation where they might visit. Then, if necessary when they call, tell them you will research their area and get back with them as soon as possible. If you are not willing to do that, then you are not qualified to have a television program in order to preach the gospel.
If a preacher chooses to have the unscriptural mainstream mentality, then think of the corrupt fruit of his short-cut, doctrinally compromising behavior. If the mainstream preacher sends the viewer to an eldership who bind where God’s Word does not bind, that preacher has taken a chance on producing someone who thinks like that wayward eldership. Likewise, in sending the viewer to a liberal leadership, he will most likely produce a liberal. If you send him to a leadership given over to ugly-ism, that soul will either adopt that as normal Christian behavior of the church or become confused and discouraged.
No, there are no perfect church leaderships/churches to which to send viewers, but God does require an obedient leadership who respects Bible authority. “Well, we cannot be all-knowing, you know,” someone might object. No, one cannot be omniscient about what is going on in all the churches, but this is not to be used as an excuse for not even trying to have a safeguard strategy in what is stated to non-Christian viewers about fellowship matters. (Eph. 5:11).
We are at war with Satan and his ministers, who give the appearance of being angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14-15). So we are not to ignore the enemy and his phony workers, but instead fight the good fight of the faith laying hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12). When teaching others after delivering a gospel lesson, at the end of the lesson simply neglecting one’s duty by ignoring the unpleasant thought that there is a great apostasy among church leaderships is just wrong. Encouraging the viewers to go to just any building which has a sign in its front yard saying, “Church Of Christ,” is to be under the anathema of God (Gal. 1:8 [see the word “accursed”]). Such a practice implies that it is scriptural to encourage truth-seekers to connect with and follow false teachers (in contradiction to 2 John 10-11). Placed in a proposition form one can easily see that such is but “another gospel” (Gal. 1:8).
*Christian Fellowship, 1998, Michael Hatcher, Ed. 1998. Chapter entitled, “Fellowship And Giving” by Gary L. Grizzell, p. 235, specifically p. 248.