Sunday, October 7, 2018
Come As You Are?
The “Come as you are, God accepts you where you are at” doctrine is closely aligned with the tolerance movement that is popular in our secular society. … this is laying the foundations for some serious religious disillusionment down the road. The real test of any Christian teaching, however, is not either its short-term or long-term consequences, but whether or not it is found in the Word of Go. How does this doctrine stand tup to that test?
Is there any biblical truth behind “come as you are”? It certainly reflects the biblical principle that to God “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation; we cannot make ourselves clean enough to be acceptable to God. But does that also mean we can stay as we are?
John Makujina, a scholar who assiduously researched the CCM movement, has stated that,
Whereas many conservatives preached what amounts to “Clean yourself up before you receive Christ,” the Jesus movement [where CCM began] said more biblical, “Come as you are.’ The problem however was that come as you are more often meant “remain as you are,” at least as far as music, language, clothing, and social habits are concerned.
The only biblical justification I have heard for this doctrine is the story in John 8 concerning the woman caught in adultery. But we cannot forget that after the Pharisees left, Jesus said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Jesus did not accept her as she was—he commanded her to change. Neither does Jesus accept us as we are. When we become his disciples, he expects us to sin no more, to show a change in our affections from idols to him, and for us to turn from the loss of the world and love him.
There is no biblical proof of a God who accepts anyone for “who he is.” God is not interested in our self-esteem or our filthy rags. Examine the evidence and judge for yourself. … Jesus did not accept a sinner’s sin. He preached repentance from sin to everyone, not just to the Pharisees. …
The New Testament clearly teaches that genuine conversion produces a changed—and changing—life. … The honest “seeker” must conclude that this “come as you are” teaching of God’s unconditional acceptance is at best misleading. We cannot come to God just as we are, with our sin unconfessed or ignored or draped all over us, and still expect his acceptance. We cannot drag our favourite worldly music, dress and language into the church, and expect a blessing! That is wishful thinking with no basis in Scripture. Nor would we want “unchurched seekers” to believe they can hang on to their sins and still be accepted by God. …
Acceptance doctrine is so pervasive in some fellowships that Christians are no longer allowed to question another Christian’s behaviour or personal preferences. If you confront another in love, you will be accused of judging them. If you dare quote chapter and verse from the Bible, you will be called a Pharisee. If a church has any practices that step on the toes anyone’s personal preferences, then it is considered to be a legalistic church. …
In this new Church of Acceptance, showing tolerance for worldly affections and behaviours is far more important than exercising biblical discernment. A person is simply not allowed to question another’s personal preference, and if he does, then he must produce a specific Bible verse to back it up.