The pursuit of relevancy by New Evangelicals has caused their continuing and gradual compromise of truth. Because of this dialog, most of the participants began to try to find the most reducible form of the Gospel to which they could agree to have a degree of unity. This Soteriological Reductionism came forth in three main streams within Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism by the 1950's:
1. Easy Believism (New Evangelicalism)
2. Only Believism (Evangelicalism)
3. Easy Prayerism (much of Fundamentalism; One, Two, Three, say it after me!)
Paul's message in Galatians 1:6-9 is clear: If the Gospel can be perverted in any way, evangelism is perverted as well as the necessary faith that brings genuine salvation and conversion. These three forms of Soteriological Reductionism have filled evangelical local churches with people masquerading as "born again" Christians when in reality, most of them are nothing more than "whited sepulchers." This reality exists because all three forms of Reductionism are perversions in varying degrees of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Easy Believism has four basic tenets: 1. A conversion experience is the only thing necessary for genuine salvation (whatever defines that experience). If a person can testify to a time he accepted/received Christ into his heart, that person has eternal security and should be given assurance of salvation. Therefore, a testimony of such an experience was sought to give assurance that salvation had taken place. Many types of experiences are accepted for this assurance. 2. There are no rules or standards expected within the Christian life after one was saved. Anyone saying that such things existed under grace was a legalist. 3. Once saved and having received the Holy Spirit, the Christian is at liberty to make decisions according to the Holy Spirit's leading of his conscience. The Word of God is not the only way God directs believers to His will. Dogmatic applications of doctrine should be avoided and personal liberty should be allowed free expression.
Only Believism (Evangelicalism)
Although Only Believism is less Reductionism than Easy Believism, it is equally perverting. Only Believism reduces the the believer's response to Gospel to only believing. In other words, all responses to obey the Gospel (Romans 10:16) such as repentance, receiving, confessing, and calling upon the name of Jesus are all the same as, and are encapsulated in only believing. These various responses are not individual acts and are all merely aspects of believing that need not be expressed individually. All the other verbs describe aspects of a salvation decision, but these aspects cannot be reduced to only believing. In other words, repenting of sin (Luke 24:7) and "dead works" (Hebrews 6:1), understanding (Matthew 13:23), believing the objective facts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:37; 16:31-32), publicly confessing one's belief that Jesus is Jehovah (Romans 10:9; "LORD," see Joel 2:32), calling on the name of Jesus to save (Romans 10:13), and receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12) are all aspects of a proper response to the Gospel in a genuine salvation decision and should be explained in the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. True Evangelism involves both the explanation of the objective facts of the Gospel and the objective required responses to the Gospel in order for true, supernatural "conversion" to be created.
4. Not every Christian will live a godly life, therefore the genuineness of his conversion should not be judged by outward circumstances or by external evidences of habitual carnality.
Table of Contents
Five Verbs of Salvation
Biblical Examples of Repentance in Conversion
Understanding Corruption and Repentance
Believing with the Heart
The Journey to Confessing Christ
Confessing Jesus as Lord
Calling Jesus Lord
Calling on the Name of Jesus
The Sinner’s Prayer
The Confusion of False Professions
Propping Up False Conversions