by Mike Ratliff
8 Ephraim mixes himself with the nations;
Ephraim has become a cake not turned. Hosea 7:8 (NASB)
The Gospel is not something given to us in such a way that gives us the right to edit it. Nor is it our prerogative to change the focus of our local churches from what God intended. Both the Church Growth movement and Wokeism does both. Both of these movements are based on ideologies rooted in pragmatism. These ideologies say that if something produces the desired results then it must be right and, therefore, the will of God. However, there is a major flaw in this because it begins with a false assumption.
That assumption is that the Gospel is editable, therefore, they change it. The Church Growth movement waters the gospel down in order to make it more palatable to the lost. Wokeism adds to the gospel social issues rooted in cultural Marxism. The Bible clearly teaches that the Gospel is offensive to the lost. The exclusivity of it runs contrary to the humanistic, relativistic culture we are in in the early 21st Century. Christ said that the way to salvation is through a narrow, hard to find gate. Those who enter by it find themselves on a difficult, dangerous path, but it is the only way to the Father. Those blind guides who are working to invoke Wokeism attempt to change the meaning of the gospel to fit their ideology to produce power structures within the visible church from which they can control the people who have been blinded by their lies. In both cases pragmatism is the methodology behind how they operate, not by obeying God, nor obeying His Word.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14 (NASB)
Christ also taught over and over that those who enter this narrow gate are those chosen out of the world and, therefore, the world hates them.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. John 15:19 (NASB)
Therefore, what sort of reasoning has taken place in the Church Growth movement that demands all churches to be transformed from gatherings of saints for fellowship, discipleship, prayer, and worship into world-freiendly, man-loving, non-gospel preaching entertainment venues? If you read Rick Warren’s books, for instance, you will find that the man says a lot of good things, but he leaves out the things that we contend are imperative for the health of the flock. For instance, it is very important that we hear the Gospel, the whole Gospel, even if we are in Christ. When I say the whole Gospel I mean that we need to know that outside of Christ all of us are offenders of God’s Law. None of us deserve anything but judgment. Then we need to hear of God’s glory and how far we are from Him. Then we need to hear the glorious Good News of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to pay the price for our sins. This Good News says that all who believe God here and trust in Christ alone to save them, will be saved.
However, the edited version of the Gospel leaves out the offense of our sin and utter dependence on God to save us. It leaves out the offense of the cross. It leaves out the need to repent of our sins. Instead, this new version of the Gospel is focused on an offer that those hearing it can have a purpose to their lives, or that they can have meaning to their lives, or that they can have a personal relationship with Jesus. While those things are products of salvation, they are not the Gospel.
Wokeism on the other hand is being implemented in government and throughout the business sector. I work for a company that is showing all the signs of being Woke. I am so glad I am scheduled for retirement later this year. In any case, Woke ideology is used to divide people up into groups of victims with those in power having full control of every sector of how people act, what they say, and what they do not say. In a church, this is deadly because Wokeism comes in and destroys Church Unity. It makes everyone guilty of everyone else’s problems. There is no forgiveness. There is no end to the guilt. This has nothing to do with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, but is an attempt to control people.
The reason preachers edit the Gospel this way is to increase their numbers or, in the case of Wokeism, it is to become socially acceptable. They have believed the ideologies of men rather than trusting in the promises from God’s Word. They have compromised the truth in order to please men. They have mixed themselves with the world and have proven that they are cakes not turned whose product is just more half-baked dough like themselves.
Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned. (Hosea 7:8 ESV)
A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts? To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.
A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humour. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.
If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of Thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from Thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of Thy grace, I must be consumed for ever amid everlasting burnings. – C.H. Spurgeon – from Morning by Morning
Those who contend for pragmatism in our churches are cakes not turned. Their focus is out of balance. They pare off parts of God’s truth and focus only on the parts they like or the parts that seem to support what they are doing. They attract the world to their churches by being like the world, when we are told to not be conformed to the world and that we are called out of it. If the world loves us and likes what we are doing then we are not being the Church, but are being something that has mixed itself with the world. On the other hand, if we do what we are called to do then our ministries and lives will both be an offense to this lost and dying world. Why? We will not be conformed to it. Our lives will cause them to feel the guilt of their sin and that is not pleasant.
In 1980 I was 29 years old, single and a long distance runner. I also moved from the Washington, D.C. area back to Oklahoma to go to work for a large bank here. I worked at night in our data center so I did my running during the day. I had no problems running in D.C. No one ever paid any attention to me at all. However, in my old home town in Oklahoma things were very different. I was training for a 10K race. I would go out for a run as soon as I woke up each day. Part of my run took me by a house that was under construction. Each day I would zip by and a fellow working on that house would scream at me, taunting me, et cetera. I just ignored him, but it was annoying. I ran out about 4 miles or so then ran the same distance back. Then as I ran by that house the fellow would yell, and taunt. I had people actually try to scare me as they would make me think they were going to run over me with their cars as I ran down the highway. Now, why would people do this? I wasn’t bothering anyone. I was just running. My fitness and my running offended them for some reason.
This is an imperfect analogy my brethren, but I believe it is an example of how a godly, Christlike walk will offend the world when it is understood that those who have not believed and repented and trusted Christ alone are not on this path. Our walks should be such that God can ask Satan, have you considered my servant _place your name here_? If we are living like that then our enemy and his seed do take notice. What we must not forget is that God does use this to pierce the hearts of those whom He draws to Himself. They may even be offended at first, but as the Holy Spirit plows their hearts, we must be ready to give an account of God saving us from an eternity in Hell even though we deserved it too. Let us live this way my brethren and shun those who have mixed the Gospel with the ways of the world. They are cakes unturned.
Soli Deo Gloria