The Curse of Positivism


Bill Burkett

Some Christians have become fearful of speaking out against compromise and ungodliness that is deluging the church. If a preacher becomes so vexed in his spirit that he cries out against sin and compromise, he is not respected as a prophet but avoided as trouble maker. The more we ask God for a prophet the less tolerant we become toward those with the prophet’s corrective message.

One of the sins of religious organizations is the phony smiling positivism that often oozes from its preachers. One Bible college president was speaking at a camp I was attending and was constantly telling of the great move of God that was sweeping across the campus. Day after day he would allude to this “great revival” with voice booming. But we all knew that he had just uncovered a scandalous ring of student pimps and prostitutes on his “Christian college” campus. If he had simply made mention at a proper time in one of his messages that “because of recent happenings on our campus I am resolved to remove sin from our campus environment and plead for the prayers of all you pastors in our behalf,” but please don’t revert to the popular political tactic of denial and cover up – and above all don’t cover up sin in the camp with claims of revival!

When demons of deception are being loosed upon the earth and the church is being turned into a laughingstock by sinners, struggling for its very life in a sea of hatred and humanism, it is no time to smile and assure everyone that we are “living in the greatest days of the church’s history”! Read your Bible – we are living in the time of apostasy! It is disgusting to hear these young preachers pick up on this positivism and learn to smile and shout with excitement until the crowd roars with approval. This is no time to let revert to falsehood over truth, but it is time to gird up our loins – we’re nearing the end of this race for a crown incorruptible.

Charismatics and deceived holiness preachers assure us that “These are great days, God is sending an outpouring of His Spirit upon the church”! But all the time we know that rank worldliness, immorality, promiscuity and compromise is worsening by the day. That Bible college president should have called all of the preachers around him and confessed the sin of the school, have them lay hands on him and beg for their prayers – he should have been repenting and weeping at the alters! not throwing out a smoke screen of lies. Positivism is a deceptive lie that does not resemble how the Bible teaches us to deal with sin in the camp!

We are smiling when we ought to be weeping.
We make false boasts when we should be repenting.
We accentuate positive with high sounding falsehoods and eliminate the negative life changing truth that crucifies the insidious and deceptive flesh nature.
We are polishing brass on a sinking ship when we should be manning the life boats and warning souls to be saved.

We have ignored the commandment to “be sober” and become clowns making light of eternal matters.

Have we lost our stomach to reprove sin and remain separated from it? Have we lost our austerity in spiritual matters? Is the only time we get serious is when someone threatens our denominational domain? Have we become more concerned about our earthly success than about the purity and uprightness of the heart? Have statistics and goals and ambition become more important to us than maintaining the Biblical standards of the church?

The philosophies of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller have had a subtle and neutralizing effect on modern evangelicals. As apostates take over the visible church holiness becomes more intimidated assuming a mushy, muted and apologetic mentality toward sin in the church.

Softness has many side effects in the church. Softness has rendered us morally impotent. We have become passive toward behavior we once would not tolerate in the church. Preachers have lost their voice when it comes to sin in the camp.

We have forgotten that Jesus said, I will build my church! But we think we’re building the church and become fearful we will lose people if we check the sin that has come by osmosis into the church. Pastors! Keep your filthy hands off of the church! Your job is to preach the truth from your pulpit and you let Jesus build His church with the creative powers of the Word. It is the Word that builds the church, not you! If you preach pure doctrine from your pulpit Jesus will be able to build a sound church ready for the Bridegroom’s return. But if you stoop to throwing off your responsibility and take on the demonic philosophies of expedience and pragmatism and start building your own mega church, you will end up with the church of Matthew 7:21-23! Jesus is interested in the quality of His product and not the quantity.

Softness says “Don’t tip the boat.”

Softness is “tiptoeing through the tulips,” when it should be treading the winepresses of God alone.

Softness condones what the godly condemn.

Softness is diametric to aggressive faith.

Softness avoids the inconveniences of discipleship.

Softness whines when it should be crying out against the evildoers.

Softness will not undertake the hard places (and the easy places are all taken).

Softness is defensive, disciples are aggressive.

Softness cringes and cowers before eminent evil men.

Softness prefers a mushy gospel over the real one.

Softness is characteristic of fleshy fundamentalism.

Softness subjects judges anything good that panders to the pleasures of personal preferences.

Softness sacrifices truth for trivia if it pleases the crowd that feeds them.


Pastors have become helpless toward sin in the church because the people will not accept correction. They have been made to believe that its negative and what we need is a more positive and pleasant approach to getting people to live for God. Those men left over from the old time religion era are mocked, tolerated and humored. The ministry we once venerated we now despise and hold in contempt. We want preachers to be our friends but we do not want them to reprove us as a man of God.

REGENERATION – Because we are saved in a state of moral degradation. salvation begins with a regenerating experience that gives us the first divine assist in turning the life around, morally, and heading toward God. From that time on we are going in the right direction but seek perfection. Hebrews 6:1.We must also have power over the enticements of the world that appeal to the flesh nature, and power over Satanic influences of false doctrine, and above all control of the flesh nature knowing how to empower the Spirit nature giving it domination of the flesh. Galatians 5:17.

WATER BAPTISM – The flesh nature has to be dealt with and be dealt a death blow! So, after conversion we see the command of the Lord to be baptized. When we do this it means we intend to serve Him with the whole heart, soul and body. Through this act the Christian tells the world that he is dead to the old life of flesh and sin and is entering into death with Christ to be raised in newness of life in a new life with Christ. The death of self is my identifying with Christ. It speaks of not only my confirmed faith in Him but it involves His Lordship over me and my complete and utter submission to His Word.

HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM – The proof of the resurrection is the promise that Jesus gave to all the posterity of the church. Luke 24:49; John 15:26; 16:7. The comforter, lawyer, barrister, legal counsel from heaven to guide us through the jungles of sin and darkness, is sent from heaven after the resurrection of Christ and He has returned to the Father. Once He returns to the Father He will ask for the Comforter and the Father will send Him to us as the absolute proof that Jesus the Messiah was indeed raised from dead and has been glorified having returned to His Father’s throne. That gift and evidence of the resurrection is in the form of a supernatural and heavenly language uttered through a yielded vessel as a supernatural prayer by the Holy Spirit through us apart from our human reasoning or knowledge. This gift is to every born again Christian and not to be confused with the gifts of the Spirit given only to operate in the church.
SANCTIFICATION – After conversion and water baptism there begins the pursuit of holiness as the whole objective of the Christian heart. Each Christian is commanded to make a complete consecration to Christ in a deeply sanctifying experience. Every Christian must have the experience of a total surrender to Christ and separation from theism world subsequent to being justified through faith in His blood. Romans 12:1. Then we start the long and joyous journey of moral perfection. Oh, the glorious sense of fulfillment as we see the flesh losing its power as we gain victory after victory over the flesh. That is fulfillment and the efficacy of His cross that brings the true riches and treasures hid in Christ Jesus.

But when the church tolerates worldliness and angers at corrective teaching, worldliness becomes entrenched and preachers start thinking, “If you can’t fight it, join it.” Others take the position that, “I’m just going to live my life of holiness to myself and let the others do what they prefer.” You are a wimp! not a man of God. You have lost your purpose for preaching! We preach to get people saved and to be saved is synonymous with moral transformation and moral perfection. The power of the gospel is given to morally transform those who profess Christ. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12.


  1. Rosetta Thomas Reply
    Awesome word!

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