In the classic poem, “Pippa Passes,” written by Robert Browning and published in 1841, there is a song sung throughout the poem by a poor orphan girl named Pippa, the main character in the poem. One of the song’s lyrics is, “God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world.” There are likely as many opinions on the meaning of Browning’s words as there are readers of his poetry. Knowing that the main character of the poem, the abused orphan girl, Pippa, lives her life as a child who is abused and forced to work in a silk mill 364 days a year (she got New Year’s Day off), it sounds like pure satire to believe that Browning was, in fact, trying to convince his readers that the lyric was actually his belief.
The World is in Chaos
Surveying the chaotic situation in the world today, it is inconceivable for anyone with a minimum of intelligence to believe that “all’s right with the world” or that “everything is just fine.” There are wars being contemplated, or actually fought, somewhere on the planet on an almost daily basis. Nations rise up against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms; pestilence, starvation and famine are rampant in many countries, and earthquakes are increasing in intensity and frequency (Matthew 24:6-7).
There is little, if any, true peace anywhere, even in the United States. Jesus, in Matthew 24, told us these events were coming, so no true Christian should be surprised at the appearance of these prophetic events. Jesus told His disciples, and through them, all of us, that these events would come to pass before the end of the world (the age).
Knowing that we were told this, what should the Church, the “Body of Christ,” be doing? Jesus never revoked His Great Commission, given to His followers shortly before He ascended to heaven:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Mission of the Body of Christ
It is clear from Jesus’s words that we, the Church, should be doing the same work Jesus was assigned by His Father, spreading the gospel to the lost and dying world. But, just what is this gospel that is meant to be preached around the world? Is it the Baptist gospel, the Methodist gospel, the Lutheran gospel, the Presbyterian gospel, the Episcopalian gospel, the Catholic gospel, or the “non-denominational gospel” (if that still exists)? Are there really that many gospels, or is there still only one, the same gospel first preached and taught by Jesus Himself, then spread by His disciples, mostly by Saint Paul?
Paul wrote a large portion of the New Testament, so perhaps we should look at some of his words to get the answer. In Ephesians chapters four and five, Paul tells the believers in Ephesus, and by extension, the entire Body of Christ, how we are to live and what we are to be doing in these “End-Time Days.” Obedience to the words of the Holy Spirit through Paul will equip the believer to become a successful ‘spreader of the gospel.’
To answer the question of multiple gospels, Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
Notice that Paul did not say, the ‘gospels, plural’ – ‘Baptist gospel, the Methodist gospel’, etc., – but he said THE gospel, and IT (not they, as in multiple gospels) is the power of God. In many places in His word, God clearly states that He alone is God, and He does not change. In that case, Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, also does not change. And, since Jesus is the Word made flesh, the Word does not change.
The problem that made so many ‘gospels’ appear is the failure of believers to accept the simplicity of the gospel preached by Jesus and His disciples. Human nature, that sinful nature we are all born with, rose up and either challenged, or rejected, the gospel in its simplicity; this action resulted in changes, deletions, or additions to it so that more people would accept it and join together in some kind of common belief that is more ‘comfortable’ than the truth.
It is a fact that the pure, raw truth of God’s Word makes sinners, and some Christians, very uncomfortable. However, acceptance of the Truth is the only way that either Jew or Gentile can be saved and made free.
As it is written, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
The truth, the pure gospel, must be preached in its pureness and simplicity without adding to, or taking away from it. That pure gospel so preached, will, through the inherent power of it, change the hearts of sinners.
The Great Commission Based on God’s Love
Jesus’ clear command to preach His word, the gospel of salvation, the gospel of Christ, was based on the love of God as stated in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
It must be understood that Christ is not the last name of Jesus; rather, it is a statement of who He is, the one anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. The word Christ is the English translation of the Greek word, Christos, which is a transliteration of the Hebrew word, Mashiach, meaning ‘the one anointed.’ If we are to truly be ‘Christlike,’ as the word Christian is defined, should we not also follow the example of Christ in all that we do?
To complete the Great Commission involves more than just telling sinners about Jesus; it is acting like Him and doing the same and even greater works that Jesus said we should do.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).
In this scripture, Jesus explained how He was to accomplish the command given by His Father: through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Since His time on earth in a flesh-and-blood body was so limited, He knew that believers in Him would have to function exactly as He did to complete that command. He thus commanded that the word as stated in Luke 4:18, which Jesus quoted directly from Isaiah 61:1, be preached to every creature, making of them disciples; they were to teach them exactly what they had been taught by Jesus.
The command given by Jesus to His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) has never changed and is still in effect. There are many groups who attempt to ‘evangelize’ people, whether in their home country or in foreign lands, supposedly following Jesus’ command. However, if the ‘gospel they use in their attempted evangelizing is any other than what Jesus introduced, and Paul so clearly taught, all such attempts are only exercises in futility, and will accomplish little.
The Gospel is for Jew AND Gentile
Jesus and Paul both stated that the gospel of Christ was “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia concerning the status of every person who is a true believer in Christ: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
However, it appears that there are many naming themselves as Christians who believe this does not include Israel, or the Jewish nation. The Jews of the world, the ‘apple of God’s eye,’ despite their status as “God’s Chosen People,” are as much in need of real salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ as any Gentile person. And, thank God, there are many Jews who have accepted the fact that Jesus was and is the prophesied Messiah, the Saviour of the world, both of the Jews and the Gentiles.
The promise given to Abraham by God, recorded in Genesis 12:1-3, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,” has not been rescinded by God; it is still a promise to all those who choose to bless the offspring of Abraham. What better way to bless the Jews, the ‘apple of God’s eye,’ than to share with them the love of the Messiah?
Denominational Activism-The Atlanta Church Summit Document
I want to encourage everyone reading this article to access the document using the link provided: (https://mitriraheb.blogspot.com/2016/04/atlanta-church-summit-document-pursuing.html).
I just finished reading this document of which, until a few days ago, I was totally unaware. The document was the result of a two-day “summit,” a meeting held in April 2016, at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted by none other than former US president Jimmy Carter, the great Israel-hater. It was created by a large group of men and women from various Christian denominations, mostly listed as “Heads of Churches and Ecumenical Bodies” in the US and around the world.
The document provides a list of all denomination-connected persons who took part in the “summit” as well as a list of noteworthy individuals who signed the document, including a prominent member of the Palestinian Authority Diplomatic corps, Riyad Mansour (is he a Christian?) and former US President Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright. The document was the result of the two-day meeting which consisted mostly of Israel-bashing and denunciations of Israel for daring to even exist.
The document, known as the Atlanta Church Summit Document, and titled “Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence: The Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land,” is extremely disturbing in its content since it exposes the high level of ignorance, stupidity or evil, and possibly a combination of all three, of many well-known “so-called” Christians and entire denominations regarding God’s position on the Jews and the Land of Israel as clearly stated in the “gospel.”
In case you are unaware, the gospel is the ‘good news’ of the plan of salvation, recorded in both the Old and New Testaments, of how God in His great love and mercy has provided the only way to be redeemed from the curse of the law and given, absolutely free, salvation from sin. In the documentation of this ‘good news,’ it is impossible to separate that redemption and salvation plan of God from Israel and the Jews, since the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, was and is a Jew, a descendant of Abraham.
Since Jerusalem is the city where God placed His name, it is thus impossible to separate Jerusalem from the gospel.
The group responsible for the Atlanta Church Summit Document clearly states in the document that Israel has been “illegally occupying the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza” in defiance of UN resolutions and international laws for the past 51 years. The boundaries of the land of Israel, the land given by Almighty God for an “eternal inheritance” to Abraham and his descendants, are outlined in the gospel; and since Israel is now residing well within those boundaries, they absolutely cannot be “occupying Palestine.”
If the group that wrote this despicable document has any problem with what they deem to be the “Palestine occupation issue,” they need to address it with God and His law, and not demand that the Jews adhere to their phony UN resolutions and so-called “international law.”
Now, why did I title this article “Denominational Failure”?
The Atlanta Church Summit Document was signed by the heads of, or representatives of, at least 12 well-known mainline denominations in the United States as well as the General Secretary of The World Council of Churches. In addition, the document was signed by representatives of more than 25 “church-related organizations” and forty individuals, including Riyad Mansour, a member of the Palestinian Authority diplomatic corps since 1983 and the “permanent observer for the PA to the UN.” It was also signed by the pastor of former president Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright.
It is easy to search the names of the signers of this document and see that most are somewhat, or completely, biased against Israel and in favor of the “Palestinian Cause” in their ideologies and beliefs.
Many of the listed denominations have historically been a large part of the work of sending the gospel around the world and were known to have been “on fire for God” in their zeal for the gospel. Since so many representatives of the well-known mainline denominations signed this document, it is a clear indication that these groups are now more involved in political/religious activism than any effort to provide the pure gospel to a lost and dying world.
They seem to have bought into the notion that the “church” (at least the phony pseudo-church, not the true Body of Christ) has replaced the Jews as God’s chosen earthly people; therefore, they act as though the Jewish people and the nation of Israel have no need to be evangelized with the good news that Jesus, the Jewish rabbi from Nazareth, is still accepting all those, both Jew and Gentile, who will accept him and believe on His name.
They also seem to have accepted the devilish narrative that there MUST be a ‘two-state solution’ for peace to occur in the Middle East. Since there have never been any historical people named Palestinians who ever occupied the land God gave to the Jews, how can there be a legitimate state named Palestine?
If the world wants such a state to exist, they should look somewhere other than the land within the borders God gave for Israel’s inheritance. Any Christian who truly believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God must reject any notion of a state for an illegitimate people within those borders.
It would be very wrong to doubt that the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 within the God-given borders outlined in God’s Word is anything but fulfilled prophecy from God; however, many of these denominations, and many individuals in the “church world” (whatever that is), seem to be easily convinced that the Jewish people have no legitimate place there.
Short of demanding that the Jews leave the land, they state in their ignorance or stupidity that ‘peace’ can be achieved by ripping the Promised Land from the hands of the Chosen People and giving it to a ragtag bunch of imposters. Though they appear to be certain they are on the right side in this endeavor, and have convinced many nations as well as individuals of their ‘rightness,’ it is another matter altogether to convince God that they are right and He is wrong.
There are many signs of apostasy, or a falling away from Truth, occurring in mainline denominations on an almost daily basis; but this document offers clear proof that the denominations that were once the ones most responsible for evangelizing the world from the United States are now failing to follow the gospel that Jesus wanted preached “in all the world.”
The denominational leaders along with the individuals who signed the Atlanta Church Summit Document, like so many past and present world leaders and politicians who arrogantly believe they can achieve a ‘lasting peace’ in the Middle East, are thumbing their noses at the God of Israel and declaring that they know more than the creator of the universe.
The Bible clearly states that a lasting peace in and around the Holy Land will not occur until Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, returns, defeats His enemies at the Battle of Armageddon, and sets up His everlasting throne in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Until then, any attempt to establish a manmade Middle East peace will place all who work to that end in a very precarious position, face to face with God Himself.
The writer of Hebrews told us what that situation is like: “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31).
All those who read these writings at RaptureReady and who trust in God, His Son and the Word, and believe the pure and simple gospel contained therein, should endeavor to carry out the Great Commission spoken by Jesus and not try to separate the Jewish people—the people from whom we received the law and the prophets—from the God who made them His chosen ones. Nor should we be so ready to listen to the world as it spouts its hateful rhetoric against Israel and the Jews.
To do otherwise, and to join in any attempt to separate the Jews from the Promised Land, and especially the City of Jerusalem, the city where God’s name still resides, would be to place oneself in the “fearful place” mentioned above.