It is an astonishing fact that when you ask many Christians, even those who are pastors or youth pastors, if they know what the Gospel is, they are unable to give an adequate answer. They have spent such little time preaching the Gospel that they are unable to enunciate exactly what it is when asked. The answer to the question is actually very simple and should have been taught to every Christian on day one. Paul defined it very plainly:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scripture…” (I Corinthians 15:1-3).
The problem gets even worse when you ask these Christians how they share the gospel if they do not even know what it is. I once asked a missionary if he witnesses to unbelievers by telling them that Christ died for their sins. He became a little uncomfortable and stated that he does not tell them this until they are a part of the church community.
If the Gospel is good news, that should be the first thing out of our mouths when explaining our faith to unbelievers.
This is an appalling approach to witnessing, and it may explain why there are so few devoted Christians in the church today. It seems that increasing the church community has taken precedence over the sharing of the Gospel to the detriment of the church. It has gotten to the point where growing the ‘church community’ is emphasized more than the salvation of souls.
When we say that Christ died for our sins, we are saying that Jesus, who was God in human flesh and perfect in righteousness, died as a propitiation for the sins of his people. We are also saying that we are born spiritually dead in our sins, and without this sacrifice, we remain under the wrath of God and destined for hell. God crushed His only Son so that we could put our faith in Christ, to satisfy God’s wrath, and by so doing, we could be declared justified by our faith in Christ’s death on the cross.
This is the message that Christ ordered his ambassadors, namely Christians, to deliver to his enemies, namely the unbelievers. Unfortunately, many so-called Christians have taken it upon themselves to change this message to make it more suitable to the culture. The problem is that Jesus is our King, and he has made it clear that if you are truly his ambassador, then you must deliver the message with which you were entrusted. Christ’s parable of the Talents addresses this very issue, and those who possess only one talent do not fair very well. Unfortunately, most ‘Christians’ have decided they do not like the message that Christ ordered them to deliver and, in their faithlessness, took it upon themselves to amend it.
There now seems to be a concerted effort among the more popular preachers and teachers to completely deconstruct the Gospel and replace it with something else. The ‘something else’ appears to be the ‘gospel’ of social justice, which is no gospel at all.
This seems to be the case when we examine the Emergent Church Movement, which began around 1970. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), the following describes the Emergent Church Movement [with my commentary included in bold]:
The Emergent Church is a trans-denominational, praxis-oriented [a Marxist revised Hegelian Dialectic], noncentralized movement that seeks to reconfigure, to varying degrees, the theology [to reconfigure the Gospel and empty it of its meaning], worship [from reverent to profane], biblical hermeneutics [to deemphasize the Bible], and social engagement of the Church, in light of the cultural and intellectual shift [degeneration] from modernity [the belief in absolute truth] to postmodernity [the rejection of absolute truth]. Though the movement originally comprised those who had become dissatisfied with conservative evangelicalism [Christianity as described by Jesus], it soon grew to include members of mainline Protestant churches [which were the first to accept this heresy and achieve ‘dead’ status].
One can properly distinguish the terms “Emerging” and “Emergent” by remembering that there is a wide variety of theological traditions and liturgical expressions within the broad phenomenon of the Emerging churches, whereas the term “Emergent” is a more precise term [as these churches ’emerge’ as corpses], often associated with particular publications produced by the Zondervan publishing house and with three thinkers: Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and Tony Jones [who were the first to successfully adopt the Marxist attempt to deconstruct the Gospel, and replace it with social justice].
The Emergent Church movement attempted to render the Gospel meaningless through the following strategies:
- Insisting that the church must change with the culture if it is to remain relevant. In Christianity, the culture conforms to God, not vice versa.
- Emphasizing experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward, and feelings over truth (gotquestions.org). This emphasis empties the Gospel of any real meaning.
- Demanding unity with those who are ashamed of the Gospel to not offend them, so the church community does not fracture. However, these people are under no obligation to concern themselves with not offending Christians who stand firm on the Gospel.
The Emergent Church has had great success in watering down the Gospel so that it has become practically meaningless. There are numerous examples of how this is done, but only two will be offered to make the point more salient. The first is Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life.”
In his best-selling book, Warren claims that the purpose of Christianity is to serve God and take care of one another as part of God’s family. This is the first red flag. The purpose of Christianity is to save souls from the fires of hell by proclaiming the Gospel, not to take care of God’s family. Although this sounds really sweet, taking care of each other is something we do instinctively when we receive the gift of faith. Paul was very clear as to what was of “first importance.”
This is how the deconstruction of the Gospel begins, at least where Warren is concerned.
Warren writes, “Preparing you for these two questions is the goal of this book. The first question will determine where you spend eternity. The second question will determine what you do in eternity. By the end of this book, you will be ready to answer both questions.”
The first question Warren asks is, “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?” This sounds pious enough until you realize how ambiguous the question is. At least Warren acknowledges Jesus as the Son of God. But what did we do with him? We did not do anything with him other than obey his command to proclaim repentance for the forgiveness of sins in his name. We further obeyed him by baptizing all nations, teaching them to obey all that Christ commanded. Jesus is not a tool that we wield for our own benefit or to find our purpose. He is a King who gave us a message to proclaim.
The next question is equally ambiguous. “What did you do with what I gave you?” Jesus gave us the Gospel so we could proclaim it, which Warren, unfortunately, failed to do.
Rick Warren failed to proclaim God’s law and his Gospel as he was commanded to do. In other words, he failed in what he stated was his primary purpose, which was to serve God. Instead, he preached a different Gospel called “The Purpose-Driven Life.” It seems that his mission was to deconstruct the Gospel and replace it with meaningless, man-made gibberish. In this way, he helped fulfill the mission of the Emergent Church movement, which was to empty the Gospel of its meaning.
By neglecting to proclaim the Gospel, Warren also failed in his second purpose, which he claimed was to care for the family of God. We serve the family of God by proclaiming the Gospel and thereby comforting it and making it grow. So much for all the useless ‘love’ talk that comes out of these types of pastors.
What is even more concerning is that those few Christians who stood up to oppose this ‘different gospel’ were shouted down by the hirelings who inhabit most of the pulpits in this country. They ‘loved’ Warren’s self-centered twaddle more than they loved the Gospel of Christ.
The second example of a Gospel deconstructionist in action is provided by Tim Keller. In the following video, Tim Keller is asked by a group of young people to explain the Christian view of homosexuality.
This question is a dream come true for any Christian who is anxious to share the Gospel. When young people come to us and ask us about our faith, this is a golden opportunity to share the love, mercy, and grace of Christ.
Unfortunately, Keller proceeded to deconstruct the Gospel through the process of over-intellectualization. You can almost see those listening become glassy-eyed, or falling asleep, as he launches into a diatribe devoid of substance. Keller briefly looks thoughtful and then claims that “there are three things that Christians say” regarding homosexuality. Even though no Christian says these things, these are the three things that we allegedly say:
- “We” invoke the good Samaritan parable (which has nothing to do with homosexuality). “We” then retreat into the ‘love’ gospel (which is a different Gospel than the one Paul preached), where we are supposed to make the world a great place for everyone regardless of belief.
- “We” inform the enemies of Christ that the gospel pulls out the self-righteousness of the Christians who are the cause of great suffering to gay people (Jesus neglected to tell us this is what the Gospel does). Since the Gospel is all about love thy neighbor rather than repentance for the forgiveness of sins, “we” no longer should self-righteously call people to repent of their lawlessness. According to Keller, the Gospel is meant to condemn the Christian who delivers the message, not call the unbeliever the repent.
- When the Bible tells us how we should live, it is telling us how we should live according to God’s ‘design.’ Keller reluctantly admits that sex is for a man and a woman inside the marriage relationship. He gets around to telling these young people that homosexuality is a violation of God’s ‘design’ (when it is, in fact, a violation of God’s law’). Unfortunately, the only reason God tells us that we are violating his design is not because it is a sin but because we are ‘missing out’ on something better.
The takeaway from this pointless form of witnessing is that homosexuality is not God’s best for you (although it may be God’s second-best for you).
The Christian response to this question is that homosexuality is a terrible sin in the eyes of God. But we have good news for all homosexuals. Jesus died for this sin, and he calls all who are involved in same-sex relationships to repent and be forgiven in His Holy name. He also calls those who approve of it to repent as well.
Rick Warren and Tim Keller are supposed to be giants of the faith. When we examine their words, we find that they water down the Gospel until it is meaningless. Jesus spoke of them in the Parable of the Talents (with my commentary in bold):
“He also who had received the one talent [a measure of faith in the Gospel] came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed [you are unjust], so I was afraid [I had no faith in you], and I went and hid your talent in the ground [I refused to preach the Gospel]. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers [You should have shared the Gospel with someone else who might have used it wisely], and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest [the faith still would have spread].
“So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has [faith in the Gospel] will more be given, and he will have an abundance [He will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven]. But from the one who has not [no Faith in the Gospel], even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness [woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel]. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'” (Matthew 25:24-30).
It is a wonder that anyone would trade the pure Gospel of Christ for the steaming pile of freshly laid dog droppings of finding one’s purpose or ‘social justice.’ Apparently, modern-day pastors have found that it is more profitable to slop the pigs in their congregation rather than feed the sheep.
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes that he would convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). He came at Pentecost and indwelt the church to carry out this task. He did not come to tell the world that God loves you, or to help you find your purpose, or to make sure you do not miss out on something. And he certainly did not come to promote the evil of social justice.
So, when you look around the world and wonder why there is so much violence, perversion and lawlessness, you need look no further than the church. The end-times churches of Sardis and Laodicea have failed this generation. The blame for all of the evil that is currently running amok in this society and around the world can be laid at the feet of these churches and the hirelings that lead them.
Our current government reflects the spiritual condition of the church. If anyone is paying attention to our present government, it is easy to see how Godless, faithless and corrupt it is. Since judgment begins in the house of God, the church will be the first to answer for this situation.
Many who preach from our pulpits today believe that Jesus is a hard man who makes unreasonable demands of his servants. Apparently, the Gospel is very hurtful and causes great emotional pain to the sinner, so the message needs to be amended by the ‘experts.’ Unfortunately for these pastors, Jesus will come on a day when such preachers do not expect him and at an hour that they do not know.
When Christ returns, they will be cut to pieces and placed with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
April 11, 2022