Saturday, September 16, 2006

The New Social Gospel

One of the dangers we were warned about when we became believers, if you were saved decades ago, was the social gospel. This was defined as meeting the needs of the poor and allowing the gospel to be inherent in the act of kindness itself. This approach reasoned that sinners would see Christ in the good works of Christians as they were fed and clothed and that the sharing of the gospel was not necessary or at least subservient. An object lesson was the Salvation Army which started ministering to the needs of the poor as a bridge to preach the saving grace of Jesus Christ, but which has mostly morphed into a "soup kitchen" and the preaching seems to be given a back seat Spiritually. It is assumed that its founder William Booth would not recognize what he started.

Today there is another social gospel that has been birthed and now flourishes in most evangelical churches. This preaching centers on meeting the needs of poor and rich alike, I call it the "me gospel". It accepts the doctrine of original sin as a statement of faith doctrine but never brings it to the pulpit, so instead of sinners becoming anxious about their sin as they sit in the pew, they let the car salesman disguised as a preacher try and convince them that Jesus is what they need to iron out some of the difficulties they are experiencing in their lives. And the salesmen attempt to make Jesus relevant, so, if the audience is affluent they project Jesus as a worry remover. If they are poor they project Jesus as a wealth builder. If they are having marital problems they project Jesus as a counselor. If they have low self esteem they project Jesus as a motivator. That, my friends, is nothing more than the new social gospel at best and flat out lies at worst.

What did the Holy Spirit come to earth to accomplish? In John 16 the Word tells us that the Spirit will REPROVE the world of sin, righteousness, and of judgment. Paul says that we should, "Preach the Word...reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine". Reprove? Where do you hear any reproving from most pulpits today? Jesus didn't come to strengthen marriages, as a matter of fact he is the cause of some breakups. Some people take a financial step backward after coming to Christ. And the question surfaces that is one of the most profound ecclesiastical inquiries of our time. Can a person be saved without being convicted of his sin? Is a person saved who "accepts Christ" because he has been told Jesus will heal his marriage (etc.)? That gospel is as dangerous as any, and in fact it is using Jesus not preaching Him!

Hell is not judgment for people who had a bad marriage, or were not successful, or were overweight, or were not sexually creative with their spouse, hell is God's judicial punishment for unforgiven sinners and His offer of salvation is wholly based on the forgiveness of sins through the Sacrificial Lamb, His Son. No other message can save, but today so called preachers by the thousands are offering a false, social gospel that claims that the Sin Bearer will solve your earthly problems and the only things that you will have to forsake are the things you already don't want! Blasphemy at the core! This is a false gospel being spread WITHIN the accepted parameters of evangelical circles by polished, prosperous orators who have learned from seminaries how to attract a crowd and not how to please God.

It is the last days, brethren, and we are witnessing the prophesied falling away that is a falling away from Jesus Himself. If the average church removed all its programs for one year and only prayed and preached, so many people would leave it would default on the bank note that was borrowed from the anti-christ bank system. Today's preachers have so addicted the sheep to cotton candy and self help instructional messages that they would suffer pangs of withdrawal that would send most scurrying to another venue. And when the preacher's salary took a major hit he would abandon the sheep/bill/fold for greener($) pastures.

And finally many people who on some level see this horror, struggle to leave the church that they know God has left. Earthly relationships are hard to leave even when confronted with the Holy Spirit's leading. Choose you this day who you will serve. There is a massive opportunity to honor God. Take it or leave it.

"...and they will turn away from the truth..."

8 comments:

Kim T said...

Well said, brother.

carla said...

Thanks R.

luvvom said...

It is a very humanistic gospel. I listened to the 3-part sermon of God's Holiness preached by Paul Washer. In one of these sermons, he asked his students of ministry if they ever lost sleep at night knowing that there were lost souls out in the world and they replied, "Yes, of course" and he said, "That's good. But have you ever lost sleep at night knowing that there are not people out in those same places proclaiming God's glory?" He said that that is the difference between humanistic evangelism and Godly evangelism. I think your post nails it on the head. In ALL that we do, we are to glorify God.
Thanks, Rick!

Mike Ratliff said...

Sarah, well said!

Rick, thanks for this great disseration on the Social Gospel. You are right on.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

Baptist Girl said...

Hi Rick,
It's frightening out there now a days. We are seeking a new church because we could not stay where we felt God was not the Head. Pride has crept into our formal church and after much prayer, we feel the Lord does not want us there. It's so hard becasue you get so close to Brothers and Sister and then when you leave it is almost like a divorce..it is very very painful, But truth is most important in our lives.

Cristina

Jessica said...

"Jesus didn't come to strengthen marriages, as a matter of fact he is the cause of some breakups."

Ahhh...but He is able to breathe new life into what was once thought dead. And from the ashes, He creates something new and vibrant... All for His glory... for He hates divorce...always has and always will...regardless that it has become the social norm... satan is attacking the family because it is precious to God. Only Jesus can keep us from destroying each other...

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Amen, Jessica. But Jesus wants to breathe His life into a marriage by drawing both partners closer to Him, not through some techniques that improve the marriage but do not improve individual committment to Him. But what I was referring to was the Scripture that says that some unbelievers will leave after their spouses become a believer. Sad...

Jessica said...

I should have known that's what you meant! Thanks for clarifying...