Emergents, Reform and Band-aids on Bear Bites: What is this Gospel?

It’s been a while since I have written, but alas I have been busy, however, the time off has allowed me to think and get a better grip on some issues facing the Church and relating to the Church. One of the major problems of our time is that people no longer understand what the gospel is. This has manifested itself in so many ways, but perhaps one of the most telling is how the so called ‘emerging church” explains it. As old liberalism (founded in modernism) focused on social justice and needs, so does this new kind of liberal.

I am not suggesting that acts of mercy are not important anymore then Christ was in John 6:26 when He rebuked the poor crowds that were following Him only for food. Did Jesus miss God’s mission for social justice? No. But Jesus did go on to explain the He is the Bread of life, those that believe in Him will never hunger, those who come to Him will never thirst (v35). Towards then end of this entire dialogue with Pharisees who were getting pretty upset with Jesus, Jesus asked Peter if he would also desert Him, like many other disciples just had, notice what peter says in verse 68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life”. I find it so fascinating, Hindu’s, Muslims, New-Agers, mother Teresa, emergents, even atheists all agree that we need tolerance (which was really re-discovered by conservative Baptists in the 1600’s as they grasped the Biblical truth again), does this mean that we all ‘adhere to Jesus’? Is that really what Jesus was about? In John 6 as well? When someone stands up today and talks to a group of poor people about justice and liberty and about ending social injustice do they get full of rage and try though the guy off a cliff (Luke 4)? No, the world loves that kinda talk. Does the Gospel involve helping the poor and freeing the oppressed? Yes, I think it does, James makes it so clear is his epistle, the kind of faith that has no works is dead. But in 1st John, the person who does not believe certain prepositional truths about Christ has no fellowship with the Father.

I plan on writing a lot more on this, but just for now I need to approach this issue of Isaiah, Emergents often appeal to Isaiah, and the number of social ills that God condemned (and still does today, so watch out!) And for all their talk about narrative and reading the story, they appear (at least to me) to not have read the story in Isaiah. For example Isaiah 59:2 shows that the issue is that the individual is not right with God, people are not right with God and are thus in trouble (verse 18). Chapter 66 tells us Christ will come and bring justice; Christ will come and repay each man for his deeds. Unless we as the body of Christ are supposed to be paying people back for their deeds? No, there is a suffering Messiah and then a conquering Messiah. Activism won’t change peoples hearts, petitions wont draw people away from selfishness, giving food and skills to the poor wont give them contentment, taking riches away from the rich wont give them peace. But when the gospel genuinely touches a life their will be fruit, the person who understand the gospel, understands their sin and the grace of God towards them will see their brother in need and give (1 John 3:17), they will not show partiality to the rich (James 2), they will not beat their wife, despise their husband, cheat their employer, oppress their employee, these people energized by the Spirit will live lives of contentment till Christ returns to take His bride the Church.

Christianity is about real change, not superficial social reform.

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