“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
The Primary Mission Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Is To Preach God’s Gospel
If you are following the issue of the postliberal cult of Emergence Christianity here at Apprising Ministries you will see me talk about their reimagined version of the old social gospel as perpetrated by their forebears in the original cult of liberal theology. This Emerging church rebellion against Sola Scriptura, in favor of their highly subjective and existential experience in Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, is downplaying—if not in some cases completely obscuring—the essential work done by Christ in the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement on the Cross.
This heresy then leads to a huge misconception concerning the primary mission that our Lord Jesus has given to His ambassadors; namely, to seek and save the lost just as our Master. He didn’t stutter, nor did He leave us to meditate in silence as to what this is. Jesus quite clearly says, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). As a good example concerning the very wrong teachings by Guru of Emergence Brian McLaren concerning the Gospel of our Lord Dr. John MacArthur has said:
For McLaren, other areas of ambiguity (or even outright disregard for the straightforward reading of Scripture) include doctrines like eternal punishment, eternal life, biblical inerrancy, divine sovereignty, divine masculinity, any doctrinal “distinctive,” and any teaching that would exclude other denominations or even other religions from being enthusiastically embraced (cf. A Generous Orthodoxy, 19, 74, 81, 100, 113-14, 159-60).
As he himself says, “The last thing I want is to get into nauseating arguments about why this or that form of theology (dispensational, covenant, charismatic, whatever) or methodology (cell church, megachurch, liturgical church, seeker church, blah, blah, blah) is right…” (Ibid., 19)… Throughout the rest of The Secret Message of Jesus, McLaren proceeds to present Jesus’ Kingdom message in a way that most closely aligns with the non-eschatological, social activism of twentieth century liberalism. (Online source)
This was often referred to as the social gospel as evidenced in the fantasies of Walter Rauschenbusch, who rejected the Biblical concept of regeneration:
Rauschenbusch’s view of Christianity was that its purpose was to spread a kingdom of God, not through a fire and brimstone style of preaching but by leading a Christlike life. Rauschenbusch did not view Jesus’ death as an act of substitutionary atonement but in his words, he died “to substitute love for selfishness as the basis of human society.” …
Rauschenbusch wrote: “Because the Kingdom of God has been dropped as the primary and comprehensive aim of Christianity, and personal salvation has been substituted for it, therefore men seek to save their own souls and are selfishly indifferent to the evangelization of the world.” Because of his views, Rauschenbusch was largely condemned as heretical, Romish, and socialist. (Online source)
Hmm, does any of that sound just a little bit familiar? In Dr. Walter Martin Exposes The Rotten Roots Of The Postliberal Emerging Church Of Postevangelicalism we showed you what Martin had stated in his lectures circa 1987 concerning what he called “the cult of liberal theology:
The reigning school of American theologians has progressed from bad to worse. We only have to deal with Harry Emerson Fosdick in the 1920s; but then, it accelerated to Edwin Lewis, Nels F.S. Ferre, Reinhold Niebuhr, and on from Niebuhr to Paul Tillich, and crowned in Rudolph Bultmann. Not one single one of those men believed the historic doctrines of the Christian faith; but they were all the leading theologians of America.
[Episcopal] Bishop [John] A.T. Robinson cannot be unfrocked by the Anglican Church despite the fact that he is a living devil when it comes to Christian theology—denying everything and turning the faith of people into darkness. Do you know why they can’t unfrock A.T. Robinson; because [Episcopal leadership] is heretical as he is. Therefore they can’t touch him…
British theology was corrupted by German theology; by Friedrich Schleiermacher, Albrecht Ritschl, David Strauss. Finally [it moved] to the United States in Walter Rauschenbusch; and from there to Harry Emerson Fosdick, Nels Ferre, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Rudolph Bultmann—and the school that’s emerging from them today. (The Cult of Liberal Theology, CD Rom, available at Walter Martin Religious InfoNet
And since the very influential Elvis of Emergence Rob Bell is himself quite taken with Brian McLaren et al you will also see this warped and toxic view in his own version of a corrupt Christianity as well. Study Bell’s theology closely and one will notice that Jesus is largely presented as being concerned with social causes and a kind of champion for the poor and oppressed people. In fact, in Velvet Elvis Bell says:
Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter – they are all hell on earth. Jesus’ desire for his followers is that they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth. What’s disturbing then is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth. Poverty, injustice, suffering – they are all hells on earth, and as Christians we oppose them with all our energies (148).
If You Think Anything Hell Is On Earth; You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!
Noble, yes; but wrong. Nothing on this earth would ever even begin to compare with complete separation from the presence of God. Whatever else Hell is, it begins there; and we get a horrifying peek at it when Jesus—God the Son—begins to experience this on the Cross — About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
J.C. Ryle’s insightful and penetrating comments to follow reveal how awful that harrowing cry from Christ truly was. Witness the heart of the Gospel now being glossed over by duplicious deceivers and their Emergence quasi-Christian univeralism:
There is deep mystery in these words, which no mortal man can fathom. No doubt they were not wrung from our Lord by mere bodily pain. Such an explanation is utterly unsatisfactory, and dishonorable to our blessed Saviour. They were meant to express the real pressure on his soul of the enormous burden of a world’s sins.
They were meant to show how truly and literally He was our substitute, was made sin, and a curse for us, and endured God’s righteous anger against a world’s sins in His own person. At that awful moment, the iniquity of us all was laid upon Him to the uttermost. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him, and put Him to grief (Isaiah 53:10). He bore our sins. He carried our transgressions. Heavy must have been that burden, real and literal must have been our Lord’s substitution for us, when He, the eternal Son of God, could speak of Himself as for a time “forsaken.”
Let the expression sink down into our hearts, and not be forgotten. We can have no stronger proof of the sinfulness of sin, or of the vicarious nature of Christ’s sufferings, than His cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It is a cry that should stir us up to hate sin, and encourage us to trust in Christ. (Exporatory Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1, 394)
And for a more complete understanding of Emergence Christianity, a repainted i.e. reinterpreted version of—another—social gospel, as well as why this emerging theology easily embraces apostate Roman Catholicism, the piece on liberation theology from Dr. Ron Rhodes referenced below will prove helpful. Though I obviously differ with him concerning the ecumenical ministry of Rick Warren, Dr. Rhodes is a fine scholar, and you’ll see that The Emergence Gospel of Good Deeds preached by e.g. Rob Bell and Shane Claiborne is really nothing new at all:
Without going into detail, [Jurgen] Moltmann has suggested that the coming kingdom gives the church a society-transforming vision of reality as opposed to a merely private vision of personal salvation. [Johannes Baptist] Metz has emphasized that there is a political dimension to faith, and that the church must be an institution of social criticism. [Dietrich] Bonhoeffer has issued a call to redefine religion in a secular context. His theology emphasizes human responsibility toward others, and stresses the value of seeing the world with “the view from below” – the perspective of the poor and oppressed…
Marxism has also exerted a profound influence on liberation theologians… Drawing from European theologies and Marxism, Latin American theologians developed their own theology by radically reinterpreting Scripture with “a bias toward the poor.” … Like Bonhoeffer, liberation theologians say theology must start with a “view from below” – that is, with the sufferings of the oppressed. Within this broad framework, different liberation theologians have developed distinctive methodologies for “doing” theology.
Gustavo Gutierrez, author of A Theology of Liberation, provides us with a representative methodology. Like other liberationists, Gutierrez rejects the idea that theology is a systematic collection of timeless and culture-transcending truths that remains static for all generations. Rather, theology is in flux; it is a dynamic and ongoing exercise involving contemporary insights into knowledge, humanity, and history.
Gutierrez emphasizes that theology is not just to be learned, it is to be done. In his thinking, “praxis” is the starting point for theology. Praxis (from the Greek prasso: “to work”) involves revolutionary action on behalf of the poor and oppressed – and out of this, theological perceptions will continually emerge. The theologian must therefore be immersed in the struggle for transforming society and proclaim his message from that point.
In the theological process, then, praxis must always be the first stage; theology is the second stage. Theologians are not to be mere theoreticians, but practitioners who participate in the ongoing struggle to liberate the oppressed… (Online source)